Bonhams 2017 Fall Jewelry Analysis: The $8 Brooch Sells

A busy weekend for me. Lots of auctions coming up but let’s finish our look at the auctions last week. I plan to make this a shorter analysis. I am not including a past auction of Bonhams to compare. Bonhams removes the unsold items from its list after the auction so if you do not gather your data before that then it is harder to get. My plan then is to focus on this auction only. I will look at the stats and percentage of sold versus unsold lots. Next, we will look at the top performing items and then look at the highlights from the post last week.

Sold versus Unsold

Note my results do not include buyer’s premium.

Looking at the table below you can see the percentage sold and unsold by category (type). There were 180 lots up for auction. The types are in order by highest percentage sold.

I also listed the total lots in each category so you get an idea how much was for sale. Watches did well but there were only 4. Same logic can be applied to the worst performing categories that only had 1 lot up for sale in that category. The category with the most items was the Ring category. From the Skinner analysis, we saw rings did well in that auction too.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the items. Below is the table with the mean, median, and mode. I describe the significance of using these metrics in the Skinner analysis.

The lots ranged from $2,000 to $1,500,000 for the high estimate. So it is no surprise to see the average be so far off from the median and mode. Those higher end products can throw off the average. We see that most items were around $10,000 and sold at or slightly (10%) above the estimate.

Were there any outliers? What were the best performing lots?

Top 5 Lots

I like to look at the lots that outperform their estimates, not look at the lots that made the highest sale. Sometimes those are the same as we saw for that emerald brooch at Skinner. This time that was not the case. There were no major outliers. I created a table of the top 5 lots that were above their high estimate.

It is a good mix of designer and early 19th century that made the list. Below are the first 3.

Diamond and ruby line bracelet from 1925 was estimated to go between $5,000-$8,000. It sold for $20,000.

The emerald diamond ring sold for $22,000 and was estimated between $6,000-$8,000.

This fine diamond pendant from 1910 was thought to go between $8,000-$12,000 and sold for $28,000.

Past Predictions

So what about the items we looked at last week?

The wooden gold brooch by Cartier…

and the black opal that was estimated around $300,000.

Both went unsold. I was surprised about the brooch, it was estimated between $10,000-$15,000. Which I did not think was that bad.

Now to the final piece the story of the yard sale brooch bought for $8 and sold for…

$21,000. Bonhams predicted that right. They estimated getting between $20,000-$30,000.

All photos courtesy of Bonhams.

What are your thoughts on this auction? Do you agree with my findings? What was an item you were watching in this auction? The coming week is going to be fun! I will look at two celebrity auctions based in London. Check back this week for more on Data in the Rough!

 

 

 

What to look for at the Auctions: September 18th 2017

Well the fall auction season has begun! I spent my Sunday checking out the Skinner lots in Boston. If you were in New York you could head over to Bonhams to look what they were offering. For this post, I am highlighting a few pieces to watch for the auction tomorrow. Then later in the week I will do a more in-depth analysis of how the auction did overall. I will start with Skinner since I got to see the pieces first hand.

Skinner Auction

There were plenty of opals, diamonds and colored gems to grab your attention but for me I am interested in the less flashy items. I am going to be watching the Georg Jensen items like the lot below. Photos from Skinner.

The post I had on the June Fine Jewelry Auction at Skinner, had the Jensen items beating their estimates multiple times. I want to see if it is a continuing trend.

 

Another item that I am curious to see how it does is the Antique Natural Pearl pendant. Photo courtesy of Skinner.

It is estimated to go between $50,000-$75,000. Natural pearls have had some moments of bringing in good sales at auction so this is another trend that I am looking at. For more items see the lots here.

Bonhams

Looking at this auction there is so much variety. That won’t be covered here but 3 pieces caught my eye. One for the story, one for its style and the final one for its scarcity. Photos courtesy of Bonhams.

If you have been following some jewelry bloggers the big story was this brooch bought at a garage sale for $8. You can read more on it here.

It is a fun story and one I’ll be following to see if the publicity helps the sale.

