Star Quality Antique and Vintage Jewelry at OMBAS

While taking groups of novice and consummate collectors, enthusiasts, and dealers on tours at the Original Miami Beach Antique show (OMBAS), we met some of the most passionate exhibitors/experts and saw epic antique and vintage jewels.  During the previous tour I gave at The New York Antique and Watch Show , I walked a sold-out crowd through seven different time periods and then wrote an article discussing what distinguished these periods as well as providing a few tips on buying at the show (read here).  Since the tours were similar in concept,  I knew I would need a new slant to write this story.

At OMBAS, after giving my intro, identifying characteristics of different eras–  the exhibiting dealers did a short but informative show and tell.  While stopping at the different booths, in between answering questions and speaking with the groups, I  continued to think about how best to present a selection of the rarest and/or swoon-worthy jewels for this article.  And then I glanced down at an Art Deco bracelet at the London-based shop owner and expert  Sandra Cronan’s space and realized that the pieces I  was most taken by at this show were red carpet worthy.  These were pieces I could have easily seen on trend- setting celebrities during the 2018 award season so far. And, definitely could imagine them on A-list actresses at the  upcoming  Academy Awards on March 4th.  I could picture these jewels on the actresses who were nominated in 2017 and now in 2018 as well as presenters at both awards.

I can see antique bracelets and chandelier earrings we found on Nicole Kidman; a signed vintage bracelet on Margot Robbie, and retro clips made modern by Saoirse Ronan youthful and edgy style. Pendant earrings and a few rings would look spectacular on Greta Gerwig.Viola Davis would rock a stack of Art Deco bracelets climbing up her arm while Jessica Chastain would look chic and elegant in gold swinging Victorian tassel earrings. And, Ruth Negga could definitely pull off another tiara or diadem.

These type of jewels are why we watch the arrivals for hours before the show even starts. But just think what you would do if you could actually own these same pieces. Go to more black-tie events? Or realize that styles like these look modern and oh so chic with a basic white T-shirt and jeans, a great handbag and shoes.  That’s how i would wear them-the clothes simple and a backdrop for the jewelry. But back to the red-carpet…

Here are nominations from OMBAS

In The Category of:


While all other jewels can easily be translated into your own jewelry collection, tiaras and diadems work best for the red carpet- on Hollywood royalty, such as this Art Deco version at Simon Teakle. But if you are a  consummate collector or have many black tie events, you might think of owning, perhaps one?

During 2017 and 2018, there has been every style of earring from every era at every awards event. I predict that we will still see a range of luxe lobes from pendant Georgian looks to intricate gold work and color in elongated Victorian earrings as well as early examples of chandeliers and retro diamond clips. Here are some I chose from the offerings at The OMBAS show:

Lowther Antiques’s Victorian turquoise and gold long turquoise and tassel earrings.

Humphrey Butler’s early chandelier earrings in a naturalistic motif


When the neckline  is more of a plunge and the look is more feminine and lacey, these Edwardian/Belle Epoque pendants add just enough presence without detracting from the gown or the woman wearing one.

Some gowns with open necklines call for a little more drama when walking the red carpet. This Vintage 1970’s graduated necklace at Simon Teakle with its side draping and fabric like feel is a statement in gold for any open or off the shoulder neckline.

I saw many different style bracelets at OMBAS, all rare and representative of the different centuries and all would work well on the wrists of actress waving on he red carpet or accepting awards.

This Cartier Paris Sudanese bracelet of moonstone, enamel and gold is circa 1919 and would highlight a more modern pared-down gown look even though it’s almost 100 years old. This one is at Pat Saling.  And wouldn’t it also look amazing and current with pretty much anything in a contemporary wardrobe?


The Georgians knew how to maximize their jewelry, from creating parures to bracelets like these.  This example of a two in one piece is constructed of emeralds and diamonds which are striking as a pair of bracelets –one on each wrist. But they also were created with an addition station so they can be clasped into an all-around necklace. But my choice for the awards, worn as bracelets. These can be found at Simon Teakle


Talk about snake charmers. This Victorian enamel snake bracelet with large old mine cut diamonds and ruby eyes could steal the red carpet spotlight for the lucky actress whose stylist wraps this around her wrist. It is definitely swoon-worthy and camera ready. It’s also the one I would just like to wear with a white shirt with sleeves rolled up and jeans.

Art Deco is a star at awards presentations and there is no wonder, it has just enough sparkle yet is filled with character and details, and looks perfect when worn alone or in stacks. Here are two: on the left from Sandra Cronan is a classic example of an emerald and diamond mid-width Art Deco bracelet with diamonds in different cuts, which was one of the details of the designs of the period. Also representative of the period was the painstaking piercing work that gave a light airy feeling to the platinum and also a more feminine design to geometric forms. This J.S. Jewelry’s version is breathtaking with the amethyst cabochons.

A mid-century ruby and diamond bracelet from Harry Hofman Jewelry

Pat Saling’s  bracelet is a true statement piece and indicative of mid-century bolder jewelry. It was created by Champagnat, Paris and the scalloped tassel clasp can be removed and worn as a brooch. I’m all for interchangeable jewelry but for the awards, I would suggest to style it as the full bracelet with earrings and a few rings on both hand. I a big fan of gold on the red carpet, particularly in antique and vintage jewelry.


In the past few years, we have seen brooches and clips worn in the hair, on the straps, back, center and side of a gown.They are versatile and are fun to play with and see how they will suit a gown best. I opt for clasping or cliping them onto a deep plunge back gown or the back of an updo. The unexpected wow factor of not seeing it in the front adds drama and glamor to the look.

Sandra Cronan’s Art Deco Clips. A favortie of mine due to the fact that there are two and can be worn in numerous ways and I also am passionate about different cuts of stones all in one piece


Henry Picq’s ruby and diamond cherry blossom brooch at Ye Olde TimeKeepers looks spectacular when worn in the hair as well as on the shoulder or center of a feminine draped gown. Picq’s workshop was one of the most important in Paris in the early 20th-Century through the late 1920’s.  Picq worked for Cartier, becoming their main supplier between 1900-1918. Due to his process of creating platinum settings for Cartier, along with his production of Cartier’s Tutti Frutti jewels, Henri Picq became famed for his quality, innovation, creativity and workmanship.


You often don’t see the jaw-dropping rings that actresses are wearing on the red carpet unless they are presenting or receiving an award or if some savvy and jewelry conscious photographer notices and gets a great shot of the hand. Waving doesn’t always give the best view.  But these all stand outs-singular and special and rare.

Humphrey Butler’s five stone cushion cut diamond ring in a silver top cut back collet setting

Sandra Cronan’s 1960’s shining example of impeccable workmanship in this ring in the shape of a sphere that rotates around so that you can wear and play with it at the same time.


Pat Saling’s ring by Suzanne Belperron from the designer’s personal collection- a cabochon sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1940.