Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Gilded age

The go-to look for gold jewelry today is big and dramatic, says estate dealer Gus Davis.

By Phyllis Schiller

Image: Camilla Dietz Bergeron.

What are the popular choices in gold vintage jewelry that you think will keep trending in 2022?

2021 was truly the year of gold wearable jewelry, and it is a trend that is continuing into 2022. Choices range from large pendants worn both long and short, [to] a mixture of hard stones such as tiger’s eye, carnelian, coral, malachite, jade, black onyx, and mother-of-pearl. Anything whimsical that catches the eye is favored, especially bracelets in the form of an animal, including leopard, lion, elephant or zodiac motifs.

What styles, eras and designers are most in demand?

The 1960s and 1970s have come back into play in a big way. We’re seeing that in earrings, necklaces, bracelets and cocktail rings. Pieces that do double duty are among some of the popular choices, such as brooches that may be worn as pendants, and watches that may be worn as a piece of jewelry. Designer jewelry that has been selling consistently includes pieces by Bulgari — a popular choice of our clients in 2021 and continuing into the new year — as well as names such as David Webb, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Is any particular category of jewelry more desirable for today’s buyers and collectors?

Earrings, especially chandelier-style earrings, are the most popular type of jewelry that our clients are looking for, followed by necklaces — long and short — and then bracelets and rings. When it comes to brooches, if they may be worn as a pendant, we have seen interest in them as well.

What advice might you give customers in choosing bold gold jewelry?

I feel that the best advice to share with clients when they are buying for themselves is to consider including a few statement, go-to pieces. They should look for jewelry that they will reach for day in and day out. It is also important for them to feel comfortable wearing the jewelry. It should feel like their second skin; it should never feel awkward or cumbersome or like the jewelry is wearing them. And they should not be afraid to be a bit bold. One of the advantages of estate jewelry is that it offers one-of-a-kind looks that clients are not going to see everyone else wearing.

How difficult is it to stock this type of jewelry?

Prices are much stronger than a few years ago. The estate market has always been interesting to jewelry collectors, but it seems as though it is even hotter than before. Today, we as dealers/retailers are finding it much more difficult to restock signed jewelry. Signed pieces are commanding large premiums, especially those by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., David Webb and Bulgari. In terms of periods, we are seeing strong demand for 1960s and 1970s jewelry, and the 1980s has come into its own. The Art Deco period had weakened a bit, but there has been an uptick in prices in that category as well.

What criteria do you use in choosing which jewelry to carry in these categories?

The most important thing that we keep in mind when determining what pieces to buy is that we want the pieces to make a statement.

Who is Gus Davis?Gus Davis is the current managing partner of Camilla Dietz Bergeron, a New York-based firm that buys and sells antique, period and estate jewelry. Davis and the late Camilla Dietz Bergeron founded the business in 1989.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - February 2022. To subscribe click here.

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