Alexandre Reza

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Alexandre Reza (November 1, 1922 – January 15, 2016) was a Paris-based jeweler known for his diverse and rare collection of precious gems.[1][2] He is lauded as the greatest gem collector of modern times.[3]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Alexandre Reza was born in 1922 in Moscow, of ancient Samarkand heritage. The son of a jeweler, he moved to France with his family when he was a child. He set out on his own at the age of eighteen, the same time as the onset of World War II.

Career[edit]

After the war, he began his career as a diamond expert, traveling extensively to source each stone, which served as the key design inspiration for his work.[4] Early on, he supplied gems to jewelry brands such as Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Gerard, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels.[5]

After more than three decades of acquiring and selectively selling fine diamonds, he founded his eponymous jewelry house in 1981 on the [[Place Vendôme in Paris. He also established retail presence in Geneva, Cannes and Monaco to offer Haute Joaillerie: suites of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and objet de art made from rare diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.[6] Alexandre Reza’s creations are known for their opulence, splendor, extravagance, and extraordinary craftsmanship. According to auction house Sotheby's, "movement, lightness, composition, and harmony are the key words of his designs."[7] In 1997, The Mirror described him as "probably the top jeweller in the world for the rich, famous and royalty."[8] Previously, he has been a target of high-stakes theft. In June 2001, a necklace worth EUR 1.8M was stolen the brand's salon in Cannes.[9] In 1994, armed robbers stole approximately $21 million in gems from the jeweler's salon in Paris.[10]

In May 2010, Sotheby's sold a 5.02-carat fancy vivid blue diamond set in a toi et moi (me and you) ring alongside a white 5.42-carat diamond for US$6.3 million, establishing an auction record price for a jewel by Alexandre Reza.[11] In November 2010, a pair of fancy blue diamond and diamond pendant ear clips "soared to $1.79 million, tripling the low end of its pre-sale estimate."[12]

His work has been featured in books such as Alexandre Reza: Dreams of Yesterday, Realities of Today (1985)[13] and Alexandre Reza: Stones of Light (1991).[14] The first, whose introduction was penned by director of the Jacquemart-Andre Museum Rene Huygue, was compiled to document an exhibition at the Paris-based Museum.[15] As part of the Ultimate Collection, Assouline published a monumental edition in 2012 entitled Alexandre Reza, presenting more than one hundred rare pieces of Reza's creations, and a history of the famed gem house in archival documents and vintage photography.[16] In June 1988, his private collection of fine jewelry and gems was showcased at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York.[17]

In early 2008, Olivier Reza, the son of Alexandre Reza who frequently traveled with his father to examine and acquire rare stones, returned to lead the company following a successful career in international banking.[18] He downsized the Paris salon, as well as sold all European stores.[19] In June 2012, he re-opened a salon on the Place Vendome, and recently completed his first jewelry pieces with an eye towards continuing the family’s legacy and expanding the Alexandre Reza collection.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Journal officiel de la République française. France. 1957. p. 5378. 
  2. ^ "Death of Alexandre Reza, jeweller to the stars". France 24. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  3. ^ The Financial Times: How To Spend It."The New Stone Age", 20 November 2012.
  4. ^ Tourbillon International."Alexandre Reza", Jewelry International: Volume I, 17 June 2008
  5. ^ Sotheby's. "Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels Catalogue Note", Sale GE1002, Lot 425, 11 May 2010
  6. ^ Tourbillon International."Alexandre Reza", Jewelry International: Volume I, 17 June 2008
  7. ^ Sotheby's. "Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels Catalogue Note", Sale GE1002, Lot 425, 11 May 2010
  8. ^ Oliver, Ted, and Mackay, Don. "Diana had his ring; Dodi's last token of love found in wreck.", The Mirror, London, 4 September 1997.
  9. ^ "Diamond thieves pull off 100-million-dollar Paris heist.", Agence France-Presse, 5 December 2008.
  10. ^ Bennhold, Katrin. "French Say Thieves Took $28.4 Million in Jewelry From Paris Store.", New York Times, 12 October 2007.
  11. ^ "Sotheby's blue diamonds set another color record.", National Jeweler, 12 May 2010.
  12. ^ Nebehay, Stephanie. "Pink diamond record price shows market strength.", Reuters, 16 November 2010.
  13. ^ Seta, Arlette. Alexandre Reza: Reves d'hier, réalités d'aujourd'hui, 1985.
  14. ^ Seta, Arlette. Alexandre Reza: Pierres de lumiere, 1991.
  15. ^ Misiorowski, Elise B. "Book Reviews.", Gems & Gemology, Volume 23, Number 3, Fall 1987.
  16. ^ Becker, Vivienne. Alexandre Reza, 2012.
  17. ^ "Paris Opera On Stage Exhibition.", New York Magazine, 13 June 1988.
  18. ^ Vogue.[1] 'Romancing the Stones'] 11 July 2012.
  19. ^ The Financial Times. [2] 'A Family Story: 'I had to learn a great deal quickly about hard luxury’'] 7 September 2012.
  20. ^ The Wall Street Journal. 'The New Color of Luxury: Yellow' 18 October 2012.