Rodney Howard of S.J. Phillips shares rare antique and signed jewelry
This is the second year of our Gifts for The Holidays Guide for which we enlisted modern jewelry retailers and antique shop owners and experts. For each installment, we have asked for suggestions from their brick and mortar or online stores. We have also asked what gift they would choose for themselves this holiday season.
S.J. Phillips was founded in 1869 in London by Mr. Solomon Joel Phillips and is one of the oldest, family-owned, antique jewelry and precious objects businesses in the United Kingdom.
From the outset, S.J. Phillips has enjoyed a reputation of dealing exclusively in objects of the rarest museum quality and beauty, many often with royal or distinguished provenance. Over the past century, some of the most historically important jewels have passed through the hands of S.J. Phillips. Many are now in major international museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Louvre, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to name but a few.
It is no surprise that the expertise of S.J. Phillips has long attracted the attention of jewelry aficionados and museum curators the world over. The company’s impressive customer base includes members of royal and aristocratic families, celebrities and distinguished collectors that go back generations.
The shop is filled with period, antique and signed jewelry enthusiast’s dream pieces: diamond rivières, regal tiaras and examples of historical jewels dating from the 18th century throughout the first half of the 20th century by leaders such as Cartier, Mauboussin, Boucheron, Chaumet and Bulgari as well as many other renowned jewelers.
Rodney Howard of S.J Phillips shares his picks for presents this holiday season.
“Brooches are of the moment and have come back into style in a very modern way. Houses that created them from the 18th century onward are designing contemporary versions today. They can be dressed up or down and neither the antique, vintage nor current styles need be worn traditionally. They make a great clasp to an evening clutch. Another great look is brooches in clusters butterflies worn on the shoulder or along an arm or back of a dress. It is with this in mind that I have chosen this stylized 1950’s citrine and diamond flower brooch signed by Cartier London. The three-dimensional design evokes a real botanical which has grown in a garden. I adore the way the central cut citrine is surrounded by unfurling petals of pavé-set old brilliant and single-cut diamonds, together with rectangular cut citrines of a darker hue and then finally an outer cluster of lighter pear shapes, with single-cut diamond accents. The color combination of rich cognac and honey tones is bright and cheerful and the whole design is so typical of Cartier of this period. How could anyone not love this piece?”
“Some lucky women will surely be thrilled to open my second gift idea. It represents another example of Cartier’s brilliance—a diamond strap bracelet with round brilliant and rectangular cut stones. Again this is a jewel that is a timeless classic, sophisticated in a very understated way – a staple for any jewelry box. The clever use of different cuts of diamonds makes this bracelet dance in any light.”
“My third suggestion is perfect to wear at an elegant candlelit supper. It’s an antique demi-parure comprising a magnificent corsage pendant and earrings all set with triple drop clusters of chrysoberyl. These mesmerizing, highly decorative jewels were made in Portugal in circa 1760. The stones and metal would have been shipped to Lisbon from the Portuguese mines in Brazil. They are typical of the original, distinctive jewelry produced there during this historic time. How the chrysolite drops must have sparkled vivaciously on many a grand occasion providing us with exotic reminders of the splendor of noble life in 18th century Europe. And if that wasn’t enough—you can wear the earrings or the pendant on their own—creating a more modern and relevant look for work or evenings out.”
“My gift to myself would have to be the sensational sapphire, ruby and gold cluster ring. Made in France, the single stone cushion cut sapphire is claw set. Very unusual for the time in which it was made it is set upside down—the pavilion showing. And, it is raised in a crossover style mount within a frame of claw-like marquise rubies—very Game of Thrones. I love the frivolous nature of this ring. The mix of colors and textures used are very exciting and I love the effect achieved by the twisted gold! It would be a very welcome addition to my ever-growing collection of rings.”
GIFT GUIDE #9: METIER SAN FRANCISCO’S SOMETHING OLD AND SOMETHING NEW FOR OUR 12 DAYS OF GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS SERIES