Museum Monday: Treasures from India at the MET

At Gray & Davis, our collection tends to focus on jewels of Europe and the Americas, so we’re always glad when an opportunity to expand our jewelry horizons presents itself. Luckily, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has obliged us with just such an opportunity.

Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection is on view through January 25th at the MET, and features 60 stunning jewels dating from the Mughal era through the turn of the twentieth century. 

A few of the pieces we're excited to see in person:

Locket Pendant, 17th Century. Gold, Rubies and Emeralds. 

Locket Pendant, 17th Century. Gold, Rubies and Emeralds. 

The impressive gemstone inlay on this locket is so flawless it almost resembles enamel work.

Pen Case & Inkwell, 16th or 17th century. Gold, Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds. 

Pen Case & Inkwell, 16th or 17th century. Gold, Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds. 

A necessary object, if there ever was one. 

Turban Ornament, c. 1800-1850. Gold, Diamonds, Spinel and Enamel.  

Turban Ornament, c. 1800-1850. Gold, Diamonds, Spinel and Enamel.  

The back is just as stunning as the front!

Dagger, c.1620. Steel, Jade, Rubies & Gold

Dagger, c.1620. Steel, Jade, Rubies & Gold

Because if you’re going to have a dagger, it should be a dagger with a jade handle inlaid with ruby flowers.

Gray & Davis Holiday Gift Guide: Jewelry Box Staples

Two blocks away from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and right around the corner from all of the decorated shop windows on Fifth Avenue, 47th Street in December feels like it’s right in the middle of all the celebration.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood soaking in the holiday splendor, come visit our booth and take a peek at some antique treasures. We've picked out five kinds of pieces that no antique collector's jewelry box should be without.

The Statement Ring

Arts and Crafts Carnelian and Enamel Ring, available in our  online shop .

Arts and Crafts Carnelian and Enamel Ring, available in our online shop.

This ring shows its age in all the best ways. A large, table cut red carnelian, one of the oldest stones used in jewelry making, is surrounded by a halo of tri-colored enamel work. The enamel continues down the sides of the ring, as well. This Arts & Crafts era piece sits broad and low, catching the eye without weighing you down. A great old gem for a modern gal.

 

 

The Three Stone Ring

A classic style that never goes out of fashion, these two rings have very different looks with the same core design. This Victorian gypsy-set ring is a set horizontally; a simple line of diamonds in 18k yellow gold. This Edwardian ring has stones running vertically on the finger, with a delicate halo of rose cut diamonds in platinum and a thin band of 18k yellow gold.

Victorian Three Diamond Gypsy Ring, available in our  online shop .

Victorian Three Diamond Gypsy Ring, available in our online shop.

Edwardian Triple Diamond Ring in Platinum and 18K Gold, available in our  online shop .

Edwardian Triple Diamond Ring in Platinum and 18K Gold, available in our online shop.

The Paste Earrings

Small Georgian paste dangle earrings, at Gray & Davis

Small Georgian paste dangle earrings, at Gray & Davis

Antique jewelry with diamond simulants was crafted with the same care as pieces made with the actual gemstone. These charming dangle earrings are set with “paste” stones, glass made and faceted to sparkle almost as brilliantly as its diamond counterpart in candlelight. With a simple silver collet setting, these earrings are great for daily wear.

 

 

The Gold Chain

Victorian 14K Gold Long Chain, available in our  online shop .

Victorian 14K Gold Long Chain, available in our online shop.

One great long chain is the gateway to so many looks. With handmade, antique chains, the fine detail work makes these pieces suitable for wearing as is, or with a plethora of pendant options. This 14k chain has alternating flat and round links. At 68” inches long, it is perfect for doubling or even tripling up, and a large 14k gold swivel is just waiting for your favorite pendant.

 

 

The Hallmarked Ring

Learning when an antique piece was made takes study and practice. However, some jewels easily reveal the past through their hallmarks. Several countries used letters or symbols to denote when a piece was assayed. With a little bit of research, we learned that this pretty gold and diamond ring was made in 1882. It was assayed in Chester, and thus was most likely made in central England. The hallmarks even reveal the metal the piece was fashioned in; this ring is 15k gold.

Victorian 15K Gold and Five Diamond Ring. available in our  online shop .

Victorian 15K Gold and Five Diamond Ring. available in our online shop.

Check out all of our Gift Guides here!

October Opals

Of all of the birthstones, the October Opal has the broadest range of color in a single gemstone. From the blazing orange of a fire opal, the dusky blue-green flash of a black opal, this silica mineraloid does not disappoint. We usually find them cut en cabochon, but finding a faceted opal is not unheard of.

The opal’s reputation has oscillated wildly across the ages. In Medieval times, the opal was believed to have protective qualities, that it possessed the powers of every gemstone whose color was visible in the opal. However, a Victorian novel depicted the stone as a villain’s talisman; public opinion and opal sales soured for decades after.

Now back in our good graces and in our jewelry, opals are an eye-catching way to add a play of color to your collection, and simple opal jewelry usually doesn’t break the bank. Today, most opals are mined in Australia, making it an ethical gemstone option, as well.

Antique and vintage opal and gold rings at Gray & Davis.

Antique and vintage opal and gold rings at Gray & Davis.

Help us say happy birthday to our October friends with opaline flash!

The Language of Flowers

We see a lot of nature-inspired design in antique jewelry history. In the early Victorian era, known as the Romantic Period, artists, writers and jewelers took their fondness for flowers a step further. They conceived a language of flowers, giving different blooms different meanings. A bouquet could send a whole message, with blossoms expressing a wealth of sentiment.

While floral meanings evolved slightly across the generations, and regional variations were common, a rose and forget-me-nots symbolizing love and enduring sentiment withstood the test of time, just as the color white remains a symbol of purity and innocence to this day.

Victorian French 18k gold pendant with plique-a-jour enamel, with a bouquet of roses and a forget-me-not border. At G&D.

Victorian French 18k gold pendant with plique-a-jour enamel, with a bouquet of roses and a forget-me-not border. At G&D.

Art Nouveau 14k gold pin with enamel. Krementz maker’s mark. At Gray & Davis.

Art Nouveau 14k gold pin with enamel. Krementz maker’s mark. At Gray & Davis.

The pendant has French hallmarks. The gold pin is stamped with the telltale double handle of Krementz Co. The Newark, NJ based jeweler started out making menswear, and branched into fine gold jewelry around the turn of the 20th century. This lovely piece was surely meant as a gift. The infinitely locked love knot in 14k yellow gold is decorated with forget-me-nots in blue and white enamel, which signified true and enduring love.

Of course, much was written about the language of flowers. Here are some works in the public domain that extensively describe your floral options and their meanings, all rife with romantic poetry for your reading pleasure, as well:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Language_of_Flowers?id=wMAOAQAAIAAJ

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=2bCdaZ7KvDsC&rdid=book-2bCdaZ7KvDsC&rdot=1

Temptation Tuesday: French Diamond and Enamel Brooch

This Georgian brooch is quite the love note to its French homeland! Silver flowers and fleur de lis set with rose cut diamonds embellish exquisite royal blue guilloche enamel work. All are bordered by bright 18k yellow gold, the French standard, with tell-tale hallmarks on the clasp, to make a lovely heart.

It would look stunningly chic on the lapel of a black blazer. We’re humming la Marseillaise already.

Price available upon request.