In 1967 artist and designer, GianCarlo Montebello founded GEM, a goldsmith workshop dedicated to working with artists. Over the following decade, GEM produced limited edition jewelry designs by more than fifty artists including Lucio Fontana, Niki de Saint Phalle, Alex Katz, Ettore Sottsass and Gio Pomodoro, to name a few.

GEM’s production of artist-made jewels ended in 1978 when Montebello was the victim of theft and all of his work with artists was stolen. Despite its short-history and small editions, GEM’s works have been widely celebrated and exhibited around the world. 

The artist’s jewelry edited by GEM Montebello was designed by painters and sculptors and therefore went to be displayed in galleries: In the period they were made they were shocking—these were the 60s and 70s—they broke with conventions because they transcended the code of jewelry as a status symbol. Today museums and collectors are interested in these very same pieces.

GianCarlo Montebello

Ettore Sottsass 1917–2007

Ettore Sottsass is one of the most significant designers and architects of the late 20th Century, his bold and colorful, Post Modern aesthetic enlivening objects, furniture and interiors and influencing design around the world. Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1917, Sottsass and his family moved to Turin, Italy in 1929 so he could study architecture at the Politecnico di Turino. He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1939 but he was called to serve the Italian army during World War II and he spent most of the war in a concentration camp. Upon his return in 1945, he worked for his father, Ettore Sottsass senior, an architect practicing in Turin, before relocating to Milan to curate a craft exhibition at the 1946 Triennale.

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Auction Results Ettore Sottsass

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