Jewellery Maker Profile: André Vassort
Pure Artistic Tradition
Vassort’s top clients included Boucheron and Mauboussin. For Van Cleef and Arpels Vassort, Vassort produced a lavish emerald, ruby and diamond crown for the Empress Farah of Iran. Vassort’s creations were not only popular in Paris. His jewels graced the necks, wrists and ears of countless Hollywood starlets.
Vassort maintained rigorous standards for his craftsmen. One apprentice recalled that the Vassort workshop functioned “in the pure artistic tradition”. At the same time, however, he had a keen understanding for modernism in jewellery. He skilfully merged the demands of his clients and their brand’s aesthetic, while simultaneously maintaining his own distinct handling of the precious materials.
Founder of M. Gerard, Louis Gerard, was a loyal client of Vassort. Impressed by Vassorts treatment of gems and precious metals while working at Van Cleef and Arpels, Gerard continued to use Vassort for the production of jewellery for his own brand. One such piece was sold at Christie’s Geneva in 2018. The gold and diamond suite made by Vassort in the 1960s. Reflective of the new attitude towards wearing jewellery, the sautoir and pendant can be transformed into a brooch and four bracelets. The lot was unusual in bearing the marks of both M. Gerard and Vassort’s workshop. It sold above it’s estimate of 25,000-35,000 CHF for 42,500 CHF.
Master of Drama
Despite many of Vassort’s creations for successful brands not being signed, to the trained eye there are tell-tale characteristics that identify a work to Vassort’s hand. His ability to handle gold is deft but achieved dramatic results. He understood how to bring out the warmth and movement of the metal and the importance of proportions.
In keeping with the modern demands for statement fine jewellery that could be worn at the increasingly informal social occasions, Vassort mixed diamonds with semi-precious stones, such as onyx, coral and rock crystal. The drama of Vassort’s modernist designs, both for clients and his own in-house pieces, maintain their value and continue to be highly sought after.