Published: November 15, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — It was a sunny day in downtown Manhattan as more than 50 dealers traveled from across the United States and overseas in search of sophisticated and tasteful retail clients at the second annual New York City Jewelry and Watch Show October 28–31. The unassuming facade of the Metropolitan Pavilion unveiled a sophomore show flush with case after case of extraordinary and rare pieces, from ancient rings and Art Nouveau French necklaces to pristine timepieces and signed jewelry from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany and Buccellati.
The show dons the clean glamor that can be found at any of the Palm Beach Show Group’s annual events. Andrea Canady, the show director, said, “Our venue is right in the heart of Manhattan; we aim to attract a strong variety of buyers, both retail and dealers.”
Due to the sheer amount of brick and mortar jewelry dealers and the robust strength of that market in Manhattan, jewelry shows have had a hard time gaining traction with a retail base that seems to prefer going to the store on the corner. In hopes of changing that trend, the show brought some of the finest jewelry and watch dealers in the United States and abroad to offer a wide variety of estate and contemporary jewelry unlike any show before it.
“We did a phenomenal job in promoting the show, our team worked hard to do that,” said Canady, “and the attendance shows.”
Aisles lined with glass cases, white lights, knowledgeable dealers and, of course, fine jewelry, awaited visitors to the Metropolitan Pavilion. The exhibitor list included dealers from Paris, Spain, Italy, Amsterdam and Israel among local New York City vendors and those that traveled from California, South Carolina, Florida and plenty of other states. That sort of spread is rare in a second-year show, but it demonstrates the strength of the concept moving forward. Put quality dealers in the heart of Manhattan and people will come.
Richard Boxer from Kamsly, New York City, was on board at the show’s debut last year and was happy to return. “We’re here to service existing clients and to make new ones,” said Boxer. “We have everything from mid-Victorian to contemporary.” The dealer showed off an 18K gold and silver French necklace, dating from the 1850s, with diamonds and pearls.
“We like David Webb,” said Sara Burns of Benchmark of Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Fla., “it’s big and bold.” The dealer exhibited a phenomenal 18K gold and platinum necklace by the designer with 10.75 carats of diamonds set into it, dating to the 1970s. “Bold,” somehow, was an understatement. Burns shared the booth with her loyal companion, Melee, a miniature Yorkie, who had been resting on the job behind the counter. Melee was adorned by a sequined coat that sparkled with the best of them, but left her diamond collar at home. She was not trying to impress anyone.
Vock & Vintage, New Canaan, Conn., known for its collectible pieces, custom work and pedigree stones, featured a lively Van Cleef & Arpels tiger brooch. “The tiger is unusual,” said Donna Vock. “Very few were made by Van Cleef. You can see the facial expression and quality of detail in the paws, you can even see the muscles. It’s a beautiful example of model making.” The tiger featured fancy yellow diamonds, cut onyx and emeralds.
Danny Eliav, a sixth generation jeweler from Israel, was excited to be exhibiting at the show this year. The jeweler designs contemporary pieces with his son, the seventh generation, in-house using computer modeling programs and 3D printing. The 3D printed model is used to cast in silver, with that resulting piece used to cast in gold. His stones are largely sourced from Hong Kong, he says, “But they come from everywhere — Brazil, Africa, everywhere.”
Marta Alcolea, Spain, was selling a collection of ancient rings from a distinguished German collection. The pieces spanned the medieval, early Islamic, Roman and Greek eras. The rings featured intaglios, incised decorations and stones. While some of the rings were made for adornment only, others were used as tools. Five Roman archer’s rings, with an elongated edge that protected the thumb from the string of the bow, were on offer by the dealer.
A pair of elegant emerald drop earrings, 33 carats in all, almost seemed to float in the air at the booth of Nicholas Harris, London and New York. Hanging from gold feathers with inset diamonds, the dealer envisions the prospective buyer to have a “soigné” look.
It was not all just jewelry and watches at the show; some of the dealers brought along quality antique smalls and silver objects. Among a fine selection of jewelry offerings, F&R Gros, New York City and Belgium, featured a petite Continental tazza with agate cup, 18K gold collars, lapis stem, emeralds, enamel, sapphires and cabochon garnets that dated to the late Nineteenth Century. Though the size made it largely ceremonial or decorative, it certainly appeared to be fit for royalty.
Contemporary design jewelry was on display at Steven Neckman, Miami, with a grand necklace and earring duo in gold by Ilias Lalaounis. The piece dated from 1975 and featured hammerwork and repoussé styling that harkened back to the ancients. “Everything they do,” said Neckman, “is based on historic design.” The long chain with geometric styling attached to a large, circular pendant that looked like a pointed shield.
With signed, vintage jewelry by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet and other top names in high demand, dealers will travel the world over looking for authentic pieces. Clayton Antiques, Williamsburg, Va., offers estate fresh jewelry from the United States and Europe. “My wife will go to Europe on buying trips,” said Robert Markland. “We have a network of individuals who buy estates, so we purchase from them when they have the right pieces.”
With all of the shows in the Manhattan calendar, the New York City Jewelry and Watch Show, in only it’s second showing, appears to be picking up pace with enough momentum to keep it going into the coming years. The show will be back at the Metropolitan Pavilion October 27-30, 2017. For more information, www.nycjaws.com.
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