Jewelry historians

American Society of
NEWSLETTER Vol. 25, No. 1, Spring 2011

A Letter from the President
Dear ASJH Member: We kicked off our 25th Anniversary celebrations with an exclusive curator-led tour of Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. The event was sold out within a few days, largely due to the efforts of board members Sarah Coffin of the CooperHewitt Museum, Nicolas Luchsinger of Van Cleef & Arpels and Diana Singer, ASJH Program Chair for New York. Our all-volunteer board devotes an incredible amount of resources and time to create our newsletters and programming and we have also spent a significant amount of time identifying and reaching out to new board members. As a result, we have put together an impressive election slate this year, which will infuse the board with new talent and perspective that will help us to build upon a solid foundation. Patricia Kiley Faber is running for the position of President, Sarah Coffin for Vice-President and Kim Vagner for Secretary. I know you will also be pleased to welcome Hilary Heard, Dr. Joseph Levine and Mark Schaffer to the board. Hilary Heard brings with her extensive marketing experience and Dr. Joseph Levine brings a collector’s perspective, enabling us to tap still wider audiences. Mark Schaffer brings a tradition of expertise in antique and period jewelry and succeeds another distinguished board member, his uncle and colleague, Peter Schaffer. This dynamic group shall steer the Society for the next few years and I hope you will join me and support their nomination with your votes. Warmly, Reema Keswani ASJH President Email: Phone: 914-235-0983

ASJH Events
Renaissance Jewels of Bavaria, May 12 A discussion of jewelry portraits created by the painter and manuscript illuminator Hans Mielich for the Dukes of Bavaria in Renaissance Germany in the form of a Jewel Book, meticulously documenting the most important pieces. This lecture by jewelry historian Stefanie Walker will offer insights into the technique, style, and design of Renaissance jewelry, so frequently a source of inspiration for generations of designers. The Hidden Techniques of the Macedonian Goldsmiths, Sept. 15 Techniques formulated in ancient times and lands have endured through the ages, and many are used even to this day. Explore these hidden techniques perfected by the Macedonians centuries ago with Dr. Monica Jackson, a archeologist and historian specializing in ancient jewelry from the Mediterranean.


Paul Flato gold, ruby and diamond puffy heart brooch, circa 1939. Sotheby’s, New York

COVER: Demon-shaped kris handle. East Java, Late Classic period (1000–1400 C.E.). 2008.21.8. Yale University Art Gallery

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A lecture by Elizabeth Irvine Bray to the American Society of Jewelry Historians at The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, December 16, 2010. Synopsis by Jane Tiger

Paul Flato was one of the most enigmatic and fascinating jewelry designers of the twentieth century. His jewels were worn by the rich and famous and were prominently featured in six major films of the 1930s and 1940s. More than half a century later, Flato’s distinctive jewelry still remains innovative, stylish and greatly sought after. His personal triumphs and failures are unforgettable stories that Elizabeth Irvine Bray presented in her slide lecture based on her new beautifully illustrated book Paul Flato: Jeweler to the Stars. Born in a southeast Texas town in 1900, Flato was raised in a large family of prosperous merchants and ranchers, who made him feel comfortable with wealthy people. Pre-oil Texas was a land of cotton, ranching, cowboys and nomadic Gypsies, and Flato’s boyhood was filled with Western myths and a taste for adventure. He went to New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties to attend Columbia University but dropped out after only one year. He apprenticed with a Swiss jeweler and watchmaker, but after a couple of years he went into business on his own. Flato began in the jewelry business by selling large engagement rings and pearl necklaces to friends from Columbia University. By age twenty-seven, he had his own exclusive boutique on 57th Street catering to socialites and to the wealthy, and by the mid 1930s he was creating one-of-a-kind jewels for his fast growing clientele. Flato was charming, funny, a master salesman, and had a flair for the theatrical. He enlisted Brenda Frazier, debutante of the year 1939 and on every fashion magazine cover, to model a necklace that he designed with the 125-carat Jonker diamond, the third largest in the world at the time. The Jonker was owned by Harry Winston, then a largely unknown diamond dealer, who supplied Flato with important diamonds. Flato designed the settings for these stones and sold the pieces to his clients. By the early 1930s, Flato shifted away from selling pearls and large diamond “ice cube” rings and hired a team of designers. Flato claimed that he couldn’t draw a line, but stood over his designers, while they drew thousands of sketches and renderings of jewels,

The book cover features an aquamarine and ruby buckle necklace, circa 1939, designed for Mrs. Cole Porter. The ink and gouache is the original design drawing. Necklace: Siegelson, New York. Drawing: Christie’s Images

