Gallerist Elisabetta Cipriani on Jewelry Collaborations with Artists


Elisabetta Cipriani set up her eponymous gallery in Mayfair in 2009, choosing to focus on “wearable sculptures” by contemporary artists like Rebecca Horn, Tom Sachs, Giorio Vigna, and Tatsuo Miyajima. Since then her gallery has collaborated with 16 artists, inviting them to create a jewelry piece that is unique or in very limited editions. Some of these collaboration projects can already be found in collections including some renown museums around the world, such as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, and pieces have also been exhibited as part of the touring exhibition “From Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler.” Blouin Lifestyle talked to the London-based Italian gallerist: How did you get into the business?

Before coming to London ten years ago, I worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome where I organized eleven exhibitions of established contemporary artists. But jewelry has always been my passion since I was a child.

Who was the first jeweler artist you chose to represent?

The first artist I chose was Tatsuo Miyajima because we had built a special relationship while working together on his exhibition at the museum in Rome and because I loved the idea that he could do a jewel following the concept of eternal life.


How do you select the artists you want to collaborate with?

It’s very personal. I like their art and therefore I ask them to collaborate with me.

How do the collaboration actually work?

The artist makes the prototype of the piece or the design of the work and the goldsmith transforms it into gold or in the material selected by the artist. My preferred goldsmith is based in Rome, as I like to keep to my origins and to present outstanding craftsmanship. My role during production is in between the artist and the goldsmith, and after production it is to ensure that clients are happy with their jewels.

What has been the greatest challenge so far?

I am working on a new project with an extraordinary Italian sculptor. The challenge is to have it on time for a planned opening in November.

How has the market changed since you started?

The market has grown drastically. Tastes have changed and women want to own an exclusive one-off piece, beautifully crafted, modern and elegant, which has a story to tell. I am glad to say that all of my projects follow these aspects.


Is there an auction market for artist jewelries?

You can find pieces by post-war contemporary artist jewelry like Alexander Calder, De Chirico, Fontana, Afro, and Man Ray... The market is very strong and at auction they sell three to four times the estimated price.

For Design Miami/ Basel 2015, you have decided to focus on the works of Giorgio Vigna. What do you particularly like about his creations?

I love his work. His artistic pathway is a journey out of the ordinary expressed by the strong link between his broad artistic research and nature, and the relationship that connects form and matter. In the jewelry, as much as in his artistic production, Vigna shows his versatility. For Design Miami/Basel 2015 he will present 30 unique pieces expressing the diverse disciplines he works with: the virtues of glass, the jewelry as sculpture, and the soul of the precious.

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