• Edward VIII Cartier Onyx Pocket Watch Goes to Auction Saturday

    Cartier. A fine and rare onyx pocket watch with the Royal cypher of Edward VIIICirca 1936 Cartier. Back side of a fine and rare onyx pocket watch with the Royal cypher of Edward VIII. Circa 1936.

     

    This Cartier onyx pocket watch once belonged to King Edward VIII. It's design is singular among Cartier's exquisite watch designs. Scheduled for auction Saturday through Henry Aldridge and Son in Devizes, Wiltshire, this magnificent jewel could fetch upwards of $39,000.

    Wallis Simpson commissioned the watch in 1936, as a gift to King Edward VIII. The reverse side of the black onyx plaque is inscribed with the King's Royal cypher. It also includes a special engraving on the winding crown: "12/4/36 Easter."

    Easter with the King

    Time: Easter 1936.
    Location: King Edward VIIIs' residence, Fort Belvedere.
    Noted: Before he abdicated his throne.

    The king spent the holiday with his lover Wallis Simpson, who played hostess for the weekend. It is assumed that her husband Ernest, and Ernest's secret lover Mary Raffray, also stayed at the Fort with them. Wallis knew nothing of her husband's affair.

    Wallis and the King spent several years prior visiting, partying, and growing closer to each other. In fact, the year prior, Edward VIII gave Wallis a locket dated April '35. Inside the hair compartment another inscription read, "Wallis-David."

    David is the nickname Edward VIII's family and intimate friends called him. A letter accompanied the gift, a portion of which read, "This is not the kind of Easter WE want but it will be all right next year." {source}

    What Did THEY Want?

    Was everything the way THEY wanted the spring of 1936? If not, things were definitely moving in a good direction. Two months prior, Wallis's husband met with the King over lunch at York House.

    "Are you sincere? Do you intend to marry her?" the American-born shipping executive impertinently asked the King.

    "Do you really think that I would be crowned without Wallis at my side?" the King declared as he rose to his feet.
    {source}

    The Vital Authentic Wallis Simpson

    "She is not beautiful and yet vital and real to watch. Her vitality invests her movements with charm or a kind of beauty." Thus wrote Anne Lindbergh about Wallis. Mrs. Lindbergh also noted the easy manner in which the King conducted himself that night. {source}

    The next month, a letter arrived for Wallis from Mary Raffray. Instead of the expected thank you note, it was an amorous letter written to none other than her husband. Oops!

    The American socialite confronted her husband, who promptly confessed and moved out of their home. That May, King Edward VIII introduced Wallis to Prime Minster Baldwin as his future bride.

    They'd Never Let You

    "They'd never let you," she said. {source}

    She was right. They didn't let him. So he gave up his throne, allowed his family to exile him to Paris, and married the woman of his dreams.  Stripped of his role, his rank, and pretty much his British citizenship, he left it all behind for love.

    Over the next 35 years, Wallis and David held the new title of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They spent much of their time and allotted funds designing beautiful jewels they commissioned with Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston.

    Wallis's favorite designer at Cartier was Jeanne Touissant, who designed all of Wallis's signature panther jewels.

    Cartier Onyx

    Jeanne Touissant, one of Cartier's most distinguished designers in the 1930s, loved to use onyx. Cartier onyx features prominently in their panther series, beginning with the diamond and onyx panther Louis Cartier placed between two cypress trees on an onyx box.

    Louis made this exquisite jeweled box for this remarkable woman who captured his heart and won his respect. Jeanne Toussaint became director of jewelry at Cartier in 1933.

    Wallis Simpson turned to Jeanne Toussaint to design all of her Big Cat jewels, particularly the Cartier onyx panthers. She may also have had a hand in the design of this unique rectangular black onyx pocket watch, made on spec for Wallis's beloved David the year before they were married.

    Cartier Onyx Pocket Watch

    The first time this Cartier onyx pocket watch went up for public auction was in 1987, during Sotheby's sale called Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor. One of roughly 250 pieces of jewels, the watch sold to an unknown seller for an unknown price.

    Perhaps it was purchased by Alexander Acevedo, the Madison Avenue art dealer who is credited as "the most active and successful bidder in New York." {source}

    The entire sale brought in over $50 million, which was donated to the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The Duke and Duchess planned this donation prior to his death in 1972, "to show their appreciation to the people of France," who welcomed them to their second home after they were exiled from England. {source}

    The last time this remarkable time piece came up for sale was in 2008, when Bonham's listed it as Lot 86 in their Fine Watches and Wristwatches Sale on June 11, 2008.

    Lot 86: "Cartier. A fine and rare onyx pocket watch with the Royal cipher of Edward VIII. Circa 1936."

    A special note accompanied the jewel, which read, "The Prince of Wales, who had succeeded his father as King on 20th January, 1936, spent Easter that year with Mrs Simpson at Fort Belvedere."

    Bonham's listed an estimated price of $13,000 - $20,000. Unfortunately for the seller, the lot did not sell during that day.

    Bid on Edward VIII's Cartier Onyx Pocket Watch Today

    Saturday, interested collectors have another chance to bid on the Cartier onyx pocket watch. The watch, which comes with a suede Cartier pouchette, is listed in the Henry Aldrige & Son catalog with a pre-sale estimate of $32,826 to $39,391.

    That is an appreciable increase in worth over the past 10 years. Whose collection will this timeless timepiece grace next?

  • Sculptural Acanthus Ring by Nash Quinn

     Nash Quinn, Acanthus Ring, Small. Sterling silver, 14k gold solder. ©2018 Photo used with permission. Nash Quinn, Acanthus Ring, Small. Sterling silver, 14k gold solder.

     

    Nash Quinn created Something Wild for the current exhibition at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery. The small Acanthus Ring is a wearable version of his larger sculptural Acanthus series.

    The Acanthus Motif

    Nash shared with me that he decided to distill the over-the-top grandiosity of the ring's siblings into a more wearable format. Hence, the wearer can take with them the "stately, timeless splendor of grand architecture."

    Indeed, the very inspiration behind the Acanthus series is the grand architecture of the Greek Corinthians. Atop each of the ancient columns are plant forms said to be based on Acanthus leaves. As Nash points out, this timeless motif shows up throughout the centuries in everything from architecture to engraved firearms to jewelry.

    Nash Quinn's interest in the Acanthus began with early investigations into ancient decorative conventions in architecture. However, the challenge of imitating the complexities of nature in metal drew him deeply into the exploration of this motif.

    For Nash, the happy accidents along the way are almost as satisfying as accurately capturing the complexities of this beautiful plant genus. He delights in the abundance of satisfying shapes and textures he discovers along the path to creation.

    Nash Quinn's Design Process

    This ring began, like all of his work, as a pen-and-ink drawing. Referencing the rendering, Nash formed the stylized leaves in silver sheet using traditional processes called repoussé and chasing. Once the leaf imagery satisfied his designer's eye, Nash structured the ring base.

    The base is made with rectilinear square wire. For contrast, Nash chooses gold solder to highlight the various bits of metal that comprise the whole. "I always seek to counter the organic components of my work with crisp, architectural framework and structure," he told me.

    "Like stumbling across a secluded green space in the midst of a bustling city, nature is at its most profound when encountered in contrast to the manmade," he says.

    See this perfect amalgamation of human design and nature up close and in person at Something Wild This Way Comes. The exhibit is currently on view at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in downtown Seattle. The ring's siblings are on view, as well, as are several of Nash's other wild designs.

  • Katia Olivova Creates Something Wild

    Katia Olivova: Something Wild Earrings 4, Earrings in mixed metal alloy, sterling silver ear wires and opalite. Katia Olivova: Something Wild Earrings 4, Earrings in mixed metal alloy, sterling silver ear wires and opalite. ©2018 Photo used with permission.

     

    Katia Olivova is one of nine jewelry artists selected to participate in Facere Jewelry Art Gallery's Something Wild This Way Comes exhibition. On view until August 7, these stunning sculptural earrings belong to a suite of jewels inspired by the wildness of sea flora.

    Katia Olivova Has Glass in Her Veins

    You could say that Katia Olivova emerged with glass in her veins. She represents the third generation of Czech glass art masters. Many consider her grandfather, Ladislav Oliva, Sr., the father of contemporary Czech glass design. He earned tenure at the Schools of Glassmaking in both Zelezny Brod and Kamenicky Senov.

    Katia's father, Ladislav Oliva, Jr., also studied glassmaking in Prague. He went on to build his own studio with his brother. Their reproductions and original works emulated the Gothic period. In the mid-1990s, he and his wife opened their own studio. They created an original line of handmade glass mosaics. They also sculpt with glass and make cast glass jewelry.

    All of their children either work with glass or study the art of design. Katia is the only one of them who has moved to the U.S. She moved with her American husband to Wisconsin (and later Alaska), after they completed their schooling at her grandfather's alma maters.

    Jewels by Katia Olivova and Steve Pflipsen

    Together, Katia Olivova and her husband Steve Pflipsen create beautiful jewels, sculptures, and vessels in their studio in Sitka, Alaska. To create her jewelry, Katia uses an original soldering technique she developed after considerable experimentation.

    Each piece begins with a sketch. Next she outlines her drawing with sterling silver wire and copper components. She then drags solder across the piece to fill in the negative spaces.

    Finally, each piece is oxidized, colored, and sealed with jeweler's paint. Her necklaces are strung on round black leather cord. The earrings are hung on sterling silver posts with sterling backs or on argentium sterling silver ear-wires (less copper than standard sterling).

    Many of her pieces incorporate glass pieces often made by her father, semiprecious stones, and mixed metals. All the solder is 100% lead-free. Katia Olivova draws inspiration from her collaborative lifestyle, from the wildness of Alaska, and from her lifelong passion for design and art.

    You won't want to miss seeing Katia Olivova's exquisite, wild designs this month at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle. Visit Facere's website for more information.

     

  • African Courtship Rituals

    An ornate gold ring perfect for an African courtship gift This ornate gold ring is an excellent example of an African courtship gift ©2018 EraGem Jewelry

     

    African courtship and engagement begin with complex pre-wedding rituals. Family harmony is central to the indigenous tribal villages scattered throughout the land. Therefore, many of these African courtship customs involve both families. Though each region observes unique rituals, there are a number of courting and wedding traditions that can be observed across the continent.

     

    AFRICAN COURTSHIP CUSTOMS

    To show his interest in a potential life partner, an African man brings gifts of gold, jewelry, bead necklaces, or clothing to his intended bride. His courtship might also include gifts of beer, palm wine, or even livestock, for the whole family to enjoy. He might offer his services to the family. Perhaps he will lend a hand in the fields, or help out with household chores. All of these gifts demonstrate that he is a good provider who is interested in joining their family. As a sign of their acceptance of his courtship, the woman's family offers him gifts in return.

    Once a couple is engaged, the two families come together for a week of visits and gift exchanges. This is an opportunity to begin the important bonding rituals that unite the families.

     

    PRE-WEDDING TRADITIONS

    Invitations

    Inviting the guests to an African wedding is a personalized affair. Traditionally, both families invited their entire villages to join in the festivities. They asked a close friend or relative to walk from house to house rattling a gourd. Today, families might invite guests personally over the phone or hand-deliver printed scrolls bound with raffia.

    Banns

    The couple announces their intent to marry from their respective church pulpits for three Sundays in a row. Banns is an old English custom, which colonial Africans adopted as an opportunity for the congregation to show its support. It also affords anyone who might object to the union an opportunity to speak up before the ceremony takes place.

