Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the biggest leaders in auction houses not only in the United States, but worldwide. With over a half million registered online bidders, Heritage meets the demands of eager buyers with a staff of experts, three locations and numerous fields.
In the jewelry department, Sunny Skurow uses her jewelry knowledge and passion for gems on a daily basis at her office at Heritage’s New York location. As Junior Jewelry Specialist she handles the gorgeous jewels that eventually go up on the bidding block.
Gem Gossip caught up with Sunny to ask her a little more about her awesome job:
My mother is a former Antiques and Antique Jewelry dealer so I’ve had incredible jeweled objects around me for as long as I can remember. My favorite thing to do as a child, and still as an adult, was to look through our family’s jewelry collection with my mom and hear her tell our family stories through these artifacts.
My education was basically tailored to my job at Heritage. I received my BA in Art History, then became certified in Art and Antique appraisal at NYU, followed by my G.G. from GIA. This well-rounded education allows me to know the stones, artistic merit and style of a piece. I work as the eyes and hands for Heritage’s Director of Fine Jewelry in Dallas, Jill Burgum, so it’s important that I create detailed descriptions for her to know what comes into our New York office.
Every day is different, and that’s what I love! I primarily help clients consign pieces for auction. Since my communication with the Director is so crucial, I do a lot of describing: visual characteristics, measurements, quality of stones, etc. I love using my gemological tools and putting my education to work!
Recently, Matt Rubinger the Director of Luxury Accessories, and myself took in over 150 pieces of Chanel runway jewelry, for the upcoming May 3rd Luxury sale. There are constantly cross-over assignments between categories.
New York’s Spring auction season is right around the corner. It’s wonderful to visit the other auction houses and see what incredible works of wearable art are out there. There’s always something new to learn and absorb and you never know when you’re going to make connections with pieces you’ve yet to see. I have to say though, I’m the most excited about Heritage’s May 2nd Jewelry sale. Heritage shows our Jewelry auctions across our three U.S locations. We start at our headquarters in Dallas, move it to our Beverly Hills location, and then finish with a live auction in New York. We have our New York preview and sale at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion at 79th and 5th. The building is an incredible work of art itself and showcases our sales beautifully.
Heritage is wonderfully diverse and inclusive. We have something for everyone, from 10+ Carat fancy-colored diamonds to more moderately valued pieces, and everything in between. I love deco and retro, and fun pieces with personality, and Heritage has it all.
When I worked with the New York-based appraisal firm Abigail Hartmann Associates, we went to Christie’s to see the Ralph Esmerian sale that was ultimately canceled. There I saw the best of the best, some of the most beautiful and most famous pieces ever made. The light bulb went off. The people that worked there were able to be close to it, to handle it. I needed to be one of those people. The next day I enrolled myself at the Gemological Institute and started pursuing my jewelry career.
My favorite piece of jewelry is a platinum and diamond art deco ring my mother gave me. She wore it all during my childhood, so I feel a very strong connection to her through it. My first Thanksgiving after I moved to New York she took it off her finger and gave it to me. It means the world to me and I wear it every day. It’s simultaneously art deco and a-morphic, sometimes a bow, sometimes a butterfly. Lately, I’ve been wearing it with a sweet little rose gold and sapphire ring my boyfriend gave me. I love mixing platinum and gold, I can’t get enough!!