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[NYC] Set in Style Jewellery Exhibition


#1

Yesterday, I went to see jewellery exhibition in Cooper-Hewitt
museum, New York City. I have been around fine jewellery for a long
time, but I have never saw an exhibition, which can rival the depth
and the breadth of the display.

The pieces are not current production, but on loan from various
owners, who have been patronizing firm of Van Cleef and Arpel
throughout their history. Nothing which I can write would give
justice to the quality of the exhibition, so I am not going to waste
your time. All I am saying is that whether you have to drive, fly,
walk, crawl, or swim to get there; it would be worth it, if you love
fine jewellery.

If someone has already acquired necessary skills and ready for the
marketplace, here is your chance to rub shoulders and establish
relationship with your prospective clients. This is the place where
you find them.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#2

For those who can’t drive, fly, walk, crawl or swim to the
Cooper-Hewitt, some equally extraordinary videos are available on
line.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/di

It’s a tossup as to whether these are inspiring or depressing! As on
of our family says, just keep making jewelry. Thanks Leonid for this
info.

Jay


#3
It's a tossup as to whether these are inspiring or depressing! 

On one hand I understand why a show like that may appear depressing,
but it is impossible to develop a sense of what jewellery is, unless
a lot of time is spent looking at important works.

I know I said it, but it worth repeating - it is not current
production. I am not sure if VCA itself can make it anymore.
Goldsmiths, who could do it consistently and in a reasonable time,
almost all of them retired. So once the exhibition is closed, that
will be it. Cannot see it anymore. It is a onetime opportunity. Take
advantage of it.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#4

If you wondering if things can get even better, they can. I have just
received the following note:

Van Cleef & Arpels Gouache Workshop
Tuesday, April 5 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
2 East 91st Street

Members of the Creative Team from Van Cleef & Arpels will demonstrate
and teach the very specific art of painting jewelry designs using
gouache. This will include how-tos on the specific technique of
rendering a stone in gouache. Members $25, Non-Members $35. Currently
at capacity. Inquire about our wait list. So, if you manage your time
right, you can spend couple of hours enjoying the splendor of fine
jewellery, and than actually receive instructions from people who
created at least some of it. Dreams do come true.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#5

Leonid,

You are more than right: the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit is a once in
a lfe time opportunity to see the extraordinary range of their work
and amazing craftmanship. There is only one current piece which is a
platinum necklace with detacheable parts, all the other pieces are
vintage and most likely not produced any longer.

It is also interesting to compare the workmanship on the invisible
setting pieces for instance prior 1960 and the modern ones. It is
fascinating to see the way these pieces were assembled (auction
houses are great places to do so) and to observe the extra labor in
the construction ofolder pieces.

The invisible setting piece in the single showcase showing the front
and back of the brooch is an exemple of amazing construction. None
of the modern pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels that I had in my hands
are that involved.

You mentioned the jewelers that could do the work that are now dead
or retired.

For the most part you are right but sadly some are still alife and
kicking.

They often had to convert into other jobs to survive at some point
in time. One of them that I think of moved out of Paris and lives in
northern France. It is such a waste to think that someone with his
craftmanship and knowlege is now in finance so he can pay the rent
and provide for his family.

He got sick and tired of the haggling and lack of respect in the
industry not to mention bearly making a living after he paid his
rent and expenses.

He had worked for the Brun attelier (when it was at its peak in the
80’s), then for Van Cleef & Arpels and Chaumet before going on his
own. Among pieces, a necklace he made with all the leaves and flowers
mounted “en tremblant” will always be in my memory.

Unfortunately one always forget that a lot of the clients that could
truly appreciate these pieces are old or dead as well. Today it is
about marketing and the educated clientele with the financial means
has reduced considerably.


#6

Every one admires the fabulous work that has been produced in the
past, especially as it pops up in exhibits and more recently for
example the Faberege spider that popped up on the history channel
series of Pawn Stars.

Everyone also knows that people like Faberege and Tiffany and all the
others most likely had others do the work for them, so who are these
people that work in back of and for the big names and do the pieces
that survive over chasm of time it seems tragic to me that they
should drift off into obscurity and none of us know who the real
Greats who actually sit at the bench are. from this forum i have been
greatly blessed to interact with many of you who are great but i
would like to know more - best regards Goo


#7
Today it is about marketing and the educated clientele with the
financial means has reduced considerably. 

