Published: November 8, 2011
The East Side Jewelry & Decorative Arts Fair is a bijou. Literally. Of the 19 dealers who participated in its most recent incarnation at the Lighthouse International Conference Center at Park Avenue and 59th Street October 21′3, most were specialists in antique and estate jewelry.
Small and sparkling, the East Side Fair offered rich possibilities for well-heeled buyers looking to get a head start on holiday shopping, or anyone looking for that extra special something. Its timing, which coincided with the October 20′7 International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, meant that it also drew collectors and other dealers. All in all, a good result.
Art International of Beverly Hills, Calif., produces the East Side Fair, which returns to New York March 23′5, coinciding with Asia Week. The promoter’s other New York events are the Fine Prints and Drawings Fair in November and the Fine Art Fair in March. Promoter Marty Ellis mounts similar expositions in Chicago and Los Angeles.
“This was our third time in this venue,” said Ellis, who founded his Lighthouse Shows in 2006. He has organized trade fairs for three decades.
“Attendance was very good. We had our best traffic on opening day. It’s hard to say how much retail trade we get in general. Perhaps two-thirds of the gate is retail. A lot of people saw our signs in the neighborhood and came to have a look. About three-quarters of the dealers did well. They are all coming back,” said Ellis.
The show’s 19 exhibitors were evenly divided between the East and West Coasts: New York, Virginia, Georgia and Florida on the one hand; Texas, Arizona and California on the other. One exhibitor, glass and ceramics specialist Mark J. West, was from the United Kingdom. West, who had little company in his specialty, was headed south after the fair to participate in the Dallas International Antique, Art and Jewelry Show in November.
Visible to anyone entering the Conference Center lobby, dealers set up on the second floor in two rooms connected by a hallway. Jewelry dealers occupied the largest room. A smaller room, with just eight exhibits, mixed jewelry, fashion, silver and assorted decorative arts.
Scottsdale, Ariz., dealer Joyce Groussman’s stock ranges from antique wedding rings to signed pieces by Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Buccellati. Highlights of her display included a circa 1980 18K gold brooch styled as an elephant’s head. The piece was studded with turquoise, diamonds and sapphires. Other trophies included a large strand of perfectly symmetrical, limpidly blue turquoise beads and a gold cuff bracelet festooned with a fruit salad of tourmalines, amethyst and rubies. Schlumberger made the cuff for Tiffany & Co.
“It’s the direction that vintage jewelry has to go,” said Marlene Alvarado, noting that reaching younger buyers and cultivating new collectors will require estate jewelry dealers such as herself to include handmade, contemporary pieces in their lines. As an example, the Corpus Christi, Texas, dealer presented a multistrand necklace of tangerine-colored chalcedony beads. Artist Rebecca Koven of New York and Toronto added visual interest by varying the size of the beads.
Alvarado contrasted the designer necklace by Koven with a 1960s estate piece by Trianon, a firm owned by Seaman Schepps. The multistrand pearl necklace, matching pearl and diamond encrusted torsade, and shell earrings decorated with coral and diamonds was a dead ringer for Schepps, famous for its aquatic-influenced pieces.
Another dealer who mixed estate jewelry with new creations, including her own designs, was Rosaria Varra of R&A International Design, Miami. She featured a traditional necklace of tiered sapphire and diamonds pendants and a contemporary necklace, designed by Varra herself, of rich, multistrand Sardinian coral beads held together with a gold clasp. Prices range from $12,000 for the coral necklace to $25,000 for the diamond and sapphire one.
Honoring Halley’s Comet, a gold and diamond starburst-shaped brooch was a great find at Crown Estate Jewelry. It dated to the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century and was marked $6,700. The McLean, Va., dealer displayed the pin with a pair of Art Deco platinum, diamond and sapphire dress clips of circa 1920. The clips were $19,500.
A pair of ruby, turquoise and diamond clip brooches by Mauboussin, circa 1940, was a star attraction at Jacob’s Diamond and Estate Jewelry, Los Angeles. Made of rose gold and platinum and set with rubies, turquoise and diamonds, the dramatic looking clips defined modern glamour, said Los Angeles dealers Jacob Gipsman and Rigoberto Rodriguez.
Oakland, Calif., dealer Rhoma Young’s novel presentation emphasized gold filigree jewelry and lace. Prices started at about $575 for a black French Chantilly lace shawl.
Brightly colored vintage and collectible women’s Hermes and Chanel handbags in mint condition made a lively appearance at Only Authentics of New York City. The company’s website, onlyauthentics.com, features a broader line ranging from Vuitton and Hermes to Balenciaga, Leiber and Chloe.
Silver specialist Laurie’s Glories of McLean, Va., wowed with a plated German Art Nouveau centerpiece, $4,700, manufactured by WMF between 1895 and 1915, which was displayed with two early Twentieth Century English epergnes.
Mark J. West is known to collectors from his regular appearance at the New York Ceramics Fair in January. His booth at the fair’s entrance contained a full range of glass and ceramics, extending from ancient Thai pottery to English stoneware marrow jars, cream pots and ginger-beer bottles. West is pictured here with one of a pair of oversized Dutch bottles, $4,300, that are hand painted with landscape views, signed and marked Haarlem. The bottles date to around 1780. The Redhill, UK, dealer will be back in New York in January and in February does shows in Palm Beach and Naples.
Ellis said that he would like to add more decorative arts dealers to the show, constrained by space to no more than 25 exhibitors. He made a quick trip home to Los Angeles before returning to New York to mount his Fine Print & Drawing Fair, now its second year. Coinciding with New York Fine Print Week, the three day show was set for November 3‶.
For additional information, www.artinternationalfair.com or 310-287-1896.
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