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Upcoming Antique Jewelry Exhibit: London’s Lost Jewels
10 / 09




Just in time for Halloween, the Museum of London is launching a major new jewelry exhibition shrouded in mystery. On October 11th (running through April 27, 2014) The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels, which investigates the secrets of around this unusual discovery, opens to the public.


In 1912, a treasure or hoard of 500 plus jewels was discovered buried in the earthen floor of a cellar on Cheapside. The jewels are Elizabethan and Jacobean in style, dating to the 16th and 17th century. A little background here… Cheapside is a street in the City of London. In the early 1600’s, it was home to many Goldsmiths and their grand residences and was thought to be one of the prettiest streets in London.


There’s a great article in the Telegraph (Vivienne Becker, October 4th) with more background on the discovery. Here’s their description of the area during the period. “It seems everything in the way of gems, gold and silver could be found on Cheapside. It was noted for its magnificent jewellery displays, and its south-west end was known as Goldsmiths’ Row. The Bond Street of its day, it was the heart of London’s international gem and jewellery trade.” The Cheapside of this period was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and later rebuilt. I wonder if the fire had anything to do with the 300 years between the burial of the treasure and the delay it its discovery. I’m sure more information will be available when the exhibition opens.




Ruby and diamond brooch


© Courtesy of Forbes and The Museum of London





Ruby and diamond brooch


© Courtesy of Forbes and The Museum of London



See more highlights and pictures of the jewels on our Pinterest Board: Historic Jewels.


And now to the mystery. No one knows why the hoard was buried, who the owner was, or why it remains unclaimed 100 years after its discovery. According to the Cheapside Initiative (an organization currently chartered with turning the area into a retail and leisure destination), the Exhibition will explore the mysteries of the Hoard, thought to represent one of the goldsmith’s stock-in-trade.




The Museum of London has asked the famed, master perfumer Roja Dove to create a scent that reflects the time period. It will be displayed next to a white enamel, gold, and jewel encrusted scent flask. The perfume will include aromatics popular in 17th century England. Roja has blended tonka bean, lavender, rose and rich spices in order to create an intoxicating fragrance “fit for the dazzling treasure trove, that is the Cheapside Hoard.” If you are interested in antique scent flasks, vinaigrettes, and other perfumers that create customized blends, visit a few of our past blogs on the topic: Scent Flasks and The Secrets of Scent Laden Jewels.




According to Vogue’s Carol Wooten, Jewellery Editor for British Vogue, who had the opportunity to preview the exhibition “… the first thing I thought when I saw the Cheapside Hoard was how incredibly fresh it was, the colors, the work, the gold.” She goes on to comment on the fact that she can recognize pieces and trends from the collection that we are wearing today: sliced stones, sliced diamonds, long chains (one might wear now with jeans). My favorite observation from Carol is that while the fashion may not translate over the centuries, the jewelry does. It’s quite possible that someone might see a piece from the Hoard on the cover of Vogue and potentially ask – where can I get that? I couldn’t agree more!


This perfectly captures our philosophy on antique jewelry and the approach we take in developing our collections at Sugar et Cie. We believe that that there are many period pieces that fit with today’s fashion aesthetics. We look for those necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc. that have a one-of-a-kind appeal. You can see the beauty and feel the luxury that accompanies jewels crafted by hand; one artist, one vision, from the beginning…to the end.


10 / 05




For all of you jewelry fanatics out there, an exhibition entitled: Jewels by JAR, is opening at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art during the month of November. It’s scheduled to run through March of 2014. The Met’s exhibit will feature 150 pieces from the jewelry designer, Joel A. Rosenthal (JAR), created during the last twenty-five years.


If you’re not familiar with JAR’s work. Here are a couple of pieces from Christie’s sale last year. Below is a camelia brooch by JAR, pavé set with 173.09 carats of rubies in silver over gold. It sold for $4,319,591 in Christie’s “Jewels for Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra” sale (May of 2012).


Ruby Camelia brooch by jeweler JAR

Courtesy of French Vogue and Christie’s


Another of our favorites from JAR and the Christie’s sale: An emerald, pearl and diamond ring set in platinum. The lot description includes the fact that the emerald was tested by the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute, and is of Colombian origin with a moderate amount of oil. It sold for $521,200.

Emerald ring by jeweler JAR



Courtesy of French Vogue and Christie’s


Joel A. Rosenthal was born in New York, but started his career in Paris in textiles. For the past thirty-six years, he has had his atelier in the Place Vendôme. He creates a limited number of pieces each year and his client list is so exclusive that you have to be invited to be a client or know someone in order to visit his atelier. Or so it is rumored.




A limited number of his jewels have been seen by the public via publication or exhibition. A book published in 2002, accompanied one of the few exhibits of his work, this one at Somerset House in London. The First Edition is out of print and difficult to find.


When one does pop up, it sells for more than the price of a couple of ounces of gold (current price for the book, used, on Amazon is $3,500). It looks likes a Second Edition was reprinted this year (2013). I don’t know if there are differences in the editions, but the market price seems to be better. A handful of the second edition (not to be confused with the Christie’s Catalog with a similar title) are listed on Abe Books, priced in the range of $900 to $1000, at the time this post was published.


If you are dying to get your hands on a book that includes pictures of JAR jewels at a reasonable price, Amazon is pre-selling the catalog: Jewels by JAR (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in Hardcover by Adrian Sassoon, for the upcoming exhibition at the Met. Although it only includes 40 images, at $26.23 it seems like a bargain!


10 / 04




The largest known fancy vivid pink diamond, the “Pink Star” internally flawless and weighing in at 59.60 carats will be auctioned on November 13th in Geneva by Sotheby’s.




Courtesy of Sotheby’s



A pink diamond, less than half the size at 24.78 carats, sold at auction in 2010 at for a record setting price of $46.2 million. Clean out your Swiss bank accounts! The picture above doesn’t really do it justice. Take a look at the short video on Sotheby’s website. You get to see it on some lucky girl’s finger. Wow!