The New York Antique Jewelry and Watch Show is one of the top shows in the United States for lovers of antique jewelry. Produced by US Antique Shows – the company that also produces the Pier Show in New York, the Miami Beach Antique Show, and the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show – this show attracts many of the finest dealers in the country and from around the world. I recently attended the show, which was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street from July 25-28, and it was terrific. Although most of the jewelry was high end, and some VERY high end, I’d still strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in vintage and antique jewelry attend shows of this caliber because there is so much to be learned.
One dealer with whom I was already familiar, since she exhibits at the Hillsborough Antique show in the Bay Area, is Lenore Dailey who sells beautiful Georgian and Victorian Jewelry. Below are two exceptional Victorian hinged bangles that Lenore had in her booth. One was in the form of a serpent eating its tail, crowned by a carbuncle (cabochon garnet) on its head; the other bangle had a wonderfully detailed ram’s head. A Victorian brooch/pendant with matching earrings was another exceptional piece from Lenore.
My favorite, however, was a Victorian gold necklace with agates, turquoise, and garnets. The color and patterning of the agates was sublime, and the turquoise stones brought out the subtle blue/green in the agates.
Based in London, Lowther Antiques’ Pat Novissimo also specializes in Victorian and Georgian jewelry and had a wonderful collection of paste, cut steel and Berlin iron jewelry. One item in particular, a Queen Anne amethyst paste riviere from circa 1720, was particularly rare. The stones are enormous, and the simplicity of the its design makes it feel contemporary despite being nearly 300 years old.
The lovely young couple who own Bell and Bird had some wonderful pieces of antique jewelry. I particularly liked a tortoiseshell necklace of alternating Bacchus and rams heads, with the rams’ horns highlighted in gold and a cased Georgian choker and earrings.
Robin Katz specializes in fine jewelry of the latter half of the 20th century. She had some exceptional pieces but what I particularly liked was the way she combined these pieces with select pieces of antique jewelry. Here is a wonderful 18 karat gold French cuff with gold balls paired with a pair of Victorian bog jet earrings studded with gold balls. She also had a great cuff by Margaret Barnaby made of silver, gold, wood, and pearls. I was previously unfamiliar with Barnaby’s work but was thrilled to learn about this talented artist.
Although he had lovely antique jewelry in his booth, John Ullman set himself apart is in his collection of boxes, compacts, and other jeweled objets. Two stood out: a Cartier compact and a Marcus and Co. box. Having been previously owned by the actor Richard Harris, who purchased it for his wife, the Cartier compact is an Art Deco masterpiece with a carved jade moth inlaid in white enamel highlighted by diamonds. The Marcus and Co. box is an anomaly: with its painterly enamel lid I would have guessed it to be an artist-designed piece. In fact Ullman also said that he was surprised when he learned that it was by Marcus and Co. and speculates that it was a custom piece.
Pat Saling’s jewelry spans a wide range of time and there were many spectacular pieces, but two jumped out at me because of their size and age: a Victorian diamond bodice ornament and an 18th century set of earrings and pendant from Portugal. The bodice ornament is hinged to drape across the chest, and several of the flowers are en tremblant which means they were designed to tremble as the wearer moves to add sparkle and attract attention (as if wearing an approximately 8″ long diamond brooch wasn’t attention-getting enough!). The hinged section also was removable, so it could be worn as a pendant and the remaining portion worn as a smaller, but still very large, brooch. The brooch fitting appeared to be screwed in; this was common in pieces of this era and originally there were probably other fittings that allowed it to be worn in the hair or in some other fashion.
The Portuguese earrings are massive (note the quarter that I photographed as a scale object) and, as can be imagined, are heavy; the gold loops in the fitted case would have been looped around the ear or into the hair to help support their weight.
Where to eat: A few block south is one of New York’s classic bagel shops, Murray’s Bagels. For an inexpensive meal have a bagel and cream cheese or, if you’re in the mood for a bigger meal, order a deli sandwich since Murray’s also has a full deli menu. If the weather is nice you can get your food to go and walk four blocks west and eat your lunch on the High Line, a sleek modern park that built was built several years ago on abandoned elevated railroad tracks and that has quickly become a favorite gathering place for both New Yorkers and tourists.
Murray’s Bagels, 500 Avenue of the Americas at 13th streetShareby