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Tiffany’s Chooses White Gold, Diamonds, Green Tsavorite, and Blue Sapphires to Commemorate the Seahawks’ Super Bowl Victory

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On June 19, 2014, a special presentation ceremony took place in downtown Seattle to commemorate the landmark victory attained by the Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVIII. As mentioned in a previous article, these rings are given not only to the playing team members, but also to all the folks behind the scenes that make the season possible, including managers, scouts, financial supporters, and more.

The rings are subsidized to the tune of $5,000 per ring by the NFL, with a limit of 150 distributed at the NFL’s expense. Teams can spend more than the allotted NFL budget and have more rings made, but the terms the NFL sets are firm. These rings are specially designed, typically by a high-end designer chosen by the winning team, with the input of the team’s owners, coaches, and other key leaders within the team’s organizational structure.

These rings are meant to capture the essence, not only of the game but of the team’s entire season–no small feat on the canvas of a jewel the size of a small rock. Speaking of rocks, the Seahawks wisely chose to commission Tiffany & Co., the decided leader in the artful display of all manner of rocks, to design their Championship Ring.

True to their collaborative nature, the Seahawks have painted a story on each ring that “represents a distinctive tribute to this team, our fans, the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII,” said Peter McLoughlin, the team’s president {3}.

On the face of the ring, 64 round diamonds fill in the white gold outline of the team’s bird-head logo. A second outline of blue enamel further distinguishes the logo. A single fancy-cut, prong-set, green tsavorite serves as the bird’s eye.

Above the bird, a marquise-cut diamond is bezel-set in the form of stylized version of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and these two iconic symbols are surrounded by an ocean of 107 round diamonds. The ring’s border reads “WORLD CHAMPIONS,” and is further framed by two sets of six round brilliant diamonds on either side.

In profile, the ring’s head is rimmed by a single row of 40 blue sapphires, and from it hang two “12″ flags etched in blue enamel. The shanks of the ring tell the story of the season. Etched on the side boasting the player’s name is a long view of the south-facing aspect of Century Field. A “12″ flag flies in relief against Mt. Rainier in the distance, a solid tribute to the 12th “player” for the Seahawks, the team’s loyal fans.

The player’s number stands in relief upon the playing field, and just below, their final record of 16-3 is etched just above the 12 feathers engraved into the bottom portion of the band. These feathers are stylized to mimic the feathers featured on the team’s uniforms.

The opposite shank features a view of Seattle’s skyline in the background, with the Space Needle taking prominence. In relief one sees the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the words “Super Bowl XLVIII”, and the NFL Logo, etched against the background. The year 2013 is engraved into the band just above the stylized feathers.

The inside of each ring is etched with the following phrases: “LEAVE NO DOUBT”, “24/7″, “SEA 43-DEN 8″, and “WHAT’S NEXT?”

Tiffany & Co. expressed their pleasure in working with the team to design their special rings. “Having crafted the Vince Lombardi Trophy since its inception in 1969, we are proud to have now also crafted the first Seattle Seahawks Championship ring–both being the purest symbols of hard work and perseverance,” said Tiffany’s representative, Victoria Reynolds {3}.

In the many images and videos floating about on the Web, the indelible mark of Tiffany’s impeccable quality is unparalleled in the structure and design of these rings. They truly are beautiful jewels, and the story they tell is a story well loved by everyone in the Pacific Northwest.

We applaud the hard work and dedication set forth by the best football team in the world and the best of the best in diamonds.

Notes

  1. Crabtree, Curtis. “Seahawks Get thier Super Bowl Rings,” NBC Sports, June 20, 2014. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/20/seahawks-get-their-super-bowl-rings/.
  2. Eaton, Nick. “See the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVII Champs Ring,” Seattle PI, June 19, 2014. http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2014/06/19/see-the-seattle-seahawks-super-bowl-xlviii-championship-ring/#24457101=3.
  3. Seahawks News. “Seahawks Receive Super Bowl Rings,” posted June 19, 2014. http://www.seahawks.com/news/articles/article-1/Seahawks-Receive-Super-Bowl-Rings/b40ff317-235c-4f40-aac5-45f255b62c5e.

