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Otto Jakob, is the first contemporary jeweller to be invited to exhibit at the TEFAF Showcase in Maastricht from 7th – 16th March, 2008. He is will be exhibiting a selection of 100 iconic pieces of jewellery for both men and women, together with stand alone table objects created over the past twenty years. Jakob has turned his passion for minerals and painting, (he was an apprentice to Georg Baselitz), to creating pieces of jewellery that are works of art in their own right.

Many influences on this collection can be seen from the art and culture of the African and Indian subcontinents; Jakob’s fascination with the human figure; form and colour taken from the natural world; as well as the art and science of the Renaissance period.

This inspiration is illustrated in such examples as the floral enamelwork of Moghul India seen in the Jammu collection of rings, which finds echoes of Kasmiri flower meadows, and Nadu, a 22 carat gold necklace, whose construction technique is based on that of ancient goldsmiths in Tamil Nadu.

His use of coloured gemstones, precious metals and enamelwork as ‘oils’ can be seen in the multicoloured tourmaline crystals that contrast with a pink padparadscha sapphire used in the cruciform Prospera pendants. In the Cyclops ring, the vivid green of a tsavorite is juxtaposed with the carved head and enamelled eye of a Cyclops emerging from the white gold.

Western African culture and the Ashanti goldsmiths have had a heavy influence on Jakob’s work, as can be seen the open basketwork of his Morombe necklace and earrings in 22 carat gold; and his Rich Blackmoor earrings, illustrating his virtuoso carving of the negro heads in enamelled gold, as does an ape’s head emerging from brown jasper in the nielloed ring, Ruzenwori.

Jakob’s human observations can be seen in his carved figurative work showing an imprisoned man bursting from his ebony prison of the Gyrometra pendant; or the delicacy of an enamelled Hand holding a colour-change Chameleon in pendant form. His interest in the natural world, be it mushrooms he picks in the woods, or the plants and trees of the tropics, can be seen with the carved jet and amber in the Amanita and Canterelles earrings respectively. A shape derived from part of a beetle’s body forms the design of the Lucanus ring of natural white gold, set with a 6 carat 19th century diamond of an unusual pale yellow hue.

Fascination with jewellery from the Renaissance, can be seen in a reliquary-style pendant such as Toucan, where a natural curl of silver is encased in rock crystal is surmounted by carved heads of a pair of Toucans. Jakob’s Cube Twins earrings recall the mathematical shapes of Archimedes and Islamic detail in the enamelled detail.

Jakob’s interest in minerals and the natural world can be seen in his selection of table objects, following the Renaissance ‘Kunstkabinet’ tradition, he has combined natural rock crystals, agates, ebony and faceted aquamarine to create a contemplative work of art in the style of oriental scholars for collectors’ cabinets.

His sense of humour is evident in all his pieces, particularly in his range of cufflinks, with crocodiles carved with catfish, soon to be their lunch in gold; and jewelled broad beans being eaten by gilded worms.

Otto Jakob has an established international clientbase, who enjoy working with him throughout the commissioning process, discussing the design and choosing stones with his team of ten at his Karlsruhe studio.

Otto Jakob will also be exhibiting in London at Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street, London W1 in November, 2008. He has been invited to exhibit in London by Katrin Bellinger, who hosted his first exhibition in London in 2007. This will be Otto Jakob’s second solo exhibition in London.


Photographic images available upon request

Notes to Editors:


Otto Jakob’s fascination with jewellery began early in his life. In 1968 at the age of seventeen, he began teaching himself the art of goldsmithing through study of the masterpieces created by ancient Etruscans, Celts and Greeks. He admired their artistic handling of gold and the inherent magic in their creations. Their work exhibiting a harmony with nature and a graceful marriage of art and technique which he failed to find in existing contemporary designs.

Too proud to ask anyone for technical advice, Otto acquired the old and complex jewellery techniques by reading the manuals of the Roman, Medieval and Renaissance periods and experimentation. He is also sources ideas from ancient and tribal art, as medieval, Renaissance, Islamic and Moghul jewellery.

His early exposure to these historical treasures enabled him to successfully evolve as an artist in his own right: to elaborate on his own iconography and to continue to grow over the next twenty five years.

In 1980, after finishing his study of painting under Georg Baselitz in Karlsruhe, Otto decided to focus completely on goldsmithing. The first collectors of his work were important German artists such as Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz, Günter Förg and Sigmar Polke.

Then from 1981 to 1987, the art dealer Hans Neuendorf (Hamburg) became a sponsor of his work and purchased the majority of Otto’s earliest pieces. Otto’s artistic freedom was enhanced by these relationships, and enabled him to create a complex, multilayered and complex body of work. A piece of Otto Jakob jewellery is a true sculpture.

Precious materials and details are not limited to fronts and backs; they penetrate the object like the content. He uses his materials with the artistic perspective of a painter. Colour plays an important role for him and his unusual choice of stones is always of the highest interest and quality. His masterful use of enamels has brought comparisons to jewellers like Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jean Schlumberger and Fabergé; as well as his Parisian contemporary JAR.

Today Otto has an increasing number of passionate collectors in Europe and in the USA.

Among them are renowned artists, patrons and stars from the music, art and film world – independent and cultured individuals who can truly appreciate his incredible work. Collectors become passionate after possessing their first piece.

Otto Jakob lives with his wife, two children and dog in an Art Nouveau house in Karlsruhe, Germany. There he works with the nine master goldsmiths he has working for him, creating his fabulous, intricate miniature-sculptures.

He possesses a unique collection of rare and bizarre desert plants, which he put together from a sculptural standpoint as further inspiration. In addition he collects natural artefacts, modern and archaic art.

For press enquiries, further information and images:

Russell Elliott
Cassleton Elliott & Co. Ltd.
T: +44(0)20 3178 2336
F: +44(0)20 3178 2338

Otto Jakob
Weinbrennerstrasse 40
D-76135 Karlsruhe
T: +49-721 855911
F:+49-721 844439

Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi
15 Old Bond Street,
London W1S 4AX, United Kingdom
T: + 44 (0)20 7491 7408
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm

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