From this past Wednesday until late Sunday night, the Park Avenue Armory served as a temporary home for me and more than 70 exhibitors with booths at the New York Art, Antique & Jewelry Show. Fortunately, more than 15 exhibitors specialized in jewelry, and most of the antique variety.
Assisting at Betteridge‘s booth throughout the show, I took advantage of the opportunity to soak in all the aspects of working behind the counter at a retail show. The simple pleasures of setting up the cases each morning and handling the jewels made it easy for me to choose a few golden favorites from Betteridge.
Amidst the countless jewels I grew very fond of, this Van Cleef & Arpels necklace watch with a tiger’s eye dial and movement by Piaget, circa 1970, was my absolute favorite piece.
During the show’s rare moments of downtime, I stole away a few minutes here and there to take a peek at the goods offered by the other jewelry booths at the show.
Located at the very entrance of the show was Macklowe Gallery‘s booth in all its Art Nouveau decorative glory. Specializing in French Art Nouveau furniture and objects, Tiffany lamps and glass, and fabulous antique and estate jewelry, a visit to Macklowe’s booth was a must. Two long cases full of jewelry greeted guests as they strolled into the show, and the curated contents within them did not disappoint. The longer of the two contained estate jewelry from the 20th century, from the Art Deco period and later. The piece that stopped me dead in my tracks, however, was a diamond and gold ‘Hindou’ bracelet by René Boivin, circa 1980s.
The other case focused on jewelry from the Art Nouveau period, which seemed rather appropriate given Macklowe’s specialty for the era. While there were a number of amazing jewels, two pieces that I had not seen before really captured my attention.
Not too far away from Macklowe was New Orleans-based antique dealer M.S. Rau Antiques. Their rather large booth showcased rare 19th & 20th century fine art, important antiques and, of course, a selection of important and rare gems. Amid collectible antiques such as Meissen porcelain and Louis XV chairs from the Palace of Versailles as well as paintings by Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Renoir, a pair of jewelry cases could be found at the center of the booth.
Shining brighter than all the jewels, perhaps by Divine Providence, was Pope Paul VI’s Diamond Cross and matching ring. The papal cross was a gift to the UN from Pope Paul VI in 1965 to sell at auction, the proceeds of which were meant to aid the UN’s efforts to end human suffering.
In a completely different light from the Papal Cross, another jewelry suite of a different nature also took center stage at M.S. Rau’s booth. A citrine necklace and bracelet set formerly in the collection of Joan Crawford garnered attention for its important provenance but also for the sheer size of the citrine stones in the suite. Crafted by renowned American jeweler Raymond Yard in 1940, the necklace features a citrine weighing a whopping 350 carats and its matching bracelet boasts a pair of citrines whose combined carat weight totals 130 carats. The striking retro design of the suite and its exceptional stones exemplify the stunning elegance of Yard’s jewels and illustrate perfectly why Hollywood’s screen sirens as well as America’s wealthiest families turned to Yard for their breathtaking jewels.
At the other end of the Armory, I found a couple of fantastic micro-mosaic bracelets and a den of sparkling antique snakes at London-based Moira Fine Jewellery. Known for their vast collection of antique snakes, Moira certainly brought their finest examples to the Armory for the show, with over 12 jeweled snakes slithering in the cases.
Two micro-mosaic bracelets were also intriguing finds at Moira, the first one being more common during the Grand Tour period in Europe. Wealthy European families during this time would travel around Europe, particularly Italy. A famous glass producer, from which the micro-mosaic tiles are made, Italian craftsmen would cannily create miniature micro-mosaic pictures of famous Italian monuments for their rich visitors. At the end of their travels, the tourists would return home and ask their local jeweler to create a bracelet using their micro-mosaic ‘souvenirs’ collected while abroad. This first bracelet is a fantastic example of an early ‘souvenir’ micro-mosaic bracelet.
The second micro-mosaic bracelet, of museum quality, features a miniature rendition of a famous Italian frieze.
Nearby at the booth of Richters of Palm Beach, a jewelry-laden booth full of golden treasures attracted a great number of visitors, including myself. Best known for its vast collection of David Webb jewels, a fair number of pieces by other notable jewelers also filled the shelves in their cases. I tried to select a few pieces that really caught my eye for reasons other than a sparkling spectacle of diamonds and gems.
Not one, but two Bulgari Serpenti watch bracelets curled up in Richters’ cases.
Also by Bulgari at Richters is a necklace from the Naturalia collection, one that is very dear to me.
A bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1970s, captured the bold stylings of yellow gold during that era.
Lastly from Richters, I couldn’t help but admire many times over this Schlumberger pendant brooch made before the talented designer joined Tiffany & Co.
My last visit was to Pat Saling‘s booth. Having visited her only a month or so earlier, I was delightfully surprised to see a few new friends shining in her cases. Notable among the newcomers was a vividly colored lapis lazuli, citrine and pearl Art Deco sautoir. The craftsmanship of the tassel pendant and the visually stunning color combination demonstrate the endless creativity that flourished during the 1920s and 30s.
I also found myself swooning for the pastel hues of this antique multi-color claw-set necklace and bracelet suite.
Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to visit every single booth with jewelry as I was working the show myself. However, this selection of jewels made with yellow gold are those that stood out the most to me.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold.