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.

Paris Fashion Week: Has the Iconic Become Conventional?

March 8th, 2013

Lan­vin Fall 2013

Review­ing the images of jew­elry on the Paris run­ways in the last week left me feel­ing that so many design­ers are sim­ply too con­tented with their own iconog­ra­phy. The ones who stood apart in styling their run­ways made bolder state­ments, yet all the while under­scor­ing the clothes and their houses’ aes­thetic. The jew­elry at Chanel gave frame­work to the tweeds and knits, how­ever they were pri­mar­ily made from the houses trade­mark leather and chain. So the woman is now the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the bag she cov­ets. Gives new mean­ing to the expres­sion, “old bag,” doesn’t it? Even if the clothes were great, and of course they were, the over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage isn’t flattering.

Chanel Fall 2013

Lan­vin con­tin­ues to be fas­ci­nated by mounds of chains mixed with creepy crawlies pinned to shoul­der and bust lines. A new addi­tion of moody pro­nounce­ments, such as the word “cool” spelled out in scripted metal was scat­tered around mod­els’ necks and slashed across knuck­les. The col­lec­tion of cloth­ing was beau­ti­ful but the heavy handed styling of the jew­elry was a dis­trac­tion. I’ve often found Mr. Elbaz’s choices cur­rent, enter­tain­ing, and even trend­set­ting, but this past week’s run­way seemed to say noth­ing more than what has been said in the past. I found myself think­ing, “Again?” once too often.

Lan­vin Fall 2013

Christo­pher Kane Fall 2013

Louis Vuit­ton Fall 2013

Alexan­der McQueen Fall 2013

Alexan­der McQueen Fall 2013

Find­ing new state­ments on the run­ways wasn’t alto­gether dif­fi­cult since the weird, fun, and tac­itly cool pieces spoke for them­selves. Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuit­ton gave us the neck­lace of dead fowl, Christo­pher Kane showed how big sculp­ture can work as a cuff, Sarah Bur­ton at McQueen cre­ated the ring-finger glove (what was the ref­er­ence for this, I’d love to know) and the caged crown (shaped like a Faberge egg). Crowns and tiaras are state­ments that res­onated with houses like Dolce & Gab­bana and Lan­vin. There is noth­ing more icono­graphic than a crown/tiara. Not sure we really need a golden halo to tell us that what we are look­ing at is regal or even spe­cial when the focus should be about the mod­ern woman liv­ing in con­tem­po­rary times. Show­ing mod­ern lux­ury on the run­way is inspir­ing, pageantry today is gild­ing a lily that is already in full bloom. We’ve already seen this remark­able work of nature…what else you got?

Dolce & Gab­bana Fall 2013

Speak­ing of golden moments, Ini­tia­tives in Art and Cul­ture is host­ing an amaz­ing con­fer­ence about gold this April. Don’t miss it. .

Need A Former Literary Agent-Turned-Freelance Editor? I Know a Great One!

February 28th, 2013

Caren Este­sen is a fan­tas­tic for­mer lit­er­ary agent (Peter Rubie Lit­er­ary Agency). Lucky for writ­ers every­where she is now a free­lance edi­tor at www.Carenestesen.com. What’s even bet­ter is that Caren is offer­ing up her ser­vices for a cause: dia­betes. Brenda Novak’s Annual Auc­tion for the Cure for Dia­betes 2013 will have Caren’s ser­vices on the auc­tion block begin­ning May 1, 2013, so if you’ve got a man­u­script, she will read and cri­tique part of it. Every writer knows that a dis­pas­sion­ate reader with the lit­er­ary expe­ri­ence and know-how of a for­mer agent is a bonus that only makes a book bet­ter. This is the kind of help that gets an author pub­lished. Caren is knowl­edgable, patient, kind, gen­er­ous, and packs all of that into every insight­ful con­ver­sa­tion I’ve ever had with her. She is a rare gem and that’s not a com­pli­ment I hand out lightly!

Retailers: Make It Easier to Multitask

February 28th, 2013

SPECK Can­dyShell card case for iphone 4s/4

It was a quiet Sun­day around my house. Many are since our eldest moved out, and our mid­dle is liv­ing at col­lege. Our not-so-little-anymore is gear­ing up to leave us for col­lege next year — and I’m antic­i­pat­ing more too peace­ful week­ends with a bit of angst. “More shop­ping time for me” would have been my mantra but until more retail­ers make it eas­ier to mul­ti­task, I think I’ll opt out and go antiquing instead. Flea mar­kets and tag and estate sales aren’t exactly time-savers, in fact they are just the oppo­site, but at least there is an oppor­tu­nity to uncover a real find, one that you can enjoy and rel­ish for many years. Retail lives in the moment. We walk into stores in search of the now, the immi­nent, the key looks that will update our clos­ets and our style, at least for the short term.

This is where my beef begins. Walk­ing into, in order of the day, J. Crew, Banana Repub­lic and Ann Tay­lor I was dis­mayed by the idea that there is so lit­tle styling with jew­elry and acces­sories going on. Yes, there is a man­nequin here and there done up com­plete with neck­lace, bag, scarf, etc. and yet, in so many instances that’s all they offer us visu­ally. The clothes are mostly sep­a­rates, and of course, dresses, and the jew­elry is tossed on one or two pieces to give us…what? Some vague notion of how to put it together? Most women need and want a lit­tle more guid­ance. Or a lot more. In any case, this is an oppor­tu­nity missed like no other. Even cell phone case com­pa­nies, like SPECK, are offer­ing us more. The com­pany recently sent me their Can­dyShell Card for my iPhone to try out. I like it much more that I antic­i­pated. I can now do with­out a wal­let when I go out for the evening. What a major con­ve­nience, and space saver! My only sug­ges­tion would be to make it so that you can also store busi­ness cards in it too.

J.Crew Lib­erty of Lon­don shirt

Clas­sic Wide Ban­gle, J.Crew

Fan Fringe Neck­lace, J.Crew


Which of the above would you put together? What would the styl­ists at J.Crew suggest?

Return­ing to my gripe, as I walked through these stores I was amazed at how they are orga­nized, like a depart­ment store, rather than an inti­mate bou­tique where the store owner has pro­vided gen­tle input. Each cat­e­gory has a sep­a­rate loca­tion: cloth­ing, jew­elry, shoes, bags, and mis­cel­la­neous items. You have to run around the store to fin­ish a look. Isn’t that what paid styl­ists do? When I, Jane Do-More, shop I have some expec­ta­tion that these retail­ers hire their own styl­ists to pro­vide inspi­ra­tion, so that all I have to do is to politely ask a sales asso­ciate to pull it off the rack and out of the cases or back room so that I can pony up at the reg­is­ter. Shouldn’t it be that easy? Ok, ok, so some com­pa­nies will say in defense, “We want to give women a choice. Not dic­tate.” And I say, “Uh-huh. You don’t say. Well, guess what? We want sug­ges­tions, we like them, we can, of course, choose to ignore them. We have the intel­li­gence to know when to say, “That’s not for me.”

All we want is insight, or fore­sight, or a nudge in the right direc­tion. Time is a pre­cious com­mod­ity these days and if every­one is mul­ti­task­ing, why shouldn’t you? I walked around J.Crew think­ing, “Why isn’t that neck­lace shown with that shirt? That’s a great day look. Take the same shirt and neck­lace, and add those ear­rings and a blazer or that adorable sweater and you’ve got your din­ner with clients for tonight.” Why aren’t the same two arti­cles of cloth­ing shown with dif­fer­ent jew­elry just to give cus­tomers a choice and an option? I’d be will­ing to bet that many would buy not just one, but both jew­elry items and the clothes shown with them. Styling clothes with jew­elry is some­thing most women do on a daily basis — take the guess-work out of it! Yes, we may want to choose our own acces­sories much of the time, but then there are days when we all wish some­one else would walk into our clos­ets and pull it together for us. That’s where a respon­sive, inno­v­a­tive retailer can show off their stuff, this is the value-added to a retail price tag, and that’s why women will return to buy, because they are get­ting more for their money. The styl­ist is in the bag.

Oscars 2013:What Makes a Screen Siren Most?

February 25th, 2013

Helen Hunt 2013 Acad­emy Awards

Helen Hunt gave us the newest red car­pet state­ment to date: all you need is a great (fit­ting) dress and even bet­ter jew­elry. She wore an H & M/Global Green dress and gave it the wow-factor with $700,000 worth of Mar­tin Katz jew­els. While some of us may run out and buy that dress, if we can find it, the jew­els, alas, will not be forth­com­ing from the designer gods that usu­ally bestow these rar­i­ties upon those whose images are brighter and big­ger than our­selves. At the end of the red car­pet, or the awards broad­cast, I’m sure Ms. Hunt’s car­riage turned into a pump­kin (or limo), and those jew­els found their way back to the black-velvet lined cases from whence they came. Bet she got to keep the dress though!

