Entries in jewelry collection stories (10)
Continuing this week with Jewelry Collection Stories, the next collection is one I am really excited about. I've known Jenn of Bellflower Bay for several years, as she was one of my first friends I've met through Gem Gossip, and it is also special to see her collection and know that I was present when she purchased of few of the pieces shown. We've gone to London together and attended a jewelry conference in Chicago together...can't wait to see where our jewelry-loving friendship takes us next! What a great connector this blog has been. Take it away, Jenn:
Above: Black collection (l-r): Edwardian onyx & diamond long ring (acquired at Round Top Antiques Fair, outside of Austin, TX);
Middle finger, top is a Victorian agate & snake ring from @theoneilovenyc; bottom middle finger is a 1930’/ 40’s onyx and diamond ring made by Korean jeweler T.Y. Lee (side note: when researching the hallmark on this one, I found that American and other foreign GIs purchased rings from T.Y. Lee during WW2 and brought them home to their sweethearts when the war was over);
Index finger, top is an enamel and rose cut diamond mourning ring which says “in memory of” on the opposite side-- from the Pier Show (NYC); bottom index is a Victorian black & white agate and diamond cameo from a jewelry store in CT.
Dendritic agate & sterling ring: the piece I’m proudest of. After collecting for a few years, my mom and I decided to take a jewelry-making course. We trudged over to the 92nd street Y from our respective homes every Sunday for about six weeks. I highly recommend this course to any collector; it showed us just how much goddamn work it took to manipulate these materials, and gave us a much deeper appreciation for the skill that so many jewelers have.
Garnet collection (l-r): top ring finger is a Victorian garnet and diamond ring, a Christmas present from my husband that he got from @agelessheirlooms; bottom ring finger is a Georgian/ Early Victorian dendritic agate and garnet, found at Portobello road by @heartofsolidgold and @gemstonegypsy;
Middle finger: top is a bohemian garnet ring found in The Netherlands by my friend @quaintlytracy; bottom middle is a Georgian garnet halo mourning ring with a decorated urn in the center surrounded by the names of the deceased married couple “Tho. Blundell a38// Ellen Blundell a34” (Christmas gift from fella);
Index: top is a retro 1940’s “lovebird” ring with garnet center; bottom index is a crazy-ass ring of indeterminate origin—sold to me as a Victorian piece many, many years ago when I was a newbie (aka naïve & trusting) collector, but it appears to be a mish-mash of pieces from different eras. I like it anyhow.
Turquoise & Snakes: top ring finger was originally an all turquoise cocktail ring from the 50’s, but I worked with a lovely jeweler to switch out the center stone for that wonderful old diamond. Bottom ring finger is a Victorian turquoise & accent diamond cluster from in New Orleans, LA. It was our first trip to that amazing city, and my husband bought this for me as a birthday present. We were told that the woman who used to run the store had passed away recently, and when they went through her desk & safe, they found a small bag full of pretty little rings she had set aside (and had been apparently doing so for decades); this was one of them.
Middle finger is all snakes: top is a Victorian ruby & turquoise from Brodney in Boston, MA.; next is a 22k gold & ruby ring from a jewelry store in CT.; under that is a 9k & blue glass snake which was a gift from @heartofsolidgold; and then a vintage 18k wrap around snake from a jewelry store in Astoria, NY.
Index finger: Georgian double crowned gold & silver heart with turnaround, coral and table cut diamonds. I stalked this ring for over THREE years on the Ruby Lane store Robbins’ Roost Antiques, and then put it on layaway for almost a year. Bottom index finger: Victorian diamond and turquoise halo, from the same Astoria jeweler. (Also on layaway after much stalking!)
Bling collection: “Why does she have so many engagement rings?” you may ask. Good question! Well, my fella is very sentimental, and wanted to propose with his grandmother’s ring (third down from the top), but after a bit, I realized it wasn’t quite my style. It’s a difficult topic to brooch, but listen ladies: you’re the one who has to wear the ring! So don’t be afraid to say something. Second down is the one I picked out: 18 ct Edwardian filigree. Top band is one of my wedding bands, an Edwardian diamond “bow” ring. Bottom ring finger was my grandmother’s engagement ring. Sometimes I wear them all just to confuse people!
Middle finger, top to bottom: grandma’s wedding band; ridiculous diamond cluster inherited when grandma passed (made in the 60’s with old family diamonds); platinum, ruby, and diamond Victorian (ish) cluster ring, which was one of my best early purchases.
Index finger: top is an antique platinum oblong mine cut diamond ring from this past Christmas; the next is an Edwardian era platinum, diamond and carved amethyst ring; last is a strange filigree ring studded with rose cut diamonds.
