A high-end show where retailers (not suppliers) rule
Fifty-five vendors may sound like a paltry sum in the trade-show world, but when the exhibitors are high-end gallerists with hundreds of individual SKUs, the event becomes a lot more interesting—and valuable. Jewelers in search of art jewelry would do well to scope out what their peers in the gallery world are stocking.
The 14th Annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (SOFA), April 14–17 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, draws galleries and dealers in a variety of media for an open-to-the-public show (sofaexpo.com) that has earned rave reviews from attendees. The retail event kicks off with an invitation-only preview April 13 and includes a three-day lecture series, a designer breakfast and panel discussion about contemporary design, and a New Collectors/Young Designers Night.
In the jewelry arena, visitors see high-end selections of wearable craft art with alternative materials such as antlers, and shells alongside precious metals and gems. New exhibitors this year include London’s Gallery S O, Tel Aviv’s Litvak, and contemporary Asia specialists Ippodo Gallery from New York City; that’s in addition to returning dealers including Santa Fe, N.M.’s TAI Gallery, Washington, D.C.’s Jewelers’ Werk Galerie, and New York City’s Aaron Faber Gallery.
German-cut granite ring in sterling and platinum with black diamond accents; $3,850; Peter Schmid of Atelier Zobel (for the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York City), Constance, Germany; 49-75-312-5962; atelierzobel.com
Patricia Kiley Faber, co-owner of the Aaron Faber Gallery, brings “one-of-kind works—not production pieces—and collectors’ watches like vintage Patek Philippes that appeal to an audience with a lot of discretionary income,” she tells JCK. She describes the event as “eye opening and inventive,” as well as fruitful, since she picks up new accounts each show. She also participates in the original SOFA in Chicago, where consumer buyers are “aficionados, and quite knowledgeable about contemporary decorative arts,” she says. Her New York clients, meanwhile, enjoy discovering something new. “New Yorkers are shoppers—we see something we like and we buy it,” says Faber.
To be prepared, Faber will bring a $9,500 Roger Moore Submariner Rolex from 1969; an artist, Peter Schmid of Atelier Zobel from Germany, will join Faber for the show, supplementing inventory with 200 or so special pieces. Adds Faber: “We’re representing 20 designers and offering a carefully edited selection of watches from the 20th century, estate jewelry, design-oriented jewels, and anything that’s really special.”