NFTs have changed the face of the art market. Is artist jewelry next? The Upcoming “Art as Jewelry as Art” Sale by Sotheby’s features NFT pioneer Metagolden alongside physical jewelry pieces by Picasso and Salvador Dalí.
From September 24 to October 4, Sotheby’s and Tiffany Dubin will present their first auction devoted solely to artist-made jewelry. The auction will contain a “phygital” ring, defined by its designer as “being simultaneously physical and digital.” Conceptualized by Francine Ballard of Metagolden expressly for this upcoming sale, the buyer of this one-of-a-kind 18k gold and emerald ring will own the piece in both the physical world and in the “metaverse.”
The auction also features twentieth-century art and jewelry, with pieces representing major modern art movements from kineticism to surrealism, including pendants by Picasso, earrings designed by Dalí and a piece by Man Ray. Contemporary design is just as present, including works by Tom Otterness and Jean Boggio.
Amongst these masters, there is only one NFT to be auctioned, which is the digital twin of the “Ethereum Expedition” ring by Metagolden. Resembling a miniature geodesic dome, the piece is inspired by the intercontinental rocket launches that typically span upwards of sixteen hours, which would be curtailed to approximately thirty minutes via up-and-coming space programs like Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Metagolden anchors luxury physical investments to NFTs to authenticate and ascribe provenance to her creations, but also to provide long-term value in purchasing the item’s “digital twin,” which might be a piece of digital art, or an AR (or VR) digitally wearable asset that appreciates in value independently from the physical item and can be worn in the metaverse. Since 2021, industry leaders, including Doyle Auction House, have offered a similar service for marquee lots, possibly indicating a new direction for fine art and jewelry sales. Sotheby’s Artist Jewelry Specialist Tiffany Dubin is pioneering this new genre of “Art to Wear” opening alongside Contemporary Art.
“For under-30 consumers, digital assets have become as important as physical ones. Luxury is awakening to that fact now. And this is where our brand sits,” said Francine Ballard.