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Entries in faberge (4)

Just in Time for Easter: FabergĂ© Eggs from A La Vieille Russie

ALVR | Faberge

Miniature white enamel egg set with a red enamel coin of Elizabeth I and four cushion-cut sapphires. By Fabergé, ca. 1895.

ALVR | Faberge

Miniature egg with white enamel stripes and set with a turquoise. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.

ALVR | Faberge

A jouré yellow and green gold egg, punctuated with rose diamonds around the center. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.

ALVR | Faberge

A two-color gold-mounted egg-form aventurine quartz hand seal on brilliant translucent green enamel base. By Faberge, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.

Legendary Fabergé eggs--eggs so popular, that almost everyone knows what you're talking about when you mention their name. For me, these were my first obsession above all other types of jewelry. I remember going to my local public library and wanting to check out a book on making crafts out of egg cartons--I saw the recommendation on Reading Rainbow!  Instead, I found my way to a book on Fabergé eggs and was infatuated. In fact, for the first time in my life, I loved the book so much I never returned it. I didn't care it was wrong because this book lit up my life!  My second run in with Fabergé eggs happened when I was in high school. I became obsessed with watching Joan Rivers on QVC and admired her love of Fabergé eggs. Back then, she had created her own jewelry line with bundles of three eggs per chain of her own miniature versions of "Fabergé eggs." I ordered my first trio of eggs and was hooked.  I can't remember how many I collected over the next few years, but after graduating college, I was able to pay for my trip to study abroad from selling my Joan Rivers Egg Collection. It was quite a few. I honestly wish I still had those eggs, but I wouldn't trade my overseas experience for anything!

It is no myth that Fabergé eggs are enchanting, often mysterious, and full of intrigue.  If you were married to a Russian tsar, the ideal Easter gift would be a Fabergé egg designed by none other than Carl Fabergé himself. The first ever Fabergé egg was made in 1885 and presented to Alexander III. Since then, it varies as to how many are apparently out there, but some sources say 65 Imperial eggs were made, some say 50, some say 52, but it is known that only 43 have survived--there is a really comprehensive table that describes each, citing where the egg is now. A few are cited as "Lost" and it is with lots of hope that they will be recovered someday. 

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

Circular aquamarine and diamond Imperial Presentation brooch with an Imperial crown decoration. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1913.

Natural pearl and diamond floral brooch with blue enamel border. By Fabergé, Moscow, 1896-1908.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

Diamond and green garnet necklace mounted in platinum. By Fabergé, ca. 1900.

Natural pearl ruby and diamond necklace set in platinum and gold. By Fabergé, ca.1900.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

Fabergé gold-mounted lozenge-form brooch, set with diamonds and red enamel wreath over white guilloché enamel ground. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, ca 1890.

Lozenge brooch with a central cabochon moonstone, set with rose diamonds, and white enamel. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.

Fabergé eggs created for the general public, not just zsars, continued being the company's most popular pieces. In the year 1900, the House of Fabergé was completed which literally was a large building which centralized all the operations--bringing together workshops, artisans, a design department, even Carl Fabergé's own place of residence, in one large building.  Throughout the turn-of-the-century, Fabergé turned out elaborate pieces of jewelry, decorative drinking cups and bowls, items for writing, miniature hardstone animals, a wide variety of photo frames (as Kodak launched its first camera), and much, much more. He employed hundreds of craftsmen under conditions that were very superior, with great pay. As success continued, expansion happened, until the first World War broke out in 1914. The House of Fabergé lost a lot of workers to the draft, precious metals were haulted to use, so the items that were produced during this time were created from materials like copper, nephrite, brass, and silver.  Carl Fabergé ultimately fled Russia and died in 1920.

Many of the pieces of jewlery and decorative arts which Fabergé created during its height of success are highly collectible. A La Vieille Russie, a shop in NYC, has specialized in Fabergé since opening in 1961. You'll be amazed by these authentic, one-of-a-kind Fabergé items, including some eggs that ALVR currently has in their inventory.  If you haven't read the blog post featuring my visit to ALVR, you must!  Here is the link.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

White enamel and two-color gold hanging bellpush. Contained in original fitted hollywood box. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, workmaster H. Wigström, ca. 1915.

Carved two-color jasper miniature egg in the form of a Kingfisher with diamond eyes. By Fabergé, Moscow, ca. 1900.

Gold-mounted brilliant pink guilloché enamel egg-form pendant locket, the opening set with rose diamonds. By Fabergé, workmaster M. Perchin. St. Petersburg, ca. 1895.

Anyway, I thought the quick history on Fabergé paired with some pieces that are available would make my readers very happy on Easter!  Hope you enjoyed!

Works Cited:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabergé_egg

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts app called Fabergé at VMFA

 

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.