Another trend I have been seeing is the return of jewelry trends from the 1960s and 1970s. This unique brooch by Cartier from the 1960s is an interesting lot compared to all the diamonds and gems dominating this auction. A collector of Cartier is hopefully eyeing this piece, I know I am.

Now this is a rare black opal pendant estimated to go between $200,000-$300,000. My interest is to see if the estimate is right and someone is willing to pay for this beautiful stone.

You can see more at the Bonhams site.

Conclusion

This is a small sampling of what to look for. I can’t wait to share my thoughts on the auction results. I also would love your thoughts on the auctions coming up. Did you like my picks? Is there a piece you are watching? Or maybe bidding on? Check back later to see if your predictions were right. Check out my Instagram for more pictures!

September Issues 2017: Jewelry Focus

September Issues 2017: Jewelry Focus

Above: Vogue photo with Buccellati necklace and Bulgari watch added by me

September is here and some of my favorite things are popping up; halloween candy, new collections of clothes/ accessories and the September issues of fashion magazines! How many make the annual trip to your local newsstand or bookstore to purchase several of the magazines out now? I have several subscriptions but there are a few magazines I only like to get once a year. A major reason I shy away from the subscription is too often the magazine is not consistent with the articles I like, jewelry trends and upcoming collections. For this post I am mentioning the jewelry related articles. I am also posting highlights of the jewelry from the top magazines and some articles online related to jewelry.

Harper’s Bazaar

I felt pretty good about the jewelry covered in HB when I saw that the Editor’s note on pg 80 had a red bead statement necklace by Dries Van Noten. I wasn’t disappointed. From the What’s In/Out section to articles focusing on the jewels, which is the title of one section; there was a good mix of fine and faux. Included were traditional jewelery designs you could easily find in your own collection and pieces of a more wow factor to inspire you to look for other ways to use your jewelry. My favorite example was with the Cartier bracelet below, Harper’s Bazaar had it styled in the models’ hair as something like a cover for the models’ bun of hair. Next to the cuff by Cartier, is a gold collar by Maiyet and Sidney Garber earrings at the end.

  • The In/Out List Pg 227
  • The Jewels Pg 264
  • The Extras Pg 312
  • Coded Cuff Pg 320
  • The Gold Standard Pg 458
  • So Bazaar Pg 474

InStyle

Another great read for updates on what is new in jewelry was the InStyle Magazine. InStyle is pretty good about putting accessories with outfits to complete the look. One section was dedicated to showing a few necklaces that were very appropriate for work and layering with sweaters and turtlenecks. The looks can easy be replicated in a less expensive piece and look good, which I like to see. Also seeing Bulgari’s new cake rings in the magazine was a perfect clip to introduce me to this new collection.

  • The Start- Sweet Rings Pg 117
  • Collar Me Pretty Pg 296
  • Accessories- Astro Effects Pg 310
  • Accessories- Shoulder Duster Earrings Pg 312

Bonus:

  • The Pick Pg 344

Not a jewelry article but related was a focus on gold makeup and skincare. I have some gold infused products that I need to try and report back!

A bonus web article from InStyle on Astrology inspired jewelry which is trending.

C magazine (California Style)

I found this in a local magazine rack. I am in Boston but seeing a California based magazine in a New England book shop had me take a second glance. If you thought California was laid back in their style their jewelry makes up for it! Though not article heavy what was plentiful were the jewels in the Jewelry Box section. A page dedicated to green gems like emerald and malachite. Also, the more surrealist art of the eye jewelry. The Fresh Picks article had top pick of places in or near Los Angeles by jewelry designer Rebecca de Ravenel. Overall worth the look. Earrings by Jane Taylor, cuff by Arman Sarkisyan and necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels.

  • Fresh Picks Pg 90
  • Fashion-Jewelry Box – Face Time Pg 114
  • Fashion-Jewelry Box – Emerald City Pg 116

Bonus article online of pastry chef turned jewelry designer.

Wall Street Journal Magazine

Not a magazine that can be bought on newsstands, I get this with my subscription to the Wall Street Journal.  It is relatively consistent about having good articles on designers, new collections and just appreciating the art of jewelry itself. If you look close at its choices you can learn a lot from a photo. Not many articles were in this issue about jewelry but a top pick had me curious on a new collaboration. The necklace below is from the Marc Jacobs Fall 2017 runway show that he paired with Urs Fischer to design some jewelry. The look Jacobs was going for was a hip hop urban look and this gold jewelry amped up his look to the desired effect. The image below as with the other pieces from the collection is of a sculpted mouse. I’m just going to let you read the article on Elle from the show.

