Moving On.…To–Come and Visit…

July 27th, 2016

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Lovely, Expensive, and About Nineteen — F. Scott Fitzgerald

May 9th, 2013

Vic­to­ria & Albert Museum, Lon­don: Evening dress, Cal­lot Soeurs dress, c 1922

Christie’s Lon­don, June 5, 2013: A PAIR OF ART DECO ONYX, NATURAL PEARL AND DIAMOND EAR PENDANTS Of taper­ing form, the grad­u­ated row of old-cut cush­ion shaped dia­monds within a cal­i­bré onyx and dia­mond point bor­der sus­pend­ing a three pearl tas­sel ter­mi­na­tion, circa 1925, 7.8cm long, post fittings

Christie’s Lon­don June 5, 2013: AN ART DECO EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDAN Of lozenge form, the pavé-set bril­liant and baguette-cut dia­mond panel pierced with a geo­met­ric design and fur­ther set with five cabo­chon emer­ald high­lights, to the diamond-set pen­dant loop, circa 1930, French marks for plat­inum and gold, 60.2cm long, brooch and pen­dant fit­tings detachable

The above quoted words were the ones used by F. Scott Fitzger­ald, who wrote The Great Gatsby, to define a flap­per. Orig­i­nally “flap­per” meant a fledg­ling in the nest attempt­ing to fly and was a throw­away label for an awk­ward young girl just get­ting her social graces on. Baz Luhrmann’s the­atri­cal ver­sion of the novel pre­miered May 1, 2013 and sud­denly every­one is think­ing Art Deco jew­els. Tiffany’s cin­e­matic con­tri­bu­tion to the movie was heavy handed, highly com­mer­cial, and loaded down Carey Mulligan’s Daisy in jew­els that made her appear more satiric than screen siren. Per­haps that was the point. Aren’t the pro­tag­o­nists in Fitzgerald’s novel as much car­i­ca­tures as they are glit­ter­ing alloys of per­son­al­ity and social sta­tus? It has been said that West Egg was inspired by Kings Point (Great Neck), New York. I was born and raised in Great Neck, and it was a com­mu­nity point of pride that Fitzger­ald lived briefly in our sub­ur­ban ham­let. In Gatsby, the author describes the area’s famil­iar topog­ra­phy, “It was a mat­ter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest com­mu­ni­ties in North Amer­ica. It was on that slen­der riotous island which extends itself due east of New York — and where there are, among other nat­ural curiosi­ties, two unusual for­ma­tions of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enor­mous eggs, iden­ti­cal in con­tour and sep­a­rated only by a cour­tesy bay, jut out into the most domes­ti­cated body of salt water in the West­ern hemi­sphere, the great wet barn­yard of Long Island Sound. They are not per­fect ovals — like egg in the Colum­bus story, they are both crushed flat at the con­tact end — but their phys­i­cal resem­blance must be a source of per­pet­ual won­der to the gulls that fly over­head. To the wind­less a more inter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non is their dis­sim­i­lar­ity in every par­tic­u­lar except shape and size.”

Christie’s Lon­don June 5, 2013: A PAIR OF NATURAL PEARL AND DIAMOND EAR CLIPS Each designed as a large circular-cut diamond-set scroll with pierced line detail­ing and a sin­gle nat­ural bou­ton pearl accent, mea­sur­ing approx­i­mately 14.00 and 14.10mm respec­tively, 4.5cm long Accom­pa­nied by a report from The Gem & Pearl Lab­o­ra­tory, Lon­don, stat­ing these pearls are nat­ural, saltwater.

The jew­els of the Art Deco period reflected sta­tus as much as it embraced world cul­ture and fash­ion. Designs in jew­elry incor­po­rated Egypt­ian, African, Indian, Native Amer­i­can, and Asian influ­ences. Ele­ments of artis­tic move­ments like Cubism and Mod­ernism can also be found in brooches, bracelets, rings, and neck­laces. The idea of func­tional, mod­ern cloth­ing was intro­duced. No more tor­tur­ous hour­glass corsets — the women’s rights move­ments saw to that. Then there was the dis­play of leg: the first expo­sure of a lower limb in cen­turies. Much of what a flap­per wore was in response to the times in which she lived. After World War I and the loss of so many men, women weren’t wait­ing around for a suitor to come call­ing as they had in decades past. Young women sought free­dom from the con­ven­tions that were no longer rel­e­vant to their lives, and well, took a few more lib­er­ties too. The fem­i­nine curves and inno­cence of the Gib­son Girl gave way to the lithe Gar­conne, a boy­ish, lin­ear sil­hou­ette with a flat­tened bust­line. These waist­less dresses paired nat­u­rally with long chains, known as a sautoir, and pen­dant ear­rings. And when she moved, every­thing went “swish.”

