by Terry Betteridge on February 14th, 2013
At the end of the 19th century, platinum was for the first time being used to set diamonds, though still with the historically used gold backing.
Seen from behind, the pendant’s setting is almost entirely pierced and filed away. It creates the appearance of a honeycomb in gold and platinum whose engineering would make Buckminister Fuller proud. Perfect strength with a minimum of material, though a maximum of labor.
After the sawing and filing, cotton string and pith wood charged with fine abrasive powders and carried by beeswax were “thrummed” to mirror polish the cutaways. The process creates the perfect seats for each small diamond.
From the back just as much as the front, this is perfection seldom seen.
by Lex Graham on February 8th, 2013
With the sixtieth birthday of the Rolex Explorer around the corner, the iconic and robust look of the original Rolex Explorer has changed very little since its premier in 1953. Dedicated to the first explorers to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, the Explorer has been a pivotal part of Rolex heritage.
The combination of the brushed steel case and bracelet, along with the smooth bezel and luminous black dial represent the iconic DNA of the Explorer. This look is a very strong but classic approach to watch design that has stood the test of time. The Explorer is powered by a mechanical self-winding movement with Paraflex shock absorbers, a Parachrom hairspring, and a bidirectional self-winding perpetual rotor for efficiency and durability.
As the May anniversary of the Everest climb approaches, this piece will continue to represent the desire for exploration- new experiences and overcoming obstacles.
It is the perfect fit for the graduate with the world ahead of him, or the trailblazer with an unmarked route.
by Lex Graham on October 31st, 2012
Growing up in the jewelry industry I have been exposed to some incredible pieces of fine jewelry- from vintage diamond brooches and exquisite line bracelets to large diamond drops. Although these pieces are wonderful, they are not always wearable for everyday enjoyment.
This is where the Bvlgari B.Zero1 collection comes into play. Whether you favor your little black dress or jeans and a simple blouse, these designs will be sure to complement your outfit. The Bvlgari B.Zero1 collection can be worn to accent the ears, neck, wrist, and hands with comfort and clean intriguing designs. Pendants, hoop earrings, cuff bracelets, and banded rings are a few elements of the collection.
Bvlgari’s use of 18-karat pink, yellow, and white gold with diamonds and colored gemstones makes for a very wearable new take on classic materials. But what if you want something new and different? Maybe you want a beautiful piece of gold that is complemented by colored ceramic, or even exquisite marble in blue, green, or brown. Well this collection does just that.
The versatility of the collection makes it a wonderful addition to any wardrobe, and the attention to detail and comfort is sure to stand out wherever you are enjoying them. You will find these pieces not only accent your wardrobe but also your lifestyle.
by Win Betteridge on October 13th, 2012
In 2012, Buccellati is commemorating its 60th anniversary in the United States. It’s a great moment for Buccellati and one that we are particularly excited to celebrate together. This year, Betteridge is celebrating its own 60th anniversary- in 1952, we opened up our headquarters in Greenwich.
In honor of Buccellati’s storied history and our longstanding partnership, we are proud to announce the Mario Buccellati 1952-2012 Tribute Watch.
Only 33 pieces will be produced for a few friends in the cities where Buccellati’s history has been written: New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Aspen and Greenwich.
For Greenwich, the watch is a limited, numbered edition of three (Buccellati’s US President is wearing number 2, but 1 and 3 are available, if you are looking for a truly special holiday present).
by Mike Manjos on August 16th, 2012
by Terry Betteridge on August 11th, 2012
Occasionally, the great Parisian jewelers all stepped back from classically opulent jewelry making to design something artistic and amusing, while still maintaining unsurpassed quality in material and design.
By Van Cleef & Arpels, this jewel of a British bulldog is a representational tour de force. With enameled wingtip collar and chained diamond monocle, not only is all England invoked, but Winston Churchill in particular. Tenacity and single-minded purpose dressed as a gentleman…
I’ve spent much of my life on the hunt for wonderful and unique jewelry pieces. My favorite jewelry has meaning- in this case, the historic allure of one of the most important men, and greatest characters, of modern times.
by Terry Betteridge on August 9th, 2012
This antique snuff box or bonbonnière is hand-engraved and engine-turned below multiple layers of colored glass (a technique Faberge becomes famous for copying an hundred years later). Trapped within the early 19th century Parisian enamel is the golden inscription, “DON DE L’EMPEREUR” (“A Gift of the Emperor”)- for you know who…
by Brooke Betteridge on May 1st, 2012
Visiting Mark Davis’ workshop is an experience that can only be described as heavenly. Housed in an old rope factory building on the water in Brooklyn, stark white walls give way to the most glorious sight imaginable- a wall of color-coded bakelite!
Due to the vintage nature of the material, Mark has taken to buying it up whenever a “new” stockpile becomes available. Whether it be a full uncut, bakelite tube, or a collection of well-worn bangles, he has managed to amass quite a lovely hoard over the years. All in various stages of production, one can witness the transformation from ordinary to extraordinarily fabulous as the time-consuming process of sanding and polishing progresses.
Years of exposure to the elements oxidizes outer layers of the bakelite and causes it to change color. A brown piece might actually turn out to be blue after Mark has had his way with it. Who knew bakelite was so multifaceted? Mark did!
Before Mark Davis came onto the scene, bakelite had been largely forgotten. Now, many try to imitate his unique style using resin and other colorful materials. Only bakelite however is heat-resistant, impervious to moisture and shatterproof- it’s actually so durable that it was used for some bomb-casings during World War II.
After seeing the amount of work that goes into the making of each and every piece bearing his stamp, one cannot help but fall madly in love with Mark’s jewels. While this material might no longer be in vogue militarily-speaking, Mark Davis’ bakelite beauties always hold the top three spots on my jewelry wishlists.
by Win Betteridge on May 1st, 2012
Last year, A. Lange & Sohne announced the production of an extremely limited series of watches, commemorating the 165th anniversary of Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s founding of his Glashutte manufacture. We just received one of the first to hit US shores: the “Homage to F. A. Lange” Lange 1 Tourbillon.
The tourbillon incorporates remarkable features that you will not find in any other watch. The case is in 18k honey-colored gold- a proprietary alloy that Lange created for this watch series. The honey gold has an unparalleled warmth to it, almost resembling the elegant patina taken on by Lange movements (in German silver) in the years following their production. Moreover, the solid silver dial is stunning with its exposed tourbillon mechanism and hand-guillochéd hour & minute sub-dial.
Finally, the Homage version of the Lange 1 Tourbillon incorporates a movement so innovative it would have made F. A. Lange proud. This is the first tourbillon movement that can actually be stopped, even when the watch is fully wound. This enables for time to be set to the second and to allow better viewing of the exquisitely finished tourbillon escapement.
Limited to 150 pieces worldwide, this watch is a collector’s dream come true.
by Terry Betteridge on April 10th, 2012
Once or twice a week, I paw through auction catalogs; jewelry first and then all sorts of small regional auctions with paintings, rugs and just old stuff. If I win more than one in fifty bids, then I know I’ve overpaid between the commissions and shipping. Sometimes though, things just happen…
Last month, as the driver brings me back to the store, the last leg of our whirlwind trip to Baselworld, I see a mountain of packing material piled on the sidewalk out front and about four feet of a pair of six foot bronze lions. Vague recollections of an inch by inch picture in a Southern auction catalog came to me…
Today, the lions guard the door, a reminder to read the fine print of auction reports.