Antique Paste Jewelry, Back in VOGUE

A Commentary on Antique Paste Jewelry

Antique paste jewelry has always had a dedicated following of collectors. It is only recently that the art form has started to reach a much broader audience. Paste jewelry was always made to satisfy a specific aesthetic and never to counterfeit its precious counterpart.

In the aristocratic classes of 17th century Europe, particularly the taste-making rococo Parisians, fine jewelry made of precious gemstones like diamonds and emeralds was flaunted and coveted. These stones were treasured for their beauty as much as their relative rarity—it was this rarity that prompted jewelers to seek out an equally beautiful, but less expensive, alternative material for their creations. In 1724, French jewel designer Georges Frédéric Strass came up with “paste,” a kind of leaded glass that he cut and polished with metal powder until it appeared to shimmer like a diamond in the light. These white “diamante” or “strass” were a hit with glamorous European high society. As the century progressed color was introduced in reds, blues and greens but was much more unusual.

Paste, by definition, are glass stones and not natural gems, but its manufacture over the centuries became more sophisticated culminating in a true technical achievement in the early- to mid-eighteenth century. The techniques used were every bit as skillful as those used with diamonds and precious stones; creations were considered fine jewelry in their own right.

To understand early paste jewelry, one must be able to identify it correctly and not confuse it with pieces made in vast quantity in the late nineteenth century and beyond. This appreciation involves recognizing a combination of the cut of the stones, the overall design, and the metals used, including the ageing process which gives antique paste its wonderful patina.

When looking at jewelry, the eye is drawn to stone, color, and scale and in today’s fashion world these stunning pieces have a place every bit as relevant as any precious jewel ever created.

Currently Available in the Shop

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TEFAF New York Spring - Meet the Expert

Simon discusses one of the highlights on display at TEFAF:

A diamond and enamel “Serpenti” watch, the coiled sprung yellow enamel scaled body with circular and nanette cut diamond detail with diamond set tail and head, the hinged mask with ruby eyes revealing a circular dialed watch, movement by Jaeger le Coultre. Circa 1965

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TEFAF New York Spring
Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry is honored to exhibit at TEFAF New York Spring fair. Established in 1988, TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s preeminent fair of art and antiques. The fair will be held at the Park Avenue Armory, May 4-8, 2017. For further details regarding directions, parking and fair hours, please visit tefaf.com.

We have limited tickets available for the fair. Please contact us at info@simonteakle.com if you are interested.

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Met Gala 2016

VOGUE International Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles wearing an Art Deco emerald and diamond circle brooch, circa 1920, available at Simon Teakle.

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Holly Fowler
This year we have had the pleasure of hosting Holly Fowler as she created and painted wonderful designs in our shop during Fashion Day Out in September and the Holiday Stroll in December. And to further our collaboration, we commissioned Holly to hand paint several pieces of jewelry and objects that adorned this year's Christmas catalog.

Holly Fowler is an English fashion designer based between London and New York specializing in hand painted fashion. Treating the silhouette as a canvas, her paintings play on the body’s contours to produce three dimensional works of art that are adorned with stunning jewelry, flowers and rose covered sashes.

Graduating from Central Saint Martins her graduate collection was bought exclusively by Browns in London and received critical acclaim from fashion press. Her collections are now stocked internationally with exclusive dress lines at Bergdorf Goodman and hand painted shoes and accessories at Browns as well as creating bespoke pieces to order. Her clients include Lady Gaga and Jeff and Justine Koons.

Alongside painting and designing her own label, Holly has worked for Louis Vuitton, Zac Posen, Diane von Furstenberg, Chloe and John Galliano and continues to freelance and consult for various clients

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Met Gala 2015
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Livia Giuggioli and Colin Firth attend the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Livia Giuggioli and Colin Firth attend the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Livia and Colin Firth wearing Art Deco sapphire and diamond dress set

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Spring Masters New York

Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry & Objects will exhibit for the first time in New York City at Spring Masters, a fair that brings together leading International galleries from US and Europe, exhibiting art and design from Antiquity through the 21st Century. The fair will be held at the Park Avenue Armory. For further details regarding directions, parking and fair hours, please visit springmastersny.com. We also will have complimentary tickets available for the fair. Please contact us at info@simonteakle.com if you are interested.

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Fashion Day Out

Holly Fowler is a young English designer establishing herself cult status. Her extraordinary painting on exquisite fabrics are stunning, unique and outstandingly elegant. With a passion for jewelry, many designs revolve around luxurious gems and jewels that make the collaboration with Simon Teakle a fascinating combination of rare and cool couture. Holly will be at Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry creating new designs and will also be available to work on unique custom creations on Saturday, September 13th. Please join us from  10 - 6 pm, 4 Grigg Street, Greenwich, CT

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1stdibs Shop Talk
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May 28th, 2014- Vivienne Becker sits down with Simon Teakle at 4 Grigg Street. See the full article on 1stdibs.com

Simon Teakle is the quintessential English gentleman: distinguished, discreet, impeccably mannered and ineffably charming. He also has the perfect pedigree for an antique-jewelry dealer, having worked for 20 years at Christie’s, first in London and then in New York, where he ran the auction house’s jewelry department. So when Teakle branched out on his own two years ago as a dealer in vintage and fine jewelry, the genteel, New England town of Greenwich, Connecticut, proved the ideal location.

Before setting up his eponymous shop, however, he first worked in Greenwich for the noted jeweler Betteridge, starting in 2004. Then, in 2012, “The stars were aligned, the right opportunity came along, and the timing worked in every respect,” he explains. “I had been wandering around Greenwich with my wife, looking at buildings, and I just kept coming back to the same space, a nineteenth-century building, within sight of Greenwich Avenue, that had been part of the old Greenwich fruit and vegetable market.” The one drawback of the space, at 4 Grigg Street? It was already occupied (coincidentally, by a working jeweler). Teakle’s wife, Juliet, decided to go inside, look around and talk to the goldsmith, who told her, to her surprise and pleasure, that he was about to leave the premises. “Within three days,” Teakle says with a laugh, “I had a ten-year lease, my own shop and absolutely no business plan.”

He began by completely gutting the boutique, creating a discreet salon with a comfortably cool, club-like style and sleekly modern vitrines, all expressly designed to display antique and estate jewelry in a contemporary setting. “My aim has always been to show clients that antique jewelry is wearable and modern, that it makes the right statement with today’s fashions,” Teakle says. “It’s the perfect complement to, say, a Prada dress.”

There is, unsurprisingly, a distinctly English feel to the shop, with its muted Farrow & Ball colors; its classic 1950s, ’60s and contemporary fashion photographs; its large sofa covered in rough Indian silk; and its rolling library ladder and stately book- cases. A stunning 18th-century silvered mirror comes from Wardour Castle, the ancestral Dorset home of his wife’s family, the Arundells. “There are lots of personal touches,” he explains, “a myriad of objects similar to those we have at home.” Teakle wanted the shop to be intimate and low-key, to allow people to, he says, “discover” its magic as they move through the space — which explains why there are very few jewels displayed in the shop windows.

Teakle says the uncluttered, modern setting ensures that every jewel or jewelled object on offer has a “relevance to its contemporary existence.” Bringing the past into the present in such a dynamic way — with style and taste and an awareness of current fashions, all backed up by knowledge, expertise and academic research — is a special focus of Teakle’s, one that evolved from the serendipitous start to his working life, as a junior porter in the silver and jewelry department at Bonhams, the London auction house. Teakle, who was brought up in Lewes, Sussex, and educated at Eastbourne College, explains: “After a not particularly distinguished academic career, I thought I’d like to try working in an auction house. It was fortuitous that Bonhams put me in the jewelry department, rather than, say, furniture or Old Masters, because I became completely hooked.”

From there, he moved to Christie’s, where the well-respected and much-loved jewelry expert Albert Middlemiss was his mentor. Middlemiss taught him to appreciate every jewel that came through the department, whether grand and aristocratic or small and humble. This training explains the unusually broad but also carefully curated and intensely personal selection of jewels Teakle offers today. He chooses each piece himself, looking for those with style, personality, quirkiness and craftsmanship.

Non-jewelry items on offer include, from left on the top shelf: a weather station clock by Auricoste, ca. 1930; a George III silver warming dish, 1778; a desk clock by Cartier, ca. 1930. A pair of George II silver candlesticks by John Café, ca. 1740, and George III silver tureens by Solomon Hougham, ca. 1787, sit on the shelf below.

“My auction background means that I select pieces from right across the board,” Teakle explains, “from all periods and styles, and across all price ranges — from a pair of Van Cleef & Arpels earrings, for example, for perhaps half a million dollars, down to a nineteenth-century emerald-green Vauxhall glass cross pendant for, say, eight-hundred dollars.” He concludes:. “Beauty and rarity don’t have to cost a fortune.”

At any one time, you might find in the shop a string of early trade beads from Cameroon, an 18th-century paste pin, an elegant Regency agate necklace, a glamorous mid-20th-century gold-and-diamond bracelet by Boivin or a contemporary treasure by JAR, Daniel Brush or Taffin by James de Givenchy. Teakle also creates pieces of his own design from exceptional gems, and occasionally alters an antique jewel — re-mounting a 19th-century diamond bird pin on a bangle, for example, to preserve its integrity and make it that much more modern, wearable and dramatic.

Alongside the jewels, Teakle likes to keep a selection of quirky, unexpected objects ideal for gifting. “So many women want to buy something for their husbands — fun, not-too-expensive objects for the office or den that you can’t find anywhere else,” he says. For instance? How about a huge and heavy jumble of antique keys on a massive key ring, a 1940s aircraft panel or an Hermès clock dating from the 1930s?

Many of Teakle’s clients are scattered across the globe, but just as many are local, often young and from the world of finance. (Greenwich, known as Wall Street’s bedroom, has perhaps the highest concentration of hedge-fund managers in the world). They are, he says, well-informed and eager to learn, quick to develop taste and acquire expertise. And Teakle clearly takes great pleasure in sharing information and knowledge — his people skills match his jewelry expertise. “In this business, it’s all about relationships,” he says. Relationships and remarkable jewels, that is.

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Hancocks Exhibition
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From Tuesday 15th - Saturday 19th October Simon Teakle will host an exhibition of exceptional fine jewelry and objects presented by Hancocks of London. Hancocks is one of London's oldest and finest jewelry dealers specializing in exquisite and collectible jewelry.  Established in 1849 it quickly became well known after receiving a warrant of appointment from Queen Victoria after only a year since opening.  Owner and dealer Stephen Burton is a friend of Simon's and we are delighted to announce that this specially curated collection will feature over 30 pieces and include spectacular Art Nouveau Jewelry as well as luxurious jeweled objects from the Deco period.

"Hancocks has always been known for their superb quality of jewelry and I am excited to have the opportunity to showcase them in my shop in Greenwich. The objects and jewelry that will be a part of the exhibition are unique and extremely rare. Stephen has been a friend and associate for many years and I am thrilled to be a part of this great event." - Simon Teakle

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Fine Arts Asia
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We are very excited to be exhibiting at Fine Arts Asia in Hong Kong from 4th – 7th this October. This Art Fair, now in its 9th year is fast becoming known for its importance in the world of art and antiques in Asia. Representing dealers from the East and West, the fair is predominantly focused on Art and so we are delighted to be taking part with a small select number of jewelry dealers. We shall be unveiling a wide gathering of pieces that span 200 years with an emphasis on beauty and quality, and some of important historical significance. Come pay us a visit at booth J3 if you are attending, otherwise the shop will be open as normal at 4 Grigg Street.

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David Webb Book Signing
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We are excited to welcome jewelry historian and author Ruth Peltason to 4 Grigg street on Saturday 28th September for a book signing to launch her newest book: David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler. Ruth Peltason has written a number of books focusing on jewelry, including most recently Living Jewels: Masterpieces from Nature, and Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry.  She also lectures on jewelry around the country.

David Webb is undoubtedly one of the 20th Century’s iconic American jewelers.  From the time he opened his shop in 1948 at the age of 21, the self-taught jeweler was influenced by a passion for art and ancient cultures.  Today the David Webb archives include over 40,000 original drawings, sketches, and production records.

This striking book, three years in the making and with specially commissioned photography of 300 pieces of jewelry details Webb’s evolution as an artist and identifies his major collections.  All the jewelry has been carefully authenticated, described in detail, and is accompanied by Webb’s drawings.  In addition, editorial from leading fashion magazines, photographs of the many women who adored his jewelry and an assortment of ephemera are also included.

in anticipation of this event, we have organized a selection of David Webb pieces from their collection.  Both Simon and Ruth will be available to discuss David Webb and his iconic jewelry.

We have collaborated with our lovely neighbor Diane’s Books for this special event.  All sales of the book will be made at Diane’s books, next door at 8 Grigg Street.

Saturday 28 September  - Book signing 12-3

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