Sometimes you see a piece of jewelry so mesmerizing that you can’t take your eyes off of it. There are many factors that make a piece of jewelry remarkable from precious gems and metals to amazing fabrication, unique design and even the person who owned it. We’ve asked a few of the expert dealers on The Jewelers Circle to choose a piece of jewelry from their collection and explain what makes it so extraordinary. Here are the pieces they have chosen and their comments about why these jewels are so special.
The Spencer-Churchill necklace has it all: Provenance, incredible workmanship and sentimentality. This necklace was created by the 7th Duke of Marlborough, John Spencer-Churchill for his wife, the Duchess of Marlborough Frances Anne Spencer-Churchill, circa 1875. It is designed as a gold collar set with eight oval-shaped lockets. Seven of these lockets are decorated on the front with the initials of their children in enamel with floral wreath surrounds and white bows. The eighth station is adorned with a ducal coronet and set with tiny gems. The reverse side of the glazed back ovals are lined with pale blue silk and the lockets are each engraved with the full name of the child and their date of birth. The lockets are linked together with highly decorative open work gold panels with stylized floral and scroll motifs. The Spencer-Churchill necklace is a piece of history from a prominent family.
Stephen Burton, Hancocks of London
Cartier Bespoke Bracelet
As soon as I felt this bracelet in my hand I knew I wanted to own it. The bracelet was a special order from Cartier in 1924, so it is one-of-a-kind. It has unique workmanship and is set with rose cut and old European diamonds, it’s very beautiful. Cartier made the bracelet in platinum topped gold, which is very labor intensive, it was an extra step to do that, very few pieces are made that way. This particular bracelet was made by Cartier Paris, their gold work was very delicate, soft and flexible with a silky feeling on your skin. The workmanship from the Paris shop was way ahead of the other Cartier locations. When you turn the bracelet over, the au jour work on the back is very artistic, I’ve never seen anything like it from any design house. Even the clasp is special, it is on a slant that flows with the design.
Sanjay Chordia, Jardin Jewels, New York
Dinh Van for Cartier Ring
We’ve owned a fair number of pieces by Dinh Van for Cartier, as we love how playful and unexpected his work is—even for Dinh Van, though, this ring is unexpected and uniquely bold. Its sculptural qualities take it out of the realm of jewelry and into the realm of art. Its beguiling form and expert craftsmanship are just so special, and since we hadn’t seen anything quite like it before, we had to have it.
Matthew Imberman, Kentshire Galleries, New York
Carlo Giuliano Pendant
This pendant is a little treasure. I bought it from a British dealer and when I looked more carefully after we bought it, there was so much going on that I decided to keep it as part of the DeYoung Private Collection. It’s signed CG for Carlo Giuliano. The front is an extraordinary cameo that is beautifully carved. What’s interesting about the carving is that there is a woman’s face and there is another face coming out of her head. The cameo is black and white and those colors are repeated with the black and white enamel on the frame. The white enamel looks like tiny beads and it’s finished with a pearl frame. The back is a glass locket. It’s from around 1865 to 1870 and it’s in pristine condition.
Janet Levy, J. & S.S. DeYoung, Inc., New York
Antique Diamond Brooch
I love 19th century (1800s) jewels when they are set with full cuts rather than rose cuts. I have always liked these 19th century "garden jewels" or naturalistic representations of plants, flowers or leaves. This one is fully articulated and set with full cut old miners, so it is playful and bright. Also the perfect piece for the wine lover, don't you think?
Jorge Chamizo, Arts International, Hong Kong
Now that you have some pointers from dealers on what makes a jewel special for them, you can use some of those same tips when you choose vintage pieces for your own personal collection.
Authored by Amber Michelle