Christmas Time in the City: Boston Jewelry Stores’ Holiday Window Displays

It’s that time of the year again! People are busy shopping for gifts and then cold and snow slow down your plans. You are determined to go out but with a plan and a list! Good for you! In these quests for gifts have you taken any time to just look around at the holiday window displays? I took last weekend to do some shopping and some admiring around the Boston area jewelry stores.

I went to Newbury Street first. This is a major luxury shopping street. It has several big brand and local stores. The windows of the shops are small so I only took photos of windows with a holiday theme that was present. A favorite window of mine when I go to Newbury Street is Cartier.

Cartier

With the New York renovation these windows don’t pull you in as quickly but the incorporation of the brand with the holiday season is excellent. I do miss the boxes on the trees outside the store that doubled as ornaments but it is still a beautiful display.

I couldn’t post just the display but I wanted to look at a few of the items that stood out in the display. The ring to the left is the Galanterie de Cartier ring that reads on the website to be made of white diamonds and black lacquer set in white gold. The earrings  are from the same collection with the same materials, links are included.

I love how they added the Cartier panther to the windows as a finishing touch!

Shreve, Crump, & Low

This display is my pick for the best jewelry! The window is traditional with garlands and winter figurines.

The jewelry however has a bit of everything! The window as you can see is very large so I will focus on some key pieces.

The first will be the three necklaces that are the main pieces of the window!

I edited out the glare and helped make the colors richer than my camera could pick up! The ruby necklace on the left is over a quarter of a million dollars and has 25.28ct of rubies and 32.29ct of diamonds set in platinum. The Diamond Wreath Necklace to the right has 65.15ct of diamonds set in platinum and comes at a lower price point of $200,000. My favorite is the ruby necklace but the final necklace comes very close to it.

This is a vintage one of a kind Boucheron Diamond Necklace from an prior estate that has made it to Newbury Street! The center cushion cut diamond is 3.52ct. The clarity of this stone is a VVS1, which for those unfamiliar with the grading system is a step below IF (internally flawless) which is about the best you can have in clarity. This really is a showstopper and just a little over half a million dollars! Links are underlined if you want more details on these pieces.

Shreve’s had the window with some winter/ Christmas themes next to smaller items. Those ruby earrings again pieces I love to see. One more before moving on…

The photo did not come out as well as I hoped because the color of the diamonds is hard to tell. This 11.16ct Blue Sapphire Ring is surround by a layer of light colored pink diamonds then a layer of white diamonds on the outside.

John Lewis

I don’t have too many details on this shop. The display is small but the prices are listed for these items which I like. I also thought the use of small wrapped packages was a nice touch in staying true to this small, minimalist display. All the jewelry displayed is sterling silver. A link to where the business is located here.

Alexis Bittar

Not a traditional fine jewelry brand, he has a line but my focus was on his fashion jewelry line.The holiday window display for his store was in my opinion, the most creative use of a display I saw that day!

A lot of jewelry is displayed but in the most traditional way for the holidays, hanging up ornaments! A close up below!

What do you think?

Tiffany & Co

There are two Tiffany stores in Boston. I went to the one inside an indoor mall, to reduce the glare and get some better light. I also love the extra touch of adding the diamond decals to the outside of the store. A close up of the design is below.

 

Another great part to the decorations is the Tiffany tree! Trimmed with the signature blue boxes and ornaments in the shapes of diamonds! Oh to have a tree stacked with all those Tiffany gifts!!

Now on to the windows. The store has two windows to have its holiday window display. The first one I saw was an elaborate dinner table set for a fabulous party.

I love the details of adding the jewelry on the plates as though the are only little party favors! It recalls stories I read of the high society life in America before income tax came into effect. One story I remember talked about guests opening their napkins to find a gold bracelet as a gift from the hostess.

The other window on the right is the traditional tree complete with Tiffany presents. I have always enjoyed Tiffany’s window displays especially the holiday window displays because of their more traditional approach. It’s nice to look at a window and think pretty instead of ‘what was that?’