Some more bling collection: ring finger: contemporary emerald snake ring from @gemstonegypsy (goes with EVERYTHING); aquamarine & diamond navette made from an old pin of my grandma’s (my mom has a matching one).
Middle finger: vintage three diamond band; platinum engraved band that was my great-grandmother’s; retro mixed gold & diamond band; Victorian buckle ring; diamond cluster ring that I’m on the process of acquiring from @heartofsolidgold; Georgian blue enamel & mine cut diamond ring from Portobello Road (UK).
Index finger: Victorian gold & silver navette with a mix of rose & mine cut diamonds.
Wild rings, Pt 1: Victorian 18 ct & Banded agate “puzzle” ring with engraved floral band (series of carvings “say” something—haven’t figured it out yet!); Victorian painted ship ring from Brimfield.
Middle finger: Emerald and diamond lion ring converted from a Victorian cufflink (@heartofsolidgold has its twin); Victorian 18k emerald ring.
Index: Edwardian/ Deco Platinum Emerald and sapphire halo ring from Gray’s antiques in London; Edwardian platinum and sapphire elongated ring from the Pier show, NYC.
Wild rings Pt. 2: Victorian boulder opal; retro multi-gem “sputnik” ring (name so as it resembled the satellite).
Middle finger: 1930’s (dated in band) opal and diamond halo ring from Brooklyn jewelry shop; Gold, garnet and opal “fortune tellers” ring (Side note: I first saw this ring many years ago on Ruby Lane and hesitated; my loss—someone snatched it up. I looked for ages and happened upon it one day on eBay, listed so weirdly that it never would have come up on my searches. I made what I thought to be a generous offer on the timed auction listing; the seller declined. I ended up winning it for $100 less than what I offered. I feel like there are so many lessons in this story!) No clue when it’s from. I thought Noveau, but it could be revival.
Index finger: Victorian enamel “J” baby ring; antique gold bird & anchor signet.
Earrings: I have a bigger earring collection than this, but these are a sampling of the more interesting: vintage ruby pyramid studs; French Victorian era jet glass and 9k rose gold star earrings; contemporary earrings by wonderful artist Kristi Sword (@kristiswordjewelry)—I first saw her work at the art jewelry gallery GALERIE NOEL GUYOMARC'H (http://www.galerienoelguyomarch.com/) when we visited Montreal and I fell deeply in love with the otherworldliness of her pieces. My fella got me this pair.
Sentimental: I’m not super mushy about jewelry—as a collector, I feel like you should love your pieces, but keep some distance so you can trade up in the future, but even I fall victim to sentiment! Ring finger is a turquoise and silver ring that my grandma got in Arizona in the 70’s—it was the first piece of interesting vintage jewelry anyone ever gave me.
Middle finger: my mom and I used old family stones to design this white gold, diamond and emerald moon with a jeweler from Queens; the Vintage coral and diamond cameo is from a shop on Cape May.
Index finger: promise ring from my dad to my mom when they began dating (it didn’t work out—they married and divorced each other TWICE, but I still like it); Vintage gold star ring from ebay that I wear as a wedding band most of the time.
Necklaces & charms: my favorites, basically. Antique garnet star converted by @gemstonegypsy from a pin won at Fellows auction; vintage gold & enamel chatting birds charm from my mom; Victorian spider locket.
Necklaces (cont): old diamond necklace, won at auction; huge-ass heavy retro revival locket (inherited from grandma); Vintage diamond & opal necklace won at Rago auction; fire opal bead necklace from Nora Kogan jewelry.
Art Nouveau diamond lady bracelet, won at a Rago auction a few years ago.
Two delicate Victorian bracelets!
Cool antique knife I bought at a garage sale on Long Island; some lady was making her husband sell his knife collection! I carry this most of the time, except (obviously) to the airport, which did happen once it and it cost me $40 to ship it back to my house. I paid $3 for the knife.
Continuing with our week of Jewelry Collection Stories, today's collection features Sheri of Metier SF. If you don't know, Metier is a boutique store located in San Francisco which went from selling mostly clothing and some jewelry, to mostly jewelry and some curiosities. Sheri and Trina curate some of the finest antique jewels you will ever lay your eyes on, so I knew the moment I asked Sheri to share her personal collection with Gem Gossip, it was going to be great! Take it away, Sheri:
"I am a collector of jewels of all kinds. I like that they are a testament to the past and beautiful reminders of events or people, or particular moments when you put them on. I like that they decorate the way you talk. I’m fond of mingling antique pieces with modern gems, the ethos of craftsmanship binding the different time periods and jewelry styles. I’m obsessed with references to natural forms in jewelry. I love snakes and animal motifs, and am drawn to unusual natural stones, old diamonds, coral, emeralds, turquoise and agates of all sorts. I mix my metals and adore stacks of gold bands and bracelets.