My favorite piece came later with the Personal Charms article. I couldn’t find the jewelry online but Cartier has a new collection that is taking everyday items like a pillbox and perfume bottle and reimagining them as jewelry. Imagine a small perfume bottle with a stopper that is triangular on top as well as the body of the bottle having a slender pointed shape. Cartier has this as a pendant in rutilated quartz and diamonds!

  • The WSJ Five Pg 80
  • Jewelry Box- Personal Charms Pg 108

 

Honorable Mentions

Some magazines were pretty but not enough was there for me to say they represented jewelry well.

Vogue

Although a leader in fashion it was lacking a chance to display some fun gems. First off the cover needed to have earrings that were more of a statement. What Lawrence had on were nice but hard to see the details and appreciate the design. I will say that this was my favorite cover due to the beauty of the scene. I said the price on the newsstands was worth it to frame it.

Another cover inside had a fun ring that was better as a cover jewel than the earrings (from that distant angle). I looked to see a designer, none listed for the ring, earrings on cover by Cathy Waterman.

The last look section was the best in using jewelry, once you got through all the Happy 125th Anniversary ads. David Webb did it best spelling Vogue with its jewels and wishing Vogue the best.

Marie Claire

I don’t subscribe anymore but they do have a short article or two on jewelry happenings. This month it was 3 on Cartier, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Magazines that fell short

These magazines did not just fall short they left me disappointed. I am a subscriber to all 3 as they in the past have been good on representing jewelry and designers. 

W Magazine- They are a hit or miss. Some issues have nothing and are quick to be read and discarded. This issue is out the door, the only jewelry focus was a mention of stick pins, no explanation of it trending just a photo of high end stick pins arranged for the page. As I said disappointing.

Elle Magazine-They use to put out a separate magazine in the Spring devoted to accessories. Anyone remember? I still have a few. No real substance for the jewelry in the articles could be found in this issue.

Town & Country-They have had some excellent stories on designers and high jewelry trends coming but besides the earrings on cover girl Billy Lourd (which were nice to see) the jewelry was hard to find. I have seen sneak peaks of the October cover online and I think that T&C will make up for this slip.

My take on trends

If you look at the covers I posted, that telling trend is that jewelry is still not the front runner in completing a look. I know some of the articles inside have jewelry worth a king’s ransom but the real sign to me, was it important enough for the cover? Obviously not for these magazines. I picked more mainstream magazines because that is what a regular customer has the most access to and is exposed to. How will this affect the jewelry market? More is needed as we go into the auction season. A lot will depend on how the country and the world looks at the current hurricane crisis. Texas and especially Florida are major tourist destinations. Major work needs to happen to rebuild the communities and businesses that serve visitors. I think this season that will play a large part in the economy for the holiday season. Another indicator will be auctions happening in the next few months. Return to Data in the Rough soon for my looks at auction in the US and abroad.

 

Revival Jewelry: Highlights from the Boston Exhibit

Spring will be here next month but while the weather is still deciding to go back to winter or move forward to warmer weather you can take in a new jewelry exhibit that has come to Boston. This new exhibit is at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I signed up for a lecture last week to coincide with the new exhibit. The new exhibit is on revival jewelry. I was telling my dad about the lecture and the new exhibit when he asked ‘what is revival jewelry?’ My short answer was that is jewelry that is copied or inspired by jewelry from the past. Revival jewelry has a lot more history to it. I want to show highlights of the exhibit and hopefully give more detailed examples of what is revival jewelry is.

What is Revival Jewelry?

With images of the past readily available to artists, they can draw inspiration from the history, art and ideas to guide their current designs. Sometimes it is subtle and in other cases it is a copy of the technique.  This trend started in the early 1900s.

