Throughout my career I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most distinguished jewelry collections to be offered at auction; and in many cases have had the added privilege of learning from the collectors behind them.
The best collectors are able to simultaneously balance a narrow focus and a broad vision. Acquisitions are made in accordance with their own pre-set criteria (be it certain periods, design houses or gemstones), but also on what they find beautiful or desirable at a given moment in time. The formation of their collection does not always follow a scholarly process, but over time, a collection will become a cohesive reflection of the owner’s passions and tastes. The end result is an assemblage of jewels that is at once harmoniously impulsive, yet with a distinct underlying aesthetic and an academic approach focusing on how well each piece represents a given category and how it compares towards others in its class.
The Private Collection from Rancho Santa Fe, California embodies this sentiment.
The collection is a product of a gentleman whose passion for jewelry is boundless. He has a connoisseur’s eye that was developed over years of educating himself on the quality and value of gemstones and what makes for a great piece of jewelry. The two of us have spent hours discussing what drove him to choose one piece over another and what he found so extraordinary in many of the jewels in his collection. Throughout each conversation it was clear that he had a full 360 degree understanding of every piece of which his collection is comprised.
The collector loved to spend time visiting jewelry shops throughout the world in much the same way one visits art galleries and museums. What I love most about his methodology is that he did not acquire jewelry based on the desire to buy a brooch or a necklace for example, but rather one could say the jewelry found him. It was on these jewelry excursions in New York, Aspen and Palm Beach that he found pieces that moved him in one way or another, after which he would make the acquisition or collaborate with the jeweler to make adaptations to better suit his tastes. Beauty and technique were always of foremost importance and never compromised.
It is clear from this collection that color had the greatest impact on him. What I find most exciting is that his love of color extends well beyond the traditional ruby, sapphire and emerald-set jewelry. What we see are classic and iconic designs comprised of the most beautiful gems found in nature. It is no coincidence that such a significant portion of his collection comes from the house of Oscar Heyman & Brothers, as they are known for their use of a variety of colored stones, their superior craftsmanship, and their mastery of the invisible-setting technique. Even those pieces that are not from Oscar Heyman, however, come from the top design houses and exemplify some of their most expressive designs.
This collection is the result of a journey that did not have a specific road map, yet had rules, guidelines and a direction that resulted in an exquisite collection. It was built with an innate sense of quality and design and unwavering passion. Above all it was assembled based on the core reason why jewelry strikes the heart of all who encounter it: an enhanced beauty and radiance brought to the person it adorns. In this case it was his beautiful wife, or as he would say, “The most beautiful jewel in the world.”
I hope you share my affinity with the jewelry presented here and the great respect for the gentleman whose labor of love brought it together.
Senior International Director, Christie’s Jewelry
PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT RANCHO SANTA FE COLLECTOR