    Yoruban Spiritual Ritual

    For those of the Yoruban religion, a special ritual takes place one month prior to the ceremony. During this ritual, the high priest (babalawo) delivers a spiritual reading and then offers the couple counsel on the the keys to happiness in a marriage. The couple gives an offering to Osun, the spirit of love, fertility, and money. Then the priest tosses a kola nut into the air, and the way it lands is interpreted as to whether the family ancestors approve of the union or not. If not, the couple is advised as to the appeasement rituals they must perform in the coming weeks in order to earn the favor of their ancestors.

    Loading the Bride

    Led by a group of mature women from the bride's village, this ceremony is much like an American bridal shower. The bride receives gifts for her home and trousseau. In addition, she hears practical and spiritual counsel from more experienced women on getting along with a man, having and raising children, managing a home, and other advice about marriage.

    Queh-Queh

    The Queh-Queh is a week-long celebration during which family and friends come together to dance, sing, and feast. Guests sing traditional folk songs, and the bride and groom may be hoisted upon shoulders or chairs and paraded around the banquet hall, or even about the village. Friends or members of her family might hide the bride at some point during the feasting. The groom must search for her and must pay a ransom to get her back. His offering to her captors is his demonstration of her value to him.

  • Something Wild at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery

    Something Wild Necklace 2 by Katia Olivova Something Wild Necklace 2 by Katia Olivova, © 2018.

     

    Something Wild This Way Comes opens on July 18, 2018, at Facere Jewelry Art Gallery in downtown Seattle. Curator and owner, Karen Lorene, invites you to join her in exploring things of an animal nature with nine talented and creative jewelry artists.

    This gorgeous necklace has as its centerpiece a cast and cut opalescent glass ornament fashioned by the artist's father. The artist, Katia Olivova, is one of nine jewelry designers asked to craft pieces that explore the theme of the wildness of nature.

    With a very different style, Tom Hill's wild wooden jewelry evokes the more menacing side of nature. Meanwhile, the animal-inspired knit-leather pieces by Brooke Marks-Swanson conjure spotted leopards, birds in their nests, and playful panda bears. Katia Olivova offers sculpted mixed-metal earrings and necklaces. Her pieces invoke images of sea flora, which no doubt frequently washes upon the shores of Crescent Bay in Sitka, Alaska.

    Jennifer Stenhouse's gemstone and sterling silver brooches transport you to primitive times. Whereas, Maru Almeida's oxidized sterling silver creations soothe the psyche with their modern lines. Meanwhile, Cynthia Toops's figurative micromosaic pieces and beaded necklaces conjure native tribal notions of animals and nature.

    Judith Hoyt's found-metal and copper brooches with animal themes inspire nostalgia, while Sarah J.G. Wauzynski's rich and colorful renditions of animals in sterling silver and egg tempura inspire delight. In contrast, Nash Quinn's bold rings, brooches, and necklaces sculpted in sterling silver inspire adventure and exploration.

    We invite you to visit Something Wild This Way Comes on July 26th, during the gallery reception at 4pm. During the reception, you can browse the exhibit, meet the designers in person, and enjoy a series of artist talks.

    For more information, including directions and featured pieces, we invite you to visit Facere's website.

  • 36 Month Financing Now Available, 0% APR for 12 Months*

    EraGem Financing

    We are excited to partner with Bread® to offer easy financing so you can buy now and pay over time for your purchase with up to 36 monthly payments and we are still offering well qualified buyers 0% APR for 12 months*.

    Applying is easy and financing terms are clear. You get a decision in seconds, you aren't required to buy, and checking your rate does not affect your credit score.  You pay back the loan in monthly payments and can prepay at any time without penalty.

    *The terms are for a loan to finance a purchase. Rates range from 0% to 29.99% APR, resulting in, for example, 12 equal monthly payments of $83.33 at 0% APR, or 36 equal monthly payments of $31.33 to $42.45 at 7.99% to 29.99% APR, per $1,000 borrowed. Your terms may vary and are subject to credit approval. Bread® loans are made by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.