Kerry Wash­ing­ton and Char­l­ize Theron 2013 Acad­emy Awards

Babe Paley wear­ing mul­ti­ple dia­mond bracelets

I didn’t get to do my pre-Oscars trend pre­dic­tion seg­ment: it was killed. Which per­haps was a good thing because the color and inter­est­ing stone cuts I would have thought to be on the red car­pet were nowhere in sight! In review­ing the images this morn­ing, there were maybe three or four neck­laces, either Vic­to­rian or Victorian-inspired, and one quite mod­ern; all of them set with dia­monds. Very nice but noth­ing that made me stand up and want a closer look at my mon­i­tor. Note­wor­thy were dia­mond bracelets. They were every­where! When it comes to these Art Deco or –inspired by jew­els, I pre­fer to see them stacked in twos or threes (please click on the image of Babe Paley above to get a bet­ter idea of how this is done). Some­how when they are worn singly, unless it is wide and eye-poppingly gen­er­ous with dia­monds of var­i­ous cuts, they seem set adrift on a lonely length of bare skin. I love a mod­ern, clean look, but it needs to be coun­tered by solid punc­tu­a­tion, or just some punch. Pro­por­tion is every­thing. Yes, size in jew­elry mat­ters. Jen­nifer Lawrence’s Chopard dia­mond ear­rings were stun­ning — and per­haps a bit too old-school (12 carats) for a twenty-two year old Oscar nominee/winner. Her amaz­ingly grace­ful fall on the stairs lead­ing to the podium — she looked like a dancer who neatly lost her foot­ing (see, learn­ing to dance has it’s “sil­ver lin­ing”) was blamed on the under­pin­nings of her gown. I think it was the heft of those earrings.

Jen­nifer Lawrence 2013 Acad­emy Awards

Eve Best as Wal­lis Simp­son in THE KING’S SPEECH — dia­mond Zip Neck­lace by Van Cleef & Arpels

Every­one ohhh’d and ahhh’d over the neck­laces worn down the back by win­ners Jen­nifer Lawrence and Anne Hath­away. I guess no one remem­bered the party scene in THE KING’S SPEECH where Wal­lis Simp­son is wear­ing a Van Cleef & Arpels dia­mond zip neck­lace down her back. Much pre­ferred Ms. Lawrence’s styling to that of Ms. Hath­away. Not a fan of peek-a-boo with a neck­line much less fight­ing for atten­tion with the cross­ing straps at the back of a gown. Messy. The dia­mond chain of Ms. Hathaway’s neck­lace was a great coun­ter­point to her Prada and I won­dered if Tiffany could have elim­i­nated the pen­dant detail alto­gether, that would have been a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment to the over­all look. Wear­ing a bib neck­lace reversed to the bare back­line of a dress is trend­ing now. Not a fan. It looks like you got dressed, couldn’t find some­one to help with the clasp so you turned it around and did it your­self and then for­got because, well, nature called, the kids were act­ing up for the babysit­ter before you left, or your mom called to ask, for one of many unfath­omable rea­sons, where you had the baby nam­ing party for your eldest who is almost twenty-four (this hap­pened to me yes­ter­day). In any case, unless it’s real dia­monds girls, please don’t go there, it’s meant to be a deca­dent look, and it’s a trend that won’t last. Even Wal­lis Simp­son did this only once and as the true story goes, hers was an authen­tic VCA dia­mond zip­per, cus­tom made and fit­ted for her dress.

Anne Hath­away Acad­emy Awards 2013

The Next List: Project Runway’s Diana Eng (Season #2) Uses Amazing Hi-Tech Textiles and Makes Life-Like Lady Bug Pins by Hand

February 20th, 2013

Diana Eng’s Lady Bug pins, image cour­tesy of CNN

CNN’s THE NEXT LIST will fea­ture Project Run­way alum Diana Eng this Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 24th at 2:30 ET. In this clip from the broad­cast, Eng explains how she cre­ates her lady bug pins, which are mod­eled after real exam­ples she has stashed away in her stu­dio. Eng was smart, sweet, and cre­ative, if not just the tini­est bit quirky. The best jew­elry design­ers have their pec­ca­dil­loes, Eng’s just hap­pen to bring good luck.

London Fashion Week Fall 2013: Louise Gray Is On a Roll…

February 19th, 2013

Louise Gray Fall 2013

It’s Lon­don Fash­ion Week and I had to offer up Louise Gray’s tongue-in-cheek idea of jew­elry: TP, mylar bal­loon, rolls of tape, alu­minum foil, and what appeared to be (a least on my com­puter) dis­pos­able tart pans. There’s def­i­nitely a pun in there some­where, how­ever Ms. Gray took the run­way, if not by storm, at least by a DIY craft project that speaks to the spare times most of us are still experiencing.

