Here is why every jewelry lover should visit the TEFAF!

Maastricht, the Netherlands is home to one of the most prestigious fairs in the world. And it is open to the public! Art and jewelry are the very heart of TEFAF. Here is why you should visit it if you truly love jewelry!

TEFAF Bizzita teaser

TEFAF is a yearly art and jewelry show held in Maastricht, but it also has a smaller edition in New York in fall. Every year, we see the ongoing private jets coming in at Maastricht Aachen Airport. The richest people on the planet, returning year after year to find the most beautiful art, antique and sometimes really ancient creations.

But they also come to see the fabulous jewelry. It is here that one can pick up collectible jewelry in the last century and beyond by houses like Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and many more. Although the art is incredible, I always head straight for the jewelry. And one day is not enough!

Wallace Chan, Cindy Chao, Glenn Spiro, Hemmerle and Otto Jakob aren’t normally visible for most of us. TEFAF is, therefore, a unique place where you can find the hidden gems of the jewelry world, normally known to a small inner crowd of wealthy collectors and investors, these jewelry creators are unique. It’s jewelry you NEED to see, even if only once in your life. Even if you can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter! It’s beyond jewelry, it’s art and it goes a lot deeper than anything you’ll ever see at your jeweler, or in your career in jewelry.

Why you should visit Cindy Chao on the TEFAF

Cindy Chao is the daughter of a sculptor and a granddaughter of a famous architect. She obviously inherited a culture for sculpture, depth, dimension and her creations, especially the high-end creations of her Black Label Masterpieces are to be admired from every side! If you visit the booth, you’ll see how the jewelry is arranged around a tree of life. In itself, already a beautiful way of exposing jewelry. In every display, you can are able to observe the jewelry from all angles. You’ll notice that it is very different from what you have seen before.

Cindy Chao Tefaf

In jewelry like this, it isn’t about selling many pieces. Just a few of every piece will be produced and although prices aren’t communicated unless you are a serious client, this is obviously not jewelry for every pocket, nor is it wearable for every occasion.  But the jewelry itself is very light. As all jewelry is made in titanium. A metal preferred by the very high-end artists in jewelry. A necklace such as the Winter Leaves weighs therefore not more than 78 gr! Can you imagine that? It looks so heavy, but instead, it’s very light and therefore, very pleasant to wear.
Even more important: the earrings are also created in titanium, so even the boldest biggest earrings weigh no more than 27gr more or less!

The Black Label is unique and should be visited with the same approach and curiosity you would have when visiting an art museum. You should also bear in mind, that working in titanium is kind of a nightmare, so it takes hours and hours ( Winter Leave Necklace 10.000 hours)to create this kind of jewelry. Setting the stones, finding the right ones in color, weight, and pairs is a slow process. So these are to be admired for the masterpieces they are.

CindyChao winter Leaves TEFAF

The white label is the more commercial collection of Cindy Chao. If you like; the jewelry for every day. You can still see her touch, but wear it to practically every occasion.

Look for: the Winter Leaves Necklace

Where to buy: TEFAF and the showrooms in Taipei and Hong Kong.

Where to find Cindy Chao: Collections can be found in both showrooms. Cindy Chao jewelry  

Why you should visit G by Glenn Spiro on the TEFAF

This is jewelry is created by Glenn Spiro. In this booth, there are some very spectacular pieces of jewelry showcased. A mix of old and new. Stones from ancient times are used in modern jewelry. Also, some of the jewelry looks rather classic at first, but when you step just a little closer, you see that a cabochon emerald ring is anything but usual. The sheer size of it is amazing, but it also allows you to look into it somehow. Like if it was snowglobe. It’s just a beautiful stone and the setting doesn’t do anything to distract attention from the stone. I am personally never a fan of too many diamonds or metal around bigger stones, especially in rings. To me, it feels like the designer thought that its beauty needed more enhancement, whilst that is the last thing it needs.

G LondonGlennSpiro Titanium Sapphireearrings

G London RosePetal

Look for: The Emerald jewelry collection! Watch the emerald necklace in green titanium and the cabochon ring

Where to buy: at the TEFAF you can actually buy directly.

Where to find them: London. The boutique is in London, whilst the jewelry is made in Switzerland. Glenn Spiro Jewelry

Why you should visit Otto Jakob at the TEFAF

Otto Jakob is a tall, full of life, German jewelry creator. Studying the works of Cellini and Plinius. The thing I personally admire so much about Otto Jakob is that he is a self-taught artist, an autodidact that today creates jewelry that reminds you of ancient times. It’s refined, but not shiny, nor very big. You need just to step closer to each window and then, like a small miracle, you’ll start to notice details you thought weren’t possible on such a small object. An obsession for technique and perfection is what sets all the greats apart. What I love about Otto Jakob is his stubborn way of sticking to his very own signature in jewelry. I can’t get enough of looking at it.

Eyrie Otto Jakob TEFAF

Otto Jakob Jewelry TEFAF

Otto Jakob Jewelry TEFAF.png2

Otto Jakob Aquila

Look for: The Aquila amulet. And look at how he used the beak to hold the amulet to the necklace. Every little detail is perfect and yet it has that look and feel of past times to it.