Christie’s Lon­don June 5, 2013: A NATURAL PEARL NECKLACE The sin­gle row of sixty nine grad­u­ated nat­ural pearls mea­sur­ing approx­i­mately 9.9–4.9mm, to the millegrain-set old-cut dia­mond three stone clasp, mounted in plat­inum and gold, circa 1920, 50.5cm long Accom­pa­nied by a report from The Gem & Pearl Lab­o­ra­tory, Lon­don, stat­ing these pearls are nat­ural, saltwater.

PUNK: CHAOS TO COUTURE, the Press Preview

May 6th, 2013

Press Pre­view at Met­ro­pol­i­tan Museum of Art, PUNK: CHAOS TO COUTURE


These ladies made me smile, par­tic­u­larly the one in the mid­dle. Her pants took her a half an hour to get on and you should have seen them…! Leather and shoe laces tied from waist to ankle. When I admired them by the coffee/tea ser­vice, she actu­ally stopped to tell me about them. What a DIVINE woman! She had it all going on. At the end of the open­ing remarks, she posed, along with her friends, for the pho­togs and I couldn’t resist tak­ing a snap of the three of them myself. I’m sure some­one will tell me who she was even­tu­ally, and I will die of embar­rass­ment for not know­ing but more thrilled for hav­ing the where­withal to stop and pay her the com­pli­ment she so deserved. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. Watch­ing these ladies makes you think that style and life are meant to be enjoyed much longer than we com­monly believe. Who gives a rat’s pos­te­rior if some­one else doesn’t agree. They can shift their gaze any­where else.

God Save The Queen

Gallery View, Zan­dra Rhodes designs, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Museum of Art, PUNK: CHAOS TO COUTURE

The exhibit was fun, funny, ironic, don­nish, and ven­eral (not nec­es­sar­ily in the STD way, see the dic­tio­nary). The clothes are sexy — exposed flesh is every­where and in the case of one dress, I’m not sure you can really define it as cloth­ing. The entire front of the dress is miss­ing and a diaphanous yet com­pletely trans­par­ent tex­tile drapes the back of the body. One woman asked, earnestly, if they ran out of time to dress the man­nequin. Other pieces where held together with the global sym­bol of punk: a safety pin. Accord­ing to one one wall text, the safety pin was used as a way to keep your “bum” inside your pants when they got a hole in them. I wrote the book on pins and brooches and the idea of using one in the 20th cen­tury, instead of nee­dle and thread or a tai­lor, never pre­sented itself. So sim­ple a solu­tion. PUNK, the exhi­bi­tion, is eru­di­tion at its finest. And actu­ally, I do mean this, because this is a brave show to mount and in a way that makes very clear sense of what would oth­er­wise appear as hel­lions with a rub­bish fetish. They even recre­ated the men’s restroom at CBGB, com­plete with grime, grim light­ing, and dirty com­modes in need of noth­ing short of sand­blast­ing. I won’t pub­lish the image pro­vided by the Met, you can use your own imagination.

As for jew­elry, there wasn’t any, except to say that I was taken with the way metal spikes, safety pins, and bolts were used in a con­ven­tion­ally orna­men­tal way on cloth­ing. Tra­di­tional jew­elry ele­ments like pearls and rhine­stones were used to cre­ate an inven­tive vest/jacket, and bro­ken plates were strung together to make a vest yet hung like a neck­lace on the body. Pierc­ings were not a part of the exhibit, per se, although obvi­ously they were and have become pretty main­stream (unusual appli­ca­tions notwith­stand­ing). Not much jew­elry in the gift shop either, inter­est­ingly, and what was there was pri­mar­ily of the afore­men­tioned safety pin vari­ety. Tem­po­rary hair dye in bold col­ors was also on offer (seventy-two year old designer Zan­dra Rhodes was there with a fuch­sia bob — gotta love it), so was the cat­a­log which was nicely put together.