Revival Jewelry to connect with the past

Lots of exciting discoveries and inventions were made in this time but one discovery excited the early 19th century and that was the discovery of the Egyptian rulers’ tombs. Scarabs, hieroglyphics, golden gods were a few of the things that fascinated the British explorers and the public as they learned more about this exciting chapter in history.

The top item in the picture below, is a scarab from Egypt created around 740-660 BC. Beneath that is a brooch made of Gold, platinum, faience, diamond, emerald, smoky quartz and enamel by Cartier in 1924. Detailed view to the right.

To connect with a feeling

Nationalism

Revival jewelry was being made for the patriotic wave that swept over Europe in the 19th century cameos of Queen Elizabeth I were reemerging as a tribute to the current strong female monarch ruling Britain, Queen Victoria. The one featured as an example in the museum is below.  This cameo necklace was made around 1890 and made with gold, silver, diamonds, pearls, emeralds, agate, and glass.

Vacations

Different parts of the world are known for different styles and techniques in jewelry. Coral was a souvenir from Naples, micro mosaics were associated with Rome. Recall any trips where you have bought jewelry because it was inspired by images or techniques of the past?

Revival Jewelry to master old world techniques

Sometimes the best way to learn is recreating the art itself. Some of the techniques featured at the exhibit were:

Enameling

This pendant was a favorite of mine from this group. It is titled Girl Blowing Bubbles, circa 1910 made by a designer from Spain of gold, platinum, pearl, ivory, sapphire, diamond and plique-a-jour enamel.

Granulation

This is technique uses small balls of gold to add texture to the designs.

These gold earrings were made around 1870-1880 by Italian Designer Castellani. Look at the bottom part and see all those dots, each separate when added.

A more current artist, Italian born Andrea Cagnetti created this Chort pendant in 2002. This is 22 karat gold!

Revival Jewelry to recreate familiar creatures

Stories and lore of the past have captivated many throughout history but there are creatures that keep drawing mystery and inspiration to artists trying to say what it is that fascinates them with a certain subject like…

Snakes

As early as the beginning of creation these creatures continue to mesmerize people all over the world.

An amulet with a vulture-headed snake made in Egypt around 664-525 BC.

Snake belt by Elsa Peretti, 1970s made of silver and sapphires.

One of my favorite ways the snake is interpreted is by Bulgari. This diamond, gold, platinum, ruby, enamel watch created in the 1960s was one of the highlights for me of the exhibit!

Medusa

This was another theme that had my personal favorite piece. The Head of Medusa pendant created by Cartier in 1906! The materials are platinum, gold, diamonds, natural pearl coral and enamel.

There were many other pieces, cameos, crosses, coins, but these were some highlights to give you a better understanding of the different types of revival jewelry. What is your favorite era? A piece above that you really liked? If you are in the Boston area between now and August 2018 you should make plans to see Past is Present: Revival Jewelry!

The Language of Pins: Stories behind Madeleine Albright’s Collection

Legion of honor pin owned by Madeleine Albright

I was going to post this earlier but the politics got so ugly I wanted to wait until the dust settled. With the inauguration this week a question I have is what jewelry will the first lady and the daughters of the President wear? I’m sure that and so much more will be analyzed over the next four years. Some of those small choices are not given much thought but for one former White House employee there was a distinct correlation between her pin choice and her mood.

Bejeweled Mickey pin owned by Madeleine Albright, made 1989, Disney

I posted on Instagram art from the all-night event at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston a few months ago. I was unable to attend the special evening events but Madeleine Albright spoke to a group of museum attendees. Some Instagram attendees shared selfies with the former Secretary of State , I’m not posting those but will share a photo of the pin Albright was wearing. I had seen it in a book I read a few years back, Read my Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright. The pin is titled Breaking the Glass Ceiling, by an unknown artist.

Albright had a second pin on with the candidate she is supporting. I won’t mention that either since it only takes one guess knowing which president she served under. So, no more election talk on to the jewels.