Where to buy: At TEFAF Maastricht and TEFAF New York or book an appointment at his studio in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Where to find them: Karlsruhe, Germany. Otto Jakob Jewelry

Why you should visit Hemmerle at the TEFAF

Hemmerle is an exclusive jewelry brand from Munich. You can’t find their jewelry in boutiques other than their own boutique and at the TEFAF and PAD in London. They have two private viewing events in New York. Known for its iconic pieces as the mushroom and vegetable collection, this company works not in titanium but aluminum. Which allows them to play with color in a completely different way than one can do with titanium or rhodium.

HEMMERLE Jade EarringsTefaf

Hemmerle Bizzita Esther

Hemmerle creates jewelry for the more intellectual collector. Or that is the impression I always get. The jewelry isn’t small, but it’s modest all the same in its appearance. It’s elegant and refined. Yet, it needs a bit of context, a bit of explanation. Which is wonderful. During the show or if one should own such a piece, the jewelry of Hemmerle always creates a conversation. They source TEFAF and other antique fairs for ancient artifacts and use this is in their jewelry. Hemmerle is famous for its use of color.

Look for: The earrings with the micro mosaic tiles. To the eye, it seems like a small tile, but these are micro mosaics created in 1828. If I am not mistaken; the tiles are actually sourced last year at the TEFAF!

Where to buy: Hemmerle boutique in TEFAF Maastricht and New York and PAD London. As well as their private viewing events.

Where to find them: Hemmerle, Munich. Hemmerle Jewelry

Why You should visit Wallace Chan at the TEFAF

My personal favorite! This Hong Kong-based Chinese artist has the most interesting stories.

He is charismatic and although the jewelry and art are for the wealthiest of collectors, his background is very humble. He explains he is not on TEFAF to sell, but he wants people to notice. To take a look, to dive into a completely different world for a moment. Behind each piece, there is a story and the team is happy to tell you everything you want to know.

Wallace Chan Wheel of Time necklace TEFAF

Wallace Chan Hera Brooch Esther Ligthart Bizzita

Prices aren’t communicated and there is no use in starting a conversation about the weight of certain stones. If you look at the jewelry like that, you aren’t the person who can really appreciate what has been created, is his philosophy. And although gemstones play the leading role in almost anything he creates, he wants you to look at it not from a value of the stone point of view, but to observe the art and skill that has gone into the piece itself.

Wallace Chan is a generous at sharing of stories and a pleasant person with whom I share moments from laughter to deep philosophical thinking. Something I personally adore. I always feel moved, touched within my soul by Wallace Chan. It is what true art does. It moves you!

Wallace Chan Butterfly nebula TEFAF Esther Bizzita

Wallace Chan Porcelain ring

It’s not easy to write just a short story about him, but this is what you need to look for:

Look for: the porcelain ring. It’s porcelain that took him years to create. Obsessed with porcelain from a young age, when living in a small apartment in Hong Kong with 11 people, he had the bathroom as his room and shared a plastic spoon with the other kids. The adults possessed just two porcelain spoons and he didn’t like it that he wasn't allowed to use these spoons. One day, he dropped one of those spoons and it broke. Leading to severe punishments. In his adult life, he started to collect porcelain and he thought the only defect of porcelain that it is too fragile. So here is where he started to experiment and after years he created porcelain 7 times stronger than steel. The stones are cut to fit in and the ring is simply amazing! Also, again: the coloring of porcelain is different and it feels so nice to the skin!

Also, look for:  the Chinese Horoscope necklace! Made in titanium, pearls, and gemstones. I wore it for a photo and can only say to be surprised how pleasant and easy to wear it felt! Other than being completely enchanted by the creation itself.

Where to buy: TEFAF Maastricht. Contact Wallace Chan through the website to learn more about their events or to book an appointment in Hong Kong.


Van Cleef & Arpels and Siegelson show beautiful jewelry, both new and vintage. Expert salespeople are available in every booth.. Are you really interested in buying? Every booth has the possibility for you to try jewelry on and talk about all the details. Depending on where you live, an appointment for delivery can be established.

If you work in jewelry, attend the jewelry school or want to become a designer or jeweler, you MUST visit the TEFAF. It’s the opportunity to see jewelry that goes beyond big diamonds, to put it very simple. It’s about heritage, about stories, about arts and philosophy. It’s about observing, allowing yourself to be moved by the wonders of natures turned into spectacular jewelry. And there is no show on the planet where you’ll find these icons altogether. Combine this with a beautiful setting, in one of the most gorgeous cities -Maastricht- the art and antiques exposed in the other booths and one can be sure to have the most enchanting, slightly overwhelming experiences!

More details on the TEFAF including dates etc: TEFAF

TEFAF Esther Bizzita


Comments (1)

  • Premier Jewelry Designs

    Premier Jewelry Designs

    • 29 March 2019 at 03:09
    • #

    I have a jewelry store in miami, thanks a lot for your post!! I would really like to have these designs!!


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