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Posts by Simon Teakle

Boucheron Fan-link Gem-set Bracelet

by on March 1st, 2010

The recent Miami and Palm Beach antique shows were bustling with buyers eager to buy, but only in certain areas. Mediocre quality still has a tough time finding a market, but a wonderful signed piece of jewelry that is beautiful and easy to wear is in great demand.

This diamond and multi-gem set bracelet by Boucheron, Paris is one of those special pieces. Designed in the early 1950’s, it has a lingering retro, yet light fluid style that embodies Boucheron’s chic and stylish design.

Frederick Boucheron started his business in 1858 and quickly became one of the world’s foremost jewelry houses. Consistently producing seamless modern design, style and craftsmanship, there is no better jeweler than this for the sophisticated collector.

Victorian Pink Tourmaline & Diamond Brooch: An Antique Love Trophy

by on February 1st, 2010

Victorian Pink Tourmaline & Diamond Brooch, $29,000

The late-nineteenth century was arguably the most romantic period of jewelry design. Sentiments and symbolism were saturated in every art form: from the Pre-Raphaelites to the jeweler’s bench, signs of love and devotion were everywhere.

This imposing pink tourmaline & diamond trophy brooch has crossed arrows depicting the incisive influence of Eros, and these in turn cross an anchor that joins the two arrows (hearts) in the hope of mutual adoration. The diamond surround represents the laurel and the triumph of love. Nothing could be more romantic, and although heavy in sentimentality, not sugary sweet- just strong and very beautiful.

An Elegant Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald & Diamond Necklace

by on October 1st, 2009

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald & Diamond Necklace, 9.2 total carats of emeralds and 47.7 total carats of diamonds, $225,000

In the 1960′ and 70’s, jewelry became far more colorful with striking contrast and daring juxtapositions. Inspired once more by the influence of India, jewelry that was worn over the tunics of Maharajah’s became a cornerstone of Van Cleef & Arpels designs.

Although only bi-colored, this necklace illustrates stark contrast between brilliant green and the purest white with oval cluster motifs reminiscent of the magnificent sarpechs and bazubands worn by India’s aristocrats.

At this time, the House of Arpels was the world’s leading “haute joalliere” focusing on the finest stones combined with exceptional craftsmanship. This necklace is cleverly constructed to convert to a magnificent bracelet that is as chic and wearable today as when it was originally made.

The client list of Van Cleef & Arpels in the early twentieth century reads like a who’s who list of the wealthiest men and most beautiful women of the period. Her Imperial Majesty Farah Pahlavi, Princess Grace of Monaco and Lady Granard all favored fine jewelry by this venerated designer.

The style and quality of this necklace would fit in any of the world’s great jewelry collections and its style will endure for generations to come.

A Stunning Art Deco Emerald & Diamond Tassel Bracelet

by on September 1st, 2009

Art Deco Emerald & Diamond Tassel Bracelet, $68,000

With the end of summer, pearls and corals are put away for another year and thoughts turn to the fall with the start of dinner parties, opera and the charity circuit. Maybe not in that order and perhaps different social functions (the head of our watch department asked me to include Giants tickets and tailgates), but for many, diamonds and other precious gems take center stage for increasingly formal events.

This magnificent sugarloaf emerald and diamond bracelet is a breathtaking example of those design elements that made the Art Deco period so special. It is as tactile as it is beautiful with a sinuous softness, each and every link crumples on touch like silk. There is a paradox in this object that is startlingly striking yet understated; everything about it is of outstanding quality.

Tassel bracelets were used with great effect during the Art Deco period, Cartier favoring a foxtail style tassel and Van Cleef & Arpels an exotic cupola (as illustrated in this bracelet). This bracelet shows off many of the diamond shapes that were created during that time period such as the baguette, bullet and lozenge cuts.

Created in the mid-1920’s, this bracelet exemplifies style, quality and beauty. It’s as flattering on a wrist as any bracelet you will find, and the ideal companion for any glamorous, fall gathering.

Verdura, Coco Chanel and the Iconic Maltese Cross Cuff Bracelet

by on August 1st, 2009

Fulco di Verdura & Coco Chanel

Born in Sicily in 1898, Duke Fulco di Verdura is without question one of the most important jewelry designers of the 20th century.

Characterized by large, boldly colored gemstones, and with a taste for gold settings and natural forms- such as animals, seashells and flowers- Verdura’s designs first manifested themselves in brilliant watercolors. Only later, were these sketches transformed into magnificent bespoke jewelry.

Verdura’s designs never conformed to the trends of the time: diamond jewelry, usually set in platinum. He boldly created his own designs, which have influenced generations of jewelers ever since.

Verdura 5-Stone Cuff Bracelets, from $28,000

Verdura 5-Stone Cuff Bracelets, from $28,000

It was this non-conformism that first impressed Coco Chanel, who was introduced to him in Venice in 1925. Chanel, already at the height of her fame, recruited Verdura on the spot, commissioning him to create her boutique jewelry line and to redesign many of the important pieces in her own jewelry collection.