PUNK: Chaotic to Cool

May 3rd, 2013

The Sex Pistols

Accord­ing to the New York Times’ Eric Wil­son, the open­ing of the Met’s Cos­tume Institute’s new show, PUNK: CHAOS TO COUTURE, has Mon­day night’s gala atten­dees won­der­ing what to wear. I’m only going to the press pre­view for the exhibit so my vin­tage Norma Kamali silk black and white shirt dress should pass muster. My son and his girl­friend will be attend­ing the party Mon­day night. Hip­sters don’t sweat this stuff. They sim­ply wear their brand of insou­ciance, oh, and some pretty cool duds too, although at the time of writ­ing the jury is still out on exactly what. It won’t be punk inspired, of that I’m sure. As Eric Wil­son noted, it’s an exhibit open­ing, not a cos­tume party.

Shaun Leane

Alexan­der McQueen/Shaun Leane

Any­way, just thought I’d offer up my take on how punk res­onates now in jew­elry. Wikipedia said punk was a response to the Beat Gen­er­a­tion, anar­chism, disco, heavy metal, pro­gres­sive and “arena” rock. It also said that the Sex Pis­tols were viewed as Dick­en­sian and Garage rock was the first form of punk rock. Vivi­enne West­wood took part, but hasn’t she always been the rebel belle? Ah, his­tory as seen in the rear view, seems to need neat lit­tle cat­e­gories with which to pigeon­hole Pop Cul­ture. Punk was an amal­gam of influ­ences that still res­onate, except that we now exam­ine and refine it (or com­mer­cial­ize it) via xray-sensitive acu­ity instead of respond­ing to raw instinct.

Lydia Courteille

Dior Jew­elry

Eddie Borgo

The Paving Stone

April 25th, 2013

Georges Sand

Lena Dun­ham

What cap­tures our imag­i­na­tion when it comes to the style of women who have writ­ten, bril­liantly, and at the same time show lit­tle evi­dence of affec­ta­tion as their fame rises to the sur­face of our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness? Jew­elry style is telling in so many ways. I’ve stated here before that wear­ing a neck­lace or a pair of ear­rings is utterly optional — it is a choice that rests squarely on our whims, our taste, our momen­tary sat­is­fac­tion, or dis­sat­is­fac­tion, with the world. What wear­ing jew­elry says about us — or doesn’t say, at least openly — is up to us. I came across an image of Lena Dun­ham at the Time 100 Party and then I Googled images of her in other pub­lic venues and I couldn’t help but admire her self-possessed ease.

She wears small(-ish) dia­mond ear­rings with her cute crop. I like the low key luxe look she sports at these events. Fine but not too flashy. A neck­lace acts like punc­tu­a­tion to the end of her iron­i­cally un-A-list per­sona. Writer Georges Sand pos­sessed a sim­i­lar style –even with her jew­elry — a defin­i­tive and strong look that wasn’t any­where near as mas­cu­line as was her pen name. In 1862, Sand’s play, Le Pavé (The Paving Stone) was per­formed and it was Sand who forced open doors that were pre­vi­ously and peren­ni­ally shut to women. She sported men’s cloth­ing in pub­lic, jus­ti­fy­ing her style by say­ing that men’s cloth­ing was less expen­sive and longer last­ing than women’s (arguably true today), and smoked in pub­lic too (another scan­dalous taboo). Yet her jew­elry was fem­i­nine: pen­dant ear­rings, a bold, jewel head­piece, a sen­su­ous neck­lace that slipped down the cen­ter of her chest.

Georges Sand

Lena Dun­ham

LD, who could count her­self as scion of Sand’s lit­er­ary descent, wears what she likes, unless it’s for a fash­ion shoot and even then you can’t help but notice the young woman before the clothes or the acces­sories. Why? Because the ear­rings, neck­lace, or bracelet becomes her rather than the other way around. This is how jew­elry was worn by women who have become icons such as Jacque­line Kennedy Onais­sis, Babe Paley, Coco Chanel, et al. Paving stones lead the way, some are new and bright, oth­ers pati­nated by the steps of oth­ers that fol­lowed. All that advice you read in mag­a­zines and online? Toss it. No jewel will look bet­ter on you than what you bring to it.

