BRUSSELS — In 2007, Caroline Van Hoek decided to forgo a career in the insurance business to open a jewelry gallery in a trendy neighborhood here.
Today, her gallery showcases such work as solid gold bracelets by the Dutch industrial designer Gijs Bakker, silverware by the Belgian silversmith Siegfried de Buck and knitted brooches by Daniel Kruger, who was born in South Africa but now works in Germany. “I am all for mixing different types of jewelry,” said Ms. Van Hoek, a regular at the Design Miami fair. “Wearing a vintage brooch with a contemporary ring, to me it’s like wearing jeans with a Dior jacket, I completely understand that approach.”
Acquiring jewelry from any of the 21 artisans who she primarily represents is not a speedy process. After a thorough discussion with the artist, a customer has to wait at least six weeks for a piece. “Our artists do not work with a concern for costs, time or even profit, for that matter,” Ms. Van Hoek said. “It’s more about the beauty of the piece and the pleasure of making it.”
Last fall, she moved the gallery to a space on Rue aux Laines, a quiet street tucked between the art dealers neighborhood and Avenue de la Toison d’Or, a high-end shopping street. “The gallery has evolved towards a clientele and a style of jewelry that could no longer appropriately be shown in an old grocery store,” she said.
From May 19 to July 9, the gallery is scheduled to show a limited-edition collection by Florie Dupont, a French artist who specializes in stone setting and whose previous works have included lizard heads with black diamond eyes, and bronze bird skulls pavéd with crystals and opals. “Setting a stone requires an almost mathematical approach, and Florie thrives on difficulty,” Ms. Van Hoek said.
For this exhibition, Ms. Dupont has created softly shaped pieces in a range of precious materials including red gold, diamonds and Tahitian pearls. “To me this collection is the culmination of my work on stone setting techniques,” the artist said.
Her Skin ring, for example, includes 795 white one-millimeter diamonds set in a red gold ring. “The idea is to cover the metal surface in precious elements, to pavé the skin of the jewel,” she said. Prices will range from 5,000 to 15,000 euros, or $5,700 to $17,100, and pieces can be viewed by appointment.
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