Doyle & Doyle Debuts Rare Collection of Antique Jewels

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Doyle & Doyle is thrilled to debut pieces from a spectacular cache of rare antique jewels, all acquired from a single collector. Including jewelry from ancient Rome, 17th century Spain, and 19th century France, these are the best examples of their type and many are hallmarked by well known jewelers. Keep reading for a sneak peek of the historic collection before it goes on exhibition at Doyle & Doyle in September.

2 doyle doyle micromosaic bangle brooch vatican workshop 3 doyle doyle antique micromosaic bangle vatican workshop

These exquisite micromosaic pieces date to the mid-19th century and are hallmarked for the Vatican Workshop of the Papal State.The Vatican’s mosaic studio was founded in the 16th century, its skilled artisans create artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons and pieces for the Pope to give as gifts. The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, Saint Peter’s Square designed by Bernini, and Raphael’s “The School of Athens” are among the many masterpieces you can discover at the Vatican. Originally founded in the 16th century, the skilled artisans working in the Vatican’s mosaic studio create pieces for the Pope to give as gifts and artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons. They also oversee and maintain the ten thousand square meters of colorful mosaics that adorn Saint Peter’s Basilica. This bangle and brooch are beautifully made, featuring glass tesserae so tiny that the designs look like paintings in shades of red, blue, green, and white. Perhaps a wealthy young man purchased them during his Grand Tour through Europe, or they were gifts to an important Church official. No matter their origin, they are little works of art that display the incredible skill of the Vatican’s workshop.

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The collection includes other ecclesiastical jewels in addition to the Vatican micromosaics, including a variety of gem-set and enameled crosses from many different periods. This striking dimensional crucifix cross is Spanish from the 17th century, detailed with enamel and engraving that resembles wood grain. Although probably not original, we love it worn on the black ribbon choker, especially when layered with antique gold guard chains. Although these are museum quality jewels, they’re definitely wearable!

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There are also charming examples of sentimental and devotional jewelry. The rose cut diamond encrusted heart hangs from a sweet rose gold dove. The diamonds are foil backed and you can see hints of pink, gold, and even green reflecting through the stones. The rare late 17th century Spanish reliquary pendant is a small compartment that holds a tiny bit of a saint’s blood. It’s backed by a hand painted figure of a female saint and framed by emeralds and garnets. This type of jewel was probably a private devotional artwork. Spain being an intensely Catholic country, people believed in the power of saints to affect their daily life. In additional to more traditional liturgy, 17th century Spaniards prayed to their personal saint to intervene and make their lives better.

6 doyle doyle arts and crafts turquoise pendant art nouveau enamel winged female pendant Gaston Laffitte

The other half of this incredible collection is comprised of museum quality Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau jewelry. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a direct response to the mechanization and poor working conditions engendered by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. Adherents looked to the Middle Ages, nature, and popular folk art for inspiration, seeking to return to an idyllic time before mass production. Shying away from precious materials, Arts & Crafts jewelers favored readily available gemstones, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine, opal, and moonstone. The delicate gold pendant is British, comprised of hand wrought wirework set with bright blue turquoise and glowing moonstone.

7 doyle doyle art nouveau plique a jour enamel necklace Gaston Laffitte silver locket Lucien Coudray

By the end of the century, Art Nouveau artists took the theme of nature to the next level. Art Nouveau jewelry often incorporated idealized female forms with swirling, whiplash hair framed by sensuous flora, like this striking silver mirror locket. Dating to 1900, this lovely piece is hallmarked for French jeweler Lucien Coudray. Coudray specialized in engraving medals and won several prizes for his artistry. Another popular form was a winged female with gossamer enamel wings studded with tiny gems or pearls. This statuesque dragonfly woman was created around 1900 and bears the hallmark of noted Art Nouveau jeweler, Gaston Laffitte. The light filters through the translucent green plique-a-jour enamel wings, creating a delicate stained glass effect.

This is just a small preview of the incredible historic collection – want to see it all? Doyle & Doyle is putting on a public exhibition in September. Email [email protected] for more information and to get on the invite list!

This post was contributed by Juliet Rotenberg of Doyle & Doyle, thank you!!

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Want more?! To check out the store tour of Doyle & Doyle, click here.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you’re a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you’ll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily’s personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I’m so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let’s sit back and enjoy:

My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.

My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.

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I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!

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A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.

After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.

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I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!

I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.

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One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim

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Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry

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Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.