This Jeweled Waltham Ladies Wristwatch is a Relic of American History

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This gorgeous Art Deco Waltham ladies wristwatch has a gorgeous 18k white gold case which is bead set with 38 single-cut diamonds along the edges. Its interior, both above and below the face, is channel set with 12 Old European Cut diamonds, while 6 calibre-cut natural blue sapphires add a distinctive sophistication to the overall design.

The band is fashioned out of 18k white gold mesh, and the face is decorated in black Arabic numerals with blue steel hands. On the back an inscription reads “Mrs F.S. Dean Atlanta, GA”.

The Movement

The outside of this watch, with its clear declaration of original ownership, tells a distinctive story, one worth looking into at some point. However, it is the story that the inner movement has to tell that this writer is most interested in today.

The movement is the heart of a mechanical clock or watch. It houses all the moving parts that keep accurate time. The movement in this watch has 17 jewel bearings adjusted to 5 positions (or pairs), and those jewels are likely set in yellow gold.

According to Waltham’s records, this movement probably has a gold center wheel and an entirely gold train. Its balance wheel is likely made with gold balance screws and two pairs of gold mean-time screws. Its balance staff features the finest of pivots made in the early 1900s, and likely has two oil grooves {cited}.

Waltham Watch Movements

The movement in this wristwatch is stamped with the name of its maker, Waltham, and a serial number, 23158481. It is this serial number that grants us access to details about this watch that demonstrate its clear distinction among antique wristwatches. Here’s what we know about Waltham watch movements in general:

  1. All genuine Waltham movements are stamped with a serial number and the company’s name (which varies according to the year the watch was made).
  2. Waltham went through a number of mergers and transitions in its 100+ years as a company, so the name engraved on the movement provides evidence as to the year in which it was made.
  3. These serial numbers correspond to a detailed record which has been transferred from written ledgers kept by the company into a digital database.
  4. When the serial number is known, it is possible to determine a two-year period in which the watch was made.
  5. Waltham watches made between 1850 and 1957 represent the top of the line in American watches.

This Waltham Watch Movement

Since we have the serial number for this Waltham watch movement, we can be sure of the following:

  1. It was made between 1919 and 1920.
  2. Between 1907 and 1923, the official name for the maker of this watch was Waltham Watch Co., based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
  3. Waltham Watch Co. never made cases, though they did manufacture the faces and hands for their watches.
  4. Waltham Watch Co. sold their watch movements and parts to dealers and repairmen wholesale, so this watch movement was sold, likely to Mr. F.S. Dean of Atlanta, GA, by a third-party dealer, who likely sold the case and movement together.
  5. This watch represents a significant historical milestone in American watchmaking.

American Watchmaking

Watches were a hot commodity in America during the early 1900s, and wristwatches were just coming into high fashion for ladies, replacing the dainty pendant watches of the late 1800s. Waltham Watch Co., as it was called in 1920, had established itself as the leader in pocket watches, and for nearly 70 years the railroad industry in America and England used Waltham watches exclusively. Wristwatches were a new field, one that in the end would prove to be too different from pocket watches for Waltham to sustain their manufacture.

A Relic of American History

However, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Waltham Watch Co. stood above the rest as a pioneer in this industry. They were the first in the world to use machines to manufacture the complete mechanism for clocks and watches, and they were the first in the industry to use what is called the interchangeable system.

Prior to this time, this system of mass-producing every aspect of a complex mechanism using machines was used primarily in the arms industries of the American government. The purpose of this system was to allow for easy repair and replacement of damaged parts without having to retool the entire mechanism. It was a risky endeavor, since if only one part is off in a mechanical watch, the whole thing is a bust.

Prior to 1850, no one had attempted to use machines to mass-produce such intricate mechanisms, and the pioneers at Waltham would revolutionize not only the watch industry, but also the automotive and other technical industries of that time.

Given Waltham Watch Co.’s supreme popularity and distinguished reputation, it is highly unlikely that this watch movement sat on the shelf for more than 6 months after the time of its manufacture. That it was likely purchased brand new for a high-society lady in Georgia at the dawn of the 1920s demonstrates that this watch is not only a beautiful accessory, but a relic of American history.