Louise Gray Fall 2013

Louise Gray Fall 2013

New York Fashion Week, Fall 2013: Done for Effect

February 15th, 2013

Christo­pher Ross belt for Rachel Roy Fall 2013

Wes Gor­don Fall 2013

Jew­elry at New York Fash­ion Week Fall 2013 was unam­bigu­ous and pre­cise. Sure, there were a cou­ple of run­ways where jew­elry was tossed into the mix like pot­pourri; the designer, or styl­ist, hop­ing the over­all effect would suf­fice as some sort of fash­ion state­ment. How­ever, and clearly, most design­ers did not feel the need to pile on the acces­sories as in sea­sons past. Nei­ther did they feel for cel­e­bra­tory man­i­fes­ta­tions of glit­ter and gleam. There was sparkle in the clothes, and a few note­wor­thy asides, like belts. Rachel Roy’s belts were highly sculp­tural and crossed the the accessory-as-adornment line. Wes Gor­don gave us the belt as orna­men­tal armor. The con­cept of high­light­ing the waist­line in some­thing that speaks to per­son­alty, rather than a quo­tid­ian length of leather, is wor­thy of explor­ing. Not nec­es­sar­ily for every­one, but hey, that’s the whole point behind adorn­ment any­way. In the end, it’s all optional.

Rodarte Fall 2013

Anna Sui Fall 2013

Some jew­eled ideas gave us a nudge in the quizzi­cal direc­tion. You needn’t read more into Rodarte’s barbed wire neck­laces and ear­rings. Nor that of Anna Sui’s neck tie neck­laces. Per­haps these are socio-suggestive of the kind of power women are seek­ing. Hands off, guys, it’s our turn to run things. I was scratch­ing my head try­ing to fig­ure out the inspi­ra­tion for the sil­ver neck­laces at Kim­berly Ovitz. Mat­ing Horn Bee­tles? The neck­lace was organic and strong, yet it’s mes­sage, if any, eluded me.

Kim­berly Ovitz Fall 2013

The ven­er­a­ble went their usual way. Oscar de la Renta showed won­der­ful clothes; the jew­elry was, at best, col­or­ful. I’m a huge pro­po­nent of the pen­dant ear­ring because it’s sexy, allur­ing, face flat­ter­ing, and all that jazz; still, I need a new way to see the women who wear these clothes. Ralph Lau­ren is stuck in the same time warp. It’s all lovely, but it’s so expected that it’s become cliched to the nth degree. What if the ear­rings weren’t long and bold but instead directed towards the mod­ern woman who dashes into the room while work­ing a long day, a polit­i­cal cam­paign, or giv­ing time to one of many char­i­ties. If I’ve inad­ver­tently left out a demo­graphic here please let me know. Women’s roles are ever-changing and the clothes and the jew­els design­ers cre­ate need to reflect the man­tle they are wear­ing at the moment.

Marc Jacobs isn’t in any way a tra­di­tion­al­ist and his Marc by Marc Jacobs run­way didn’t have any jew­elry to speak of, except for the fact that the mod­els were wearing…watches? I could have men­tioned him in my dis­cus­sion above about the quizzi­cal, or the ven­er­a­ble. He is both and nei­ther, and only when it suits him. Why any­one under the age of thirty would need a watch isn’t the point here. It is the idea of sim­plic­ity, of a watch being enough to acces­sorize a look with­out mak­ing it about the watch itself. It’s not a gold Rolex, or white ceramic Chanel bracelet. A sleek black strap and a neat, square or rec­tan­gu­lar dial is enough. It is, in fact, cooler and more allur­ing because it’s about a flick of the wrist, the adorable clothes, and know­ing the time of day. The girl who lives in the moment is far more inter­est­ing than the one who spends too much time aspiring.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2013

Speak­ing of man­tles, there was one thought that struck me. And per­haps you will call me to the mat on this as not being jew­elry or adorn­ment. Because of the mate­ri­als employed in the dress were not sar­to­r­ial in the usual sense but more of jew­elry, I want to men­tion it here. The use of abalone on the right hand (fac­ing) shoul­der on a dress from Three As Four has a brooch-like qual­ity. Ok, embroi­dery can do that, of course. The place­ment of that mate­r­ial, the insides of a mol­lusk the ocean pro­duces and later washes ashore, was as detailed and emphatic as any pin I’ve ever come across.

Three As Four Fall 2013

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