The Cause: the jeweller using his legacy to make a wish come true
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
What role does art play in times of crisis? It’s a question Roman jeweller Fabio Salini has asked a lot in recent years, as he seeks to find new purpose after a three-decade career in precious gems and materials. The answer he has arrived at is to auction a large chunk of his archive – 55 unique creations – and donate the proceeds to charity. “If we think of art now, it’s a less urgent thing,” says Salini, “so why don’t we use it to help people?”
Salini began his career in the design rooms at Cartier and Bulgari before launching his own collection in 1999 through Petochi, the historic Italian jewellery house patronised by European nobility. Enraptured by the technological advances that came with the turn of the millennium, he became known for using innovative materials.
Fabio Salini white-gold, diamond and green-tourmaline ring. Estimate: £24,000-£34,000
Fabio Salini white-gold, diamond and rubellite ring. Estimate to be confirmed
His designs have maintained this aesthetic, mixing diamonds, rock crystals, coral and straw with carbon fibre, titanium and leather. “To be an artist now, you have to introduce new concepts. This is a way for me to elevate jewellery to be recognised as a form of major art, not a form of decorative art.”
The designs to be auctioned through Sotheby’s in September represent snapshots of Salini’s career: earrings with flowers made from opals, diamonds and fancy sapphires that sprout from carbon fibre and titanium branches; and a green-tourmaline ring ensconced in a cage of pavé diamonds. All proceeds will go to The Art of Wishes, set up by art collector and philanthropist Batia Ofer in 2017 to raise funds for the children’s charity Make-A-Wish UK, an initiative that has raised more than £8.3mn to date. “For someone of Fabio’s eminence to donate so many of his signature creations makes this collaboration so special for us,” says Ofer. “Art is never going to stop famine or war, but it can enrich, and give hope.”
Fabio Salini white-gold, carbon fibre, diamond and South Sea-pearl necklace. Estimate to be confirmed
Fabio Salini titanium, diamond, opal and fancy-sapphire flower earrings with carbon fibre branches. Estimate: £50,000-£60,000
“I think the priority of this moment in my career, my evolution – it’s not the priority of myself, or my success, but to express myself in a more human way,” Salini adds. “I don’t have any children but I want a legacy. So maybe it is stronger to find a way to give to others.”
Jewellery Creations by Fabio Salini: a Charity Auction for Art of Wishes Part I may be viewed at Sotheby’s Monaco from 16 to 23 August; and at Sotheby’s Bond Street from 1 to 7 September. The online auction will take place from 25 August to 8 September. A live auction for selected items will take place at Sotheby’s in London on 7 September