Over the weekend, A La Vieille Russie (ALVR) unveiled a new live and virtual exhibit: “Ear Candy: 250 Years of Style.” The esteemed New York City–based antique and estate jewelry dealer has amassed 40 exceptional examples for the public to enjoy and shop, in a kind of gem-laden confiserie of art deco, Victorian, and retro styles of earrings twinkling with topaz, turquoise, and heaps of diamonds.
Why earrings? Why now?
“We settled on an earring show because not only did we have some really rare and unique pairs, but also because in this Zoom era they are the perfect accessory,” says ALVR director Peter Schaffer. “Earrings easily stand out even with a mask and are a great option for [pandemic-era] statement jewelry. In many ways, face coverings have made us feel expressionless, so earrings can be a great visual representation of one’s personality.”
To add breathtaking context, and provide some insight into each piece’s historical significance, ALVR has produced a video series to accompany the exhibit; it will appear on ALVR’s Instagram account, website, and YouTube channel.
Last year, ALVR hosted the “Deceptively Modern: 1940s–1980” exhibit in its gallery, and the success of that event helped inform the decision to revisit the concept.
Says Schaffer, “We like to keep somewhat of a consistent exhibition schedule because it is such a great way to connect with clients, especially this year when the future of in-person fairs is still so uncertain. Another reason we really wanted to do this show was because it is a great way to build our online presence.”
Interest in buying ALVR’s important pieces has not wavered throughout the pandemic, Schaffer adds.
“One somewhat obvious change is that much more is done online as opposed to in the gallery,” he says. “While it is a nice change of pace to be expanding our online presence and sales in this way, we have also found that when clients are unable to see a piece in person before purchasing, you have to give them a little more time for a return. While we believe that each client will fall in love with the pieces once they receive them, jewelry is one of those things that you have to see in person to appreciate its beauty.”
Which is why each earring highlighted in the exhibit is accompanied by robust photography, to give an accurate sense of the piece’s detail and scale (the aforementioned videos will likewise function as a selling tool to entice the serious buyer). Armed with this information, buyers will find that the impulse to gobble these goodies up—especially those that were chosen to be photographed in the company of luscious, colorful sweets (to drive home the Ear Candy theme)—will be hard to suppress.
My favorites, below.
Top: Circa 1890 Victorian old mine diamond cluster earrings in silver and gold, $29,000. “Ear Candy: 250 Years of Style” is part of the official NYC Jewelry Week 2020 lineup of virtual events.
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