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Diamond and platinum rose brooch, circa 1938. Siegelson, New York. Photograph by Doug Rosa Pair of emerald bead, diamond and platinum cactus clip brooches made for Mrs. Cole Porter, circa 1937. Chrisite’s Images


changing, editing and making suggestions as they worked. Part of Flato’s genius was in choosing very creative and talented people to work for him. George Headley was an artist with a background in fashion design and was responsible for the unusual gold jewelry, objets de vertu and boxes that were commissioned by Flato’s customers. His designs were highly conceptual and surreal. The growing Surrealist Art Movement in Europe was a major influence on Flato’s jewelry design. The chunky 14-karat gold banister cuff bracelet, which he made for Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1938, incorporated architectural three-dimensional elements totally unlike the slender and flat bracelets of the 1920s. These designs were innovative and shocking at the time. Nature also had a major influence on Flato’s jewelry, as seen in his 1938 collection based on the rose; it took a year to design, choose the diamonds and have his craftsmen produce the jewels. These large, highly sculptural pieces refer back to nineteenth-century court jewels, but with a modern twist. Josephine Forrestal, wife of James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy under President Roosevelt, helped Flato design a line of jewelry that she called wiggly clips. It utilized the technique known as en tremblant, often found on Victorian pieces. Mounted on springs, the gems would tremble with the wearer’s every movement. Incorporating designs from previous eras was a third major element found again and again in Flato’s jewelry. Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers Balcom was another member of Flato’s unusual design team. Appearing regularly on the International Best Dressed List, she and Flato collaborated together to design fat heart brooches, that were best sellers. These puffy hearts were often pierced by an arrow, a common motif, representing the healing of broken hearts. The most famous of Flato’s designers was Fulco, Duke of Verdura, a Sicilian aristocrat who started his jewelry career working for Coco Chanel in Paris. At the urging of Linda and Cole Porter, Verdura immigrated to America, was introduced to Flato by celebrated fashion journalist Diana Vreeland (later Vogue editor) and began working for him on a freelance basis. Both men were eccentric, social and charming; both were intrigued by religion and the supernatural and especially appreciated a sense of humor and whimsy in jewelry. Verdura’s pieces had such cachet that Flato marketed them as Verdura for Flato. By 1939, Verdura formed his own jewelry firm at 712 Fifth Avenue thanks to both better rendering skills and a star-



studded client list that he had developed while working for Flato. Flato was enraptured by other cultures and loved to travel. Inspired by train boxcars lined with banana leaves that he saw in Honduras, he created a detailed banana leaf brooch naturalistically rendered in diamonds. In Cusco, Peru he bought an old wedding ring adorned with two hands clasped together. He incorporated the human hand into many designs including a line of brooches called Deaf and Dumb. These clips were sculpted gold female hands posed in letters of the sign language alphabet, or displaying the wearer’s monogram in sign language letters. By the mid 1930s, Flato was very hard of hearing and wore a hearing aid. By the late 1930s, Flato had many clients on the West Coast in the entertainment industry. The Hollywood director George Cukor approached him to design jewels for the film Holiday, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Working closely with Verdura, Flato received film credit for his contributions, the first jeweler to achieve such status. In a logical next step, Flato opened a jewelry boutique at 8637 Sunset Boulevard across the street from the famed Trocadero nightclub. Beginning in February 1938, he had several opening parties attended by many film stars and other Hollywood luminaries. At one party the designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, purchased a pair of surrealist inspired cactus brooches very similar to those that Flato made for Mrs. Cole Porter. These remarkable pavé-set diamond clips with


Sapphire, diamond and platinum wiggly brooch, circa 1936. Dr. Katherine Klehr. Photograph by Sam Levita
BELOW: Millicent Rogers Balcom’s ruby, sapphire and yellow diamond heart brooch, circa 1938. Photograph by David Behl

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Diamond and gold bow and flower motif cascade necklace designed by George Headley for Flato, circa 1938. Siegelson, New York. Photograph by Doug Rosa

emerald bead terminals were a new twist on Flato’s formal naturalistic flower designs. Unlike the traditional matching double clip brooches of the 1920s, each cactus clip had a slightly different design that related to its pair, but was not identical. Flato also created for Linda Porter a stunning aquamarine necklace in the form of a belt with buckle enhanced by calibré-cut ruby detail. Both the highly original color combination and design exemplified Flato’s skill at transforming the mundane into the beautiful. During the next few years, Flato designed jewelry for five more motion pictures and worked with many iconic names in costume design and directing. Merle Oberon wore Flato’s large citrine and gold cuff bracelet in That Uncertain Feeling. Rita Hayworth wore his dramatic diamond necklace in Blood and Sand. Constance Bennett co-starring with Greta Garbo in Two Faced Woman, wore Flato’s oversized amethyst bracelet and a pavé-set diamond ring of bombé design. The entire set of this jewelry was sold at Sotheby’s in the late 1980s, but only the dress clips were signed by Flato, a good example of how his pieces are often not signed. Ginger Rogers, a devoted Flato customer, wore his stunning diamond flower cascade necklace, chunky bracelet, and ring, when accepting the Oscar in 1940 for Kitty Foyle. Marlene Dietrich’s one-hundredtwenty-eight-carat cabochon emerald bracelet epitomized the trend for enormous gemstones worn on the wrist. Flato designed the piece so that Dietrich could take the huge emerald out of the bracelet and snap it into the prongs of a ring, exemplifying the 1940s taste for multiuse, convertible jewelry. On September 30, 1941, Flato’s Sunset Boulevard store was robbed of nearly $50,000 of jewelry, but the worst blow to Flato’s business came two months later, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Retail sales for the subsequent Christmas season were so meager that he had to close his Los Angeles store. On March 11, 1943, a $60,000 diamond given to Flato on memo mysteriously disappeared from his safe. Nervous jewelers, who had heard rumors about his shaky finances, came to collect the pieces that they had given him on consignment. Flato had pawned much of the jewelry and was charged with grand larceny. In a dramatic sentencing, he was ordered to serve 18 months prison time and was taken directly from court to Sing Sing, the most notorious prison in America.