Vintage Celebrity Engagements: Jacqueline Bouvier and Jack Kennedy

Capture the Essence! of Mid-Century Emerald Jewelry with this Emerald Ballerina Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Mid-Century Emerald Jewelry with this Emerald Ballerina Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

May is the month for emeralds, and what better way to enter into the spirit of romance than to discuss one of America’s most beloved couples, Jacqueline Bouvier and Jack Kennedy. On June 24, 1953, Jack Kennedy offered a delectable diamond and emerald ring to a woman who captivated him with her grace, her elegance, and her intelligent conversation.

Jackie was a woman of the world with a mission to enjoy all that life’s upper crust had to offer. In the burgeoning world of women in the workforce, she took a job with the Washington-Times Herald, after making a promise to the editor that she wouldn’t up and leave the minute a man proposed. With her camera and pen in hand, she set out to make a name for herself as a columnist.

For a number of years she roved the streets of Washington, DC (and beyond) asking (mostly) random individuals questions pertinent to the issues of the day. Several times a month, she spent her weekends traveling by train to attend football games and parties at surrounding northeastern colleges. On one such trip, she penned a letter to a friend and happened to casually mention a young man who caught her attention.

He was “a charming, confident, and handsome but insistent flirt to whom she responded with indifferent amusement, yet absolute attraction” {1}. This young man was here today, gone tomorrow as far as Jackie was concerned…that is, until they met several more times at inner circle events.

In 1948, Jackie was preparing to depart for her first assignment abroad. Before leaving, she atteneded a wedding on Long Island, where she met a fellow journalist who would become a lifelong friend, one Charles Bartlett. This young man was fairly certain that Ms. Bouvier was the perfect match for his up-and-coming friend, Jack Kennedy. Determined to introduce the two of them, he attempted all evening to draw her away from prizefighter Gene Tunney, but his efforts ended in defeat.

It would be more than two years before he would have a second chance to introduce the two, and by that time Ms. Bouvier was engaged to be married to Wall Street stockbroker John Husted. At an intimate dinner party hosted by the Bartlett’s, Jackie and Jack enjoyed a pleasant evening of conversation. Just as Mr. Bartlett suspected, his friend was fully invested in getting to know the fascinating young woman. However, an invitation for drinks after the party was stymied by a surprise visit from Ms. Bouvier’s fiance.

She moved on seamlessly, it would seem. It was clear to her that the young politician had no interest in the prospect of marriage, and she was already engaged. However, their brief meeting and her time abroad the following year began to shift her perspective on the prospects of marrying John Husted. According to author Donald Spoto, Jackie began to yearn for the company of more charismatic, cultured men. John Husted fit the bill for her parents, but he was losing her affections swiftly.

She soon called off her engagement, and once her friend Charles Bartlett learned of her new status, he once again set to his matchmaking schemes. On May 8, 1952, he and his wife deftly repeated the intimate gathering which had at first brought the two young powerhouses into conversation. This time, Jack did not let her get away. He began inviting her on dates and introducing her to family members.

Within the year, he was ready to propose. His father not only gave his approval, but went off to Fifth Avenue to purchase just the right ring for their engagement. At his chosen venue, Van Cleef & Arpels, he leaned heavily upon the advice of his jeweler Louis Arpels, who in turned leaned heavily upon his wife, who knew Jackie well enough to recommend the perfect engagement ring: A mid-century masterpiece complete with a 2.88-carat diamond situated beside a 2.84-carat emerald, accented by marquise and tapered baguette diamonds in a beautiful retro swirl motif.

On June 24, 1953, Jack proposed to Jackie, and the next day the press was ringing with the news. A Denver columnist wrote, “The single girls in Washington will do well to weep” {cited}, and weep they did. As the women of Washington grieved the loss of one of America’s most eligible bachelor’s, the rest of the western world began eagerly anticipating what remains one of America’s most celebrated weddings.

Their wedding took place the following September at St. Mary’s Church in Jackie’s hometown, Newport, Rhode Island. In her hair she wore her grandmother’s rose point lace veil with orange blossoms and a lace tiara. In her hands she carried a bouquet of white and pink spray orchids and gardenias. Around her neck she wore what would become her iconic piece, a single strand of family pearls.

Her dress was a wonder in ivory silk, fashioned out of 50 yards of the luscious material. The bouffant skirt was decorated with elaborate tucking and tiny wax flowers, and the off-the-shoulder bodice was styled with a similar tucking technique. She is said to have worn a diamond leaf pin, a gift from Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, but the wedding photos show only the exquisite diamond bracelet her groom gave her on the day of their wedding.

