My experience at the Palm Beach Jewelry Show
I recently returned from the Palm Beach Jewelry Show, where I gave a talk titled, “Does Signed Jewelry Matter?” The show happens once a year, and this year was unbelievable—it was packed every day and we saw some fabulous jewelry.
Here’s my advice that I gave in the talk: when purchasing signed jewelry, buy the style that is important within the signature. In other words, buying a simple gold necklace signed by Cartier that’s sold in every Cartier jewelry store in the world has a smaller premium added. If you’re going to buy signed Cartier or signed Tiffany, you should buy unusual things. I’m talking about fine jewelry pieces that were done on a smaller run and that are not mass-produced. I think the unfortunate trend is that some collectors forget to really look at the piece and just buy a signature.
Also, it’s important to make sure that the signature is correct. I was one of the judges at the Palm Beach Jewelry show, and we looked at almost everything to see if it was correct. Vetting can be a challenge, but it’s always fascinating because I get to look at everything up close and ask questions.
Determining if a signature is correct involves more than just looking at the mark. I ask myself, is it up to this designer’s standards? Is it a flimsy or high quality piece? Are the gems set well? You also have to be very familiar with what the designer is making. If it’s a gold necklace signed by Tiffany, is the heft of the gold right? What about the clasp – is it right for Tiffany jewelry? When it comes to the mark, you have to know what to look for. If it’s a French piece of jewelry by Cartier, it will have French guarantee marks, and it should have numbers.
My favorite piece at the Palm Beach Jewelry Show was an unusual antique broach by Cartier that had a 7 carat, heart-shaped diamond – and they had the original drawing with it, which means it was probably made for this stone on commission. That’s a rarity to see, and it was just glorious!