George Sand

Lena Dun­ham

Gold and All It’s Facets

April 16th, 2013

Buc­cel­lati Bracelet

Can there be an apothegm about gold, an expres­sion or say­ing that defines it in the prover­bial nut­shell? No. And I’ve come to the con­clu­sion there never will be a com­plete state­ment made about the metal that trans­formed men into Sun Kings, women into icons, and peb­bles into vast wealth. That says alot about what the weight (pun intended) of gold has had on our econ­omy. Midas was merely fic­tion; real­ity has been much more dra­matic. Last Fri­day, I was invited to attend the Gold con­fer­ence that some of you may have pre­vi­ously read about in an ear­lier post. The sub­jects dis­cussed by those whose knowl­edge of yel­low metal was var­ied, if not always on point: Buc­cel­lati sent the lovely Lucrezia Buc­cel­lati to talk about it’s newest sil­ver line of jew­elry and how it has related to the hand­crafted gold tra­di­tions for which this ven­er­a­ble fam­ily firm is so well known. Jack Ogden, jew­elry indus­try ana­lyst and noted his­to­rian, spoke about gold’s cul­tural power. Oth­ers dis­cussed the newest tech­nolo­gies in CAD CAM design — even for those who do not use computer-aided design it was kind of amaz­ing to see what’s devel­op­ing in jew­elry man­u­fac­ture. At the end of the day, InStyle’s Mar­ian Fasel inter­viewed jew­elry designer Waris Ahluwalia, known sim­ply as Waris. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to observe the full spec­trum of the jew­elry design world: from a four-hour computer-aided ring to forty-hour hand­crafted, multi-enameled brooch (Waris said that he believes in “slow jew­elry” and shuns electronics).

A panel dis­cus­sion con­sist­ing of design­ers Rebecca Koven, Irene Neuwirth, Kara Ross, and high jew­elry house rep­re­sen­ta­tives Nico­las Luchsinger (Van Cleef & Arpels), and Larry Pet­tinelli (Patek Philippe) talked about the pos­si­ble chal­lenges of employ­ing gold due to fluc­tu­at­ing and sky­rock­et­ing mar­ket prices. For what it’s worth Neuwirth said it didn’t affect her busi­ness, Koven said this was ulti­mately a pos­i­tive influ­ence on her design aes­thetic, Luchsinger acknowl­edged the chal­lenge and then shrugged as if to say there isn’t much to do about it — VCA takes these things into account, and Pet­tinelli said the gold con­tent of their watches mat­tered mostly to his “entry-level” clien­tele. Later, scholar and author, Ben­jamin Zucker dis­cussed how to iden­tify the age of a jewel by the way the gold is worked or alloyed. I found the the jux­ta­po­si­tion of these lec­tures a lit­tle ironic, at one point Ross said that she started design­ing hand­bags and cos­tume jew­elry because the price of gold became too costly for her busi­ness (she also men­tioned she will be launch­ing a new, fine jew­elry col­lec­tion next month), and an hour later Lisa Koenigs­berg com­mented that Ben­jamin Zucker sug­gested that she start col­lect­ing con­tem­po­rary pieces. Gold has this kind of power over us — it defines a busi­ness plan, or not, it engen­ders col­lec­tors, or not, but more inter­est­ingly, it expands our cre­ativ­ity whether we use it in ways intended, or not.

Happy Spring!

April 9th, 2013

Taf­fin tour­ma­line brooch. Pho­tog­ra­phy image by David Behl. Styling by Lori Ettlinger Gross. Page 140 of Brooches: Time­less Adorn­ment by Lori Ettlinger Gross. Riz­zoli 2008

Up For Auction @ Phillips: Seaman Schepps Citrine Suite, Circa 1945

April 4th, 2013

Print page 115 SEAMAN SCHEPPS A Unique Suite of Cit­rine Jew­elry, 1945 Com­pris­ing a flex­i­ble snake motif bracelet, set with a grad­u­ated line of oval-cut cit­rines, a grad­u­ated strand neck­lace com­posed of twenty-six oval-cut cit­rines, a pair of brooches com­posed of multi-color cit­rines with snake head and foli­ate motifs, a ring and two pairs or earclips designed as a foli­ate clus­ter of vari-cut cit­rines en suite, mounted in 14K yel­low gold, bracelet length 7 1/2 inches, neck­lace length 17 inches, earclips length 1 5/8 and 3/4 inches, ring size 8. Signed ‘Sea­man Schepps’ on brooches, with a fit­ted orig­i­nal box