What are your favorite stores to go and see the holiday window displays? Thank you for reading and return soon for more from Data in the Rough! And have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!

 

Cartier Mansion: My Views Inside and Why a Second Visit is Needed

If you have seen Hitchcock’s, To Catch a Thief, starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant then you are familiar with the fireworks scene. Grace Kelley’s character is trying to seduce Grant’s character a retired jewel thief into taking up his life of former crime by tempting him with her diamond necklace.

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They are both alone watching the fireworks when she turns off the light and starts going into great detail about the excitement he has given up, at least to her. Grant’s character is not buying her act.

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She sits on a desk slightly leaning back so that all you can see is her necklace shimmering as she continues to tempt Grant. She goes up to him this time describing the necklace in vivid details you can almost feel as though you can touch it.

kelly-grant-to-catch-a-thief-3Kelly moves to the couch and Grant follows. Now insistent on catching her thief, him she puts the necklace in his hand.

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Hitchcock is known for his surprises and dialogue with double meanings. Grant’s character feels the necklace then states: ‘You know as well as I do, this necklace is imitation.’ Not missing her moment Kelly responds: ‘Well I’m not’. Hitchcock then cuts in and out from the two kissing to fireworks for the audience to draw its own conclusions.

Why start off the introduction to the Cartier Mansion with Grace Kelly? For those not following the mansion’s renovations, there is a room dedicated to Grace Kelly that will display the engagement jewelry. I choose the scene from To Catch a Thief and not High Society for two reasons. One this is one of my favorite movies with Grace Kelly (the direction Hitchcock gave really brought out Grace Kelly’s talent) and the second this is the time she meets Prince Rainer of Monaco. He was in Cannes as she was finishing up to Catch a Thief.  So on to the mansion experience…

The Cartier Mansion had been under renovation for over 2 years and was to be completed in the summer but was pushed to September. The grand opening brought in a lot of celebrities and press. Googling Cartier mansion in the news will bring in lots of blogs and news articles. I know I went through several articles trying to get glimpses into the mansion and jewels.I also asked about it when the CEO of the American branch of Cartier came to speak at a Harvard Conference I attended and I wrote a post on. There are 4 floors of the mansion and I had a time limit in New York, I took a bus from Boston and made it a day trip. So this post will only cover the first 2 floors because there was a lot to see and I want to follow up later on how this helps Cartier for their holiday season. Before we go into the mansion you had to see the outside of it.

I came up to groups gathered at the windows trying to see all the jewels and watch the display playing continuously. One group I came upon had several young girls hanging out.

girls-looking-at-cartier-windowThe outside felt almost like a toy shop. There were amazing rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. (see below)cartier-window-display-necklaces

Some were on a standard display but in each window surrounding the store was a small replica mansion complete with windows that opened to reveal a red box that opened with a jeweled surprise. The box closed went back into the window and another box would come out of another window with a different jewel. It felt like a cuckoo clock only without the chimes. (see below)

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The different surprises…

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So I spent some time just admiring the outside display. I then proceeded inside with a red t-shirt, jeans and sneakers not exactly dressed for a visit to a mansion but the doors opened and I was greeted politely and warmly. A staff member handed me a card mapping out the floors and what each place had. I think it is useful to share:

cartier-floor-directory

I looked around for a few minutes on the first floor taking a few photos but quickly went up to see the two rooms I was most interested in, the Princess Grace room and the Elizabeth Taylor room. The Princess Grace room was light and airy, filled with cases of diamonds and in the cases around the room more diamonds and pearl jewelry. The walls had a few photos of Grace Kelly and the smaller rooms to the side had stills of her movie High Society where she wore her over 10 carat diamond Cartier engagement ring.

grace-kelly-high-society-pool-scene

In a case across the room a small display of jewelry owned by Grace Kelly can be viewed until early October. I took my time to take in the thrill of seeing these items. It was very generous of Monaco to loan these items to Cartier to share with the public.

