Packed with loads of action and discoveries, yesterday was by far my favorite day since I’ve been here in Miami. A whole host of events transpired to make it amazing, starting off by spending a couple hours at Miami’s famed beaches.
A bit windy and not quite warm enough, I tired of bundling up in my towel and headed for the antique show for my last full day. Saturdays at the show are mainly for privates, as in private customers who are buying for keeps as opposed to dealers who are looking to essentially flip an undervalued piece. Dealers take advantage of all the fresh stock shown in the first two days in order to have first dibs on the best pieces. This change in customers at the booth was evident, with more lingering, examining and thinking of a private who is considering to buy a piece while dealers weigh the numbers and facts of a piece with lightning fast efficiency.
After a couple hours at the booth, I was lucky enough to meet with one of my absolute favorite jewelers, Christian Hemmerle. He was gracious enough to show me the lay of the land and introduce me to a few of his friends in the business, a fascinating crew of quirky characters from all over. Notably, he introduced me to Ernst Färber and showed me some of his booth’s wonderful pieces, including Paul Flato’s iconic hand brooches, some interesting René Boivin pieces and a neat flower brooch with hinged petals that bloomed when pulled away from its diamond anthers.
A few quick laps around the show’s hall and plenty of industry insight to keep me enchanted with jewelry for days on end, I was left to my own devices to uncover some of the shows star jewels, learning to look a little deeper into the endless cases of antique jewelry; you’d be surprised at what you might find in the most unlikeliest of places. As a matter of fact, I even found a rare brooch designed by renowned surrealist painter Salvador Dali!
Throughout the day, I ventured off to re-visit the jewelry booths of show to look for hidden, previously-looked-over treasures. By day’s end, I had found quite a bit that I’ll share at the end of the post.
Later in the afternoon, a very special watch happened to come across our booth, a once-in-a-lifetime siting for any watch lover. This certain individual was the owner of the “J.B. Champion Platinum Observatory Chronometer,” a Patek Philippe unique platinum chronometer wristwatch with Guillaume balance, Bulletin d’Observatoire, additional diamond-set dial and platinum bracelet that sold for just under $4 million at Christie’s last November which also set a world auction record for a watch without complications. (source)
From Anthony DeMarco’s article from the auction:
“Manufactured in 1952, the historically significant 13”’ calibre. 13 Lépine, mechanical movement is numbered twice and stamped twice with the Geneva seal, three-quarter plate, 20 jewels, blued steel Breguet balance spring, Guillaume balance, micrometer regulator, silvered matte dial, applied baton numerals, outer beady minute divisions, gold feuille hands, subsidiary seconds, circular heavy case, snap on back, platinum Patek Philippe buckle, case, dial and movement signed 36 mm. diameter.”
Topping that was a pretty hard feat, but another event came relatively close in terms of learning a few tricks of the trade. Less than an hour from closing time, I ventured off with Brooke Betteridge of Betteridge to run some errands and perhaps do some buying if something caught our eyes. Alas, we found a hidden treasure in the overflowing, unmarked trays at Jimmy the Booth Buyer’s booth. A pair of beautiful Fred Leighton sapphire and diamond earrings that reminded me little of JAR and his three-diamond triangle clusters used in few of his pieces. Asked to think about it, we returned with fellow booth vendor Amy Rothner of Excalibur to negotiate a deal. Needless to say, Brooke succeeded in her acquisition!
After clean-up, we piled into cabs tired and worn from the long day and whisked off to a delicious dinner. A long day well spent, for sure! I leave today with some great stories, invaluable experience and new friends and fellow lovers of jewelry.
A special thanks to Christian for putting the show on my radar! And another special thanks to Betteridge/Excalibur/Vintage Watch booth #2201 for letting me tag along on their adventures during the show!
As promised, here are some of my finds from yesterday: