England – In her capacity as a historian, she conducts an investigation into the evidence. The job of a jewellery historian is similar to that of a sleuth in a murder mystery: once the murder weapon has been used, the central figure can no longer explain what method was used, and you must look for clues that others may not notice.
Beatriz Chadour-Sampson, an art historian and author who specialises in jewellery, has written a book on the subject. She has now been searching for evidence of provenance and significance for a long time. Currently putting together a catalogue of jewellery from the 19th-century Revival Period that will be on display at the. The Alice and Louis Koch Collection of 2,500 rings was donated to the Swiss National Museum in Zurich by Sheque dealership Les Enluminures in January. Sheque has been working as a curator of the Alice and Louis Koch Collection of 2,500 rings for decades.
As co-curator Historian of the “Pearls” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013, she also provided advice on the reopening of the museum’s William and Judith Bollinger Jewelry Gallery in 2008, which features as its centrepiece the sapphire and diamond coronet that Prince Albert designed for Queen Victoria the year they were married in 1840.
In an interview conducted from her home in the English county of Hampshire, Ms. Chadour-Sampson discussed her lifelong love of jewellery, how it feels to handle gems associated with historical figures such as Catherine the Great and Napoleon, and why she prefers to dress in more contemporary adornment rather than traditional. Her telephone and email responses have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
My family has been refugees five times in the last 100 years — I myself am a Cuban refugee who fled the country when I was a child and witnessed the Cuban Revolution. My oots and I prefer to be referred to as cosmopolitans, which is exactly what I am. I’m at ease everywhere except where I’m supposed to be.
My father learned how to cut and polish diamonds in Havana, and he went on to establish his own business in New York, specialising in the import and export of gemstones. Following our departure from Cuba, we travelled to NeStreet, also known as ere my father established Alley,ur Charms Inc. on 47th Street — or, as it was known at the time, the Gwere nd Jewelry Alley. Chcast stones were the most fashionable at the time, so he1962,igned them in Germany, cast them, and then set them. In 1962, my family and I relocated to Germany, where my father operated a business specialising in cultured pearls.
As a Historian, I spent my childhood working in the jewellery industry, which you could even call child labour: My homework,ng pearls, and invoice-writing skills were put to use after I finished, and I spent some of my school holidays sorting pearl pairs for use in earrings.
Then I went on to get my Ph.D. in art history, with a thesis on Antonio Gentili da Faenza, a goldsmith who worked for the Farnese and Medici families, among others, and who created a cross and candlesticks for St. Peter’s Basilica.
In the late nineteenth century, Louis Koch worked as a crown jeweller in Germany, where he amassed a large collection of rings. By 1904, he had amassed a total of 1,700. Before going on permanent display at the Swiss museum in 2019, these had been passed down through four generations of the same family.
The collection has grown to include more than 2,500 items, including a gold ring made for Pope Pius IX in the nineteenth century that has an engraved scene of the Pope before his er as a fisherman on the inside band. It’s death, according to the ype given to the pope before his enthronement. As part of the funeral ceremony, it was split in half after he passed away.
An additional piece is a diamond-encrusted ring from 1786 that has a blue and white Wedgwood plaque of King George III on it that appears to be a cameo appearance. This piece was a personal gift from Josiah Wedgwood, the company’s founder, to the sculptor John Flaxman, according to what we know.
There’s also a royal memorial ring made for the French King Louis XVIII in the 1820s. The ring is in excellent condition. Antoinette, King Louis XVI, King Louis XVII, Queen Marie Antoinette, and Madame Elisabeth all have hair in the band, which is made of gold with small glass domes containing hair from them.
Even with the less-exceptional jewellery on display at the V&A, one is often intrigued by the stories that these pieces could tell about their former owners, including Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia and her niece Stéphanie de Beauharnais, whom Josephine and Napoleon adopted.t even with the less-exceptional jewellery on display, one is frequently intrigued by the questions: “What stories could these pieces tell about their former owners?”
The cataloguing of the gold Seoracts from the 1638 wreck of the Spanish ship Nuestra Seora de la Concepción, which was discovered and recovered in 1987 in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of the Marfort Islands, was a particularly exciting project. Such jewellery, created by Chinese artisans working in Manila for Spaniards and intended for sale in Europe, has only survived because of its rarity. Without a compass, it would have been submerged in the sea for more than 350 years. It would have melted down if this had not happened.
It was fascinating to the people of the Philippines to learn that European designs had travelled as far as the Philippines, and that global production had begun much earlier than we had previously imagined.
The work is classified as detective work, in my opinion. In order to remember small details, one must have a tremendous visual memory. The hallmarks of a piece of jewellery are either easily identified and parallels in other collectipossiblyr books come to mind, or the hallmarks of a piece of jewellery are identified and may help with attribution.
In some cases, jewels can be riddles that necessitate further investigation, including the involvement of other specialists and conservators, in order to reach a conclusion; in other cases, the attribution remains uncertain or unanswered. Pieces that contain mysteries are equally as exciting and interesting as other pieces.
For special events such as the Academy Awards, the jeweller will occasionally lend you a piece of jewellery to wear for the duration of the presentation. If you are working for a museum, you cannot use your work as an exhibition piece: it is simply impossible. As a result, Mikimoto gifted me with a pair of pearls to wear to the opening of the “Pearls” exhibition that evening.