After greeting 3,000 well-wishers on their journey from the church to their reception, they celebrated with champagne and dancing with 1,200 invited guests. They spent their first night at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and the remainder of their honeymoon in Acapulco. And the rest, as they say, is history.

1. Anthony, Carl Sferrazza. The Kennedy White House: Family Life and Pictures, 1961-1963. pg. 147.

Celebrate Spring with Tiffany & Co.’s Natural Motifs

Capture the Essence! of Spring with this Tiffany & Co. Oak Leaf Brooch in 18k Gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Spring with this Tiffany & Co. Oak Leaf Brooch in 18k Gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Spring is in the air, and just as we welcome the tender kisses of the sun, so we long for jewels inspired by nature. Tiffany & Co. has a long history of drawing inspiration from nature for their exquisite designs. Beginning in the 1890s with their Art Nouveau glass works, the company quickly adopted these rich images from nature, dragonflies, butterflies, and alluring flowers, and made them into beautiful pieces of jeweled art.

Tiffany’s success lies not only in their inspired designs, but also in their beautiful workmanship. Since 1837, Tiffany has maintained the highest quality in manufacture and ethics. Their stunning jewels have defined the styles of today and yesterday, and their commitment to excellence will ensure that Tiffany pieces maintain their value long beyond tomorrow.

Today we celebrate spring by presenting to you a few of Tiffany’s beautiful nature-inspired pieces.

The first is an intricate oak brooch crafted of solid 18k yellow gold. Exquisitely embedded with tiny veins, this brooch is surprisingly life-like, a truly inspired piece of nature that can be worn in celebration of spring, offering the reminder that every spring acorn has the potential to grow into a mature tree able to withstand every season of life.

The second is a key pendant crafted of solid 18k white gold. The key’s head is intricately carved in openwork style in the shape of a flower blossom. Paved in diamonds, the flower sparkles brilliantly against its matte background. Lovely for a necklace or a charm bracelet, this jewel represents the power of spring to unlock hidden dreams.

Finally, we present a unique link-style bracelet fashioned from sterling silver. Each link is intricately cast to evoke individual canes of bamboo. Wrought in almost Gothic fashion, this beautiful piece evokes the delight of coming summer when the cool shade cast by swift-growing bamboo has the power to remind us of the tender caress of spring.

Tiffany & Co. Diamond Blossom Key Pendant Tiffany & Co Natural Motif Link Chain Bracelet

Spotlight on Design: Richard Paille

Capture the Essence! of Richard Paille's one-of-a-kind jewels with this Tourmaline Pendant Necklace crafted from 18k gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Richard Paille’s one-of-a-kind jewels with this Tourmaline Pendant Necklace crafted from 14k and 18k gold. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This stunning natural green tourmaline, weighing over 7 carats, has been beautifully cut in the emerald fashion. Mounted bezel style in an 18k gold frame with bezel-set diamond and gold granulated embellishments, this beautiful designer pendant has been attached to a 14k gold fancy link chain. This gorgeous necklace was lovingly crafted by Seattle designer Richard Paille.

Richard Paille has spent more than 40 years investing in the world of jewelry. He began as a student, studying for his gemological credentials with the GIA during the day and studying economics at night in the early 1970s. After graduating, he opened his first retail store in Seattle’s University District. There he developed skills in fabrication and lost wax techniques.

As his reputation grew, so did the administrative tasks of running a full-time business, visiting annual trade shows, and writing monthly newsletters. A man of many interests, Mr. Paille enjoyed all aspects of his venture, but his desire to return to the bench led him to sell his store and return to the sheer delight of designing and making jewelry. He continued designing jewelry for many years, while at the same time developing a burgeoning passion for ham radio operation, film making, and adventurous travel.

In the 1990s, Richard had the opportunity to merge several passions into one pursuit. He set out to visit Australia’s opal mines in order to experience the thrill of discovering opals for himself while making a documentary. By walking through the open door to Alice Springs, Mr. Paille found another open door to the Cook Islands.

