Leonore Van der Waals of @livia.collection Spreads Love and Luck on Instagram
I have been a collector of antique pendants and charms for over 20 years. Whereas I lean to Georgian and early Victorian rings, my charm collection is a cross section of time periods and they act as a metaphor for my life— what’s gone before, my hopes, dreams, passions and beliefs and what is yet to come. I have now created charm necklaces with themes and many have to do with the sometimes illusive yet always desirable love and luck—and anything to do with those I cherish in my family.
And, this is how I came to know the mother and daughter team of Inez Stodel and Leonore Van der Waals and their original Instagram feed Inezstodel_jewelry. I stumbled onto the feed and immediately zoomed in on a pedant version of the more readily available spinners which read Il M’aime Un peu, Beaucoup, Passionnement, and Pas Du Tout, which translates to “he loves me a little, a lot, passionately, or not at all” on the different sides and the daisy that we pick to foretell our romantic futures. This scalloped edged pendant featured the saying and a hand picking the petals off an enameled daisy. Whether “he would love me” reminded me of my ‘boy crazy’ preteen years, and the game I played with real daisies, and I fell head over heels for this pendant.
When I turned it over and saw my grandmother’s initials engraved in the pendant—I immediately DM’d, emailed and called (covering my bases) and was able to nab it before it was sold. Since then, this dynamic mother/daughter duo, whose storefront and headquarters for their website is in Amsterdam have provided me with a few more meaningful and intricately designed French styles that are some of my favorites in my collection. And that is saying a lot since I started 20 years ago and have only know these beautiful women for four years, first meeting them on social media and then eventually, in person.
They specialize in antique and vintage high jewelry and their taste level is impeccable. But Leonore, the daughter of the team who has children of her own, has a special connection to these pendants, medallions and charms and finds the best of the best– that are to be treasured and worn alone or with other romantic or talismanic styles. These are the type of jewels that open up a conversation about the women who wear her finds.
And speaking of conversations, here I speak to Leonore about what she looks for in these types of pendants/charms and about her new IG feed named after her daughter), @livia.collection which she launched separately to features this extremely popular category of antique and vintage charms. @Inezstodel_jewelry will continue to feature all of those jaw dropping classifications of high jewelry on IG. The store and website will carry all.
You find some of the most beautiful medallions and charms that represent love and luck on Instagram. What do you look for when you are hunting for this type of jewelry?
“For our store, website and Instagram feed, we have continued to search high and low for rare and desirable jewels. What is being referred to as ‘charms’ now are all types of pendants/medallions, discs and three-dimensional pieces and they are a category that has exploded over the past five or more years. The reason, I believe, is that they are extremely wearable and collectible. They are pieces you can go to everyday rather than those worn for special occasions. They also tap into so much about the woman who wears them. They allow her to make the statement. This is why we have launched a separate IG page for ‘charms’. Here we will showcase those that signifying love and luck in particular. Who doesn’t need these aspects in their lives? We also focus on motifs that are as unique as we can find yet always speak to women’s lives.”
I wrote an article on how charm necklaces have replaced charm bracelets as the way we tell our stories approximately two years ago. Do you see this trend as a trend that is still going strong?
“Yes definitely. Our customers are buying them to wear as multi-pendants on engraved split rings, on large bolt rings or dog clasps with some possible modern components that allow them to dangle from different lengths. We also have women who like to layer, for example one pendant on a chain which they can wear alone or in layers graduating down their neck. It’s really anything goes which makes this part of the business so much fun and so personal when dealing with clients. We do, of course, still have our charm bracelet customers and they love adding and changing and creating new bracelets to represent the new chapters in their lives.”
What are some of your favorites that you have found and sold over the years and why are they so close to your heart?
“My mother Inez and I both love a dainty Edwardian pendant in platinum and 18K gold, circa 1910, England. The design focuses on open cage work and five hearts that dangles under from five rose-cut diamond bezels. Three of the hearts are carved from pink tourmaline and two are created from aquamarine. This charm is especially dear to us. We sold it to a mother with three daughters and two sons. It is very beautiful when a charm gains extra meaning because it signifies the people, moments and memories so sentimental to the new owner.”
“Our all-time favorite is the ‘A Toi Ma Pensée’ pendant. It is an Art Nouveau French charm. It conveys the perfect sentiment, meaning ‘you are in my thoughts’. It also is one of those truly special pendants in which the motif is part of the language. Pansy is pensée in French which means think or thought, therefore the enamel and gemstone pansy becomes part of the message. The workmanship is exquisite, and it is adorned with beautiful rubies, sapphire and rose cut diamonds. The woman who purchased this one scored one of the best we have seen.”
