Jo-Ann Strauss wearing a pair of pearl and diamond 18kt gold earrings and standing in front of a Pierre Vermeulen Hair Orchid Sweat Print Verdigris Layer No.2
Jo-Ann Strauss wearing a pair of pearl and diamond 18kt gold earrings and standing in front of a Pierre Vermeulen Hair Orchid Sweat Print Verdigris Layer No.2
Image: Supplied

Auction house Strauss & Co recently launched its online shop enabling clients to purchase art, jewellery and objects outside the auction calendar at www.straussart.co.za. The items sold online, which are selected and curated by the specialist Strauss & Co team, are available for a limited time and on a pop-up basis only.

In response to the demand from clients requesting vibrant semi-precious stones and custom-designed jewellery pieces, Vanessa Phillips, Strauss & Co’s joint MD, announced that the shop will be working with key partners in a series of creative collaborations, the first of which is with local jewellery designer Taz Watson. Watson was been commissioned to conceptualise a range of handmade jewels.  

“My grandfather and my parents were gemmologists and avid gemstone collectors, so the love of these gorgeous minerals runs deep in my blood,” explains Watson, who launched her company, Kiira African Fine Jewellery in 2018. “I started my collection at the age of five and co-designed my first collection with my father when I was 10 years old. I well remember experiencing the thrill of seeing a piece of jewellery come to life.”

Taz Watson.
Taz Watson.
Image: Supplied

Watson has designed three collections for Strauss & Co — Man in the Moon, Rainforest and Ombré. Man in the Moon pays tribute to the spiritual celestial body and features moonstone, tanzanite and aquamarine accented with tourmalines and pearls in delicately etched 18kt gold settings. Rainforest is inspired by the lush, humid area around the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and each intricate piece is hand-carved and made from hand-selected, ethically sourced gemstones from Watson’s grandfather’s private collection. Ombré is all about allowing each gem to sparkle, through pared down silhouettes and simple shapes.

Fine art and jewellery

Next week, buyers can look forward to an exciting line-up at the auction house’s first live event for the year. Strauss & Co’s senior art specialist Kirsty Colledge and Watson have paired eight pieces of jewellery by Mahak Kala of Panchoo London with eight pieces of modern, post-war and contemporary SA art, featuring artists such as Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, Dr Esther Mahlangu and Alexis Preller. In future, collectors will be able to work with Mahak to create a beautiful item of jewellery inspired by their purchased artwork.

Pink Tanzanite (Zoisite) and 18kt gold dress ring.
Pink Tanzanite (Zoisite) and 18kt gold dress ring.
Image: Supplied
Pair of tourmaline and rubellite 18kt gold earrings.
Pair of tourmaline and rubellite 18kt gold earrings.
Image: Supplied

The union of fine art and jewellery will be unveiled at the preview of the Modern, Post-war and Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Jewellery and Wine auction on March 30, ahead of the live art auction which runs from April 3-6. The first session of the hybrid in-person and live-streamed auction on April 3 is hosted by the wine department, profiling producers from Hemel-en-Aarde.

Jo-Ann Strauss wearing a pair of earrings with Erik Laubscher's Winter Ploughed Lands, Swaarmoed.
Jo-Ann Strauss wearing a pair of earrings with Erik Laubscher's Winter Ploughed Lands, Swaarmoed.
Image: Supplied
Pair of Brazilian Cuprian (Paraiba) tourmaline 18kt gold earrings.
Pair of Brazilian Cuprian (Paraiba) tourmaline 18kt gold earrings.
Image: Supplied
Rubellite and turquoise 18kt white gold necklace.
Rubellite and turquoise 18kt white gold necklace.
Image: Supplied

On April 4, the decorative arts department will host a morning session devoted to Asian art, and an afternoon session featuring properties from two important collections of mainly historical English furniture. Three sessions of modern, post-war and contemporary art are scheduled to go under the hammer on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 5 and 6. The 79-lot session will take place on Tuesday at 6pm. Irma Stern’s Dakar Woman (estimated between R7m and R9m) is the major highlight of this session.

A comprehensive e-catalogue is available online.

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