Jewelry Camp was a fun experience for a first-timer like myself, with others who have continually gone every year, I think I may follow in their path! The speakers were great and incredibly informative, and the participants included a slew of jewelry lovers, appraisers, and shop owners with interesting stories and an obvious passion. It is fun to be in a room full of people who share the same love for antique jewelry.
The three days I was there I sat in on 12 different lectures, ranging from topics on: Identifying Georgian & Early Victorian Jewelry, to an overview on Tiffany & Co., and even a class on Antique Diamonds! A favorite lecture of mine was called, “The Daguerreotype & Early Photographic Jewelry.” I was excited to sign up for this one because lately I’ve been obsessing over portrait jewelry, and the speaker was not only extremely knowledgeable on the subject, but his passion for it was apparent! There also was a class called Accelerated Antique Assessment which basically taught you how to quickly look at a piece of jewelry in 60 seconds! It reminded me of what I do on a daily basis at work, and it was the perfect class for any appraiser. We were given 25 pieces to look at and assess using the five categories outlined by speaker Louis Scholz. It was fun and fast paced!
Here are the classes I attended and one/two facts that I personally learned:
Georg Jensen: Defined by Design
*There were many designers under Georg Jensen–a favorite of mine was Tuk Fischer, 1963, who designed the 18k yellow gold necklace above. Many Jensen pieces have hidden clasps that are so hidden, it takes several minutes to sometimes find them!
The Jewelry of Tiffany & Co.
*Mary Todd Lincoln received a Tiffany & Co. seed pearl parure from her husband to wear at his inauguration.
*Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti & Paloma Picasso are the only three designers Tiffany let’s sign their pieces with their names.
Identifying Georgian & Early Victorian Jewelry
*Pauline Bonaparte is the epitome of 1800s jewelry with Greek/Roman influence.
*During the 1830s earrings were extremely long–up to four inches in length!
Antique Diamonds: A to Z
*An Old Mine cut (antique cushion cut) diamond is not round and has an open culet. Having an I color or better is RARE. Although they do face up whiter than they actually are because of its open culet (it helps disperse color, as opposed to a closed culet which concentrates the color).
The Diamond Market
*Global demographics are causing many diamond companies to move Far East–populations there have high numbers for potential diamond customers (48% of India’s population is 25 and under).
Auctions: Are They the Best Way to Buy & Sell
*85% of the items listed on eBay are “Buy It Now” which defeats the point of being an auction site.
*Aquamarine has lost its salability due to the Blue Topaz. It is very unpopular right now.
The Daguerreotype & Early Photographic Jewelry
*The techniques involved in creating a daguerreotype take hours, and starts off with a hand polish of the Sheffield plated copper.
*Overexposed photos turn blue–which ironically sometimes pictured a blue sky within the black & white photograph.
*Families that posed for daguerreotypes often brought with them an object of importance. There are daguerreotypes of children or people who passed away, not in a morbid way, but it was the family wanting to capture one last glimpse of the person before they were buried.
Gothic Revival Jewelry in France & England
*Poissarde earrings are highly collectible and in French, means “fish wife”
*Jewelry design was heavily influenced by Medieval buildings.
Periods: Styles from Georgian to Retro
*Tiger claw jewelry was quite popular during the mid-1800s–it was manufactured by native craftsmen for the English tourist market in India–souvenir jewelry.
*Queen Alexandra always wore a choker, which in turn made them en vogue. Historians speculate she may have had a tracheotomy and was hiding her incision.
Faux & Fabulous–Jeweler to the Stars–Joseff of Hollywood
*Joseff was known as “Jeweler to the Stars” and designed numerous costume pieces for stars like Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis to name a few.
Accelerated Antique Assessment
*If you had 60 seconds to look at a piece of jewelry, here are five categories you need to assess: old or new?, marked?, metal?, gemstones?, any other important details (missing stones, condition, repairs)?
(photos courtesy of AskMediaProductions, Google Images, and myself)