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Lover’s Eye (Jewelry), a Token of Love or a Strange Curiosity?
04 / 02




Maybe the “Look of Love, Eye Miniatures from the Skier Collection” can help answer the question. Written by by Graham C. Boettcher, Elle Shushan, and Jo Manning, it is part exhibition catalog and part romantic tale.


Not to be confused with the “Evil Eye” or “Tiger’s Eye”, or any other “Eye” jewelry, a Lover’s Eye is a miniature portrait of a loved one’s eye set into a piece of jewelry: brooch, ring, locket, pendent, stick-pin etc.

A picture of the book

I have purchased it for my collection (see pictures of the book purchased from the Birmingham Museum of Art, above and below) and can personally recommend it. If you are a collector of antique jewelry or books on antique jewelry, the 97 color images justify the investment. It is a great reference book for your collection or library. The book also includes a well-researched account of the origin and history of the eye-miniature, a chapter on the language of sentiment expressed through gemstones, and six very entertaining short stories inspired by various Lover’s Eyes. At this time, the book is currently available through the The Winterthur Museum Bookstore, the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Bookstore, and on Amazon.



Lover’s eye jewelry was supposedly popularized by King George the IV (at that time, the Prince of Wales). He had one of his favorite artists of the day, paint his eye hoping to use it as a romantic gesture to win over the woman who had previously rebuffed him. He had the miniature portrait set into a locket and shipped it off, hoping to persuade her (Maria Fitzherbert) to marry him. As the story goes, the gift, or the letter that went with it worked and she eventually gave in. They married in secrecy, due to the King’s (George III) disapproval, in December of 1785.




The Lover’s Eye is merely a single chapter, lasting only 50 years (1780 – 1830), in the voluminous novel of Sentimental Jewelry of the 18th and 19th century. Not many were created to begin with, they were often painted on delicate mediums (e.g. ivory), and the ones that still exist are now approaching or have past the bicentennial mark. All reasons why these miniature works of art are relatively scarce and tend to command a pretty penny when they come to market. If you are a fan of Sentimental Jewelry, check back, as will be sharing more on this topic in our next blog.



02 / 28




Icy pastels, usually reserved for Spring, were part of the color palette this past Fall/Winter. Well, Spring is approaching and pink is still here. Models pranced down the runway at Spring Fashion Week covered in pink from head to toe (Alexander Wang, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga). All shades were present from sugary bubble gum to fuchsia to the palest of pales. Not a big fan of all over pink? Add hints and pops of the color through your accessories: shoes, bags, jewelry, etc. Here are some of our top picks.


Satin strappy sandals in hot pink



Sergio Rossi satin pink strappy sandals



A new discovery, for me anyway. Julep nail polish seems to be free of nasty chemicals. They call it 4-Free. It doesn’t contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, or toluene.



pale pink nail polish




Julep nail polish in Emanuelle



At first glance this looks like mother of pearl, but as it turns out it’s plastic.

oval pink and black striped purse


Striped oval clutch from Edie Parker



pale pink mule with gold embellishments


Pale pink and gold mule from Oscar De La Renta



pale pink pearls  with rose gold shield locket embellishments

Cultured pearls with rose gold shield locket from Sugar et Cie



bubblegum pink peep toe pumps with skulls


Bubblegum pink pumps with jeweled skull detail from Alexander McQueen



pink cashmere and silk scarf



Chan Luu silk cashmere scarf



hot pink flat sandlas



Fuchsia leather embellished t-bar sandals from DSQUARED2



vintage buckle on blush glazed alligator cuff



Antique buckle on blush pink glazed alligator cuff from Sugar et Cie



hot pink lip gloss



Marc Jacobs Lip Vinyl lip gloss in “Boom Boom” fuchsia




01 / 29




They don’t make ‘em like they used to… No really, they don’t!


Proposal scene from the movie The Notebook


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014



From the late 1800′s to the mid 20th century, when an engagement ring was purchased at a luxury jewelry store like Tiffany, Birks and others, a sterling silver ring box was included. These petite silver treasures came in many shapes and sizes: rectangles, squares, rounds, ovals, hexagons and hearts. Some still have their velvet, silk, or mohair linings (a bit worn or faded). Others are missing them or appear to have been re-done or relined. Like many beloved vintage and antique pieces, they have been around for many decades and have been handled and cherished. This is not necessarily a bad thing. New pieces lack the warm patina, the character and the history that comes only with age.


The engraving on the outside of the box can vary from the elaborate, detailed monogram to a simple, single initial. The number of artisans that can beautifully execute a hand-engraving is dwindling (although a few still exist – and we know one in our area). When it comes down to selecting which one to purchase, it really comes down to purpose and individual style. Some look for the absence of a monogram hoping to add their own, while others are purchased for the beauty of the existing artwork and the story behind it (even if the monogram doesn’t match that of the owner-to-be).


We contacted both Tiffany and Birks, and while I’m sure the boxes that accompany their engagements rings are beautiful, neither offers the sterling silver ring boxes they used to, once upon a time.




We firmly believe that if you don’t happen to have the perfect heirloom already in the family (or if a sibling got their paws on it first) create one of your own. Buy it! Establish a new tradition with your proposal, one that can be lovingly handed down to the next generation. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we currently have a few sterling silver ring boxes in our collection. One happens to be very similar to, if not identical to the one that is in the movie The Notebook.