Flato left prison in 1945 with $21 in his pocket and $600,000 in debt. In a small, rented Manhattan apartment, he created a line of costume compacts and enjoyed some success. Borrowing money on other people’s jewelry and losing it got him into trouble again, and he ended up back in prison. Upon his release, he decided to leave the U.S. and to make a fresh start in Mexico. With financial help from a cousin, he opened a jewelry shop in the fashionable Zona Rosa in 1970, creating pieces with a folk art feeling inspired by the treasures of indigenous Mexicans. He designed large gold collar necklaces, chunky rings, textured links made into earrings and bracelets, and several important pieces using large high-quality emeralds. Living in Mexico for a decade, he was highly successful, had many close friends and once again received recognition for his jewelry designs. At age ninety, he returned to Texas and lived there until his death on July 17, 1999. In 1994, 2,000 full-color Paul Flato jewelry renderings from his New York and Los Angeles shops sold at auction for nearly $200,000. A year later, a stunning diamond Flato bracelet sold at Sotheby’s for a record price of $233,500. Jewelry dealers and collectors, emboldened by the strong prices, began to pay higher and higher premiums for Flato’s work. Most jewelry historians would agree that Flato’s jewels from the 1930s were his greatest achievement. Paul Flato, Jeweler to the Stars, remains a uniquely talented jewelry designer of the twentieth century, who has finally found his place in history.


Banister cuff bracelet, 14karat gold, made for Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1938. Sotheby’s, New York


Gold, diamond, ruby and enamel sign language clip brooches, circa 1938.

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Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, March 25 to August 14, 2011. By Ruth Barnes, The Thomas Jaffe Senior Curator of Indo-Pacific Art at Yale University Art Gallery

Ear ornament. East Java, Late Classic period (1000–1400 C.E.). 2007.142.184

A magnificent gift of almost 500 gold objects from Java has recently come to the Yale University Art Gallery, and a special display is on view this spring and summer to celebrate its arrival. Old Javanese Gold: The Hunter Thompson Collection features about 200 pieces from the collection, including a large variety of personal adornments, small religious statues, containers and coins. The donation came from Hunter and Valerie Thompson, who became interested in Javanese gold in the 1980s and managed to bring together one of the largest collections in private hands.1 Readers of this Newsletter will be especially interested in the jewelry, which includes necklaces and torques, bracelets and armlets, several hundred ear ornaments, finger rings, a headdress, amulets and clasps for fastening clothes. But the exhibition also includes small statues of deities, temple offerings, gold coins and vessels that were used in a ritual context. Most of the objects on view were made in Java, in present-day Indonesia, between the eighth and fourteenth centuries C.E. A small part of the collection goes back to the prehistoric or early historic period (200 B.C.E. to 700 C.E.). Southeast Asia has been on the crossroads of cultural and economic contacts between South and East Asia for at least two thousand years, and Java has played a pivotal role in this exchange of goods and ideas. During the second half of the first millennium C.E. the island’s population came under the influence of the religions of South Asia, in particular Hinduism and Buddhism. Great religious structures were built in Central Java during the ninth and tenth centuries, of which the most famous are Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and the Hindu temples at Prambanan. Smaller temples still dot the landscape of Central and East Java, attesting to a magnificent past that produced exceptionally fine architecture and sculpture. The gold objects presented here are of a small scale, but they need to be seen and understood in this historical context.2



Gold is valued in most cultures for its purity and lustrous quality. It does not tarnish, unlike silver, and it does not corrode, unlike bronze, even when buried. In a Western context gold has gained a high status in monetary terms and has become the standard against which currencies are valued. In Southeast Asia it has taken on a spiritual value that goes far beyond its economic importance. In contemporary Indonesian societies, gold is frequently associated with the divine, and when speaking of qualities attributed to God, the vocabulary used may be etymologically related to “golden.” It is very likely that a similar interpretation was familiar to people in ancient Java, as gold played an essential part in rituals and religious ceremonies. The objects in the exhibition are displayed in six groups. The first shows gold used at the princely courts of Central and East Java. Gold headdresses were worn on ceremonial occasions, and belts and jeweled clasps held clothes in place. The upper body was usually nude, but richly decorated with necklaces and heavy gold chains. Armlets studded with

BELOW: Leaves from a headdress. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2007.142.347-.353

Tiger claw necklace on a torque. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2008.21.110


