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


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.


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:


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.


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…


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!


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!

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.


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!


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)


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.



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.


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

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

Ring made with pink gold, freshwater pearls and diamonds


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.



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!


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.


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!


Goodbye Dorfman Jewelers


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.


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.


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.


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).


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



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:










Alexandra Mor Ring


4 Auctions, 2 Days: My Journey to see a Duchess, a Southern Belle, a Clown and a Woman whose Style is Her Signature

It’s no secret by now when I say that I love jewelry! One aspect of jewelry I really love is the history and craftsmanship that even the smallest piece can have. These qualities can be found in modern jewelry or vintage jewelry. Going into a store and appreciating the work and design is a pastime of mine. Unfortunately, a little guilt can come when going in too often and not buying. A great alternative for me is attending auction previews.  I’ve been to several in New York and Boston over the years. This December was no exception.  The auction houses that I attend were having their previews around the same time so I made a day trip to see three auction houses in New York City and one in Boston over the first weekend in December. Yes I went to 4 auction previews in 2 days! Each had a some amazing must see pieces that I’ll share below, as well as some history with them.

Day 1:

Sotheby’s Auction House (New York City)

I started my day at Sotheby’s Auction House. This was the first auction house I had been to when I first came to NYC. I bought a bus ticket to see Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry displayed and up for auction. So when I heard Sotheby’s was selling another set of her jewelry I knew this was a must see.  The set below is more than jewelry owned by a celebrity, the designer Suzanne Belperron has an amazing story as well. Ms. Belperron was a jewelry designer in the early 20th century. A rare profession for a woman to hold and to be so successful her jewelry came with the highest in quality of design. Her designs were so strong and unique she did not sign most of her work. She claimed, “My style is my signature.” So finding identifiable work of hers is rare and in 1987 the Duchess of Windsor a buyer of Belperron’s jewelry could only identify 5 of 16 pieces as that of the artist. This set below is one of the pieces sold almost 30 years ago and up for auction again.




This jewelry above is made with chalcedony, sapphires, diamonds and white gold. The cuffs sold as a set for $526,000, in line with the $400,000-$600,000 estimate. The necklace estimated to sell between $350,000-$550,000 earned the sum of $430,000.  There were other items as well.

Below Left- a pair of topaz and diamond earring by JAR that sold for $358,000

Below Middle-a necklace designed by Van Cleef & Arpels owned by Queen Nazil of Egypt sold for about $4.3 million

Below Right- another auction preview for watches this gold and enamel watch from 1810 sold for $30,000



Christie’s Auction House (New York City)

Next stop was another famous auction house Christie’s. Below is jewelry owned by Carroll Petrie. Raised in South Carolina, Mrs. Petrie gained a passion for art and culture. She moved to New York City where she became a model and married a man that was in New York High Society. She gained many beautiful pieces of jewelry and was involved in  Philanthropy which put her in contact with celebrities such as Joan Rivers, President Reagan and wife Nancy, among others. Both necklaces below are designed by Jean Schlumberger. The first one sold far above the estimate of $200,000-$300,000 going for $905,000! The necklace below that had the same estimate and sold for $725,000! These pieces were amazing to see in person. The sparkle and vibrancy of the gems was breath taking!





The gold headband above was also owned by Mrs. Petrie. This fun piece was estimated at $5,000-$7,000 and sold below the estimate for $4,375. Not as pricey as the ones above but a another piece to this woman’s fabulous life!


Bonham’s Auction House (New York City)

My final stop in NYC was at a smaller auction house, Bonham’s. The featured item for this auction was a gold clown with a black opal center, covered with diamonds, ruby an sapphires. It was a unique piece and not too big. This brooch made by Cartier in 1975 sold for $37,500.(below far left)

There were other incredible pieces to see. Next to the clown belown is a picture of a stunning Trianon designed cultured pearl, sapphire, diamond and shell brooch. I love shell jewelry and found this to be so beautiful! This was withdrawn from the auction. The photo next to the shell on the right, is a coral, emerald, pearl brooch by Tony Duquette. The bid was with drawn and did not sell. The final photo on the right is a bit blurry but in person was so full of fire and brilliance I had to add this 3.8 carat ruby ring surround by 3.3 carats of diamonds. Sadly this too did not sell. For this rings case the trend is large stone gems and 3.8 is not a large stone, but I would have gladly taken it! So 3 houses down one left for the next day as I journey back to Boston.



Day 2:

Skinner Auction House (Boston)


20151206_122718Even with being a little tired the next day I regained my energy to see another Suzanne Belperron piece. This diamond and platinum brooch is another example of Suzanne Belperron’s fine and unique work. This piece was made in 1940 and was estimated to sell between $20,000-$30,000. As seems the trend with my picks this did not sell. Hopefully sometime this work of art will find a good home. I did find other fun items for you to enjoy below!

I tried to get better details but the lighting was not as great as I hoped for but you can imagine the entrance this piece would make on someone! This 18kt white gold and diamond necklace by Stefan Hafner(below the two photos to the right), is beyond fantasy! Holding it was like holding a diamond net, the movement and fluidity of the piece was what made this piece so fun to see! It was estimated to sell for $25,000-$35,000 and earned the sum of $27,060!




I have really taken an interest in these carved figures that invoke a time long before the modern world. This brooch to the left above is no exception! This small 14kt gold and multi-gemstone brooch of a fortune teller was only selling for an estimate $400-$600, and went for $492. A really amazing deal in my opinion!

So that was my journey to see all these pieces and more. I learned about history, design and appreciated the little details that can get lost when only looking for the expensive items. If you went to see these auctions let me know what else you liked and please subscribe to my email list for more updates! Thank you for reading my article!