Month: January 2019

Unidentified maker 19th century Malachite, Gold Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of J. Townsend Lansin

Bejeweled and Bedazzled: Exhibit Opening At Albany Institute of History and Art

Bejeweled and Bedazzled is opening this January 26th at the Albany Institute of History and Art.  Mark Lawson Antiques is a proud sponsor of the exhibit. This exhibit, lasting until July 28th of 2019, will feature jewelry from the museum’s collection.  There will be more than a hundred pieces of jewelry from four centuries worth of craftsmanship.  The Institute will use the pieces in the exhibit to tell stories of why and where they were purchased, who owned them, and when they were worn. The materials range broadly, from ceramic to mother of pearl, from gold to hair.

Unidentified maker 19th century Malachite, Gold Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of J. Townsend Lansin

Bejeweled and Bedazzled will be divided into three separate sections.  First is jewelry acquired from Europe.  This section spans Italian micromosaic brooches with vignettes from Roman ruins and carved shells with goddesses.  The next section is filled with jewelry that references ancient times.  Brightly colored scarab beetles call back to Egyptian decoration. Gilded filigree brooches emulate the opulence of Byzantium.  The final section is comprised of memorial jewelry.  This includes Victorian hair jewelry, a type of jewelry woven from the hair of loved ones.  Also included are brooches and lockets with hand-painted miniature portraits of family members.

Unknown maker 1785 Pearl, Gold, Ivory Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Mrs. Cornelia S. Cate and Mrs. Robert Davison, 1968.8.1 “D.T.-B. and C.S. / 1785” engraved on back of clasp. Bracelet given to Cornelia Stuyvesant by her groom Dirck Ten Brock.

 

This is the Institute’s first exhibit focusing on their incredible jewelry collection. We at Mark Lawson Antiques are proud to be sponsors of Bejeweled and Bedazzled, which will run from January 26th through July 28th, 2019.  For museum hours, please click here. We will be hosting an appraisal day at the Institute on March 30th from 10:30AM to 2PM.  This post will be updated with more information regarding the appraisal day.

 

Additional Resources:

Albany Institute of History and Art.  For any general questions and information on concurrent exhibits.

A history of jewelry.  An interesting read by the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Micromosaic Jewelry.  More information on the history of micromosaic jewelry by the Gemology Institute of America.

Art Deco: 1920s Filigree Jewelry

1920s Art Deco 18K White Gold Filigree Jewelry Diamond Bar Pin

Origin of Filigree

Filigree jewelry has long been popular, with found samples in southern Asia dating to a few thousand years old and gold filigree flourishing in the Fatimid era of Egypt.  Originally, filigree was made with delicate threads of precious metals being hand-manipulated by jewelers into intricate designs.  This process took a lot of time and required expert craftsman.  This made filigree jewelry very expensive.  With the growth of industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the production of filigree jewelry became faster and more inexpensive than ever.  This led to an explosion in the manufacturing of In the 1920s, filigree jewelry was used to show off.  The 1920s were a time of opulence; flagrant displays of wealth were not only common but encouraged.

1920s 18K White Gold Filigree Diamond Solitaire Ring

 

Factory Filigree Jewelry

In the early twentieth century, many pieces of filigree were made through the use of die-cut stamps.  Automation allowed intricate designs to be punched from solid sheets of metal.  This decreased both the time and expertise needed to create astounding pieces of filigree jewelry.  Stamped filigree jewelry is distinguishable from handcrafted pieces because the edges of the open spaces are sharper.  They are closer to 90 degree corners, unlike the rounded edges of hand crafted filigree.  The automation of the creation of filigree led to a huge number of filigree jewelry pieces being created.  This increase in production was also due in part to the onset of the Art Deco movement.  The geometric designs of filigree mirrored the abstract geometry of popular Art Deco design like that seen in the Chrysler building.

 

Why Gold?

Art Deco Solid White Gold Filigree Ruby Stick Pin

 

The most common metal used to create filigree jewelry in the 1920s was 18k white gold.  It was soft enough to stamp with intricate designs but strong enough to hold the delicate designs.  Additionally, the white gold color complemented the diamonds that were frequently added to the jewelry.  Filigree was common in everything from rings to panel bracelets to necklaces. Filigree pieces retain their value not just because of the charming aesthetic appeal but also due to the continued fascination with the Art Deco designs and rising gold prices.

 

Value for pieces can vary based on age, condition, maker, karat level, and the intricacy of the design.  We at Mark Lawson Antiques love well-made filigree jewelry.  If you have a piece you’d like to sell, call us at (528)-587-8787 or send an e-mail to marklawsonantiques@gmail.com to make an appointment at either our Saratoga or Colonie locations!

 

Additional Resources

Fatimid Jewelry, Metropolitan Museum of Art.  A history of jewelry, especially filigree jewelry, in Fatimid Egypt.

Art Deco Jewelry Appraisal, Antiques Roadshow, PBS.  An appraisal of a stunning Art Deco necklace.

Edwardian Filigree (a decade prior to Art Deco), Gemology Institute of America.  A survey of Edwardian filigree jewelry at the turn of the century.

Opening at the Met: ‘The Art of London Firearms’

Flintlock pistol, made by Wogdon & Barton.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is opening a new exhibit featuring exquisitely crafted firearms, highlighting the abilities of British gunmakers.  The exhibit, entitled ‘The Art of London Firearms’, features seventeen separate firearms, each made in London.  Instead of rifles and long guns, the focus will be on pistols dating from the mid-eighteenth century into the early nineteenth century.  Included is a pistol made for the Prince of Wales, King George IV of England.  The pieces are pulled from the Metropolitan’s permanent collection and many of them have never been on display.

In the period encapsulated by the show, a group of gunmakers with workshops on the outskirts of London and became fierce competitors.  This competition led to rapid design growth, paring down Baroque design elements for simple, elegant, and efficient design.  These gunsmiths include Durs Egg, John Manton, and Samuel Brunn.

 

 

When: The exhibition opens January 29, 2019 and lasts until January 29, 2020.  For more information visit the exhibition website.

Where: It will be in Gallery 380 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located at 1000 5th Avenue in New York City and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10AM to 5:30PM, Friday and Saturday from 10AM to 9PM.

Pair of flintlock pistols, made by Samuel Brunn.

Admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for children under 12.  New York State residents have the ability to choose what to pay.  This exhibit and all others are included in museum admission. There are also multiple membership options available.

 

Well-made firearms have always had collectible value and can be sold for a tidy sum.  When not in museum exhibits, guns like these are often in personal collections.  Collectors can find more information on the sale of these and other types of firearms here.