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Below each piece was a description. I got the description for the ring and necklace but the photo for the watch description did not come out as well so I only had a title and time.

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I found it interesting that the dates on all the items except the ring date to before she married the prince. The necklace dates to 1953 so she picked and paid for it herself. She was a client of Cartier before being married.

So I then crossed the hall with another display of diamonds that had a small side room for stationary, and reached the Elizabeth Taylor room. The room was filled with candid stills from her home movie of receiving the set of Cartier rubies from Mike Todd, the ones Elizabeth famously wore in the pool. There was also a drawing on the right when you entered of the ruby necklace on Taylor. The side room I looked in had drawings of Cartier designed jewelry like the necklace she commissioned Cartier to design around the famous Peregrina Pearl.

elizabeth-taylor-room-cartier

The jewelry in the cases had a variety of colored stones, in contrast to the primarily white diamonds in Kelly’s area. Around the room where amazing works of jewelry in stand alone glass cases. I will share one below but I could not take too many photos.

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This is the last jewelry photo I took. A staff member by the door informed me that photos of jewelry in the cases was not allowed. I didn’t argue or act unpleasant I just put my phone away and looked a bit more down stairs. Now I had been taking photos downstairs before I was told there was an issue so I’ll share them with you to finish the story. That opal piece above was just the tip of the iceberg. When you walked down to the first floor the room to your left held the high jewellery. There were snakes, panthers, birds made with stones in all kinds of colors.

cartier-inside-necklace-display

The Cartier Mansion still felt like someone could live in it. It didn’t feel exclusive. I felt I could have bought something with ease, there was no intimidation for me in the store. A little sad I couldn’t afford any jewelry but that is how it is for now. One other nice thing I noticed on the first floor in the room closest to the main entrance some of the more affordable jewels had the prices listed next to the item. I have been a big fan of transparency with jewelry stores. I hate having to waste a clerk’s time asking for prices as I try and decide on an item. In keeping time with my schedule to catch a bus to return to my apartment I moved on but am resolved to return for more. I still have floors 3 and 4 to visit. Because as Kelly’s character put it to Grant she is no imitation and neither is this amazing experience. The Cartier Mansion is no longer just a store but a destination that can easily be for some a home away from home! Return soon for more from Data in the Rough! And please let me know in the comments if you have seen the new Cartier Mansion or have a favorite Grace Kelly movie!

Goodbye Dorfman Jewelers

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If you visit Boston and take the Duck Tour, one of the stops is Newbury Street. The driver takes a moment to tell about the high-end shops and important people who shop on this street. When the Duck boats roll up to Newbury Street after February 20th, Newbury Street will feel a little less glamorous. Dorfman Jewelers is closing today.

I came to Boston almost seven years ago to attend graduate school. I was not in the area too long before I found my way to Newbury Street and Dorfman. I want to focus this post on my experience with the store and the jewelry. Sometimes you can be too close to a subject, which makes it hard to express exactly the meaning your subject has on you. Events at Dorfman were not simple viewings; you were celebrating a new brand coming into the Dorfman family. Those in attendance were in some cases clients but were all friends and welcomed guests. I wrote about several events held at Dorfman’s in some of my past blog posts. I will mention the links if you would like to know more.