ALVR

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Gem Gossip Visits A La Vieille Russie in NYC

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Window shopping in NYC is great, but you MUST check out the inside, don't be afraid! Tell them you saw this blog post!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Wow, first things I lay my eyes on after walking into the door--this incredible opal necklace.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

The interior is just as magnificent as you would have imagined the iconic ALVR to be!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

OMG! I knew I was going to see some amazing jewelry at ALVR--these two were my top picks!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Queen for a minute! This crown was really fun to wear, diamonds set in silver with a chicken feather

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Another exquisite piece with unknown origins, but we do know it is Edwardian and American!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Browsing and enjoying every minute of it!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Quite the stack--all rings available from ALVR

ALVR | Gem Gossip

A look into one of their curio cabinets of jewels.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Probably the most incredible articulated and enameled snake necklace I've ever seen! Everything is immaculate and the snake looks so life-like!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

I had to try it on! You could wear it in so many different ways!!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

This brooch is most likely from the Russian Crown Jewels--wow!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Playing with some more rings, all available from ALVR

ALVR | Gem Gossip

A pair of very sweet emerald antique earrings

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Hearing the stories Mr. Peter Schaffer has to tell, I could listen for hours!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Ah, rings...my favorite part! You can check out the ring selection online from ALVR here.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Cream of the crop Art Deco right here! This brooch pulls apart to become two dress clips

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Always looking, scanning, browsing...my advice is to look more than once!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Have you ever seen a pair of jade wasp earrings carrying a diamond briolette pollen drop?!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Probably my favorite bracelet from their extensive collection, this well-made Victorian turquoise and diamond piece

ALVR | Gem Gossip

These earrings are not for the faint of heart--I can't get enough of the imperial Topaz

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Are you convinced you need to stop in yet?!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Having all the jewels at my fingertips is scary and amazing at the same time! ;)

ALVR | Gem Gossip

The holidays are around the corner--put a bow on it! Or two!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Myself with Sharon and Mr. Peter Schaffer

It's 2016 and dreams still do come true. How many people have walked by, zoomed passed in a taxi, or trotted on in a horse/carriage (which should be banned, I think) by the iconic shop that specializes in rare antique jewelry, Faberge, and decorative arts, not to mention Russian treasures of all sorts?! A La Vieille Russie is its name and since 1961 the store has stood across from Central Park, on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street. Most every part of NYC is busy, however this area is even more so, especially with tourist foot traffic. I've been hoping, wishing, praying I would get the opportunity to visit this gallery and more importantly, take enough time to fully enjoy every piece and hear the stories that had to be told by Mr. Peter Schaffer himself. 

A La Vieille Russie opened its doors to me and want to do the same for you!  With some jewelry shops, intimidation for whatever reason, can sometimes prevent one from visiting and taking the time to walk inside the store. People often would rather stare at the windows and not go inside. The staff and owners of ALVR want to let you know that they encourage visitors, curious minds and drooling jewelry fans. The history of their store is important and rich in many senses, but that does not mean they aren't ready and willing to help a gazing customer. 

I experienced SO many once-in-a-lifetime pieces of jewelry while visiting A La Vieille Russie. Again, like I said, dreams do come true. The crown was a memorable moment, as well as the labradorite carved monkey ring. The pair of snakes are both incredibly rare, to begin with, and then to experience two very similar ones at the same time...?!  I've never felt a piece of jewelry before that was made with such superiority. And so life-like...one could think it is real if the situation were right. From the cabinets of jewels, to the vitrines of Faberge, the collection of cufflinks, and the window of bold pieces, ALVR was the perfect visit for a beautiful day in NYC.

Next time you're in NYC, make sure you stop by--you can say I sent you!

 

 

ALVR

781 5th Ave

New York, NY 10022

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Q & A with A La Vieille Russie in NYC

 ALVR ALVR

It only took one quick glance from my whizzing cab on the busy streets of NYC--I locked onto the gilded windows with my eyes and secretly swooned as I sped by A La Vieille Russie. The antique gallery specializes in rare jewelry, Fabergé, decorative arts and Russian treasures, and stands on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street in all its glory. It's a shop unlike any other and it belongs in no other place than NYC. Unfortunately for me, I don't get to visit NYC as often as I'd like to, but hopefully soon I will get a chance to visit ALVR rather than drive right by it only wishing I could stop.

The inventory on display at A La Vieille Russie is what most would describe as "exquisite," or in my own words, "museum-worthy." If you love Art Deco engagment rings, yes ALVR has them...but how about a rare piece of French Victorian jewelry, perfectly executed and in excellent condition?! Or even better, how about a diamond spray brooch with an origin most likely of the Russian Crown Jewels?! That's what sets ALVR apart from the rest. The jewelry is magnificent and it speaks for itself. 

I had to know more about this gallery that stands out from the crowd...about their jewelry, most importantly, and their views on the antique jewelry industry. With such an extraordinary store and resume, I fielded some questions and enjoyed hearing the intriguing responses. Hope you enjoy too!

 

q1

We source our jewelry from around the world but the majority of it we find in England and the European continent.

