If I could name one jeweler whose collection never ceases to amaze me, it would be Lee Siegelson of Siegelson. I have viewed his absolutely exquisite collection on several occasions on his website and I find myself in awe of each remarkable piece every single time. The collection itself is a work of art worthy of praise; the third-generation jeweler has carefully curated a collection of magnificent jewels, all being of great historic importance or extremely rare beauty.
With pieces ranging from the now iconic aquamarine buckle necklace, designed by Fulco di Verdura for Paul Flato, to The Vanderbilt Rose, a stunning diamond brooch by Theodore Fester circa 1855, Siegelson’s extraordinary collection has earned the family-owned business recognition by museum curators, magazine editors, jewelry historians, auction houses and jewelry maisons as a leading source and authority on rare jewelry, gemstones and objects of art.
Founded by Louis Siegelson in 1920, the originally Brooklyn-based shop specialized in watches and watch repair. The switch from watches to diamonds came along when Louis’ son Herman took over the business in the 1940s, moving it to Manhattan’s then thriving 47th Street Diamond District in 1946. After a few re-locations along 47th Street, Siegelson grew to be one of the more prestigious retail jewelry stores in the area, offering specially designed diamond and precious gemstone jewelry as well as antique and estate pieces.
Under the direction of Herman’s son Lee, Siegelson is now a “purveyor of the finest diamonds, gemstones and special jewelry and objects of art for high-end retailers across the country and throughout the world,” (source). Focusing not necessarily on a jewel’s provenance or commercial appeal but rather on its beauty and rarity, Lee has curated one of the world’s finest collections of jewelry that has dazzled many a jewelry enthusiast who have been lucky enough to walk through his office doors at 589 Fifth Avenue.
Inspired by this French Vogue article published yesterday, I’d like to share some of Siegelson’s most impressive pieces.
“Consisting of 250 carats of diamonds, the Vanderbilt Rose was created in 1855, it’s original owner was the niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte. Known as a bright individual, Mathilde owned one of the most distinguished literary and artistic salons in Paris during the Second Empire. After her death in 1904, the Vanderbilt Rose was auctioned off and sold by Cartier to Cornelius Vanderbilt III. As the “Queen of New York Society,” the jewel became her signature adornment.” (source)
“Made around 1938 from a design dreamed up by Rogers for her friend society jeweler Paul Flato—its rounded, voluptuous shape is sometimes called a fat or puffy heart—the brooch is draped with a sapphire ribbon bearing the yellow-gold Latin phrase Verbum Carro. This has been translated as “A word to my dear one,” though it could be a play on Verbum caro, “The word made flesh,” a reference to Jesus Christ as recounted in John 1:14. This makes some sense, since scholars have observed that the colorful jewel recalls the South American folk charms known as milagros.” (source)
Photos courtesy of Siegelson.