Antiquing in England: Saltaire

Saltaire
Unusual hinged paste brooch
Saltaire
Deco silver and marcasite double-clipo brooch

Two years ago, on a buying trip to England, I attended the Saltaire Vintage Home and Fashion Fair.  Held in the town of Saltaire, on the outskirts of Bradford in West Yorkshire, this vintage show is held several times a year.  A medium-sized show with approximately 40 booths, I found several great pieces of jewelry including a wonderful dangling hinged paste brooch, an Art Deco double-clip brooch, a modernist ring, and a Ming’s brooch.

Saltaire
Ming’s Peony brooch

The Ming’s brooch was an unusual find for England as it was made in Hawaii in the 1950’s.  When I asked the dealer about it it turned out that she had bought it in California, near where I live; I, in turn, sold it to a collector in Hawaii.  This brooch had travelled the world for over 50 years and finally returned home! read more

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Notes from around the Web: Artist Hubert Duprat

Duprat “Sculpture”

Straddling the line between conceptual art, sculpture, natural science, and jewelry the end result of Hubert Duprat’s work with insects are objects of great beauty.

Leonardo, an online magazine, has an article about the artist Duprat that begins:

“Since the early 1980s, artist Hubert Duprat has been utilizing insects to construct some of his “sculptures.” By removing caddis fly larvae from their natural habitat and providing them with precious materials, he prompts them to manufacture cases that resemble jewelers’ creations… This article is based on a conversation between the artist and art critic Christian Besson.”
read more

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The Hierarchy of Jewelry Auctions

jewelry auctions
The Graff Ruby

With Magnificent Jewels auction season underway I thought I’d clarify what this term means in the context of jewelry auctions.  When major auction houses hold jewelry auctions the terms “Magnificent Jewels”, “Important Jewels”, and “Fine Jewels” are used to describe them. While, on the one hand, these terms are adjectives that describe the jewelry being auctioned, the auction houses are really referring to the monetary value of the jewelry being auctioned without being so gauche as to say it outright. read more

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Links from Around the Web: Modernist Jewelry of the 1930’s

I came across a fantastic article about fine modernist jewelry of the 1930’s by Audrey Friedman of Primavera Gallery in New York:

Modernist Jewelry of the 1930’s

Audrey Friedman will be the 2015 honoree of the “Women of Estate and Antique Jewelry” award at next summer’s Antique Jewelry and Art Conference, better-known as “Jewelry Camp”.

Modernist Jewelry
Modernist Jewelry of the 1930’s: Coro Duette and matching bracelet
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Building a Library of Jewelry Books: Modernist Jewelry

Modernist jewelry“Modernist Jewelry” refers to jewelry produced by studio jewelers of the mid-20th century who were influenced by modern art movements; these jewelers were consciously breaking away from prevailing notions of “fine” and “costume” jewelry, intent on creating pieces that were miniature works of art.   The books below focus  mostly, but not exclusively, on work produced by studio jewelers in the United States.  However, it is important to remember that modernist jewelry was also produced in Scandinavia, Mexico, and other parts of the world and that manufacturers of both costume and fine jewelry were influenced by the studio jewelry movement and created pieces in the modernist style. read more

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Links from Around the Web: Mourning Jewelry

With the opening of “Death Becomes Her”, an exhibit of mourning attire at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, mourning jewelry is in the news.  Here is a round-up of some articles and exhibits across the country:

I love Lynn Yaeger’s writing and she just published an article on loaning mourning jewelry to the exhibit at the Met:  http://www.vogue.com/3296237/lynn-yaeger-jewelry-met-museum-death-becomes-her/

And here’s a link to the exhibit:  http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/press-room/exhibitions/2014/death-becomes-her read more

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Modernism Week in Palm Springs

Modernism Week in Palm Springs is a celebration of mid-century architecture and design and features the Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale, house tours, films, lectures, social events, and fund raising events that support state and local preservation organizations.   I’ll be selling at the Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale in February 2015 for the first time and, to prepare, I decided to attend the inaugural “Fall Edition” in October 2014 to scope it out.  Taking place as part of the “Fall Season Kick-off”, this weekend was a mini-Modernism Week and gave me the opportunity to attend tours and other events that I won’t be able to attend in February when I’m working. read more

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@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

An important exhibit by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei recently opened on Alcatraz.  Called @Large:  Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz the exhibit is installed throughout the prison; the artworks address themes of freedom and imprisonment using different media and methods of interacting with the viewers.

Ai Weiwei is an internationally renowned artist known for provocative work that often has political themes.  He achieved worldwide fame beyond the art world as part of the design team for the Beijing National Stadium, known popularly as the “Birds Nest”, for the 2008 Summer Olympics.  In 2011 he was arrested and held for 81 days for being a prominent and outspoken critic of the Chinese government.   As of this writing in October 2014, the Chinese government has retained his passport, keeping him from leaving China. read more

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Building a Library of Jewelry Books: Hallmarks and Maker’s Marks

One of the biggest challenges in identifying a piece of jewelry is deciphering the marks that you find on the back.  You’d think that a mark would, literally, spell out what you have but many marks are symbols, initials, pictures, and sometimes fakes.  There is no single book that will identify hallmarks and maker’s marks throughout the world in a comprehensive way but, depending on your needs, there are several excellent books each with its own area of specialization.  If you are looking for books that provide some information about marks, but not the level of detail addressed below, see my post on Building a Library of Jewelry Books:  the Basics. read more

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Jewelry Exhibits: the Newark Museum and “Gilded New York” at the Museum of the City of New York

Jewelry exhibits
Newark Museum Jewelry Gallery

One of only four museums in the United States with a gallery space dedicated to its permanent jewelry collections, the Newark Museum is a little-known gem that deserves better recognition by jewelry lovers.  To people unfamiliar with jewelry history the crime-plagued city of Newark may seem like an odd place for a museum committed to the display of jewelry, however from about 1850-1950 Newark was the fine jewelry manufacturing capital of the United States.  According to Ulysses Grant Dietz, curator of decorative arts at the Newark Museum and author of “The Glitter and the Gold, Fashioning  America’s Jewelry”, it is estimated that in 1929 approximately ninety percent of solid-gold jewelry made in the U.S. came from Newark factories. read more

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For Lovers of Antique Jewelry and Traveling the World to Find It