    For More Information visit https://www.getbread.com/faq/

  • Showroom Hours M-F 10-6, Sat 10-4

    We are thrilled to announce the opening of our  Jewelry Showroom to our customers shopping on Saturdays.  We will be open for walk-ins and appointments between 10am and 4pm every Saturday.  We appreciate setting up viewing appointments so that we can ensure you get our undivided attention but we love the surprise of customers just showing up as well.

    rings-1

    Weekday hours continue to be M-F 10-6. EraGem.com is always the best place to start exploring our selection as each item we have is fully described and pictured on the site.

    showroom-1

    EraGem's showroom is located a few blocks east of Whole Foods on NE 8th Street.  EraGem is on the north side of the street just past the 120th Street intersection.  The city has recently completed road construction so our building can only be accessed from westbound direction on NE 8th coming down the hill. Those coming in on 405 take the 13B Exit to Eastbound NE 8th St. Get into the left hand turn lane to take a left at the 120th intersection, make the first right onto Bel-Red. Proceed up the hill then turn right onto 124th.  Then Right on NE 8th and then you can turn right into our parking lot, it looks like this:

    IMG_1906

    Our entrance is on the downhill, west facing side of the building.

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    We will be available for Jewelry Consignment intake on Saturday as well however customers interested in selling jewelry may be referred to other local businesses.

    -EraGem Team

     

  • Vote for EraGem's Best Wedding Rings!

    EraGem has been nominated in the "Best Wedding Rings" category of the Best of Western Washington 2015.  We would love your vote and are offering a great giveaway on EraGem's Facebook page to celebrate.

    Enter for a chance to win this beautiful Montana sapphire ring

    Montana Sapphire Facebook Giveaway

    First go and leave us a vote for "Best Wedding Rings" HERE

    Then leave a comment on EraGem's facebook post announcing the giveaway to let us know that you voted.

    When voting concludes we will randomly select a winner from the comment entries. We hope many of you enter and leave the comment to let us j ow you voted on our facebook!

  • Paulette Goddard's Diamond Fringe Necklace

    Paulette Goddard (left) sits with Louise Rainer on set for the film 'Dramatic School' (1938). Ms. Goddard appears to be wearing her diamond fringe necklace in the shoot. Photo in public domain. Paulette Goddard (left) sits with Louise Rainer on set for the film 'Dramatic School' (1938). Ms. Goddard appears to be wearing her diamond fringe necklace in the shoot. Photo in public domain.

     

    Paulette Goddard owned one of the most delectable diamond fringe necklaces of all time. Most certainly, it was the most notable in her vast collection of jewelry. Ms. Goddard, once married to Charlie Chaplin, became one of the most celebrated jewelry collectors of the 1930s and 1940s.

    She is most famous for carting around her favorite pieces in a jewelry box which she carried to all of her movie sets. She showed them off to the production crew in between takes. Like many actresses in those days, she wore most of her own jewels in the movies in which she starred.

    This particular necklace was fashioned by the prestigious firm of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. It is set in platinum with myriad white diamonds in all shapes and sizes. It has rounds, pendaloques, marquise, and emerald-cut diamonds, and separates into two pieces, allowing the wearer to don a portion of it as a bracelet.

    The bracelet piece is comprise of a central marquise-cut diamond centered between a set of five graduated round brilliants on one side and six on the other. The bracelet terminates on either side with three fluted flourishes paved in white diamonds, four of them iced in round brilliants and two of them in baguettes.

    Overall, the piece is blindingly beautiful. One source reports that it is comprised of 46 emerald-cut diamonds and 60 other diamonds amounting to 29 carats in accent stones {cited}.

    The same website reports that after her death on April 23, 1990, Paulette Goddard bequeathed nearly all of her assets, including her jewelry, to New York University. The estimated value of her estate at the time of her death was $20 million.