Actually there are plenty of very wealthy people out there that do
appreciate fine craftsmanship and aren’t afraid to pay for it. These
clients prefer a one on one relationship with a skilled and
knowledgeable artisan and love learning about how stuff is made. They
are out there and have more money than ever.

Tim and I are old school dinosaurs. We had the great pleasure and
honor to learn from older European trained gold and platinum smiths.
Most with accents and some with death camp tattoos. We had the sense
to actually listen to these old codgers and offer them offer them our
deepest respect.

Tim still azures out by hand most all of his pave. We still melt
ingots of platinum and hand fabricate with 10% Iridium platinum.

By no means are we comparing ourselves to the craftsmen and women of
Van Cleef, but just want you all to know that there is still old
school work and the customers to support it out there.

Oh, and we don’t market at all. No adds, no signs. Just word of
mouth.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#8
He had worked for the Brun attelier (when it was at its peak in
the 80's), then for Van Cleef & Arpels and Chaumet before going on
his own. Among pieces, a necklace he made with all the leaves and
flowers mounted "en tremblant" will always be in my memory. 

En Tremblant - another technique, not seen in contemporary jewellery.
There was one piece mounted with this technique. I was there with my
son, who is not interested in jewellery, notwithstanding all my
efforts, but he was totally mesmerized by that piece. He spent 20
minutes looking at it. I actually had to drag him away.

I would participate in a project to form a corporation with the only
purpose is to search for such individuals, and pay them to put what
they know in writing.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#9
Everyone also knows that people like Faberege and Tiffany and all
the others most likely had others do the work for them, so who are
these people that work in back of and for the big names and do the
pieces that survive over chasm of time it seems tragic to me that
they should drift off into obscurity and none of us know who the
real Greats who actually sit at the bench are. 

Point well taken. Most people know about Faberge, but very few know
about Michael Perchin, the man behind most famous Faberge works. It
may appear unfair, but creation of fine jewellery is a collaborative
effort. Goldsmith is an important component, but only a component. It
is not an easy task to run a shop specializing in fine jewellery.
Most of all, it requires management, who is willing to sacrifice
profitability to preserve reputation. Not every piece of fine
jewellery is a money-maker. Sometimes, we should be content with
breaking even, or taking a loss.

Most of the large firms have been in self-destruct mode for a number
of years. People who could do things retired. New ones were not
properly trained. Managers were mostly concerned with cutting down
expenses, and results are obvious.

We celebrate names like Faberge and Tiffany (what it used to be)
because people at the top created the environment, where talented
goldsmiths could thrive. The exhibitions like Set in Style are
important, because we could see the fruits of collaboration between
Designers, Goldsmiths, and Managers of the Past.

There is a fable about a farmer who decided to save money by
teaching his horse to eat less. So every day, he decreased the amount
of hay by one straw. It was working for while, but one morning the
farmer walked into his barn and found his horse dead on the floor.
That is exactly the predicament that most of the large jewellery
houses find themselves todays.

if there is to be a Renaissance, it will have to come from bottom
up. The big names of the Past have nothing left, but rapidly spoiling
horse meat and a lot of useless hay.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10

What Jo says is absolutely the truth. I could have written the same
post. We make all kinds of things in platinum starting with a button
and rolling, drawing and smacking with assorted hammers. Old school
still works and works as well or better than any newer techniques.

There are still plenty of people out there that know about it,
appreciate it and will spend a lot to own it. There is no magic to
marketing to these people, old school works best here too. The best
way to reach those people is to let them find you. Plain old word of
mouth. No traditional or non-traditional advertising will convince
these people that you are the person to make their jewelry. They
listen to each other about such things.

Speaking of listening, listening to what they are telling you they
want and remembering that what you are doing is for them and not for
you (Neil’s comprehensive “you”). Doing what you say you will do,
doing the best possible work, all the stuff that’s easy to talk about
but not so easy to actually do, that’s the way to market to the
"carriage trade".

Dave Phelps


#11

Thank you thank you to all who recommended the Cooper-Hewitt exhibit
of VC & A. I had a last minute opportunity to go to NY and never
would have known of the exhibit without the endorsement of several
Orchidians - Iwent, and it was magnificent. What a gift!

Blessings
Sam Kaffine
Sterling Bliss, LLC