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Offering in the shape of a lotus. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2008.21.27

jewels were part of formal dress, as were finger rings, bracelets and anklets. A tiger claw necklace, with claws curving outward from its wire torque, would have been worn by a young man of the upper class in the hope that the ornament would confer the strength and courage of the animal on the wearer. A ceremonial dagger (kris) still is an essential part of court dress. Some kris are believed to hold mystical powers of protection. The kris handle often received particular attention, as in the example illustrated here, which takes the shape of a protective demon in courtly dress. Collections of Javanese gold sometimes have very small, gem-set rings. These are often called bird rings, said to have been fastened to the feet of pet song birds. Although the Javanese still are inordinately fond of their song birds and indulge them in many ways, it is more likely that these delicate rings were worn as hair or ear ornaments. The next group explores the use of gold in religious rites. Gold was used in temple rituals, as offerings at consecration ceremonies and in religious celebrations. Small sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities were placed at key locations within shrines, and they have also been found in sacred caves. Pilgrims brought goldsheet votive images, asking for blessings or deliverance from illness. Small gold-sheet offerings were often found at temple sites. Gold paraphernalia were used by priests, or worn by them during cere-



monies. Two examples are illustrated here: a small gold pendant and a large rattle probably worn by a Sivaite ascetic. The precious metal was not found in Java, but had to be imported from Sumatra and Borneo. It is likely that manufactured gold objects were traded between mainland and maritime Southeast Asia, but most of the jewelry, statues, containers and temple offerings were made locally. The earliest gold objects surviving from Java were hammered into a thin sheet. This was cut into the desired shape and could be shaped and decorated further by hammering from the back (repoussé), and by tracing or incising from the front. No heat was used. Gold sheet is fragile and easily bent out of shape. When used for jewelry, it was sometimes spread over a pith or clay core. More complex gold smith techniques developed in the early centuries C.E. They included the use of heat to produce mold casting and lost-wax technique. Fine details were added by soldering gold wire or granulation. Gems were held in place by raised collars, sunken settings, or soldered claws. Gold wire was braided into long necklaces. Market and Trade are explored in another display. Although the opulent presence of gold at court and in religious ceremonies emphasized luxury, gold jewelry was widely available in Javanese society, especially in the form of personal jewelry. Most people wore ear ornaments and finger rings. A goldsmith’s workshop would work on

Pendant showing a male teacher (guru) holding lontar (palm leaf) books. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2007.142.271
TOP: Amulet rattle pendant worn by a Sivaite ascetic. East Java, Late Classic period, 13th century. 2008.21.119 ABOVE: Lotus-shaped ring with the purnagatha (urn of plenty) at the bezel center. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2008.21.112


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Five ear ornaments. Central Java, Early Classic period (650–1000 C.E.). 2007.142.104-.107, .110 Coin pendant. Indian copy of an 8th-century Byzantine coin, found in Central Java. 2008.21.10


commission, but also had a selection of ready-made jewelry on offer. Payment might have been made with gold or silver currency which was used in Java by the 8th century. One coin pendant in the collection is a poignant reminder of Java’s far-flung connections at the time: it is a copy of an eighth century Byzantine coin, made in India but found in Central Java. The earliest items in the collection were discovered in graves, most of them dated to the Preclassic period (pre-600 C.E.). They are thin sheets of gold cut into facial features, with eyebrows and nose often combined, and a separate mouth; occasionally eyes are added. Apparently they were placed onto the face of the deceased as part of the burial ritual. One life-size burial mask is also in the collection. Small holes along the rim suggest that it may have been stitched to a shroud. The final display focuses on patterns and shapes that were favored in Java from the Protoclassic to the Late Classic period. The continuity of specific shapes is remarkable, especially when we realize that some shapes have persisted even longer elsewhere in Indonesia and were still in use in the twentieth century. Surface decoration used tendrils and vines, often closely covering all available space. The Gallery is producing a revised and expanded edition of the classic 1990 publication Old Javanese Gold, a catalogue of the collection written by John Miksic, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. This revised edition, published by the Gallery and distributed by Yale University Press in Spring 2011, features all new photography, as well as new research



LEFT: Funerary face cover. Central Java, Preclassic period (pre-600 C.E.). 2008.21.76a-d ABOVE:

Pair of spiral-shaped earrings. East Java, Late Classic period (1000–1400 C.E.). Similar ear ornaments were still worn recently in eastern Indonesia. 2007.142.360a-b

and reports on recent archaeological discoveries. Old Javanese Gold is the inaugural exhibition of the Department of Indo-Pacific Art, created in spring 2009. In addition to the Thompson Collection, the Gallery’s growing holdings in the field include an extraordinary collection of more than 700 sculptures from maritime Southeast Asia and the Indonesian textiles originally gathered by experts Robert Holmgren and Anita Spertus, all of which are promised to the Gallery by Thomas Jaffe for the purpose of forming a new department. In 2012, the Gallery will open a permanent-collection gallery for the department.

John Miksic, Old Javanese Gold. Singapore: Ideation, 1990. Jan Fontein, The Sculpture of Indonesia. Washington, D.C. and New York: National Gallery of Art and Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1990.
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By Yvonne Markowitz, Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry Gem-set necklace. Bulgari (Italian, 1884–present). About 1986. Gold (18 kt), pearl, tourmaline, citrine, and peridot. Height x width x depth: 16.5 x 13 x 1 cm (6 ½ x 5 1/8 x 3/8 in.) Marks: BD/8621; impressed polygonal cartouche with star 2337AL750; impressed Bvlgari on clasp. Gift of Bulgari L-G 179.1.2010.

