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American Material Culture

Holiday Gift Guide: Jewelry-Palooza

John Chaski

You know what people everywhere will be saying in 2027?  "Buying all your gifts on Amazon is so 2017."  Get ahead of the trend.  Follow my simple, non-self-promoting instructions.  Don't be on the wrong side of history.

First, jewelry.  Most people like jewelry.  It's small and can easily be thrown in a drawer and forgotten, yet it can be expensive enough to demonstrate commitment, love, and a total lack of financial responsibility.  Or if you follow my tips, just the first two.  Fun fact: I don't know how to wear cufflinks but I think a single one would work great as a belly-button piercing.

Jewelry auctions can be tricky.  Buy from one you trust.  Jewelry dealers...ditto.  But hey, that's why I'm here.

Photo courtesy of Wilson's Estate Jewelry.

Photo courtesy of Wilson's Estate Jewelry.

Ermahgerd.  I hate snakes so much yet I still love this.  You probably weren't expecting the first thing to be expensive, but how amazing is this thing.  And the dealer gets the strongest recommendation I could give for anyone who does anything.  Most of Jen's jewelry came from here, or on their advice.

Photo courtesy of Cowan's via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Cowan's via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Cowan's via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Cowan's via Bidsquare.

A couple lots of pearl jewelry at Cowan's caught my eye.  This little set retailed by Black, Starr & Frost is my favorite.  Simple but elegant; old and real.  A bargain at the estimated price, this will probably bring quite a bit more and would still be good value if you think you can use it.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

Leslie Hindman has a great two-day sale with a wonderfully diverse selection from bargains to six-figure investment grade material.  Let's start with a couple bargains.  Above, a Victorian ring, estimated at 300-500.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

Are brooches cool again?  This one is.  Made by Gorham and in for 400-600.  Unique pieces like this are worth buying.  Deco filigree rings are fun and all, but once you've seen one you've kind of seen most.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Hindman via Bidsquare.

You knew there would be cat jewelry.  Frankly, you should be thanking me that it's not all cat jewelry. 

 

Photo courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

Hey, remember what I said about Deco filigree rings?  Okay, but this one is nice with the pink topaz, and affordable.  We've switched to a new auction, at Skinner.

Photo courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Skinner, Inc.

I'll be honest, this Tiffany retailed timepiece is not my taste.  But if you need a gift for the man or woman who wants to own a pocket watch but doesn't care what time it is because the world exists to serve them, here it is.

Photo courtesy of Wilson's Estate Jewelry.

Photo courtesy of Wilson's Estate Jewelry.

One last piece that's available immediately.  J.E. Caldwell handled some of the nicest stuff.  Check back for more holiday gift guides!