Published: November 12, 2019
Review and Onsite Photos by Madelia Hickman Ring
NEW YORK CITY – The Palm Beach Show Group returned to the Metropolitan Pavilion October 25-28 with its fifth annual New York City Jewelry & Watch Show (NYCJAWS). While fielding a comparable number of vendors from previous years, some opted to share booths giving the floor a more spacious feel than it has seen in past years. The show welcomed 20 new exhibitors to the show, which fielded a total of 105 dealers. An international contingent of dealers hailed from Amsterdam, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to name a few. Attendance was reportedly up from the previous year, with more online preshow ticket sales and industry trade badges purchased than ever before.
“Over the last four years, the New York City Jewelry & Watch Show had set a standard in the industry – steadily raising the bar year after year. With high expectations from past participating dealers and buyers, the 2019 show had no choice but to meet the demands of the everchanging and challenging marketing and bring a bigger and better jewelry event to downtown Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion,” said Scott Diament, president and chief executive officer of the Palm Beach Show Group. “The show welcomed more than 20 new exhibitors with representation from more than 27 different countries offering a unique selection of merchandise to both trade and retail shoppers contributing to the show’s consistent success.”
Immediately inside the door to the show, Vivid Diamonds & Jewelry had a display befitting the name. Elaborately set pieces were immediately visible while loose stones sparkled at the far end of a long gleaming case. Among the notable pieces in the booth were a French 88-carat diamond necklace in the shape of a music note, circa 1940s, which the gallery said it had acquired just a few weeks prior to the show. Afterward the show closed, Alon Ruschin, chief executive officer, said “Sales in general were fairly strong and ranged from loose diamonds to jewelry. Fine pieces and signed jewelry were extremely strong, with primary sales in Van Cleef & Arpels pieces.”
When asked what some of his favorite items were, Greg Pepin immediately pointed to pieces designed for Georg Jensen by Henning Koppel. Pepin had his “Pregnant Duck” and “Swan” pitchers, and a five-piece tea and coffee set on tray with striking guaiacum wooden handles. The Hellerup, Denmark, dealer is the only one at the show to feature an extensive selection of silver in addition to small silver jewelry pieces.
The show has a modest entry fee – just $20 – and is intended to appeal to buyers at every level. Bringing pieces to match that range was Miriam Alexander of Miriam’s Estate & Fine Jewelry, who said her booth featured vintage costume jewelry in the $20 range to diamond jewelry worth $2 million. Surprisingly, most expensive does not always mean best and she removed from her safe a Cartier diamond ring priced in the range of $850,000. She said if it was for sale at Cartier, it would be priced near $3 million, underscoring the point that the jewelry show is a great place to buy pieces.
“We are local so we bring a lot, because you never know who will show up,” said Houshang and Limor Talasazan of Bella Antiques, Inc, which has space in the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center, where they also sell Nineteenth Century European porcelain and glass, among other things. The Talasazans had brought to the show many gold pieces as well as large stones and watches. Their best piece was a 5.35-carat European cut round stone in an old Cartier setting that was priced in the range of $60,000.
Another exhibitor who has space at the Manhattan Art and Antiques Center is European Art and Antiques. Prominent pieces included an Art Deco-style bracelet by Tiffany & Co., a coral and onyx Boucheron bracelet from the 1940s and a Buccellati bracelet from the 1930s or 1940s.
“We made many sales, including vintage watches, (an) old cushion diamond ring, many fun earrings, some with fire opal, diamonds and coral, some signed pieces like pomellato necklace with rhodolite starfish, in other words a little of everything!” was the postshow comment made by Rosaria Varra. After looking at several cases of diamond and platinum jewelry, the pop of color found with R&A International was a welcome change. The Miami, Fla., dealer showed off a Taiwanese rubellite tourmaline medallion carved with a dragon on one side and a phoenix on the other, all set within diamonds. Her pieces ranged in value from $1,000 to $100,000.
“This is such a global business,” said Gus Davis with Camilla Dietz Bergeron, “that events worldwide really have an impact. These are challenging years.” After the show, Davis said, “The mood was upbeat, and I am happy to share that we sold numerous pieces of signed jewelry; the names that seem to still lead the pack are Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.”