With his crew, he filmed another documentary about Black Pearl farming. This experience in the pristine waters of the South Pacific led to a whole different direction for the artist. He was instantly hooked on the rush of discovery that comes with opening oysters to find pearls. Inspired anew, he undertook a bit of pearl farming himself and used what he found to fashion beautiful jewels from these ‘gifts of Neptune’.

Today, Mr. Paille focuses his efforts on passing on his own gifts, the ‘jewels’ he’s picked up along the many roads of his adventure. He spends his hours teaching, lecturing, and writing about his experiences, taking every opportunity to impart his Joy of Discovery philosophy to any and all who will listen.

“Discovery is part of all art, it’s part of learning and it’s part of growing. Getting involved in something, pursuing an interest, staying curious & asking questions…that’s a Big part of living too! What I tell students: ‘Invest in Yourself…Make Something New, Learn Something New, Discover Something New” {cited}.

We invite you to discover something new in the old with this estate designer piece from a local celebrity in his own right. If you would like to view this beautiful designer piece in person, we would love to hear from you. Contact us here, or give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.

May’s Birthstone (Emerald) Has Long Been Favored Among Powerful Women

Colombian Emerald Engagement Ring with Diamond Accents

If you were born in the month of May, you have the good fortune to call emerald your birthstone. With a history dating as far back as gemstone history extends, emeralds have long been favored among powerful women. In Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra was known to wear the stones in abundance, and though her famed mines now yield only low-grade stones, at one time Cleopatra’s mines were an abundant source for valuable emeralds.

Moving forward through the centuries, emeralds were chief among the Mughal Empresses. The powerful Mughal Empress Nur Jahan, considered to be one of the world’s most influential women during the 17th century, wore exquisitely carved Mughal emeralds intermingled with rubies. These carved verdant beauties circulated throughout Europe, and by the early 19th century many had found their way into the hands of some of the world’s most elite jewelry houses, predominantly Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co.

Reworked into masterful designs by these prestigious firms, emeralds became the jewel of choice for many of the most influential women of the mid-century and beyond. Paris’ Duchess-in-exile, Wallis Simpson, wore several pieces by Cartier which were enhanced by carved emeralds, and one of the mid-century’s wealthiest heiresses, Marjorie Merriweather Post, owned one of the most exquisite diamond and carved emerald shoulder brooch’s ever made by Cartier. Another woman of marked influence, HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt, once owned a gorgeous emerald and diamond necklace made by Van Cleef & Arpels. In 2013, this jewel realized a sales price of $4.2 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale.

In addition to necklaces and brooches, several emerald engagement rings have been worn by influential women throughout the past several centuries. In 1837, Queen Victoria wore an emerald in her engagement ring. The ring, fashioned as a golden serpent biting its tail, featured a demure emerald atop its head. The ring was designed by her doting husband, Prince Albert, who endeavored to lace it thoroughly with Victorian sentiment. The serpent with its tail between its teeth was a popular Victorian symbol of eternal love, and the emerald, which happened to be the Queen’s birthstone, represented hope and was believed to ensure that a woman would mature into a truly adoring wife.

Fast forward a century, and we find John F. Kennedy gifting his fiance Jackie Bouvier an exquisite retro-style engagement ring fashioned by Van Cleef & Arpels. Her ring, purchased in 1952, featured a 2.84-carat square-cut emerald juxtaposed to a 2.88-carat square-cut diamond accented by a swirl of marquise-cut and baguette diamonds. The ring was chosen by Louis Van Cleef, whose wife advised him in the perfect style for the American debutante.

More recently, in 2012, Halle Berry also chose a square-cut emerald center stone for her engagement ring, a beautiful jewel fashioned of chunky hammered gold with a bezel-set emerald flanked on either side by a bezel-set round brilliant white diamond. Halle Berry holds the honorable position as the only African-American woman to win an Oscar for a leading role and uses her platform as one of America’s highest paid actors to lobby for the environment and for women’s issues in the realm of health, education, and justice.

As you can see, it seems that although the verdant green stone is not a frequent choice for today, it is a choice made by unique and influential women.

