Anyone who has been following the prices of jewelry at auction for the past ten years or so has likely become aware of several trends. Firstly, the pieces that seem to generate the most interest and sell way over their estimates are not the diamond and jewel-studded pieces of conventional design, but rather the exciting, interesting pieces of period jewelry, often with few stones of value. Signatures are in demand, with pieces designed by the important houses and designers commanding ever increasing prices.
Jewelry buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the superiority of design and craftsmanship that period jewelry has to offer. Today’s savvy buyers are quite sophisticated regarding the value of great design and workmanship. Even un-signed jewelry, especially French pieces, were, up until the late 1960’s, beautifully made -- routinely of a quality that today is rarely found even in expensive pieces from the best houses. It’s just too expensive to make jewelry the way it was made before.
We are also seeing heightened interest in earlier jewels. We can’t keep up with requests for fine and unusual early rings, earrings and necklace, from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the clients for these pieces are young women.
There is also strong interest in more “modern” jewelry -- the 1950’s and 1960’s, both for the classics these periods produced, such as the enameled animals of David Webb, to the more extreme designs featuring raw crystals, spiky designs and heavily textured gold of Andrew Grima or Arthur King.
The more extreme designs influenced by studio jewelry, and using unusual, often rough stones and experimental gold techniques are still inexpensive, and we have a number of young, artistic clients who find these pieces exciting.
We are constantly approached by stylists for all the important magazines asking to borrow jewelry for editorial shoots. They have been asking for interesting pieces in yellow gold from the 1930’s and 40’s, as well as Art Deco. Yellow gold is definitely back in fashion again. Earrings are hot items - hoop earrings are particularly in demand right now, as are long gold necklaces and bangle bracelets. How true it is that “what was old is new again.” ‘80's shoulder pads are back, and so is stylish jewelry of all periods.
Images top to bottom: Cartier, Paris Coral and 18k Gold Rose brooch, ca.1950, Diamond and Emerald Serpent ring, ca. 1925, Antique Diamond necklace, ca. 1885 , Arthur King Baroque Pearl and 18k Gold brooch, ca. 1960, Hermes 18k Gold Floral link necklace, ca. 1960.
This article is copyright- protected, and may not be excerpted or reproduced in any form without the consent of Audrey Friedman at Primavera Gallery NY.