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WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Emily –> @GemCircus

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Amanda of Maejean Vintage

Maejean Vintage Collection Maejean Vintage Collection

I’m so excited to share this month’s Jewelry Collection Story with you all because I know how much we collectively love the Maejean Vintage sisters! You probably own at least one piece from their Etsy shop, with over 12,000 sales made to date, I’m more apt to say you probably own several pieces! I know I do! It is fascinating to think over 12,000+ items have passed through these sisters’ hands–it leads one to be curious as to what is in their personal collections?! What pieces have they come across over the years that they just couldn’t bear to sell?! What jewels struck a chord with Laura and Amanda?

We are so lucky both were eager to share and put together these photos and stories of their collections. We decided to do a two-day, back-to-back event featuring the collections of both sisters–first up is Amanda’s collection, the younger of the two sisters!

Amanda’s Collection:

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

These are some of the necklaces in my collection. The most special one is the dog tag that belonged to my Pop-Pop when he was in the USMC. I feel honored to have inherited it. The garnet cluster pendant was a Valentine’s Day present from my honey. I adore it! Sometimes I wear it on a long gold chain and other times I wear it as a choker.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My most recent acquisition: an antique pale amethyst with a seed pearl halo which I wear in memory of my Aunt Cindy.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My favorite bracelets are the gold filled bangles that I love to stack, and the two silver bracelets I inherited from my mother (the charm and the cuff), which she use to wear when she was in her twenties. The platinum and diamond pin is a family heirloom that I occasionally wear on a chain or a dress for special occasions!

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

Left: I don’t wear earrings often, but when I do I keep it simple with the Victorian paste stones, or dress it up with my garnet dangles. Right: Vintage and antique rings in my jewelry collection. I am always on the look out for rings that feature sparkly old cut diamonds, endearing terms (my PET ring is one of my favorites!), or unique shapes!

My vintage jewelry collection really started around the time my sister and I opened our online vintage jewelry store, Maejean Vintage, in 2010. My collection is definitely smaller than I would ideally like, because I have such a hard time keeping pieces for myself! I know a lot of other sellers have that same guilty feeling when keeping a piece instead of selling it! Because of this, I only keep a piece in my collection if I absolutely ADORE it and it speaks to me on a personal level.

When I first started collecting, I was drawn to dainty and intricate pieces, mostly from the Art Deco Era. As my knowledge of different eras developed, so did my collection! My jewelry consists of pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Mid Century, and Modern eras. I am finding myself more drawn to bigger and bolder pieces as time goes on. I especially have a soft spot for rings!

Being a student at GIA has introduced me to the wonderful world of gemstones, so I am definitely drawn to gemstone jewelry — especially diamonds, garnets, emeralds and sapphires!

I have had the best luck finding jewelry for my personal collection at antique flea markets – especially the large flea market that happens three times a year in Brimfield, MA! I love flea markets because it really is like a big treasure hunt and I also enjoy the ability to haggle ;). eBay and Etsy have also been great marketplaces for finding unique pieces from all over the globe!

A lot of my pieces have strong sentimental value to me and represent people, places, or different times in my life. I recently acquired this amethyst and seed pearl ring which I wear in memory of my aunt, who adored the color purple. Seed pearls can represent tears, which is also very fitting.

Antique jewelry is my biggest passion – I love imagining where the pieces have been, and who cherished them before they came to me. I feel so lucky to have a career in connecting other people with sparkly old gems! <3

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Maejean Vintage –> @MaejeanVintage

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Five Investment Pieces You Need In Your Jewelry Wardrobe

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I’ve been collecting fine jewelry for over fifteen years now and it is interesting to look back on pieces that I purchased in the beginning. I like to ask myself if those items were a good investment and part of evaluating that is knowing how much wear I’ve gotten out of each piece since purchasing. Your investment is only as good as how much joy and wear the piece of jewelry is providing for you–I am a firm believer in that!

But what if you don’t know where to start? Let’s say you’re new to collecting fine jewelry and only own a few odds and ends. You’ve got to start somewhere and being able to create a look by accessorizing your daily outfits with these pieces is a must. So let’s start with a list I’ve compiled of the five investment pieces you need to have in your jewelry wardrobe. These are staples that are meant to be classics, which never go out of style and will continue to get worn for years to come. These are pieces you should not feel bad for splurging on and rightfully so. These are future heirlooms, diamond encrusted, solid gold, hefty pieces that will be worth the same, if not more later on.

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