Summer might be more synonymous with beaches than diamonds, but the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show proved that the allure of rare and exceptional pieces of jewelry and watches was sufficient to interrupt one’s summer holiday. At its run July 20′3 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the show attracted a good number of buyers, both consumer and trade, and recorded a five percent increase in its gate from last year.
“It went really well, we saw a lot of consumer buying … heavy consumer traffic despite the beautiful weather,” said Mary Dworin, marketing manager for US Antique Shows, which manages the show. Dworin noted the heavy consumer traffic is not only a positive trend, but a good marker for the health of the industry. “The buying was strong; we heard that watches were super popular this year,” she added.
The strong gate was a pleasant surprise as early buzz on the floor among dealers was over this show not coinciding with the JA trade jewelry show at the nearby Javits Center, which opened a week later. The JA show had changed its dates, Dworin said, and due to venue issues, the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show was not to able to follow suit. Next year, however, this show will open a week later (July 26′9) so that the two events run simultaneously.
A wide range of price points was available at the show and the goods were diverse and sublime. Rare and exceptional examples of craftsmanship were de rigueur, and many dealers interviewed after the show said they did well.
“The show went great. I met several new private clients and sold very well,” said Steve Neckman of Miami. “Fewer buyers by number, but the ones that do buy bought more pieces at higher value. This show is a major commitment for me as it interrupts my summer holiday. But again this year, a very worthwhile interruption.”
Sales were strong in all periods and at all price points, Neckman added. Among his sales were an important midcentury bracelet by French jewelry master Rene Boivin and a fine fancy yellow and white diamond brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Also reporting a strong showing, with quite a few customers buying, was DK Bressler & Co., Inc, New York City. “Practical and wearable gold jewelry seems to be what is needed at present, as well as big diamonds and, of course, signed pieces,” said dealer Ronald Kawitzky. “Our specialty is major Victorian jewels and that is where the growth in our business is. These marvelous and undervalued pieces are finally getting their due and that is very gratifying to see as we have been building up a large and extensive collection of these rare objects.”
Jerry Heidenreich, Los Angeles, described the show as a big success. “In many places the jewelry industry shuts down in July and August, so we always look forward to the New York Antique [Jewelry & Watch] Show to spike our summer sales. Retail customers were out in good numbers spreading all that Wall Street money around,” he said. As is typical in Manhattan, the most looked at items are the magnificent, large signed pieces, he noted, adding, “With sophisticated and stylish audiences here, our signed 1960s and 1970s pieces were a big hit.”
While jewelry might have accounted for the bulk of merchandise in the show, several dealers trading in watches were on hand, showcasing choice timepieces for men and women. Raymond Lee Jewelers, Boca Raton, Fla., which specializes in estate jewelry, watches and diamonds, offered a fine man’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual cosmograph watch in yellow gold in its booth, and at Jim’s NYC, several attractive watches were spied.
A tall and impressive Cartier desk clock in 18K yellow gold was probably the largest timepiece to be found at the show. It was offered by YAFA Signed Jewels, New York City.
M.L. Brown, New York City, featured a fine grouping of Cartier watches, as well as jewelry, including a grouping of Art Deco rings that garnered much attention. Signed pieces and diamond wedding bands also vied for attention.
Making the rounds of the show early Friday afternoon, one could find choice pieces in all price ranges. Larengregor SA, Geneva, Switzerland, offered a fine dragonfly pin with diamonds and red gemstones, along with a Modernist wave-style gold bracelet, hinged, while Miriam’s, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., displayed a very attractive, cushion-cut 3½-carat sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1920s, among its collection of fine and estate jewelry.
Choice pieces from well-known jewelers such as Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Seaman Schepps and David Webb were plentiful at the show. David Webb pieces, for example, ranged from a fine monkey pin in 18K yellow gold holding an abalone pearl and with emerald eyes, in the booth of Tenenbaum & Co., Houston, to a charming panda brooch at Eric Originals & Antiques Ltd, New York City, and a black enamel and diamond necklace at Richard Tilles Inc, New York City. Seen at ProVockative Gems, Inc, New York City, was a David Webb gold and diamond pendant necklace depicting a woman’s head whose flowing locks echo the sinuous curves of the pendant.
Eye candy at Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Ltd, New York City, was an Aldo Cipullo coral and green onyx necklace, circa 1970s, while European Art & Antiques, New York City, featured a trio of fine small boxes painted with Old Masters-type religious scenes or portrait depictions. US Pearl Company, Camden, Tenn., filled its booth with strings of pearls laid out in rows, as well as cups of single pearls in several hues.
Roy Rover Antiques & Fine Jewelry, Hellertown, Penn., had a busy show, but noted it was smaller things at midprice points were selling, such as rings and pins. J. Steven Fearnley, Atlanta, said he did well because several of his regular clients came and bought well.
John M. Ullmann, New York City, said he was quite pleased with the show, and that he had much interest in his objects, mostly rarely seen items. A specialist in Art Deco jewelry, he said buyers are always interested in Art Deco jewelry, but interest was a bit lighter this time, perhaps due to the economic uncertainty around the world. Standouts seen in his booth included a gold, silver and lapis table clock from the 1930s made by Cartier with a day and date calendar. The Deco-style hands are made of gold and covered with black enamel. Another highlight was an aquamarine and diamond necklace made in France, circa 1950, set in platinum.
Crissy Galleries, Sarasota, Fla., called the show a moderate success. “The customers and dealers are continuing to be very selective and discerning. The top sellers for us, and seemingly for most. are bigger diamonds, over 3 carats&• said Bruce Crissy, also noting that natural stones, particularly sapphires, are in high demand along with fine signed pieces by the usual suspects †Tiffany, Cartier, Van Cleef, etc. Art Deco pieces and natural pearls are increasingly popular also, he said.
“We as dealers have to return to our connoisseurship, giving attention to all the criteria that makes a special piece: design, age, materials, craftsmanship, condition and provenance. In other words, did the maker fully understand their craft, and execute it well,” Crissy said.
Indeed, connoisseurship among the hundred or so dealers at this show was on display as dealers outdid themselves, bringing to the fore a number of rare, collectible and exceptional pieces.
The show’s 2013 dates will be July 26′9. For more information, 239-732-6642 or www.NewYorkAntiqueJewelryAndWatchShow.com .