I am interjecting here—that is my all-time favorite of yours as well!
We also sold a double-sided Art Nouveau medallion, circa 1903 with Romeo and Juliet on each side with two hidden lockets revealing two compartments with the maker’s mark for Paul Robin of Maison Robin, a leading Paris jewelry house around in the late 19th through the turn -of-the-century. It is quite spectacular and another collectible treasure.
What are some of the charms/pendants you found and sold in a blink of an eye—I say ‘sold’ because as I know from personal experience of losing out on a number of those I coveted, they go so fast once you post them on Instagram?
I figure I need to stay up all night watching your feed!
“Ah Beth I know when you are teasing. But you might have to be the ‘early bird that catches to jewel’ because yes, they do move really quickly once they go up on IG.”
“We just found a great charm which said ‘Tout Pour Toi’ which translates to ‘I Will Do Anything For You’—it’s quite different then many of those we carry. It features funky 1970s lettering. It sold in a flash.”
“We also sold a charm with an enamel heather branch in white, pink and green on the front and the words ‘Porte Bonheur’ on the back really quickly. It is18K and signed: Child & Child, circa 1900, England.”
At the moment, zodiac charms are fashionable— especially the ones that move. These display all 12 symbols and have some sort of jewel marker allowing the wearer to rotate it and point to any sign. Of course, vintage zodiac charms from the major jewelry houses are always in fashion: Van Cleef, Cartier, Gübelin to name a few.
What do you think customers are looking for in these types of pendants/charms?
“Charms have forever been worn for talismanic and symbolic purposes. In Holland, there is a particular tradition: if you touch another person’s charm bracelet you have to buy the wearer a new charm. Each individual charm represents the memory of the giver or the occasion, so a heavy necklace or bracelet can be quite revealing about the wearer. It’s all about the connections you make with the different charms and how it expresses what you want to show to the world and also those that bring out strong emotional ties.
“Let’s take your choices for example, Beth—there are two other pendants you purchase from us that are connected to your grandparents and you gravitating to the sentiment. And we begin to know who you are from those pieces.”
Yes, that is so true—I am a sentimentalist, a hopeless romantic and have close family ties.
“Exactly, one you bought has beautiful ivy leaves which means faithfulness and loyalty which had your maternal grandfather’s initials. The minute you saw it you called, You told us the imagery described the man you grandfather was and that the medallion has his initials was uncanny and you had to have that piece.”
“The other one, an Art Nouveau or Edwardian 18K gold heart shaped pendant with the numbers 13 and 19 or 1913 and the text ‘Bonheur’ delicately decorated with foliage denoted your grandmother’s birth year 1913 and it was in the shape of a heart signifying how close you were with her. ”
These are the type of pieces that we love to sell which evokes such emotion and ties to different aspects of a woman’s life.”
Which if any do you and Inez wear?
“Very early in my mother’s career, she came across a single charm that caught her eye. it was in the shop of a British colleague, without any bracelet or chain. She was able to purchase it and has worn it almost every day since. It’s a platinum and diamond elephant, trunk up. The charm is signed Boucheron on the back. it’s actually the only charm Inez personally ever bought.”
I am the charm/medallion huntress. And the one I am most partial to at the moment is this gold Art Nouveau pendant with a very ingenious locket in it. It spells ‘forEver’ in blue enamel and the E is set with rose cut diamonds. My son’s name is Emanuel so it’s extremely special to me. “
“I love this part of the business and hope that the pieces I find will strike emotion chords, and not only represent but also bring our client’s luck and love!”
Here are a few more of my personal favorites that have sold, new items can be found on @livia.collection on Instagram and on Kunsthandel Inez Stodel’s website and in store.
A French 18K gold and sapphire love charm featuring cupid shooting his arrow flanked by forget-me-nots on the left symbol for everlasting love and ivy on the right which symbolizes loyalty the text spells ‘Semper Fidelis’ which translates ‘always faithful’. In each corner is a small round sapphire, circa 1900,
A Trio of 18K gold Art Nouveau French pendants: Amitié Sincere, Parlez Pour Moi, and Je T’aime Un Peu Je T’aime Beaucoup. –
A “Ma Toi Seule’, circa 1900 French charm with an enamel pansy. It is another which incorporated the pansy into the saying which is “I only think of you.’
A French Art Nouveau pendant with a diamond sun and ivy for friendship and fidelity forever.
An 18K gold French luck charm with clovers, a horse shoe and the text ‘Bonheur’ circa 1920.