Part 2: Discoveries at The Summer 2017 New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
In our first part of this two-part article on discoveries at the recently held summer 2017 edition of the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show we talked about the story behind an identical Van Cleef & Arpel’s Cadenas watch to the one owned by The Duchess of Windsor and how she was reported to inspire the original design of the watch.
We mentioned another design from Van Cleef & Arpels that the Duchess was said to have conceptualized—the iconic zip necklace. I wrote that we would feature a bit more about the one I saw at the show in this installment, along with the historical, sentimental and distinctive pieces which represent the time periods in which the were made.
Let’s start with the pieces that span the 200 years of my guided tour and circle back to the Zip Necklace.
Due to the fact that I gave a little background on all of the dealers whose pieces I will be showing in this article in my preview story on the show, (please read here) – we are going straight to ogling the pieces—and the details behind them…
Keyamour, which has a spectacular range of all of the time period floored me with this Georgian bague au firmament ring which means rings of the heavens–the blue enamel with the twinkle of the diamonds creates a celestial motif that evokes stars sparkling in the evening sky. This is perhaps one of the best examples I have seen in a long time although I have seen some beautiful rings of this kind at different dealers over the years.
A charming ring at Lowther Antiques from the Georgian Era with a small emerald and rose diamond crowned double heart design. It is one of the most petite I’ve seen but also magical in that it feels like a tiny treasure. The symbolism of the double heart reflects the meaning ‘two hearts together as one’, crowns on top of hearts suggest ‘ruler of my heart’ and the diamond stands for enduring love while the emerald speaks to hope and prosperity. A lot of romance is packed into this small ring. Many of these were given as a promise, betrothal or wedding rings and continued to be designed in different variation well into Victorian times.
Speaking of early jewelry and crowned hearts—we uncovered these extremely rare Portuguese crowned heart silver topped, foil backed rose and mine cut diamond earrings at Simon Teakle, which made my own heart flutter and then sink when I had to leave them to be snapped up by some lucky collector.
At Simon Teakle’s I also found that there was a garden party going on all in rose and mine cut diamonds and all from the early to later Victorian era—except for the bird which I photographed to go with the theme but is modern and is from Gem Palace. The butterfly, flower clips and en-tremblant brooch are all authentic Victorian pieces. (Opening photo) Speaking of flowers, Simon also recently acquired this ring, which is from the mid-19th century and has the most charming floral micro mosaic design in a beautiful high karat gold setting.
Keyamour’s Victorian pieces range from amethyst set wide buttery gold bangles –one for each wrist to a range of serpent motif necklaces and bracelets in bombe set turquoise or enamel. There was also a representation of Etruscan and archeological revival pieces from the mid-19th century.
Delicate light airy, the main motifs were garland and floral designs that possessed a lace-like effect. Some, however, were more statement making as they moved from Victorian into the Edwardian/Belle Époque era like this delicately designed platinum and diamond necklace from Humphrey & Butler.
The Art Nouveau period with it’s experimental and exuberant mix of colors, textures, metals and gems created some of the most imaginative and ingenious jewels. This piece signed EB for Edgar Bense is no exception which was at Aaron Faber Gallery has all the qualities of a three-dimensional painting, framed with piqué jour enameled leaves and three en-tremblant water lilies and a center stone of a marquise shaped Australian opal. In platinum topped gold with old mine and rose cut diamond accents, circa1900.
This period was perhaps the most prevalent at the show with mid-20th-century designs a close second.
The Cartier yellow gold ruby diamond and clips at Humphrey & Butler were by far my personal favorites from this period due to the fact that they are in yellow gold and have not changed to the all white platinum and diamond look of the earlier part of the movement.
The flexible bracelets at Simon Teakle were also wonderful examples particularly this knock out of a sapphire and diamond bracelet
Late Deco—Pre Retro
Next stop showcases the signed pieces of Suzanne Belperron—a jeweler which Pat Saling has been a huge fan ever since she worked with some of the jeweler’s iconic styles at her 20-year stint at Fred Leighton before opening her own company 15 years ago. As Pat explains, “back then there weren’t many pieces on the open market and if there were –you had to really know her style because Belperron didn’t sign her pieces as her motto “my style is my signature” indicated. Pictured here there are pieces from the 30’s-40’s
A rock crystal a diamond brooch, a geometric ring, yet one that conforms to the curves of a woman’s finger and a shell inspired diamond and sapphire cuff.
Pat also showed a Cartier cuff with removable diamond leaf-like pieces that are equipped with fittings to turn them into clip brooches.
Mid-20th century – Vintage 70’s David Webb, Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels were out in full force throughout the show.
When we talk about Van Cleef & Arpels and the early part of mid-20th century, the most iconic design was and still is the Zip necklace. Which brings us full circle back to the beginning of this article.
It took the house more than 10 years to perfect the design after in 1938, the Duchess of Windsor suggested to Renée Puissant, Van Cleef & Arpels’ artistic director at the time and daughter of Alfred Van Cleef that she should create a piece based on the zipper fastener, which was a popular new design in the world of fashion.
The fully functioning Zip necklace was finally produced in 1951. It converted from a necklaces to a bracelet and back again. Exotic Jewelry Collectors Jason Nichinson describes the example of the Zip which they displayed at the show as “the Maharaja style due to multi-gemstones set against the gold” For anyone who has a good memory for award ceremonies and who wore what—Margot Robbie wore one of the houses 1.5 million diamond and sapphire versions to the 2015 Oscars, placing her among the best dressed that year and putting the Zip necklace back on the all-time best jewelry radar.
For a peek at Margot wearing her necklaces (please read here)