The former jewellery designer had her own pieces sold in New York's Henri Bendel and The Stevens Gallery. The auction of Freeman's collection at Skinner features the 20th century's masters of ground-breaking and rule-shaking jewellery, including Ed Wiener, Sam Kramer and Tina Chow.

14kt Gold and Faience Brooch, Ed Wiener, c. 1970, centering an Ancient Egyptian faience eye, wd. 1 1/2 in., signed. 14kt Gold and Faience Brooch, Ed Wiener, c. 1970, centering an Ancient Egyptian faience eye, wd. 1 1/2 in., signed.

New Yorker Ed Wiener began his career in post-bauhaus Provincetown and Greenwich Village in early days of the Abstract Impressionist movement of the late 1940s. Born in 1918, Wiener worked in his father's butcher shop until the war. During the WWII, he worked on a radio assembly line, where he realized he his talent for crafts and using his hands to create objects.

Weiner learnt jewellery making using plumbers' and carpenters' tools. Picasso's sculptural forms were a source of inspiration for Weiner. He began creating designs in silver, once explaining how silver is '' a noble metal...It'll be beautiful in spite of most things you can do to it.'' He worked with silver until late 1950s, when he moved on to gold and precious stones.

Calder's mobiles also influenced Weiner's work. The art and music of his time and New York city were weaved into Weiner's designs. He once compared jewellery design to jazz improvisation, where pauses are as important as the notes, reflected in Weiner's use of space in his pieces.

Weiner had a studio on 5th Avenue where he worked until his passing in 1991.

Sterling Silver and Gemstone Ring, Sam Kramer, c. 1950, the abstract form bezel-set with a garnet and tourmaline Sterling Silver and Gemstone Ring, Sam Kramer, c. 1950, the abstract form bezel-set with a garnet and tourmaline

Pittsburgh-native Sam Kramer reinvented modern jewellery during the mid-20th century. His studio and works were as much a part of Greenwich Village's beatnik scene as Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan.

In 1939, he opened the doors to his surreal studio in Greenwich Village. His clients were first greeted by a hand-shaped front door handle they had to ''shake'' to enter the studio, where Kramer would be working, at times in his pyjamas.

Sterling Silver and Gemstone Bracelet, Sam Kramer, c. 1950, the hinged bangle of abstract design bezel-set with amethyst and beryl cabochons Sterling Silver and Gemstone Bracelet, Sam Kramer, c. 1950, the hinged bangle of abstract design bezel-set with amethyst and beryl cabochons

His jewellery designs were as surreal as the works of Dalí or Man Ray, Kramer would feature the most unconventional materials in his designs such as: taxidermist eyes, moose teeth, porcupine quills, fossilized sea-insects and ancient coins.

Andy Warhol, Tina Chow unique polaroid print 4¼ x 3 3/8 in. (10.8 x 8.5 cm.)Executed in 1985. Image: Christie's Andy Warhol, Tina Chow
unique polaroid print
4¼ x 3 3/8 in. (10.8 x 8.5 cm.)
Executed in 1985.

Image: Christie's

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were not many artists or designers that didn't count Tina Chow as a muse. Born in Ohio, the daughter of an German-descent American father and Japanese mother, Chow's family moved to Japan in the mid-1960s.

In Japan, Tina and her sister were scouted by a modelling agency. The two became the faces of Japanese cosmetic line Shiseido.

Helmut Newton, Cecil Beaton and Arthur Elgort are just a few photographers who shot Chow during her career. Warhol captured her behind his lens, whilst she was a muse to Yves St. Laurent and Issey Miyake.

In the late 1980s, Tina began to create her own jewellery line. In 1987, her first collection was sold at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, Maxfield's in Los Angeles, Ultimo in Chicago, and Gallerie Naila Monbrison in Paris.

Rutilated Quartz Ring Rutilated Quartz Ring

Bamboo and Citrine "Kyoto" Bracelet Bamboo and Citrine "Kyoto" Bracelet

The collection featured pieces made of rock crystal, gold, silver, wood, bamboo, and silk cording. The most iconic of Chow's designs was the Kyoto bracelet, a woven bamboo bangle which encases rough rock crystals or rose quartz in their natural form which move with the wearer. The bamboo wrapping and basketry work was the skill of Kosuge Shochikudo, one of Japan’s master craftsmen in the art of bamboo.

All jewellery pieces will be featured in Skinner's Fine Jewelry sale on 27th June, 2017. Check out the full catalogue here.

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