“We’ve had a lot of bats, and we’ve sold a lot of bats,” said Christine Walsh with G. Lindberg Jewels. “The more dangerous the animal, the more appealing it is to buyers. No one wants a ladybug!” Walsh said that was endemic to neither New York City nor the time of year. “This is what we find everywhere, consistently. It does not matter what the piece is, either…cufflinks, rings, necklaces, pins, you name it.” After the show, Walsh said, “Overall, we had a great show in New York City, like we have had our two previous shows.
“The Metropolitan Pavilion is a smaller, more intimate venue, which works well for our business. The NYC customers are sophisticated and really appreciate our inventory. We plan to attend the NYC shows in the future.”
Many exhibitors deal exclusively in jewelry, with watch dealers making up a considerably smaller contingent and most bringing more than time pieces. Manuel Strauss, Inc, has been doing the NYCJAWS for three years and brings a good selection of watches in addition to the diamonds and signed jewelry he stocks. Israel Diner said the gallery does particularly well with men’s sports watches ranging in price from $7,000 to $35,000. Strauss does several other shows annually, including some shows that are exclusively for watch dealers.
“It’s a small boutique show with really high-level suppliers. We liked it and had a great show” was the postshow comment from Steven Galapo. He was one of several exhibitors their debut at the NYCJAWS, though the gallery does other shows in Miami, Las Vegas and Hong Kong. Among the best pieces in the booth was an Edwardian unheated sapphire and platinum ring and an Art Deco 30-carat aquamarine and platinum cocktail ring. The gallery reported selling a 5-carat old mine cut cushion diamond.
Sumeet Chordia with Jardin Jewels by Beacab educated this reporter on the amazing properties of alexandrites, which are becoming more popular. Discovered in Russia in 1830 and named for Prince Alexander II, the stones can change color in different light, appearing either purple-red or blue-green. According to Chordia, Russian alexandrites are very rare to find but Brazilian alexandrites are not quite as rare and Chordia had several examples on hand. The gallery was participating in NYCJAWS for the first time.
“Our best sellers are signed pieces, old pieces and unusual pieces,” said Samra Zeath of Zeath Jewels, Inc. As if to prove it, she pulled two Seventeenth Century Moghul jade examples. Perhaps because the vast majority of jewelry at the show is Nineteenth, Twentieth or even Twenty-First Century, both made a distinct impression. One was a white jade and ruby inlaid gold painted necklace, the other was a mirror and both had provenance to the Al-Thani collection.
Another dealer with antique jewelry was E. Foxe Harell, who had an Austrian/Hungarian coronation belt from about 1850 that Samuel Gassman thought had been in the last coronation. The gallery also had an en suite turban ornament.
Greenwich, Conn.,-based Simon Teakle has been doing the show “for awhile” and brings pieces in a range between $5,000 and $500,000. Among the great pieces in his booth were two circa 1970s or 1980s and both by Verdura. The first was a diamond encrusted shell, one of Verdura’s iconic designs, but in an unusual and rare pink color. The other was a pair of Chalcedony love knots.
“It was a very busy morning,” Elizabeth Dmitrova said, as she worked to write up receipts not more than two hours into the show. The El Cerrito, Calif., dealer said pins are her best seller and she sells a lot of them to other dealers. When asked, she attributed that to their versatility.
One of the largest booths in the show is the one closest to the show cafÃ©; this year, the booth was occupied by M.S. Rau, which had brought paintings and works of decorative arts in addition to jewelry and watches. Highlights in the booth included a watch that Elvis had owned, an intense pink 8-carat diamond and a royal dental kit with agate handles that appealed to jewelry buyers. After the show, Rebecca Rau said, “We had some A+ stones with us in New York, so they got a lot of attention! Important colored diamonds and colored gemstones is a focus of ours, so collectors and dealers alike were excited about those. Otherwise, we naturally stood out having exhibited a breadth of inventory. We got great feedback on our paintings; the Picasso and Monet probably received the most attention.”
The 2020 edition of the NYCJAWS will return to the Metropolitan Pavilion October 23-26. For more information, www.nycjaws.com.
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