Love & Luxury Unite with Van Cleef & Arpels

Capture the Romance! with this Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond and Ruby Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Romance! with this Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Diamond and Ruby Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

The passion of red ruby surrounded by the purity of white diamonds constitutes the perfect blend of love and luxury. A pristine oval-cut red ruby stands front and center, a beautiful declaration of love’s ardent passions. Surrounding the red stone are eight round brilliant diamonds, a halo symbolizing pure devotion. Two large pear-cut diamonds are set en pointe in a north-south orientation, with two marquise-cut diamonds set vertically in an east-west position. Between them lie four smaller pear-cut diamonds. The effect is pure, exquisite luxury, a characteristic long associated with every Van Cleef & Arpels piece.

This natural pairing of Luxury and Love have long been united in the hallowed halls of one of the world’s most notable jewelry houses. Some of the most extravagant gestures of love have been signed VC/A*. Among them, a stunning diamond and ruby bracelet commissioned by the former King of England, Edward VIII, for his mistress, later his bride.

Set with four clusters of rubies surrounded by white diamonds, this token of affection was inscribed with the couple’s enduring motto: ‘Hold Tight’. Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Princess Grace of Monaco were also showered with jewels created by the iconic Parisian jewelers.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a love story forms the very foundation of the famed house. According to their website, the impressive jewelry dynasty was “inspired by the unique creative energy of love” {4}.

While the details of this legendary love story continue to elude the public eye, the broad strokes paint a story in which Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef enjoyed a “love story like no other, a great adventure beyond expectation” {4}.

Alfred Van Cleef made his start in jewelry at the bench of David et Grosgeat, where he learned to create and market beautiful jewelry. After his marriage to Estelle, Alfred joined forces with his bride’s father, Léon Salomon Arpels. Together they opened a small jewelry shop specializing in precious stones {3}.

After the senior Mr. Arpels passed away in 1906, his sons, Charles-Salomon, Julien, and Louis Arpels, threw their lot in with Alfred and Estelle, and the family opened a shop on the prestigious place de Vendome. The family dedicated their life to perform “the ultimate act of creativity” by combining exceptional stones in uncommon settings to transform precious metals and gemstones into phenomenal jewels {1}.

During World War II, the Van Cleef & Arpels families fled the hostile environs of Paris and settled in New York. Well established as principal players upon the international jewelry stage, Van Cleef & Arpels remained a family-owned and operated business until 1999, when it was purchased by a Swiss luxury group {3}.

*The company’s hallmark substitutes the / with a stylized imprint of their company’s flagship store.

Notes

  1. Macklowe Gallery. “Van Cleef & Arpels.” Accessed April 4, 2014. http://www.macklowegallery.com/education.asp/art+nouveau/Artist+Biographies/antiques/Jewelry+Artists/education/Van+Cleef+%26amp%3B+Arpels/id/12.
  2. Primavera Gallery. “Van Cleef and Arpels.” Accessed April 4, 2014. http://www.primaveragallery.com/biography/van-cleef-and-arpels-bio.
  3. Serafin, Amy. “Van Cleef & Arpels: The Family, The Jewels, The Legend,” France MagazineFall 2012.
  4. Van Cleef & Arpels. “Estelle & Alfred: The Founding Love Story.” Accessed April 4, 2014. http://www.vancleefarpels.com/us/en/article/3080/estelle-alfred-the-founding-love-story.
  5. Van Cleef & Arpels. “The Maison’s Enchanting Love Stories.” Accessed April 4, 2014. http://www.vancleefarpels.com/ww/en/article/806/the-maisons-enchanting-love-stories.

Spotlight on Design: Jean Schlumberger Engagement Rings

'Bee Ring' by Jean Schlumberger. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's, 2011.

‘Bee Ring’ by Jean Schlumberger. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s, 2011.

According to Tiffany & Co., Jean Schlumberger (pronounced ‘zhahn shlumberjay’) was the most important jewelry designer of the 20th century. His designs continue to be employed by Tiffany & Co., and his engagement rings are among the most sumptuous on the market today.

The pictured ring features a stunning fancy vivid yellow diamond (11.13 carats) surrounded by a colony of bees fashioned out of yellow gold and white diamonds. From the top, the bees appear to be drinking the honey nectar of a yellow flower bud. This particular ring was purchased for $1.08 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2011.

Mssr. Schlumberger designed several ring styles using this bee motif, many of which would make lovely as engagement rings. In addition, he designed several engagement rings which have become Tiffany classics.