The book is a fun read about a collector that happened to serve in a high government office but Ms. Albright’s history of collecting did not start when she got the job of secretary of state, but earlier at age 8. She was the daughter of an ambassador to Yugoslavia on a visit Madeleine’s mother was given an emerald ring surrounded by diamonds. That memory stayed with Madeleine and when she was old enough she was given that ring. The love of pins came from her college days when it was fashionable to wear pins with sweaters. Also in college, the tradition of getting pinned by your boyfriend was to be engaged. Madeleine was pinned by Joseph Albright, they had 3 children. Madeleine was still gifted pins by friends and relatives. Some antique and a few homemade. Below is a pin of beads on safety pin, common at craft fairs and similar to the one owned by Ms. Albright.

 

She had high end brooches as well like these two from Cartier.

Panther pin, Cartier owned by Madeleine Albright

 

Coral, Lapis Bird in Cage, Cartier made in 1944

How did her trademark pin wearing get started? The story is shared by Albright and starts with a snake. See below.

The Serpent’s Tale

The book goes through some of Albright’s family moments where she worn and acquired her pins but I am skipping ahead to her days in Washington where her collection got a lot more attention.

 

The major start to kicking off her jewelry collection in the White House was during Bill Clinton’s first term as President of the United States (1993-1997).  To set the scene, Ambassador Albright was coming in after the first Persian Gulf War and Iraq was required to accept the UN inspections and disclose about all their weapons programs. Saddam Hussein, the Iraq leader at the time, would not comply causing Albright to publicly criticize him. A poem was printed by the Iraq press in retaliation to Albrights behavior. I won’t reprint the poem but use the phrase that caused the start of her pin phase. In the poem the poet referred to Ambassador Albright as an ‘unparalleled serpent’, among other unflattering things. So when Iraq officials were scheduled to meet with her again she need to find the right item to make a statement. This coiled snake pin by an unknown designer was bought a few years back. The reason was unknown to Albright who mentioned in the book to ‘loathe’ snakes. It was perfect though and the press loved it. Albright was sending a message in her own way to the world. This soon became her trademark and still continues to this day.

Albright wearing serpent pin with her ‘don’t mess with me’ face!

Albright has many more pins and stories in this book that could be finished in an evening. A few more from her collection.

Bug Pin by Iradj Moini

 

Lady Liberty clock pin by Gijis Bakker of the Netherlands

Are there any pins you wear to work or wear on your coat for going out? I brought some that belonged to my grandmother that can take a commute to work or errands on the weekend! Thank you for reading and check back for more!

Top hat Eagle pin, 1940 by Trifari

 

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.

thief_1

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.

grace-kelly-to-catch-a-thief-2

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.

thief_7

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)

cartier-window-display-opening-box

The different surprises…

cartier-window-display

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.

princess-grace-jewelry-display

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.

princess-grace-jewelry-display-closeup

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.

cartier-opal-et-room

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!

Fall Favorites to be looking forward to in the Jewelry Industry

What does the end of summer mean for you? I have been traveling some and look forward to sharing that later in my posts. So the end of summer travel is approaching. Fall is almost here. So what does that mean for the jewelry industry and for you? It is the start of the upcoming holiday season! I am looking forward to the Fall fashion magazines, new jewelry collections and the auctions!

More specifically I am looking forward to the reopening of the Cartier Boutique in New York! For those that have been by Cartier on 52nd know that it has been under major renovations. Thankfully those renovations will soon be complete and you will be able to visit the store.

The September issue of Town and Country had focus of the Editor’s letter on the reopening and the story of how the mansion was first purchased by Cartier. I will be visiting when it reopens and reporting back.

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I am also planning to continue my book reviews on jewelry topics.

I have many exciting posts planned for September. Some are of new launches of jewelry by friends, a social media series (how to improve your brand and focus), and events that celebrate events like a store opening. I would love to hear what you are looking forward to! I hope you come back soon and join my email list so that you can continue to learn about the ways data can improve your business and understanding of the jewelry industry.

 

 

 

Famous Jewelry Collectors

With summer in full swing many of you probably have plans for how you will spend your summer, trips to the beach, finishing outdoor projects, planning family outings, etc. Summer also has fewer jewelry auctions to preview and is traditionally a slower time for jewelry stores so not a lot of new inventory is in. How will I spend my summer to fill that void of jewelry? I plan on starting on a summer reading list focused on jewelry, book bling. So for the summer I plan to post once a week a book review of a jewelry book I have read. I went to the local library and found several that will be fun to learn about. My first deals with famous jewelry collectors. The book, Famous Jewelry Collectors, is by Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes published in 1999.  Here is the cover:

Famous_Jewelry_Collectors_book_cover

I saw this cover and knew this book was off to a great start. I have featured several of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels on my Instagram and consider her jewels the finest collection I’ve ever seen!