    Her jewelry and art collections were sold through Sotheby's in New York, and the estimate for Ms. Goddard's diamond fringe necklace was set at over $175,000. I'm sure it brought in far more than that, though I have not been able to secure the final bidding price for the piece, as yet.

    Ms. Goddard claims that she never once purchased a piece of her extensive jewelry collection for herself. Every gem was given to her by a friend or lover. Her list of paramours includes the aforementioned Charlie Chaplin, as well as Burgess Meredith and Erich Remarque (the famed writer of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also had a longstanding love affair with Marlene Dietrich).

    In addition to her endowment to New York University, Ms. Goddard made many contributions to the university while she was still living. The New York Times, reported in 1990  that after Erich Remarque passed away in 1970, she gave his personal library, all his manuscripts, and his diaries to the institution.

    For the last twelve years of her life, Ms. Goddard awarded 300 theater and film students $3 million dollars in scholarships to attend the university's Tisch School of the Arts.

    Her vast collection of fine art was counted as part of her $20 million estate, though she had already sold $2.9 million of Impressionist art in 1979. To her dying day, Paulette Goddard was dedicated to theater and film, and to the arts.

    ~Angela Magnotti Andrews

  • Cleopatra's Pearl Earrings

    Ruud Kahle Mabe Pearl and Pink Tourmaline Earrings

     

    Cleopatra's pearl earrings are credited as the first mention of pearl jewelry in the pages of history {1}. Many a woman has grown bored with power and has resorted to flirtatious bantering with the men in her company.

    This was oh so true for Cleopatra, one of the most powerful women in Egyptian history. She is said to have won the heart of Marc Antony, and he hers. Though their tale is tragic in its ending, it is lively in its beginnings.

    Their courtship began with a series of pranks. These pranks began with the two in cahoots together. They would roam the streets of Alexandria in disguise, he as a slave and she as a maid {2}. They would eavesdrop outside windows, and sometimes even fall into a brawl in the street, probably over the pretty maiden.

    In subsequent days, they played pranks on each other. On a fishing trip, Marc Antony rigged his lines with an abundance of fish. Having caught on to his antics, Cleopatra arranged for a counter-prank. On their next trip, Marc Antony pulled out of the waters a smoked fish hooked on his line {3}.

    Upping the ante, the two arranged a little bet. Marc Antony organized an outrageous banquet the likes of which had never been seen before. He bet her that his cost more than any banquet she could throw in return {4}.

    She countered his wager, betting that she could throw a feast which would cost her 60,000 pounds of gold. She began the feast in a humble fashion. Near the end, Marc Antony was sure he had won the bet. However, Cleopatra had one last surprise up her sleeve.

    "I will now consume on my own the equivalent of 60,000 pounds of gold," she said placidly.

    Upon making this statement she received at hand, from the tray of her slave, a golden goblet filled with vinegar. Holding it in one hand, she lifted her other hand to her ear and removed one of her pearl earrings, easily worth 30,000 pounds of gold.

    These earrings were rumored to be among the most delectable, most expensive pearls of their kind. Each earring was fashioned of one large pear-shaped pearl, and the pair was given to Cleopatra by the kings of the East {5}.

    She dropped the pearl earring into the goblet, savoring the look of astonishment on Marc Antony's face as she waited for the vinegar to dissolve the pearl.

    Then, she swallowed the contents of the cup, prepared to drop her other pearl into a second cup. It is noted that at this point, the judge of the wager declared Cleopatra the winner, thus sparing the second earring from its demise {6}.

    History dictates that the single famed pearl earring was later sliced in two in Rome and made into earrings for a statue of Venus in the Pantheon {7}.

    Notes

    1. Rosenthal, Leonard. The Kingdom of the Pearl, London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd., 1919, p. 85.
    2. Jones, Prudence J. Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh, Haus Publishing, 2006, p. 72.
    3. Ibid., p. 72.
    4. Ibid., p. 73.
    5. Rosenthal, p. 85.
    6. Jones, p. 73.
    7. Ibid.

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