Report from Jewelry Camp 2013
September 24, 2013
Krulick-Belin’s talk was one of many at the 36th annual conference known as “Jewelry Camp.” Held in Atlanta for the first time in 2013, the event was started in Maine by art nouveau jewelry expert Dr. Joseph Sataloff but later moved to New York and changed hands. Joyce Jonas ran the event until 2006, when jewelry appraiser and educator Edward Lewand took over with his wife, Sandy.
We had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference, which took place August 1–3 at the Cobb Galleria Centre, in conjunction with the Atlanta Jewelry Show. About 80 jewelry professionals and collectors attended three days of lectures on various aspects of antique jewelry.
George Jensen’s Rare DesignsOver its more than 100-year history, Georg Jensen jewelry has maintained value and is still handmade, said Drucker, a recognized authority on the company’s silver jewelry. Georg Jensen (1866–1935) was trained as a sculptor and began making jewelry in a small workshop in Copenhagen. He worked in art nouveau, a style that still influences the company’s designs. Other Jensen designers brought their own aesthetic and modern influences to their designs. One designer, Arno Malinowski, developed a metalsmithing technique using iron and silver during World War II, when metals were scarce. The product was similar to shakudo, a gold-copper alloy traditionally used in Japan to decorate sword fittings. Malinowski used this technique for only a short time, so these Georg Jensen pieces are rare and highly sought after.
Diamond RecyclingEverything old is new again, and diamonds are no exception. Ezriel Rapaport, director of global trading at the Rapaport Group, pointed out that more diamonds are actually coming out of the U.S. than South Africa today, thanks to the secondary market. This is being driven by “diamond recycling” on the part of the baby boomer generation. The generation is either selling off its diamonds or trading up. About $1.5 billion in diamonds are recycled annually, offering jewelers excellent profit margins.
A Jeweler to the StarsTina Joseff, president and CEO of Joseff of Hollywood, gave an engrossing account of the company started by her father-in-law in 1928. Eugene Joseff worked in advertising in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles and starting a business designing and manufacturing jewelry for the burgeoning movie industry. He worked with famous costume designers, including Walter Plunkett (“Gone With the Wind” and “An American in Paris”) and Adrian Adolf Greenberg, also known as Adrian Gilbert (“The Wizard of Oz”). Joseff’s jewelry used silver, gold, platinum, plastic, wood and other materials, including natural gemstones. He also developed a secret plating technique so the jewelry wouldn’t reflect the camera lights.
Many of the big Hollywood stars were bejeweled in Joseff creations, both on screen and off. Some of the most memorable pieces include Vivien Leigh’s swag necklace in “Gone with the Wind” (1939), Shirley Temple’s crown and scepter in “The Little Princess” (1939), and Judy Garland’s lariat necklace in “Ziegfeld Follies” (1944). When Joseff died in a plane crash in 1948, his wife, Joan Castle Joseff, continued the business and created jewelry for the likes of Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) and “Some Like It Hot” (1959), and Grace Kelly in “High Society” (1956).
Today, Joseff-Hollywood mostly produces precision investment castings for the aerospace industry, but the company still manufactures a line of retail costume jewelry using original findings purchased in mass quantities shortly before Joseff’s death. The vintage retail costume jewelry and studio pieces are still highly sought after by collectors.