The chapters about the collectors are broken out into three groups by their social class.

1: Screen Actresses and a Diva

Merle Oberon – Mary Pickford– Ava Gardner –  Paulette Goddard – Joan Crawford- Renata Tebaldi

actresses_group

2: Aristocracy

Cornelia, Countess Carven-Gladys Duchess of Marlborough-King Umberto II of Italy-The Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood – The Princes von Thurn und Taxis – The Duchess of Windsor

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3: Society

Countess Mona Bismarck – Lydia, Lady Deterding – Daisy Fellowes – Ganna Walska – Barbara Hutton – Helena Rubinstein

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I want to then look at one collector from each group to highlight their story and jewels.

1: Screen Actresses and a Diva: Merle Oberon

Merle_brooches

I have always admired Ms. Oberon’s work. If you haven’t seen Wuthering Heights (1939) (photo of scene below) costarring Laurence Oliver, it is a must!

Merle_Wheights

Her striking features were due to being born to a mother who was Indian and a farther that was British. He died when Merle was a small child, which had her and her mother relocate from Bombay to Calcutta. The fact her mother was dark skinned created a lot of prejudice against Merle and left her ashamed of her past. Her background was kept secret when she became a star. How did Merle go from India to Hollywood? With her stunning looks she always had admirers and one of them offered her a chance to go to France when she was in her late teens. The fling ended when the man met Merle’s mother but now with her in France she found another man who offered her a part in a film he was directing. She moved to London where she worked as a hostess at a café while getting small roles. As she climbed up the ladder to stardom she had suitors and husbands that gifted her with amazing jewels. One of my favorite pieces is a necklace by Cartier bought in London, 1938. The beads are emeralds with diamond spacers (pictured below).

Merle_emeraldbead

Another fun set to see was a set of brooches in turquoise and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels (below).

Merle_brooches_turqMerle also had earrings and a necklace to match. She also wore some of her real jewels in her movies. The 1967 movie, Hotel features the turquoise necklace and earrings. The 1938 movie, The Divorce of Lady X, also features an antique emerald and diamond necklace owned by the actress as she costars again with Laurence Oliver. I could not get a good photo of that stunner for this post. Many of her jewels were auctioned by Christie’s in April 1980 after her death in 1979.

2: Aristocracy: Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough

Gladys_painting

The next collector I chose because of her story being unique to all the others in this group. Although it is the usual start with Gladys being very beautiful and charming, pursued by many eligible bachelors. Gladys declined their advances and pursued learning, mastering new languages and increasing her knowledge of art. This was rare for a woman, especially one in high society to not marry, but Gladys had an independent spirit. Her admirers gifted her with jewels throughout her years. One in particular was the Duke of Marlborough, she met him in 1897 when she was about 16 years old and he was 26. The Duke was engaged to a Vanderbilt whom he married but always kept in touch with Gladys.  He was married 26 years to his first wife when he had it annulled and finally got Gladys to marry him when was now 40. She was hesitant because she loved her life without constraints. She did get some major perks and one of them was the jewelry. Below is an imperial pearl and diamond tiara.

Gladys_crown

This belonged to the Romanovs, the Duke bought it after the Bolsheviks sold it and other items of royalty off. Another item of great beauty is this amethyst and diamond sautoir by Cartier, a great example of art deco jewelry (picture below).

Gladys_amethysts

The marriage was not successful they separated in 1933 and the Duke died in 1934. She disappeared out of much of the public view. She was tracked down by a biographer whom heard of her through mentions in a diary by an admirer. The biographer found her in a little village and got her story. She died in October 1977 at age 97 and her jewels auctioned in 1978.