The Bulgari tradition starts in the Greek town of Kallarrytes, a small village located near the Albanian border and an area with a rich history of metalwork handed down from “father to son since Byzantine times.”1 Political upheavals in the Balkan Peninsula caused the family to relocate to Italy in 1880. Sotirios Boulgaris, who both designed and fabricated jewelry, started the Bulgari firm in Rome several years later. The business was an immediate success and he soon opened a summer location in the Swiss resort town St. Moritz. One hundred years later, the business had evolved into a world-renowned jewelry house with celebrity clientele, such as Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sharon Stone, along with European royalty and international fashionistas. The business expanded yet again in 1970 when the firm opened a New York City boutique. The business flourished during the 1980s, with Bulgari setting the standard for high-style jewelry which other firms, both American and European, quickly adopted. The jewelry Bulgari created during the 1980s incorporated colorful stones that complimented the fashions of the period. One Bulgari designer, Omar Torres, described this “harmony of colours,” as a thoughtful process by which color combinations were carefully studied, often favoring bold combinations of color from opposite ends of the spectrum.2 Bulgari describes their aesthetic during the eighties as: “volume, striking colors, clean shapes, stylized decorative motifs and awareness of antiquity.”3 This necklace is a striking example of that style. Made in Italy for the American licensee Danaos, it includes pearls, citrines, peridots, and pink and green tourmalines.

1 Daniela Mascetti and Amanda Triossi, Bvlgari (New York: Abbeville Press, 1996), 9. 2 Amanda Triossi, Bvlgari: Between Eternity and History, from 1884 to 2009 (Milan: Skira, 2009), 217. 3 Mascetti and Triossi, op. cit., 96.



Cartier: The Power of Style
By Pascale Lepeu, et. al., Prague Castle Administration and Flammarion, January 2011, 320 pages, hardcover.
Review by Ettagale Blauer

Cartier: The Power of Style, billed as a catalogue published to commemorate a 2010 exhibition of works at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic, is a delightful surprise. The large format book, comprising hundreds of photographs of jewels, many of them new to this reviewer, is a masterpiece of scholarship, presented in elegant, readable prose. The main text, by Pascale Lepeu, the curator of the Cartier Collection, is excellently translated from the French. She takes the reader through Cartier’s 160-year history by weaving together the jewels, materials, methods and above all, style, within the context of the times in which it was made and worn, as well as the clientele of the great house. Cartier’s three branches: Paris, London and New York operated independently for years until they were reunited in 1976. It was from this time that Eric Nussbaum, gemologist and jewelry historian, began to pull together the modern Cartier Museum collection. The process of authenticating each piece before it was accepted into the collection is described in fascinating detail. Much detective work was involved in some instances where the original hallmarks were missing. Cartier has diligently sought out examples of its own history, purchasing works from private collectors and sometimes bidding for them at public auctions. I have seen one of their preeminent jewelry experts spending the firm’s money to buy a particular treasure at a Sotheby’s auction. The price was many times that of the original cost but the firm was willing to spend considerably to re-forge each spectacular link in the company’s bejeweled history. Because all the jewelry was available to be photographed at the same time, there is a precision and uniformity rarely found in other books about Cartier. Setting the pieces starkly against white backgrounds allows the work to stand on its own, in nearly microscopic detail, and allows for both close inspection and comparison. It follows in the tradition started by the house in 1906, when every piece that left the workshop was photographed, life style, and then carefully documented.

Hair ornament, Cartier, Paris, 1903. Platinum, old- and rose-cut diamonds, millegrain setting. Sold to Mrs. Lila Vanderbilt Field (née Sloane, 1878–1934). © Cartier, Photo by Nick Welsh

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Crocodile necklace, Cartier, Paris, special order, 1975 Gold, 1,060 emeralds weighing 66.86 carats in total, two ruby cabochons (eyes), 1,023 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds weighing 60.02 carats in total, two navetteshaped emerald cabochons (eyes). Entirely articulated, the two crocodiles can be worn separately as brooches or together as a necklace. Made as a special order for María Félix. Length: 30.0 cm (diamond crocodile); Length: 27.3 cm (emerald crocodile) © Cartier, Photo by Nick Welsh 16 ASJH