Events I attended were:

The reopening of Dorfman’s in the Fall of 2014. I entered the new store and all the designers or brand representatives were there to answer questions about their jewels and brand. The designers included Alexandra Mor, Mimi So, Agori, Gemlock and many others. Some of their pictures are below. This was also the first Alexandra Mor Boutique that opened.

new_store

April 2015, Fred Leighton had an event at Dorfman showing off jewelry worn by the stars. That article is here that I wrote on the event.

leighton

In the Fall of 2015, they hosted the newly made imperial egg created by the reestablished Faberge Company. The night was filled with beautiful music provided by a professional singer, a representative of Faberge to talk about the pieces in more depth and the jewelry that was available to purchase.

faberge

Other events included the new Atomo mini collection that Giorgio Bulgari came to show; Graff Diamonds shown in Dorfman’s, Pinks diamonds from the Angolo Mines of Austrailia (I remember the $1.2 million bracelet I tried on) and meeting Alexandra Mor. Gerard Riveron the former Creative Director at Dorfman’s first introduced Alexandra’s collection in 2012. I was fortunate enough to try on some of her beautiful and well-crafted pieces. It is one of the many qualities that Dorfman had that made it different from the rest. All the pieces were high quality, beautiful and wearable.

 

Good byes are hard to handle but they are even harder when you feel as though you do not have something to carry with you after it ends. That is why I hoped to leave with a piece from this amazing store and instead left with a story that involves fate. A quote I like is from Napoleon Bonaparte, ‘There is no such thing as accident; it is just fate misnamed.’ I got the news of Dorfman closing when I was home in the Midwest for Christmas. I got to the store after the New Year to find many of the pieces in my price range already sold (not that there were many options with my budget). I did see a light colored pear shaped pendant that I remembered from an event in the spring (Picture below from an event).

A_Furst

It was an A & Furst rose gold pendant with what was said to be a rose quartz. I was really hoping to buy that item but it was only 30% off. I can tell you I left a little down but I still had faith something might come up later. February came and I was planning to go back and say good-bye to the staff. I knew there had been more discounts but with Valentine’s Day, the odds were less in my favor of the pendant still being there. I walk in with a few small gifts and talked a moment to those workers that were there. I looked around the store again and was a little surprised to see the pendant at 50% off still on display. I asked to see the pendant again. The woman that took it out then proceeded to talk about the pendant and a strange occurrence with the piece.

The piece really was not supposed to be here. The story went another customer had looked at this pendant a few weeks ago. She liked it but wanted to think it over; when she returned to buy the pendant, it was gone. The woman telling me the story was the one to tell the woman if it was not out then it must have sold. A few days later same the woman returned looked around, asked about the pendant and left when she was told it was not here it must have sold. Well a little while after that the pendant resurfaced it had not sold but had somehow slipped underneath something that had it hidden. The store took it out and displayed it. The woman never returned but another customer came that was interested but wanted the stone to be amethyst not rose quartz so she declined. Then I came in. I liked it but was not thinking of making a purchase but the necklace was closer to my budget. I did say I would think about it and made sure they were open on President’s Day. I thought about the necklace the next day and decided to buy it Monday if it was there. As I was walking down Newbury Street that Monday morning still thinking of the necklace, I had a moment that felt a little like the scene from ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Harry (Billy Crystal) is alone in the cold thinking about what got him here and suddenly has a moment of clarity where the viewer sees flashbacks of him and Sally (Meg Ryan). The viewer knows what Harry just realizes and puts so eloquently to Sally when he sees her, “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible”.

I was not buying just a pendant I was buying memories that were something I would keep forever. I got to the store and the pendant was still there. I took one more look and saw more than what was in front of me. I saw six years of happy moments from a store with the best quality and kindest staff I had ever met. I bought the A & Furst pendant and became a client of Dorfman Jewelers. On the train ride back, I took out my receipt to see what the description had. The stone is a Rose de France. I looked it up and saw it is in fact an amethyst but is so light a shade of purple it is not considered as valuable as the deeper hued amethyst people are familiar with. So looking back, I think it was a story of fate. As hard as it is to imagine Newbury Street without Dorfman Jewelers, there is a quote I found comforting. ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard’~A.A.Milne

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Thank you for the many wonderful experiences Dorfman! For those familiar with the store I would love to hear your stories in the comments. I hope you visit my blog again soon!

 

Below are a few more photos from the pieces in the final store inventory:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alexandra Mor Ring

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