A grand installation of velvety red roses cast a warm crimson spell at the entrance to this year’s Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory. In its 61st year, the annual fair upholds its reputation as the most prestigious antiques show in the U.S. A total of 73 exhibitors offer well-heeled collectors, as well as scholarly ‘window-shoppers’, an impressive array of rare objects, all heavily vetted, to add to their collections. The show, which opened on Friday, runs until February 1st, and both the opening night and first day of the fair drew crowds dressed to the nines and glittering with jewels.
Compared to the other antiques shows held at the Armory, jewelry does not dominate – the seven jewelry exhibitors seamlessly intermix with the gamut of rarities that range from stunning Persian rugs and Sèvres porcelain to first-edition books and Hudson River School paintings.
The jewelry exhibitors at the show are among the top purveyors of the rare and one-of-a-kind jeweled masterpieces in the world. I spent some time gleaning their cases for new and interesting pieces, or jewels I had not yet seen in person. Beginning at the booth of A La Vieille Russie, I was treated to an incredibly rare ring by Fabergé. According to Mr. Peter Schaeffer, who runs the New York firm alongside his brother Paul and nephew Mark, very few rings were produced by Fabergé – maybe just a handful. The one on display at their booth is of a truly delicate nature, comprised of a small, smooth cone-like cabochon sapphire at the center with an elegantly thin band with minute diamond accents.
In one of the tower cases, there were two other notable works by Fabergé:
Always a favorite with both art and jewelry collectors alike, Didier Ltd. was very much a-buzz with guests admiring the collection of jewelry by post-war painters and sculptors, including works by Alexander Calder, Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Claude Lalanne, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray.
At New York-based estate jewelry dealer Kentshire, a colorful brooch by Flato caught my eye:
Another shop based in New York, Macklowe Gallery wowed with its magnificent Tiffany lamps and dazzling jewels. My favorite was this glamorous ruby and diamond necklace formerly in the collection of Lucie Bigelow Rosen. With a shared passion for art and music, Rosen along with her husband Walter opened the renowned Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York, in 1946.
Just underneath the necklace in the above photo is a beautiful Art Nouveau “Two Peacocks” pendants by René Lalique:
This gold double eagle bangle by Paul Robin was a favorite from fine antique jewelry and silver dealer James Robinson:
Two stunning rings caught my eye over at S.J. Shrubsole, another New York antique jewelry and silver dealer:
Last but not least, Wartski delighted with several wonderful new pieces as well as fabulous Fabergé. One of the main highlights on display at the London dealer’s booth, and perhaps in the entire show, is a stunning late Art Deco aquamarine and diamond necklace the female designer Olga Tritt. A New York based jeweler, Tritt specialized in antique jewelry as well as pieces of her own design. Interestingly, the Duchess of Windsor was one of Tritt’s most famous customers.
I must have had Flato on my mind as another one of the designer’s pieces caught my attention. I had been wanting to see this diamond flower bracelet for some time, and it was well worth the wait. The graceful sculptural quality and impressive dimensionality of the bracelet was breathtaking.
Lastly, a colorful Art Nouveau corsage ornament drew me closer like a moth to a flame. More on this Fouquet-made, Mucha-designed jewel tomorrow…
Outside of the jewelry, there are countless antiques and artworks definitely worth seeing in addition to the jewels, some of them are even by jewelers themselves! Below are just a few!
The Winter Antiques Show runs through February 1st at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street; winterantiquesshow.com.