Many of the exceptional pieces in the book have rarely been seen including a remarkable hair ornament made of platinum, old-mine diamonds and rose-cut diamonds in 1902. The wavy-line design is as contemporary as today but was made for a member of the Vanderbilt family, way back then. The piece was found at a Sotheby’s New York sale in 1999. Caption information sets a new standard for this crucial, but often neglected phase of a book that devotes most of its pages to photographs. The date, materials used, and size of the piece in centimeters is often enhanced by intriguing information about the style of the period as well as the person for whom it was made. For commissioned pieces there is information about the well-known person of style or royalty who ordered it. This helps put the work in context in a way rarely encountered in jewelry books and offers a sense of the lives being lived during the periods under review. Pieces of jewelry are often changed through the decades, for better or worse, and some of these adaptations are also detailed. One of the most fascinating examples is that of an opulent diamond bib ceremonial necklace commissioned for the Maharajah of Patiala in 1925. It began with the delivery of “trunks full of precious stones and jewelry,” belonging to the client. Cartier created a multi-strand diamond and platinum Art Deco style necklace with a cascade of seven large diamonds, ranging from 18 to 73 carats. In the center was a yellow diamond weighing 234.69 carats. The book shows the necklace, which was completed in 1928, worn by the turbaned Maharajah who sits on an equally regal throne. The glorious necklace was next seen in 1998 when it was found in London. “All that remained of the original necklace were the five platinum and diamond-set Art Deco chains,” writes Mr. Lepeu. All the important stones had vanished including the yellow diamond. Cartier has recreated the necklace using synthetic stones, with the hope of one day replacing all of them with natural ones. That replica is shown later in the book offering readers a unique perspective on the firm’s history and the continuation of its extraordinary craftsmanship. Each chapter begins with historic images of the periods that give context to the life of the times. These grainy photos evoke the architecture, dress and the very posture of the people who wore these glorious jewels. As the periods unfold, the work reflects the changes in dress as well as the influences on Cartier’s designers. All-diamond pieces give way to colored gems in the 1920s; stylized Egyptian designs join the Oriental motifs after the opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. This event captivated society and was a formidable influence on Cartier design. The remarkable tutti frutti designs of the 1920s are an explosion of color,

Desk clock, Cartier, Paris, 1926. Gold, silver-gilt, agate (base), onyx (plinth), jade, mother-of-pearl, coral, rose-cut diamonds, coral-colored and black enamel. © Cartier, Photo by Nick Welsh Pair of ear-pendants, Cartier, New York, 1928. Platinum, gold, round old- and single-cut diamonds, carved jade Buddhas, black enamel. © Cartier, Photo by Nick Welsh


carving and flamboyant style. Cartier discovers coral and uses it boldly. There is scarcely a misstep in this excellent book. By and large, time marches on in an orderly and fascinating way. Art Deco gives way to the jewelry of the late 1930s and 1940s with its use of aquamarines and amethysts. A prime example of the new color combination is a bib necklace made in 1947 for the Duke of Windsor who, it states, “supplied all the stones except the turquoises.” The Duchess of Windsor is seen wearing the piece at a ball in 1953. A charming chapter on the firm’s flora and fauna designs features a quite terrifying double crocodile necklace set with 1,060 emeralds and 1.023 fancy intense yellow diamonds. The piece was made for Mexican actress Maria Felix in 1975. More traditional animal designs focus on the firm’s iconic panther, including one perched on an enormous Kashmir sapphire cabochon weighing 152.35 carats, made in 1949. It was another of the jewels owned by the Duchess of Windsor. She is seen wearing it in 1967 with the visibly aged Duke, in full evening dress, walking just slightly behind her. The last major section of the book is devoted to Cartier’s timepieces including the astonishing Mystery Clocks. There are few adjectives left to describe these technical and artistic masterpieces. Rarely does one come up for sale at auction and when it does, I always wish I had a spare quarter-million dollars to bid on it. Though there are many Cartier books on the market, this one is a worthy addition to any jewelry connoisseur’s library.
Spring 2011 17

ASJH Elections
Several of the ASJH board members’ terms expire on July 1, 2011. The following is the list of candidates chosen by the nominating committee and approved by the board who are currently running for a position on the ASJH board. The biographies for those running are included. Those who are elected will take office beginning July 1, 2011. If you would like to run for a position on the board you must send a petition to the Society signed by 25 current ASJH members and it must be received within 15 days of receipt of this newsletter. A ballot to vote on the final slate will be sent to all ASJH members after that 15-day period. The announcement of the new board will be made in the summer issue of the ASJH newsletter. Arna Bleckman: Treasurer Sarah Coffin: Vice President Marilyn Cooperman: Member-at-Large Patricia Kiley Faber: President Hilary Heard: Member-at-Large Joseph Levine: Member-at-Large Mark A. Schaffer: Member-at-Large Diana Singer: Member-at-Large Kimberly Vagner: Secretary The following ASJH Board members have one year remaining on their term: Ulysses Grant Dietz: Member-at-Large Nicolas Luchsinger: Member-at-Large Kathleen Moore: Member-at-Large Jane Tiger: Member-at-Large Joy Toback-Galicki: Member-at-Large Janet Zapata: Member-at-Large Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Carol Elkins and Reema Keswani retain advisory board positions as Past President. Jean Appleton, Founding Chairman Emeritus Joyce Jonas, President Emeritus Biographies Arna Bleckman: Treasurer Arna Bleckman has been a member of the Board for several years serving in various capacities. She currently serves as Treasurer of the Society. Arna is an independent certified antiques appraiser and dealer. She is a graduate of the Traphagen School of Fashion and Baruch School of Business and was a fashion executive for twenty-five years. She also attended the NYU Appraisal Studies Program. Her area of interest is the study of jewelry from the Victorian Era to Modern in context and relationship with costume, textiles, silver, and pottery.

