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High Voltage in the Purple Boudoir (preview)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of jewellery by Swiss designer Suzanne Syz, entitled High Voltage in the Purple Boudoir, will be on display in the Hauser and Wirth Gallery from Thursday, June 7 to Friday, June 22, 2007.

Syz takes much of her inspiration from the natural forms of flowers and animals, and the magic of the fairy tales of her childhood when she danced various roles in fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm with the Zurich Ballet, including the princess who transformed the frog into a handsome prince with a kiss.

She is also influenced by her time in New York in the 1980s, when she mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente and Jeff Koons, and began collecting contemporary art. These experiences, combined with a strong feel for colour and a sense of whimsy and delight, come together in the creation of her exclusive jewellery.

Syz selects the most colourful gems to create her highly original pieces. Each creation is as unique as the wearer and is never repeated and she makes no more than 50 each year.

She sources the brightly coloured stones she favours during her travels around the world, especially to India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, before overseeing the transformation in the workshops in Geneva. The resulting jewellery is as international in its creation as it is in its appeal.

Born in Zurich and educated in Paris, Syz moved to New York in the early 1980s where she married and raised her two children. She returned to Geneva in the mid-1990s and began designing jewellery, initially because she wanted to create pieces for herself that she could not find anywhere else.

By 2000 she had established a chic jewellery salon in Geneva and before long her list of clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Floria von Hessen, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and Archduchess Francesca von Habsburg, who were attracted not only to Syz’s sense of glamour but also to her sense of fun.

Syz’s pieces are designed to be admired from all angles and her attention to detail results in the backs of pieces often being as appealing as the front. The jewellery moves with the wearer revealing more of its beauty from each angle.

Her designs dazzle and charm. Diamonds mounted on gold, studded with red rubellite spots are transformed into a toadstool brooch, while chrysoprase is highlighted with garnets and tsavorite to become a Prince Charming frog bracelet and brooch.

Her bejewelled Painter’s Palette earrings are guaranteed to raise a smile as are Girouettes, delightful earrings in the form of children’s toy windmills, while her Life Savers earrings look good enough to eat.

As with many jewellers before her, nature plays its part but Syz goes one step further with her Ice Blue Raspberry earrings and Ariel’s Treasure, the latter being a gold bangle set with no less than 16 different precious and semi-precious stones transformed into sea urchins and a star fish.

Visitors to High Voltage in the Purple Boudoir will have the first opportunity in London to acquire a very special piece of unique jewellery, created by one of the most talented designers and made to the highest standards of craftsmanship. Prices range from £5,000 to over £200,000.

Venue: Hauser and Wirth Gallery, 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DG (just off Piccadilly)

Times: Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 6pm.