The most iconic are his flower bud designs. The first, called simply the Jean Schlumberger Engagement Ring, features a diamond-encrusted band in fluid formation which rises to meet a central stone of 1.5 carats. This ‘bud’ stone is wrapped in crisscrossing diamond-studded bands. The sparkling brilliance of white diamonds against platinum set in a natural floral form evokes heady romance and stately charm.

In another variation of flower bud ring, called the Buds ring, Mssr. Schlumberger incorporates tightly formed sepals rising up to meet a crowning diamond bud. The platinum band is encrusted with inlaid round diamonds. Another of Mssr. Schlumberger’s famous engagement rings, the Rope ring,  incorporates a large-carat round brilliant diamond ensconced within a web of twisted ropes of yellow gold.

Nothing says quality like a Tiffany engagement ring, and Jean Schlumberger raises the bar even further for those interested in the finest quality and most innovative designs of the 20th century.

A Midwestern Man Falls to the Floor When Wartski London Confirms that His Scrap Metal Purchase is a Genuine Faberge Imperial Easter Egg

Third Imperial Faberge Egg, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

Third Imperial Faberge Egg, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

A Fancy Golden Egg

It has been a bit of a noose around his neck for ten years, albeit a beautiful one. He purchased the piece for approximately $14,000 at a Midwestern antique fair with hope that the gemstones could be sold and the gold melted down for perhaps $500 profit. However, his estimates of its value exceeded those of his prospective buyers. Call it a hunch (or stubbornness), but the man decided to hold onto it rather than selling the piece at a loss.

It is a fancy golden egg, made with exquisite detailing including a ridged shell and an ornate mounting. It is set with a large round diamond ‘pushpiece’, which opens the shell to reveal a wonderful prize. The egg rests upon its original pedestal, an ornately carved golden tripod featuring chased lion’s paw feet and a festoon of colored-gold garlands suspended from three cabochon blue sapphires surrounded by gold beads and crested by diamond-encrusted bows {cited: Wartski}.

A simple click of the diamond button, and the lid pops open to reveal a beautiful lady’s pocket-style watch with white enamel dial and openwork gold hands set with diamonds. An engraving on the watch, which reads ‘Vacheron Constantin’, offered the only clue as to its illustrious history.

Faberge Egg with Clock, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

Faberge Egg with Clock, ©Wartski. Photo used with permission.

An Identical Likeness

The scrap-metal dealer, desperate for some return on his investment, typed in Google the search phrase “egg Vacheron Constantin.” In a stroke of pure serendipity, The Telegraph had one year prior published an article declaring that a photo of one of the missing Imperial Faberge Eggs was recently discovered in an American auction catalog from the 1960s.

The photo demonstrated an identical likeness with the egg sitting upon this dealer’s countertop. He made a swift trip to London, carrying photos of the egg to the named expert, Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski, a firm specializing in the works of Carl Faberge.

“I knew instantly that was it. I was flabbergasted–it was like being Indiana Jones and finding the Lost Ark,” Mr. McCarthy told The Telegraph.

‘Treasures Into Tractors’

On May 18, 1887, Emperor Alexander III made a payment of 2160 roubles to Faberge for this, the third installment in his exceptional Easter gifts to his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. In total, 50 such Imperial Eggs were made by Faberge for the beautiful empress.

In 1902, this particular egg was placed on display in the Von Dervis Mansion Exhibition in St. Petersburg. This was the last time this egg was seen in public. Fifteen years later, the Bolsheviks transferred the entire Imperial treasury, including all fifty of the remarkable eggs, to the Moscow Kremlin Armory. The presence of this particular egg is noted in the Kremlin archive as Art. 1548 {3}.

The egg was transferred once again in 1922, to the care of Ivan Gavrilovich Chinariov, a representative of the Council of People’s Commissars. It was a prime candidate for meltdown in the Russian Revolution’s ‘Treasures into Tractors’ campaign {4}. Although much of the Imperial treasure was indeed lost, of the 50 Imperial Eggs seized by the Bolsheviks, all but 8 of them have been found intact. Of these eight, only three are expected to have survived the great meltdown.

On the Kitchen Counter

This egg represents not only the third Imperial Egg made for the Tsarina, but also the third of these lost treasures discovered in the past 100 years. In 2011, a photo of the egg was spotted by an American in a Parke-Bernet catalog dated March 1964.