Sarah D. Coffin: Vice President Sarah Coffin was appointed curator and head of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2004. She is responsible for proposing and organizing exhibitions, publications and education programs, as well as overseeing the development of the Product Design and Decorative Arts collection, which includes the museum’s jewelry holdings. She is curator of the exhibition and principal author of the catalogue for Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels (Feb. 18–June 5, 2011). She has been curator of five exhibitions at the Museum, including as co-curator and author of: Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730–2008, for which she included jewelry from the 18th century to the present. Prior to Cooper-Hewitt, Sarah was an independent appraiser and consultant, including to Sotheby’s where she had previously been a Vice President. She was director of Malcolm Franklin gallery, New York, formerly on 57th street, focusing on English furniture and decorative arts from the 17th and 18th centuries. She was a consultant for numerous museums on their portrait miniatures holdings, including as author of The Gilbert Museum: Portrait Miniatures in Enamel. She was the specialist in this field and in gold boxes for Sotheby’s for over 25 years, initially including the cataloguing of all antique jewelry. She continues to lecture and teach about jewelry, including the use of various media such as miniatures, micromosaics, cameos and enamel. Prior to her work at Sotheby’s, Coffin worked at both the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. She has an MA in Art History from Columbia University and a BA in Art History from Yale University. Marilyn Cooperman: Member-at-Large Jewelry designer Marilyn F. Cooperman began her career in design at the age of twenty. Moving from Toronto to New Zealand she wrote and illustrated the New Zealand Herald’s first fashion and beauty column. In 1963 Marilyn moved to New York to work as a fashion designer. She met Fred Leighton at his Greenwich Village boutique and opened a studio on his premises to design and manufacture a collection of Mexican inspired resort wear. After owning her own apparel company, her talent attracted the publishing world, and she became the fashion director for Seventeen Magazine. She was also Editor-in-Chief of Simplicity Patterns and Vogue Patterns. In 1987 Fred Leighton asked her to join his prestigious establishment renowned for its rare and beautiful jewels. As a designer for Fred Leighton, she acquired the expertise of deconstructing and re-designing outdated pieces. Marilyn’s designs mingled with world-class jewelers such as Boivin, Cartier, Verdura, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, and Suzanne



Belperron. Marilyn launched her own company in 1994. Her work is published in five significant jewelry books. Extraordinary Jewels, The Jeweled Menagerie, Understanding Jewelry, Jeweled Garden and Timeless Adornment. In addition, her work has also been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. Patricia Kiley Faber: President Patricia Kiley Faber is the co-owner of Aaron Faber Gallery founded in 1974. Aaron Faber specializes in 20th and 21st century jewelry and collectible watches. She is an expert in the field of contemporary studio jewelry, most recently featured in National Jeweler, Departures and Robb Report. She has appeared on Good Day New York and FX Network. Patricia is a Graduate Gemologist and member of the Women’s Jewelry Association; the Society of North American Goldsmiths; the Art Jewelry Forum, the Fashion Group and American Society of Jewelry Historians. She is a frequent lecturer on collecting contemporary jewelry and styling with jewelry for professional women. She is a past board member of YSOP (Youth Service Opportunities Project), a NYCbased non-profit service organization. Hilary Heard: Member-at-Large Hilary Heard has been working in public relations for over 15 years, representing brands including Manolo Blahnik, Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander and Hermès. When she began her current position in the PR department at Bulgari in 2005, her newfound passion for jewelry history took hold (primarily due to the inspiring work of Amanda Triossi, creator of the brand’s Historical Archives Collection, author of three books about Bulgari, and curator of two magnificent Bulgari retrospective exhibitions in Rome and in Paris). Hilary has not been able to look back since, and spends every available moment trying to enrich her love and knowledge of fine jewelry. She served as founding President of the National Jewelry Institute’s Young Notables Council (an organization that aims to promote and encourage the education and research of fine jewelry history among young adults) and wrote and edited its first six newsletters The Notable Week. Hilary is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio with a BA in French and Italian; she recently earned an Accredited Jewelry Professional diploma from the GIA, and aspires to a G.G. diploma in the near future. Joseph Levine: Member-at-Large Dr. Levine graduated from Columbia University and the University of Rochester. He trained at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins, where he served as Co-Director of the Electrophysiology Lab. He is considered as expert in his field having published more

