Dec 2, 2012

Salvador Dali’s collaboration between jewels and art work

“Without an audience, without the presence of spectators, these jewels would not achieve the function for which they were created. The viewer is thus the final artist. His look, heart and mind – with greater or lesser ability to understand the creator’s intention – imbue the jewels with life.” Salvador Dali

Recently I had opportunity to participate in a very interesting talk done by jewelry expert and goldsmith Joanna Hardy, who spoke about jewelry exhibition held at Goldsmiths Hall in 1961 in New York. It was a very significant exhibition, because for the first time jewels were shown as an art form not because of their market value. Presentation prepared by Mrs. Hardy was very interesting but for me the most surprising part was Salvador Dali’s participation in this exhibition. I knew very well who Dali was, great surrealist, painter, sculptor, furniture designer, movie director and eccentric. But I didn’t know that he created this amazing, surrealistic and symbolic jewelry. 

Dali started to design jewelry in 1940 and was continuing his work until end of 50’s. All forms created by him are linked with his painting, very often they represent human body parts, religious objects, floral or animal forms. 

“My object is to show the jeweler’s art in true perspective – where the design and craftsmanship are to be valued above the material worth of the gems, as in Renaissance times.”
Dali focused on design and left other work to skilled and professional goldsmith Carlos Alemany. Alemany was Argentinean, but he lived and worked in New York. Interesting part of Dali's history is that his very first designs were dedicated to Coco Chanel, with who he was very close. It is very possible that she was the one who inspired him.

Salvador Dali with Coco Chanel.

Dali drew very accurately all designs on paper and indicated all details and materials. Personally picked the right stones, his favourite medium were rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, pearls, diamonds and enamel. During the creation process he supervised Alemany’s work. History of all pieces is very long, first collection was sold in 1958 to millionaire Cummins Catherwood, nowadays most of the objects are part of the exhibition in Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation in Spain.

At the beginning of his adventure with jewelry he designed “Telephone earrings” which meant to represent unsuccessful telephone conversation between Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler to avoid war. These beautiful earrings are made with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and 18 k gold. They are now in Dali Museum in Figueras (Spain). That wasn’t first telephone object created by Dali, in 1936 he made surrealistic and very symbolic "Lobster telephone" for English poet Edward James.

“Telephone Earrings”, 1949

Next symbolic design from the same year is “The Eye of Time”. This unique piece was designed for Dali’s beloved wife Gala. It is a brooch made with diamonds and rubies, centred part of eye is a watch, which was very often presented in his paintings. 

“The Eye of Time”, 1949

“Ruby lips” brooch is definitely one of the most beautiful jewels designed by Dali. This pin is gold, with pearl teeth and lips made with rubies. Shape of brooch was done after Marilyn Monroe’s lips, as Dali was fascinated very with the actress. Brooch was made in 8 copies and the estimated value on the art market is now around $ 10,000-15,000. 

“Ruby lips” , 1949

“The Honeycomb Heart” it is a brooch of gold, rubies and diamonds. Was sold at Sotheby's in 2006 with matching ear clips and the pre-auction price was $ 150,000- 200,000. This shows that Dali’s jewelry sells equally well as his paintings. This is definitely a beautiful example of his work.
“There’s a little bit of sweetness in the heart of every woman.” Honey cluster in the middle of the heart represents this sweetness.

“The Honeycomb Heart”, around 1953-1954.

Piece that makes huge impression on every visitor of Dali Museum in Figueras is the “Royal Heart” Pin. This object is made of gold with Swarovski crystals, faux pearls and rubies. It is one of the first Dali’s pulsating objects and it was made in honor of Queen Elisabeth coronation. The round and pulsating part in the middle of the heart represents queen’s heart, which is constantly pumping for people who are all around her. This brooch is considered equally exceptional as some of Dali’s paintings. 

“Royal Heart Pin”,1953. 

Jewelry can be an art, beautiful forms, amazing gems and designers who are creators, but as Dali said this whole world wouldn’t exist without us. Normal people who admire, admire with eyes and heart and who simply wear it.

There is a good news for all admirers of Dali's jewelry, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation is selling reproduction of some famous pieces:



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