What I find the most fas­ci­nat­ing about vin­tage jew­elry is the way some pieces rep­re­sent the aes­thetic of the arti­san or house who cre­ated them and yet remain an emblem of the era in which they were made. When this del­i­cate equa­tion is care­fully con­fig­ured, the result can be time­less, in addi­tion to beau­ti­ful. Cartier did this with their peren­ni­ally appeal­ing Art Deco and PANTHÈRE designs, Van Cleef & Arpels ‘50s rose-diamond Bal­le­rina brooches, or more recently, their effort­less luxe Per­lée col­lec­tion, or Bul­gari in the 1980s: bold strokes of gold scrim­maged with Seahawks-sized shoul­der pads. As any­one who watches Project Run­way knows, work­ing within a given chal­lenge (or trend) while also main­tain­ing one’s own cre­ative point of view isn’t easy. Find­ing just the right com­mer­cial bal­ance that is in equal mea­sure mem­o­rable, cov­etable, and years later, col­lectible? That takes a cer­tain amount of genius.

On April 24, 2013, Phillips will be auc­tion­ing an unusual suite of circa 1945 Sea­man Schepps cit­rine jew­elry. The use of semi-precious cit­rine at that time was com­mon since large pre­cious gem­stones were scarce. Other stones such as amethyst and aqua­ma­rine were also employed lib­er­ally as they were avail­able in gen­er­ous carat weights. The suite above includes a snake form bracelet that is bril­liant. The oth­ers pieces in the suite are fab­u­lous too, still the bracelet, and per­haps the snake form brooches too, Sea­man Schepps-erize this clas­sic col­lec­tion of 1940s jew­els. Schepps was known for his irrev­er­ent use of gem­stones — he didn’t really care about carats as much as the over­all com­po­si­tion. He was one of the first show­man jew­elry design­ers — oth­ers of his ilk were Tony Duquette, Ver­dura, and his for­mer employer, Paul Flato.

Gina Lollobrigida Says Goodbye to Her Bulgari Jewels

March 29th, 2013

Sale of Gina Lol­lo­b­rigida Jew­els at Sothe­bys Geneva

Sotheby’s Geneva will auc­tion off the jew­els of this famous actress-artist-activist on May 14, 2013. Much of what Ms. Lol­lo­b­rigida owned was clas­sic in style, in much the same way as Eliz­a­beth Taylor’s jew­elry, sev­eral items of which were also pur­chased from Bul­gari. The 1950s-60s items for sale include nat­ural pearl and dia­mond ear­rings, a 19.03-carat dia­mond soli­taire, a dia­mond neck­lace that can also be worn as a bracelet (and a tiara, as she is pho­tographed above), and suite of impres­sive emer­ald jew­els. You may have heard about the renowned jew­elry house in the news of late, this month, the Ital­ian author­i­ties seized Bul­gari assets in a tax probe. Bul­gari was bought in 2011 by lux­ury group LVMH Moet Hen­nessy Louis Vuit­ton SA.

Gina Lol­lo­b­rigida Sale of Jew­els at Sothe­bys Geneva

**Impor­tant: These are the last days to buy tick­ets to attend Ini­tia­tives In Art & Culture’s Gold Con­fer­ence. If you love jew­elry, this sym­po­sium is one that shouldn’t be missed! I’ll be there, so be sure to say hi…!

Designer L’Wren Scott: Gold

March 22nd, 2013

LoveGold’s L’Wren Scott gold tattoo

Fab­u­lous video about how gold influ­enced designer L’Wren Scott’s newest col­lec­tion — includ­ing gold tat­toos on the mod­els which were bril­liant. Scott also wears lovely antique jew­elry in the piece. Her POV is both ele­vated and acces­si­ble, if only her clothes were too. Still, they would be worth fore­go­ing a bauble or three. Loved what she said about her designs, that they are well crafted and the kind of thing a woman could wear again, and again. Mod­ern yet prac­ti­cal and with­out pre­tense. Superb clothes, acces­sories, and ideas. View it here.

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