3: Society:  Helena Rubinstein

I had not heard of this woman until reading this book. Helena Rubenstein is the founder of the beauty product line that bears her name. Helena was born in Poland in 1870 and traveled to Australia at 18 to spend time with her brother’s family. She packed several jars of beauty cream with her for the harsh Australian weather. She shared this cream with her new Aussie friends who were happy with the results. The cream was not invented by her but she ended up partnering with the maker to open shops in Australia to sell this cream.  She married and had children but continued building her businesses. The jewelry was mostly bought by her. She would buy what she called ‘quarrel jewelry’. When she and her husband would have disagreements she would indulge herself with a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Helena_chunky_necklace

She loved chunky jewelry which I found interesting because of her petite size. She height was only 4’10’’. She acquired quite a bit of jewelry and in this book it had a story about her experience with airport security. Her jewels were sold big and colorful that Helena would lie and say they were costume and security always believed her! Below are some photos of her and her jewelry.

Helena_hands

I really enjoyed this book and could not cover it all in one post. I hope the women I highlighted help guide you into reading more on them or finding other books that give more details into the life of the collector. Please let me know your thoughts or if you have a question about this book! Look for more book reviews this summer!

 

Viewing Cartier’s Paris Nouvelle Vague Collection in Boston

Hopefully the weather was good for you over the weekend! In Boston it was great weather to be out and plenty of people were! Newbury Street in Boston, a historic street with luxury stores, was crowded with everyone from college students dining outdoors to the tourist crowd walking the street with Chanel bags. I was walking down Newbury Street to view a collection I had seen an ad for on Facebook.

On Friday afternoon I checked my Facebook and saw a sponsored post from Cartier. (See below)

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I don’t know if you have purchased an ad on Facebook but in many cases you can get insights on how many have viewed or liked the post. Above you can see the interactive button has a contact us button. Clicking on it only led to the US Cartier homepage with the Boston store hours. If I had been Cartier I would have created an event so you could see who was interested, not just who liked the post. Also an event reminder on Facebook could encourage those that marked they were interested into going before it’s too late.

That post was enough of an invite for me to go see the collection on Saturday and I’m so glad I did. The store was busy so I looked around and found the display in the back of the store, the pieces were divided into four sections. I have photos of two of them below.

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Cartier_9_display

After a few minutes a representative of Cartier took me through the cases and explained the meaning behind the collection which I am thrilled to share with you! The photo behind the jewelry in the case is of Paris. The four different display cases each represent a different part of Paris. For example the photo on the left is of the domed building in Paris. A close up of one of the rings in the case is below.

Cartier_1_diamond_wheel_ring

I love the architecture style of this diamond and pink gold ring!

The second case had several pearl items such as the ones below!

Cartier_2_diamond_pearl_wheel_ring
Ring made with pink gold, freshwater pearls and diamonds

 

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Ring made with pink gold, morganite, spinels, cultured freshwater pearls

In the third case,was this ring and bracelet set, that moves or trembles when worn.

Cartier_3_bracelet_moves

Cartier_6_ring_moves

Both the bracelet and ring (above) are made with yellow gold, diamonds, lapis lazuli and chrysoprase!

Another fun looking ring appears to be multiple rings but is really one ring! The ring is made of pink gold, chalcedony, turquoise, lapis lazuli, moonstone, aquamarine, sapphires and diamonds. I really love the variety of stones in this one!

Cartier_5_bubble_ring

The final case had a ring similar to this black jade, diamonds yellow gold ring (pictured below). The black jade ring was on display in the window. There were other rings, one in blue chalcedony,white gold and diamonds, the other in chrysoprase and yellow gold (they are featured on the Facebook post above).  I tried the chrysoprase ring on and found it surprisingly light! Also it is the lower priced of the three rings at $32,700. The black jade retails for $48,300 and the chalcedony is the highest at $52,000.

Cartier_10_onyx_ring

I did mention to the representative I had seen the Facebook Ad and came because of it. I left with a better understanding of the collection, something that is missing on the website. It was a well spent afternoon. If you are interested in seeing more pieces from the collection you can click the link to be directed to the collections site on Cartier in the US.

I hope you like this post! If you are in the Boston area I recommend you check out the collection at Cartier, it’s up through May 31st! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments, others may be wondering the same thing! Check back soon for more posts!