This camp is not like the camps we remember from our childhood. Although it's fun (especially to see the beautiful jewelry sported by the attendees)it's actually a serious one-day conference filled with interesting lectures. Here's a sampling:
Georg Jensen: A Study of Scandinavian Design & Brand Identity
George Jensen Jensen Cufflinks
Drucker Antiques, https://druckerantiques.com/
Leading authority on Georg Jensen, and the co-author, along with his mother, of several books on the subject.
Copenhagen was home to many fine silversmiths in the early 20th century, yet Georg Jensen stands out. Why? Georg Jensen began his artistic career producing ceramics and sculpture, but it was with jewelry he gained fame. He apprenticed with Mogens Ballin in Denmark. While an apprentice, Ballin let Jensen design an “Adam and Eve” belt buckle which went on to win many awards and garner much recognition for Jensen.
Unusual for the day, Ballin let Jensen include his maker’s mark on the piece. Apprentices, who all began their careers in major houses, were rarely given the opportunity to be recognized individually.
Clearly Jensen’s work speaks for itself: beautifully executed pieces, themes from nature, and colorful gem stones. But it wasn't only this. His knack for marketing catapulted the company to success.
Jensen gave his apprentices the same advantage given to him. They were able to mark the pieces produced in his shop. Anxious to further their careers and be recognized individually, many fine artists came to work for him. (As a side note, These artists weren’t always jewelers. They came from various parts of the art world, bringing with them different and interesting aesthetics.)
Jensen limited production of his pieces. A catalog would be distributed to retailers, and often by the time the retailers received it, Jensen was sold out. An intentionally low supply created high demand. And when Jensen sold a piece to a museum, he was sure to make it known to his customers. This, too,created demand. A well advertised example: Howard Hughes bought every item at an exhibition in San Francisco.
Made for America
Cartier Love Bracelet Seaman Schepps Earrings
Neil Mars - Dealer of American Jewelry
Neil Mars' area of expertise is American jewelry, especially from the 1960's and 1970's.
His suggestion for building your jewelry collection: Your pieces should be authentic, well made, and in good condition.
Of interest: the Gilded Age (1860's to late 1890's) represented a change in society as Americans gained wealth. It marked a time of separation from Europe and the development of an American artistic culture.
His opinion: American jewelry can hold its own. We don't have the baggage of royalty which dictated styles for generations. Ours was a fresh, new approach, with many fine houses of jewelry manufacturing in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
More recently, jewelers like David Webb and Seaman Schepps have brought their distinctive style to the world. Although born in Italy, Aldo Cipullo brought fame to Cartier America with the love bracelet. His work is 1970’s New York. Think disco, Studio 54, Warhol.
Enter the 1980’s. Big bold gold to go with big hair and padded shoulders,carried by who else? Big department stores like Neiman Marcus.
What’s trending now? "Stuff" (charms, etc.,) on chains. It’s easy and wearable in our more casual lifestyle.
And we were reminded that money has nothing to do with taste. Super Bowl rings get the thumbs down.
An Eye for Jewelry: How to Understand Jewelry
Like a Historian
Sarah Davis, Director of Communications
Siegelson – Gallery of Fine Jewelry
One of my favorite quotes from Jewelry Camp came from Sarah Davis:
"Art expresses the joy of being alive. Jewelry is an intimate and personal expression of this.”
Sarah is an art historian. She spoke of jewelry mysteries she’s solved, and how they help to market the pieces she sells. She is able to better direct where pieces should land (i.e., in the right museum to augment a particular collection).
The tools of her trade? Internet searches and auctions of photographs, drawings, articles, or letters showing possession of a certain piece. In other words, a lot of digging.
For example, Sarah was able to confirm a particular clock belonged to the Dodge family (of car manufacturing fame). The Dodge Clock is very unusual. The movement is hidden in the frame around the face of the clock. The face is a translucent gemstone, and the hands are suspended in the center. The clock went missing and then showed up. Sarah was able to authenticate it by finding a photo showing the clock in a room at the Dodge mansion. (The Dodge Clock is the featured image for this article.)
Investigating an object, you can reverse engineer the culture of which it was a product. One example might be of the bold, colorful jewelry made in the US after World War II, when we were flush with victory and optimistic about the future.
Anecdotes abounded. The Cartier Tank Watch was designed and given to General Pershing in 1918 by the French government to commemorate his leadership of the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI. It’s modeled after a Renault tank.
Modern Cartier Tank Watch
A floor length strand of natural pearls (not cultured, the real rare ones) worn by Catherine the Great were traded by Cartier in exchange for the mansion on 5th Avenue, which is still their home.
The bad news? The value of this prime New York City real estate now far exceeds that of the pearls.
Cartier Store, New York City
(But don't be discouraged! There are still lots of good jewelry investments!)
Joyce Heaton, President