Art Deco Sterling Silver Ring Box


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014



Both the one in our collection and the one in the movie are from the Art Deco period, marked Birks, and stamped sterling silver. Whether you are a fan of the movie or not, the styling and cinematography is hard to resist. So are the Art Deco aesthetics of the ring box that carries Allie’s engagement ring (albeit the one from Lon, not Noah). If you are a fan of the Movie, The Notebook’s official Facebook page has a fairly diverse collection of images.



Proposal scene from the movie The Notebook


Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment





The thing I like the most about these ring boxes is that they make a beautiful display for any ring. Keep one on your bedside table next to your other pretty little things or think about collecting a few to create a grouping on your desk or dresser. I have to warn you, that once you start it is hard to stop.


Proposal scene from the movie The Notebook


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014





Vintage Silver Ring Boxes Sugar et Cie

Montgomery Round Tray Ralph Lauren

These antique, gilt tooled, leather bound books are from our collection. Another source for vintage and antique leather bound books is Strand in New York.

A pewter option, similar to the silver julep cup pictured, can be found in Match Pewter’s vase and garden collection.

Flowers: cream roses, bleeding hearts, hypericum berries, tulips, and hydrangeas.

01 / 17




Neither can we. And apparently neither could Jason Wu, Lanvin, Altuzarra, and Tom Ford. All incorporated metallic shimmer and shine into their Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collections.



Altuzarra Spring 2014 Ready to Wear


Altuzarra Spring 2014, Ready-to-Wear Courtesy of Vogue U.K.





A great way to bring metallics out of the dark of night and into the daylight, is to mix an ultra-feminine, typically evening, metallic with a contrasting menswear piece. This look straight off of the runway from Altuzarra, is a great example: a menswear “long underwear” knit top paired with a metallic silk, high-slit, narrow skirt.



Spring Metallics





I’m fighting a losing battle trying to resist this liquid, rose gold, sequinned skirt from Haute Hippie. We’ve paired it with a menswear inspired, white linen, button-down shirt, from Frank & Eileen. Roll up the cuffs and tuck it or belt it in. The boots are Saint Laurent’s Paris Ankle Boots in Cognac.


Play up the rose gold by accessorizing it with your favorite rose gold jewelry. I especially love the patina of antique gold. Slip on this rose gold and old European cut diamond snake ring from our Collections.



Antique Rose Gold Snake Ring


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2014


Want to see more rose gold fashion? Visit our Pinterest Board: Blush – Trends 2013/14 – Blush, Beige, Buff and Rose Gold.


12 / 03





A Picture of the Newly Released Jewels by Jar Book


In our October 5th blog we shared with you that the MET was launching an exhibit of JAR’s Jewels in November. We were excited to share the fact that a book (a catalog of the exhibit in hardcover) would be published in concert with the Exhibit’s opening and sold on Amazon for a mere $26.68. It’s chock full of colorful, unique, and jaw dropping gem-set earrings, brooches, earrings, etc. from JAR’s body of work. As JAR lovers know, published images of his work are few and far between.


The one book and auction catalog that have been published are not cheap. The book’s price tag on the secondary market is often in the $1,000-$3,000 range with the 2003 Christie’s Catalog usually selling for north of $500. A reprint of the two volume set is being offered on the MET’s website for $1,400, Volume I on its own, $750 and Volume II on its own $800. I suspect that the limit of one per person might have something to do with its secondary market value although it could just be about controlling the distribution.


We pre-ordered our copy of Jewels by JAR and it arrived last week. It’s no surprise that the day after it was released it had a “Temporarily Out of Stock” notice on Amazon, which is still the case. There is also a “Backordered” notice on the MET’s webiste. If you can get your hands on one at close to the release price, it is probably worthwhile. If the past is any indication, there’s a good chance its value will go up. Either way, it is a great reference book to have if you love jewelry or are a student of design.


The book is comprised primarily of images of JAR’s jewelry. There are 65 color images. A few of my favorites are below. There is a 31 page essay at the front of the book by Adrian Sassoon which covers JAR’s early days, his design philosophies, and a variety of interesting tidbits that make for a surprisingly enjoyable read. I love the fact that JAR will mix the antique with the modern. In the first image below, the centerpiece is an antique cameo to which he has added rubies and brown diamonds (modern cut) pavé-set into silver-topped-gold rose petals.


On the con side, I do wish that the pictures on the whole where sharper and that the details of the construction had been shared pictorially. We read about hidden details such as diamonds set into the back of earrings, there only for the owner to see and enjoy. Unfortunately, the book owner does not get to visually indulge in these hidden treats.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Cameo and Rose Petal Brooch: antique cameo, rubies, brown diamonds, silver and gold.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – The Seesaw Earrings: kunzite, pink sapphires and diamonds.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Two Pansy Rings and Two Pansy Bracelets utilizing green garnets, rubies, diamonds, black spinels, emeralds, tourmalines, topaz, chrysoberyls, and citrines.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Fountain Pendant Earrings: aquamarines, diamonds, silver and gold.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Gardenia Ring: diamonds, silver and gold.