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q2

The short answer is no. For instance, we have a postcard in our archives from an antique jewelry dealer, writing to his son in the 1820s saying “I don’t know how you are going to continue in business, I can’t find any merchandise”. We think dealers have always felt this way and really great antique pieces are becoming harder and harder to find. They are out there but along with being harder to find, the quality we seek has become a lot more expensive. It is easy to spend a million dollars but we would actually find it very difficult given the quality and the rarity of the pieces we are on the hunt for. However, as time goes on, pieces become vintage and eventually antique. Most of our collection comes from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century but we are beginning to collect exceptional jewels from the mid-20th century and we even have some “vintage” jewels from the 1970s and ‘80s.

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q3

 

We are world renown for our Fabergé and have formed some of the most important Fabergé collections in the world. The Messer Schaffer’s father, Alexander Schaffer, is known for introducing Fabergé to America and Fabergé himself was a client of our firm in 19th century Kiev. We are also known for our Imperial Russian treasures and European Objects of Vertu and snuffboxes. Interestingly, snuffboxes are considered by most to be the top end of jewelry. Primarily snuffboxes were made for men, however, in her lifetime, Catherine the Great had the largest collection and the story is that she supposedly had a snuffbox on every window ledge of the Winter Palace, known today as the main building of the Hermitage Museum. Given the number of windows in the Winter Palace, 1,945 to be exact, this story must be an exaggeration. However, it is possible that she had at least one in each of its 1,057 rooms.

In terms of jewelry, we consider ourselves to be “where the unusual is usual." We look for the highest level of craftsmanship, the finest materials as well as unusual and innovative designs. We get most excited about delightfully unusual jewels and over the years, some of our favorite pieces have included materials such as wood, leather, gunmetal, human hair, copper, brass, celluloid etc. Of course, rings do very well for us as they are easily worn with today’s fashions. We try to carry a range of momento mori rings, hardstone cameo rings, Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and cocktail rings. Rare, high quality rings always sell and oddly enough, at the moment we are also all out of tiaras.

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q4

 

Art Deco is eternally popular. Lately, we have also seen a returned interest in mid-nineteenth century jewelry (1830-1870) in the Georgian, Victorian and Revival styles. Art Nouveau ebbs and flows in popularity but we love it always. Artist jewelry such as pieces by Salvador Dalí or jewels by Hollywood celebrity jeweler Paul Flato also always has an audience. There is definitely an increase in the salability and desirability of antique jewels and we think it is due to two main factors: 1) People are looking for individuality and do not want to be a part of the herd. So much of today’s jewelry is ubiquitous or a continuation of branding and people are favoring unique antique pieces more and more. 2) Some of our jewelry we consider “subway jewelry”, as in you can wear it anytime, anywhere, depending on the audience. Some of our best pieces do not appear as obvious bling and are quite understated. You could wear these pieces on the subway without anyone realizing what you had on and then once you got to the opening night of the Opera, everyone would know what you’re wearing.

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q5

Any? We have several! One of our favorites is from a few years back. A friend and client came into our gallery one day saying that her sister had passed away and was wondering if we would be interested in looking at her massive collection of jewelry in Jersey. Of course, we said yes and when the subject was broached with one of our firm’s principals, he immediately said “get in a car and drive out there”. To which the response was “No can do, it is the Isle of Jersey… off of the coast of France!” We ended up with over three hundred and fifty pieces of fabulous jewelry.

ALVR2015_WEB2

This post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.

ALVR

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Gem Gossip Visits Wartski in London #LoveGold

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Put an industry veteran, a blogger/gemologist, and an antiques road show superstar in one room and what fun will you have?!  SO much fun.  That was basically the situation when I visited Wartski at 14 Grafton Street in London.  With such a rich history, and even richer items for sale, this place became my dreamland.  Glass display cases lined with the prettiest antique jewelry and museum-like displays which held the rare jewels made up the showroom, along with a large safe and an incredible portrait of Queen Alexandra.  

Geoffrey Munn was there to delightfully show us some outstanding pieces of gold jewelry, which he started off with a gold and guilloche clock.  Wartski is known for their extensive collection of Faberge pieces, most of which are gold with enamel or carved gemstones.  Geoffrey was eager to pull things out from the safe to show, like the creepy/cool mid-Victorian piece made of gold and beetle wings.  One of my favorite things I tried on was a 18k yellow gold necklace by Eugene Fontenay.  The piece is French, mid-Victorian and has a neo-classical look. The necklace just laid wonderfully against my skin, it was beautiful.  

Other outstanding pieces include an Art Nouveau buckle-like jewel, which was worn around the neck with a ribbon.  It was done by Lucien Gautrait, a mysterious jeweler who was known for his enamel work and resemblance to Lalique's work.  It was also incredible to see opera glasses made entirely out of gold and gemstones.  The work and craftsmanship that went into them is astonishing.  

Wartski is the perfect getaway to be dazzled and enlightened by antique jewelry, especially if you have Geoffrey as your host.  I had such a great time trying on the most amazing pieces and learning new things from such a seasoned jewelry professional.  Thank you and hopefully I'll be back soon!


This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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