Youâ€™d have to go back to the Art Nouveau period, to the wild, wonderful jewelry they were making for Sarah Bernhardt, to see something so outrageous,â€ says Patricia Faber, co-owner of New Yorkâ€™s Aaron Faber Gallery, about Abboudâ€™s boldly biomorphic work.
Born in Lebanon, educated in Europe, and now based in Paris and Lebanon, the fourth-generation jewelry artist takes the tradition of French salon jewelryâ€“very fine gem setting, pavÃ©, and luxurious stonesâ€“into a realm all his own. â€œHe paints with gemstones,â€ says Faber, and plays with color to create one-of-a-kind pieces based on unexpected gems like watermelon tourmalines, pale blue sapphires, and the boulder opals in the earrings shown here. And heâ€™s a master of three-dimensionality.
Whereas most pavÃ© work is relatively flat, Abboudâ€™s twists like a serpent around a centerpiece stone, with the pavÃ© set on two sidesâ€“a highly unusual and difficult feat thatâ€™s a testament to the skill of the artisans in his Lebanon workshop. But for all his technical virtuosity, he remains intimately engaged with the body. His work is characterized by its intuitive, expressive, sensual nature, especially in unmatched earrings that complement the faceâ€™s asymmetry and dramatic necklaces that caress the clavicles.
â€œI study the bust of a woman as an artwork,â€ says Abboud, referring to the female form in general, â€œand the earrings and necklace complete it. They mold the body perfectly.â€