I’m very sentimental and wear a curblink chain with collected antique and Philip Crangi charms everyday. Without this talismanic necklace I feel naked. French angel charms with the names and birthdates of each of my children and a beautiful parrot locket filled with family pictures are among my most treasured pieces.
I collect bangles and love Etruscan Revival next to Victorian next to MidCentury. The diamond snake bangle was given to me by husband for my 35th birthday and the pair of wedding bangles were an anniversary gift. The silver floral bangle with rose gold edges was one of the first pieces I ever bought more than 20 years ago.
Ever drawn to contrasting shapes and textures, my wedding day cameo necklace pairs unexpectedly with vintage branch coral or the Gabriella Kiss ivy necklace and rough emerald earrings from Variance Objects.
Fashion always plays a big part in how I style my jewelry. Lately larger earrings for day have been calling out to me and my carved antique horn urns or intricate studded hoops from Philip Crangi again feel very au courant.
Last are my beloved rings. I’m drawn to stones and styles that seduce the mind and the eye. Two are snake rings, one a wedding band and the other a Gemstone Gypsy snake, twin to one my teenage daughter wears. My work partner, Trina and I recently bought each other the Gabriella Kiss eye rings. My mother’s diamond was set by Gillian Conroy and the extrawide rose gold wedding band and turquoise pave navette ring have remained among my very favorite rings since I began collecting. These rings and all of my pieces are the lovely keys to my life."
546 Laguna Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
This entire week I am dedicating to the Jewelry Collection Stories segment, as I feel this is the perfect way to end 2015. What an amazing year! I can't think of a better way to leave you than with FIVE amazing collection stories from some incredible collectors of jewelry. It is a great way to reflect on what we have as collectors and what we have to look forward to in the upcoming year! Start planning some antiquing trips, jewelry show visits and hours of hunting online--2016 is your year!
Our first Jewelry Collection Story comes from Alison--or what our circle knows her as: @duvenay. I've been such a fan following her on Instagram and seeing her gorgeous collection, it is a treat to see it in her own words right here:
"I have always loved jewelry. The first toy I remember is a long necklace of orange beads that my favorite aunt gave me. I have always gravitated towards antique jewelry. I’m a genealogist, so I especially love pieces that I can research, that have a history, or a story to tell. Here are some of my favorite pieces, starting with the Georgian era:
(Above) I love mourning rings. I know it’s weird, but I’m obsessed with urns! My favorite part is the back, if there is a good inscription.
At the top is my beloved “A” ring, for my first name (Alison), which incorporates some of my absolute favorite things: blue enamel, old mine cut diamonds, and a royal cypher. I wear this ring during the day, in a very casual way. It’s quite large and was definitely meant for a man, which I love. Below it are a Georgian mourning pendant (left) and a Georgian portrait miniature (right), also with blue enamel.
Above is a closeup of my “A” ring. This ring is definitely at the top of my list of all time favorite rings.
I’m particularly fond of Grand Tour souvenir jewelry from the Victorian era. My fascination began when I was given the gold “ROMA” ring from my aunt. Later, she unearthed an album detailing the late 1800’s Grand Tour by her great grandmother, Ella. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Each page has either drawings by her, calling cards of people she met along the way, hotel postcards, or most commonly, pressed flowers taken from every place she visited. My favorite is an invitation to a masked ball she attended while in France. After that, I was smitten with the whole idea of the Grand Tour. For me it has special meaning as well, because I grew up abroad, and later studied in Italy. My father was in the Foreign Service, and my parents met in East Africa, and for some reason, my family has one way or another, always been associated with travel.
Above, from left, are a pair of earrings with paintings of the Taj Mahal. These are very special to me because I lived in India as a little girl. Next is a Victorian micro mosaic ring from the Vatican workshop, another ring with an amazing painting of Istanbul, a micro mosaic ring of my favorite ruins - the Roman Forum, and my ROMA ring. The coins spell PACE on the reverse, which means peace in Italian.
Above is a closeup of the Taj Mahal earrings.
Speaking of India, I think my fascination with snakes stems from my childhood there. Snakes came up a lot in casual conversation. There was the time my brother almost stepped on a baby cobra, because he foolishly walked outside in bare feet at night, and people would tell my mom things like “never park your car under a tree." The reason had something to do with snakes. I don’t like them in real life, only in gold or silver, and preferably with gemstones. Top right snake above is my favorite, it is a cobra from India with an amazing ruby. It was my mother’s.
Above--a garnet cabochon with snakes and a large gold snake with an old mine cut diamond. Both are Victorian.
I also like to collect jewelry from the Victorian Etruscan Revival period. I love stars, and they were a common theme during this time period. I also love that ancient techniques with gold were revived during this time.
