For serious collectors, the Biennale des Antiquaires is the grand dame of fine art, antiques and fine jewelry fairs.
The prestigious exhibition’s 26th installment took place from September 14 to 23, 2012 in Paris’s Grand Palais—with none other than Karl Lagerfeld acting as the official “scenographer,” presiding over staging and set design.
Only the crème de la crème from the world of haute joaillerie—just ten houses—showcase their newest designs at the Biennale, with 2012 participants including legendary houses like Boucheron and Cartier as well as younger marques like Wallace Chan (the first and only Asian jeweler ever to be invited to show). As one of the biannual fair’s busiest enclaves, it is widely considered the most important high jewelry client event in the calendar. No detail is overlooked and no expense spared: A single booth can cost up to $125,000 to construct, and each is designed to reflect the house’s signature style, from fine art to furnishings. Many houses, including Chanel and Cartier, elected to increase the size of their booths for the 2012 exhibition. Buyers can expect fantastical, whimsical, one-of-a-kind pieces, as designers bring only their rarest and most exclusive baubles to the show.