than 200 original works. He is recognized yearly as among the best doctors in NY and America by various rating organizations. Dr. Levine first became interested in jewelry as a buyer about 15 years ago but quickly developed the passion of a collector. Working as an interventional cardiologist with tolerances of 1 millimeter, he became fascinated by the workmanship of jewelry from the Art Deco period. With the guidance of Fred Leighton and auction house experts, he has built a well edited collection. Dr. Levine is interested in advancing jewelry as an art form and has enjoyed working with the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Cartier Collection. Mark A. Schaffer: Member-at-Large Mark Schaffer is a director of A La Vieille Russie, founded in Kiev in 1851 and specializing in European and American jewelry, objets de vertu, and Russian decorative and fine arts, including Fabergé, the major American collections of which his family helped create. He is a past President of the National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America, and continues on its Board. Schaffer has curated major loan exhibitions at A La Vieille Russie, and has lectured internationally. He is a graduate of Harvard College and UC Berkeley. Diana Singer: Member-at-Large Diana Singer is a Graduate Gemologist and is a founding member of the Women's Jewelry Association. She heads D & E Singer Inc, a twenty year old jewelry firm that purchases and sells jewelry. She also has had extensive experience in retail, and was elected Retailer of the Year by the Women’s Jewelry Association in 1987. She writes articles for various jewelry trade journals and is a frequent lecturer on jewelry history and evaluation skills for organizations including Jewelry Camp, Sotheby’s, and various appraisal associations. She has been active on the ASJH board for many years, and is currently Chairperson for Programs. Kimberly Vagner: Secretary Kimberly Vagner received her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University in 2002. While in Washington, D.C. she volunteered in the mineral sciences department of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. After graduating she moved to San Diego where she worked in the museum at the Gemological Institute of America for eight years. In 2005, she earned her graduate gemologist diploma. She is currently working towards an M.A. degree in the History of Decorative Arts from Parsons, The New School for Design at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Prior to moving to New York she was the West Coast Chapter co-Chair for ASJH.

Spring 2011


Adornment and Identity: Jewellery and Costume from Oman, The British Museum, London, Jan. 21–Sept. 11, 2011 All That Glitters: The Splendor & Science of Gems & Minerals, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA, through May 15, 2012 Bijoux: The Origins and Impact of Jewelry, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT, Jul. 16, 2011–Feb. 26, 2012 A Bit of Clay on the Skin: New Ceramic Jewelry, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY, through Sept. 4, 2011 Georg Dobler: Jewellery from 1980–2010, Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany, Apr. 8–June 26, 2011 Jewelers of the Hudson Valley, Forbes Jewelry Gallery, New York, NY, through June 25, 2011 Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, July 19–Nov. 1, 2011 Jesse Mongoye: Opal Bears and Lapis Skies, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ, through June 26, 2011 The Legacy of Atelier Janiyé: Miyé Matsukata and Colleagues, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, through July 24, 2011 Lisa Gralnick: The Gold Standard, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, TX, through May 29, 2011 Royal Fabergé, The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, London, through Sept. 25, 2011 Serpentina: Serpents in Jewellery, Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany, Nov. 26, 2011–Feb. 26, 2012 Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY, Feb. 18–July 4, 2011 Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret De Patta, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, February 4, 2012 to May 13, 2012; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, June 12, 2012 to Sept.2012. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD, through May 15, 2011

Bonham’s & Butterfield’s Jewellery, Oxford, May 10 Jewellery, Knightsbridge, May 11 Jewelry & Timepieces, Los Angeles, May 22 Fine Jewellery & Jadeite, Hong Kong, Island Shangri-La Hotel, May 26 Jewellery, Edinburgh, Jun. 8 Jewellery, Oxford, Jun. 14 Jewellery, Knightsbridge, Jun. 15 Fine Jewelry, New York, Jun. 27 Salon Jewelry, California, San Francisco, Jun. 27 Jewellery, Sydney, Byron Kennedy Hall, Jun. 29 Jewellery, Knightsbridge, Jul. 13 Unredeemed Pawnbrokers’ Pledges, London, Knightsbridge, Jul. 13 Jewellery, Oxford, Jul. 19 Christie’s Important Watches, Geneva, May 16 Magnificent Jewels, Geneva, May 18 Bijoux, Paris, May 23 Elegance: Jewels, Watches & Handbags, May 25 Jewels, Milan, May 26 Important Watches, Hong Kong, May 30 Magnificent Jewels, Hong Kong, May 31 Important Jewels, London, King Street, Jun. 8 Important Jewels, New York, Jun. 14 Important Watches, New York, Jun. 15 Jewellery, London, South Kensington, Jul. 20 Heritage Auctions Signature Fine Jewelry, New York, May 2 Michaan’s Auctions Estate Jewelry, May 1 Jewelry at the Annex, May 3 Estate Jewelry, Jun. 5 Jewelry at the Annex, Jun. 7 Fine Jewelry, Jun. 11 Estate Jewelry, Jul. 3 Jewelry at the Annex, Jul. 5 Phillips de Pury & Company Jewels, New York, May 25 Jewels, London, Jun. 7 Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Geneva, May 17 The Evill/Frost Collection Part III, London, Jun. 16 Jewels, London, July 13
Marie Pendariès, The Dowry, from A Bit of Clay on the Skin:

New Ceramic Jewelry, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY, through Sept. 4, 2011

Copyright © April 2011 This newsletter is only for members of the American Society of Jewelry Historians. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the Society. For membership information contact: American Society of Jewelry Historians 1333A North Avenue #103 New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 235-0983 (phone & fax) President: Reema Keswani Newsletter Editor: Sarah Davis Production: Meg Selig Contributors: Ruth Barnes, Ettagale Blauer, Yvonne Markowitz, Jane Tiger, Kim Vagner