Above, clockwise from left are a 22 carat gold and garnet ring from circa 1880, a memorial bracelet, a gold snake from the same era, a pavé turquoise dome ring with a diamond star, a memorial locket pendant with a star, and a painted portrait of an Egyptian woman, also from around 1880.
I also love Edwardian rings, and this is one of my favorites. It had been in the same family its entire life, having been custom made for the original owner and passed down to the wife of the last surviving heir. The reason she sold it to me is very sad but funny. She told me she had always admired her mother in law, who was from a well-to-do English family, and was thrilled to have inherited this ring from her. She felt loved and appreciated by the gesture, and she had always adored the ring. But after her husband died and she became a widow, she found her mother in law’s diary, and discovered that on her wedding day, her mother in law had written “Today my son married a Russian spy.” (She is in fact, Ukrainian) She was deeply offended by this, and could never again stand the sight of the ring. She actually referred to it as the “Spy Ring." Having grown up with a Dad who was a Russian language expert for the U.S. government during the cold war, I met lots of “spies,” so I reassured her that I could handle the “Spy Ring.” I love the old cut diamonds and the pear shaped ruby, and the stylized fleur de lis design. I also think it looks like a butterfly.
Last but not least, my very favorite ring of all is also Edwardian - my engagement ring!
It all started with a love of jewelry--a similar beginning to a lot of collectors' stories, but this passion was deeper, stronger and life-changing for Elizabeth Doyle. Add another sister to the mix--Pamela Doyle--and you've got yourself the most kick-ass sister duo to hit the antique jewelry scene. I've been a fan of their NYC-based jewelry store Doyle & Doyle since I first got into antique jewelry and getting a chance to meet and work with both sisters was a dream come true last year. Sharing Elizabeth's favorite pieces from her personal collection is like unlocking a vault filled with years of travel and collecting, featuring pieces spanning several decades.
Elizabeth says, "For those of us who collect jewelry, looking through our collections is like looking through a scrap book. When I laid out my jewels to decide what to include in this exhibition, it was a flood of memories and emotions. Each piece marks an important event in my life, and they are all so varied. I have my baby bracelet engraved with my name. I can't remember receiving it or ever wearing it, but nonetheless it is a prized memento of my childhood. Then there is my baby tooth necklace. It was designed (and sketched) by my son when he was five. The necklace is set with both his and his sister's first lost baby teeth. They are, to me, the most precious and irreplaceable gems. Some pieces represent a turning point in my life (my ruby ring that was the first piece I was able to keep for myself from Doyle & Doyle) or even the moment when I learned something new and developed a new appreciation (my memento mori and mourning rings). For me, jewelry is a way to remember, a way to learn, a way to communicate, and a way to celebrate."
The exhibit featuring pieces from her personal collection happened a week ago, but if you're like me and don't live in the NYC area, fear not! No need to feel like you missed out--above are some of the pieces that were on display at this enchanting event, all from Elizabeth's personal collection with descriptions in tow. I love how every piece carries such meaning and is rooted in her life, even though the piece itself has an unknown past, it has a present with her.
If you'd like the full PDF featuring Elizabeth's personal collection which was on display, feel free to email email@example.com
To read about our collaboration from last year, click here.
"To me there's something very mysterious and magical about antique jewelry, they have so much history and stories to tell." Xiao Wang says jewelry is in her DNA. With an incredibly popular jewelry line just recently launched, a modeling career and love for fashion--not to mention some cute chihuahua babies, she has a fun and fabulous life living in NYC. But what came before all this? A deep love for antique jewelry! She has been collecting for six years, and coincidently that is how old Gem Gossip is, which she has been a fan of since the beginning! We've emailed each other years ago, I even have a Victorian ring from her collection. Finally getting a chance to meet at Couture this year was such a great experience and long time coming! Xiao even came to check out the Doyle & Doyle event, where she reconnected her love for antique jewelry after focusing on designing her new collections. It was fun showing her more from my personal collection!
With New York City being her home, it is easily also her favorite place to treasure hunt. The Chelsea Showplace antique center is one of her top choices, which hosts private "galleries" open to the public seven days a week, located on 25th Street. Xiao also has luck traveling to Upstate New York to find antique treasures.
Antique rings from every time period are key pieces in her personal collection, and she loves a good brooch! The cute rooster is not only a part of her collection, but a great inspiration to her new designs. "The Lavalier pendant in velvet box, I loved it when I saw it and purchased it right away, when I was paying for it I asked the seller if the blue stone was a sapphire, he and I both took a look under the loop and we both noticed it changed colors, turns out it was an alexandrite!" This is proof of what all antique jewelry collectors are tuned into--the thrill of the hunt and not knowing what you'll find next!