In 1934, a year after opening a workshop in New York City, Verdura crafted a cuff bracelet that was built around a Maltese Cross given to Chanel by Grand Duke Dmitri of Russia. The Maltese Cross became one of Verdura’s most celebrated motifs and helped to propel Verdura into the spotlight. By the late 1930s, Hollywood starlets, including Katherine Hepburn and Greta Garbo, as well as aristocrats, such as the Duchess of Windsor and Countess Mona Von Bismarck, amongst many others were clamoring for his jewelry.

Today, Ward Landrigan, the CEO of Verdura, has updated the Maltese Cross cuff with a more modern and comfortable design. Betteridge just received the first of the newly designed cuffs to leave Verdura’s New York workshop in citrine, black jade and gold, as well as citrine, cocobola wood and gold. The cuffs are a spectacular tribute to Duke Fulco di Verdura’s impressive career.

A Stunning Sapphire and Diamond Fringe Necklace by Harry Winston

by on July 1st, 2009

Harry Winston Diamond & Sapphire Necklace, 41.93 total carats of sapphires and 74.58 total carats of diamonds ($450,000)

Harry Winston Diamond & Sapphire Necklace, 41.93 total carats of sapphires and 74.58 total carats of diamonds ($450,000)

Legend has it that when Harry Winston was just twelve years old, he recognized a two-carat emerald in a pawnshop, bought it for twenty-five cents and sold it two days later for eight hundred dollars. For Winston, it is just the first tale in a storied career of one of the truly great American jewelry designers.

At the age of twenty-four, Winston opened his first business in New York City known as the Premier Diamond Company. Twelve years later, he founded the company that bears his namesake and began to manufacture his own jewelry designs.

By 1950, Winston was acknowledged as the uncontested “King of Diamonds”, owning, at one time or another, as many as one-third of all the famous diamonds in the world, including the Idol’s Eye, the Crown of Charlemagne and the Briolette of India. In addition, Winston was responsible for the cutting of numerous famous diamonds, including the Jonker, the Taylor-Burton, the Star of Sierra Leone and the Vargas, and he donated three important diamonds to the Smithsonian: the Hope, the Portuguese and the Oppenheimer.

In 1978, Winston passed away, but his legacy lives on in the enduring power of his vintage jewelry. There is a glamour and excitement to his designs and lifestyle, which combined to make him the most famous jeweler in the world.

Terry Betteridge recalls riding Winston’s famous triangular elevator to his Fifth Avenue office in New York City with his Dad, “When I visited Winston in Manhattan, it was like visiting the Wizard of Oz. He was more than just a talented jewelry designer; Winston was an entertainer who found a way to make his diamonds and company seem magical.”

A trademark of Winston’s jewelry style is light open platinum settings that give the appearance of diamonds floating on air. This technique is seen in this magnificent sapphire fringe necklace, in which a series of perfectly matched natural sapphires are suspended from light flexible articulated lines of platinum-set colorless diamonds. This creates powerful yet distinctly feminine jewelry.

The ‘King of Gems’

by on May 1st, 2009

Art Deco oval-cut ruby and diamond bypass ring (3.55ct / 3.17ct), $180,000

Historically, Burma has been the source of the world’s finest rubies. Burmese rubies have quite literally set the standard by which all other fine gemstones are judged.

Large, fine, natural Burmese rubies are still considered to be ‘The King of Gems’ and are certainly amongst the scarcest. They have been prized by the world’s most important gem collectors for centuries.

What makes this ring particularly rare is its quality, combined with the fact that the stones are a perfectly matched pair. Matching color is especially difficult, and even with gems cut from the same piece of rough crystal, the characteristics often diverge.

Set in a simple, yet elegant, twin ring, the stones sit side by side to amplify how well matched they are. In contrast, gems that are not particularly well matched are often set in earrings to mask their differences.

This is a great example of understated elegance with the emphasis on beauty and quality.

A Magnificent Victorian Amethyst and Diamond Bangle

by on March 12th, 2009

Amethyst & Diamond Bangle, Circa 1890

In the Victorian era, jewelry was made and worn on a grand scale. Aristocratic women wore massive tiaras and corsage ornaments amongst elaborate silks and brocades. It was an era of glamour and opulence, especially in nineteenth century England.

Over a hundred years after their creation, many Victorian pieces still represent the height of fashion, a testament to their brilliant design. Although they may be worn alone with great simplicity, their dramatic impact endures.

This remarkable amethyst and diamond bangle features a number of characteristics that are typical of Victorian design, including foliate sprays and clusters, as well as dramatic swaths of color. In combination with meticulous craftsmanship, these elements bestow a sculptural form.

This bracelet belonged to Mary Russell, the Duchess of Bedford and Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Born as Mary du Caurroy Tribe, in 1865 at Stockbridge, Hampshire, she married Lord Herbrand Russell.

In a period when women were largely forced to assume subservient roles, Mary was a firebrand for women’s rights. She was a vocal supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, joining the Women’s Tax Resistance League to protest the disenfranchisement of women.

She was invested as Dame of Grace, Venerable Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and as a fellow at the Linnean Society of the Imperial College.

Mary was also an acclaimed aviator and ornithologist. She broke the records for the longest flights to India and South Africa. Moreover, her journals regarding migratory patterns on Fair Isle were published posthumously.

At the age of 71, Mary left Woburn Abbey on her way to Fair Isle in a De Haviland Gipsy Moth plane and crashed into the chilly waters of the North Sea. Mary’s body was never recovered.