Though marred by recent accidents, New York City’s Staten Island Ferry remains a longstanding fixture as the city’s “most reliable source of mass transit” since 1905. New York is also the home base for featured estate jewelry brand Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Ltd. (CDB).
For those in the know uncovering an authentic piece of estate or vintage jewelry from the local flea market is a significant find.
A pair of genuine antique bracelets or antique cufflinks not only exemplifies superlative, bygone craftsmanship; but according to Jill Burgum, Director of Jewelry for Heritage Auction, such items can be had at a fraction of the cost of modern jewelry. “The savings can be amazing,” says Burgum, “up to 75 percent.”
However, such brands as Fred Leighton Jewelry (USA) and Tracy Smith’s House of Lavande (USA) specialize in collecting and selling rare, high-end vintage jewelry pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Coco Chanel, and Elsa Schiaparelli.
In the same tradition, for over 10 years, former finance broker Camilla Dietz Bergeron and business partner Gus Davis eagerly search out luminous, expertly crafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry items from the late 19th and 20th centuries “with an emphasis on the Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro periods.”
While Bergeron and Davis offer various price points for their exquisite range of items, such antique pieces like a 1935 Art Deco diamond and platinum brooch, and a fabulous pair of 19th century 14-karat yellow gold Snake Bracelets—one of which is signed by Bailey Banks & Biddle—do cost a pretty penny.
In fact, Davis’ specialty in colored gemstones has resulted in such acquisitions that include a Bird of Paradise brooch from France (circa 1960s) accented with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds; unique pieces from renowned Tiffany & Co. designer Jean Schlumberger; and an emerald and diamond Bulgari ring once owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
As seen at online jewelry store 1stdibs.com within CDB’s expansive collections are signed items from Bulgari and Cartier as well as unsigned pieces from the 1930s up to the mid-to-late 90s. Their inventory includes gold pendants, diamond earrings, gold rings, cuff bracelets, and unique luxury watches.
Heritage Auction’s Burgum says that authentic, unsigned vintage pieces do not reflect low quality. “There are far more unsigned pieces in the market than signed and that should not be a negative factor. Beautiful construction combined with fine materials will always be saleable and in demand.”
Without question, these are some great pieces from great eras. They are chic and timeless with beautiful arrangements; they are statement-making without being too bold.
“I love to search for that one-of-a-kind piece—the pearl in the oyster,” says Bergeron. “Chic is not some kind of formula; chic just is.”
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Tiger’s Eye Dome Ring (Circa 1960s)
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Bird of Paradise (Circa 1960s France)
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Tiffany Schlumberger Enamel and Gold Bangle Bracelet (Circa 1980s)