18kt Gold, Coral, and Diamond Brooch, Arthur King, c. 1970s, centering a coral cabochon, surrounded by seven full-cut diamonds, 20.3 dwt, signed, lg. 2 in.
Note: Lots 126 through 133 are from the collection of Louise King, the widow of Arthur King (1921-1986). For decades Arthur and Louise King were leading jewelers in New York City, though the Kings' designs and practice featured far more global influences, including shops in Havana, Miami, and London. Louise King is now making available a number of extraordinary pieces from her personal collection.
Arthur King is featured in the definitive book Jewelry, by Graham Hughes (Gallery Books, New York, NY, 1972). Hughes' description of the Kings' shops, first near 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, and later on Madison Avenue nearby, captures the creative energy which defined the "Jewels in Gold" style, including the shop design itself:
"Arthur King had an amazing shop on 59th Street - with its rough-hewn slate, fish-filled aquariums, seemingly armored safe door, and craggy quartzes all around - for which he substituted his new and overwhelming fantasy in the next block on Madison Avenue, a sinuous web of black metal fronds with small lozenge-shaped showcases suddenly appearing where you least expect them to be."
Shopping in an Arthur King store provided an intimate, "treasure hunt" experience, not just because of the amazing shop design, but ultimately because of his unique jewelry. King's regular clients included such luminaries as Claire Booth Luce and Andy Warhol, among many others.
Arthur King was a self-taught jeweler, beginning during a stint in the Merchant Marine during WWII, where he used his "down time" to develop his distinctive style and designs. His work incorporates pearls, diamonds, opals, and other gems and stones, typically set in gold, but sometimes other precious metals. Pearls were frequent centerpieces, highlighted with diamonds or other gemstones. The pearls in particular were notable, as King became known throughout the pearl markets of the Pacific, due to his frequent buying trips. The pearls are extraordinary, coming in a vast array of colors, shapes, and sizes, and are a defining aspect of his work.
The settings often used fantastic gold or silver tendrils, highlighting the gems in a flowing, almost liquid-looking style based on his use of the "lost wax" technique of jewelry-making.
The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.