Sold in the New York auction by vendor “Clarke” as a “Gold Watch in Egg-Form Case on Wrought Three-Tone Gold Stand, Set with Jewels” {1}, the jewel was never identified as a Faberge egg, and its whereabouts after the sale were unknown until it showed up on the kitchen counter of our Midwestern dealer.

Kieran McCarthy, a Wartski representative, took a jaunt to the Midwest and knocked on the door of the dealer’s humble home. The door opened, and he soon caught his first glimpse of the golden egg, somewhat dwarfed next to a large cupcake.

Real Blue-Collar America

“I examined it and said, ‘You have an Imperial Faberge Easter Egg.’ And he practically fainted. He literally fell to the floor in astonishment,” Mr. McCarthy reported.

The fortunate dealer is not of the world of important jewels and collectors. “He’s from…a world of diners and pick-up trucks, real blue-collar America, and he and his partner are still stunned by all this,” Mr. McCarthy told reporters.

The actual sale price was withheld to protect all parties involved, but Wartski calls the finder “an art historical lottery winner, receiving multiple millions of dollars per centimetre of egg” {4}.

An Exclusive Exhibition

The egg’s new owner, a private collector, has graciously agreed to allow an exclusive exhibition of the found egg at Wartski London, who plan to display the marvelous egg in the days leading up to Easter. To view “the ultimate Easter Treasure,” one can stand in line at the Wartski showroom on Grafton Street, London, from 9:30am-5:00pm between April 14th and April 17th of this year.

For details, we invite you to visit Wartski online.

Notes

  1. Nikkhah, Roya. “Is This L20 Million Nest-Egg On Your Mantelpiece?” The Telegraph, August 13, 2011.
  2. Singh, Anita. “The L20m Faberge Egg That Was Almost Sold for Scrap,” The Telegraph, March 18, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/10706025/The-20m-Faberge-egg-that-was-almost-sold-for-scrap.html.
  3. Wartski. “The Lost Third Imperial Easter Egg by Carl Faberge.” Accessed March 21, 2014. http://www.wartski.com/.
  4. Wartski Press Release. “Lost Treasure Found After Almost 100 Years.” Acquired March 21, 2014 from Wartski.

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Look Right Here! at this Antique 1930s Three-Stone Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

This exquisite three-stone antique engagement ring was fashioned in the 1930s out of solid platinum. Intricate geometric engravings adorn the sides and shoulders, while the gallery features an exquisite scrolled openwork design. Three large Old Euro cut diamonds rest snugly beside each other in an ornate mounting, surrounded by artfully placed transitional-cut diamonds.

This antique ring is a remarkable example of the three-stone style. Also known as a trilogy ring, this arrangement of three diamonds is commonly thought to represent a couple’s past, present, and future. A deeper significance may be attributable to the style. As one source claims, a trilogy engagement ring declares: You are my past, my present, and my future {cited}.

The traditional arrangement sets three diamonds side by side, sometimes with the central diamond being slightly larger than its neighboring stones. However, many antique rings of this variety feature a combination of gemstones, most often a ruby, sapphire, and diamond, all of equal size. All of these scintillating beauties included an ornate settings with filigree flourishes, openwork designs, and intricate engravings along the band.

In recent years, three-stone engagement rings have enjoyed modest popularity, with a select number of celebrities choosing the vintage style. These unique rings seem to appeal most to women who appreciate a healthy relationship with history, women who aren’t afraid to bring their own interpretation to classic vintage style.

Madonna and Nicole Kidman, two such women, have both owned three-stone engagement rings. Madonna was among the first celebrities to wear the style, a Neil Neil Lane original she received at the onset of the millennium from ex-husband Guy Ritchie. With five carats of diamonds, her Edwardian style ring featured three large stones claw-set in relief against an intricate milgrain and diamond band encrusted with tiny white diamonds.

Six years later, Keith Urban chose a Cartier three-stone engagement ring for his lady love, Nicole Kidman. Her diamonds are larger and slightly chunkier, set fairly close together. She wears her engagement ring with a diamond and platinum eternity band, also rumored to have been crafted by Cartier. A stunning combination, indeed!

If you’re a woman in love with vintage elegance who exudes her own unique style, this authentic antique trilogy ring may be the perfect ring for you. Make an appointment to try it on, and bring your sweetheart along!