Smithsonian’s Jeffrey Post Talks to JCK About QVC Jewelry Line

Smithsonian’s Jeffrey Post, Ph.D., took a few minutes to chat with me on Monday
afternoon about Tuesday night’s debut of the National Museum of Natural
History’s National Gem Collection for QVC.

Post is the curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian
and was part of the team who helped QVC select pieces
from the museum’s vast collections to celebrate in an inspired jewelry line.

to the Smithsonian, this will be the first time it has offered licensed products
through a multimedia retailer. Gemologist Christine Webb, a 13-year veteran of
the gems and minerals department, is scheduled to appear during the broadcast
to present a range of Smithsonian-inspired jewelry designed for QVC.
Post appears in some of the prerecorded segments regarding the museum’s
collection of 10,000 gems and 350,000 minerals, which served as the inspiration
for the line. The jewelry features natural gemstones, sterling silver and 14k
gold and will be priced from $65–$950.


Sterling onyx and rhodonite hinged cuff bracelet QVC/Smithsonian

Sterling onyx and rhodonite hinged cuff bracelet

Photo courtesy of QVC


JCK: What are the details of this
collaboration with QVC?

Jeffrey Post: It’s a deal that’s been
in the works for a couple of years. A select number of pieces similar to ones
in Smithsonian collections—though none will be exact replicas—will be offered
for sale on QVC. The jewelry will range in look and price, and some aspects of
the jewelry are inspired by Smithsonian pieces. For example, the chain itself in
the Tiffany & Co. amethyst necklace is stunning, so QVC designers took some
inspiration from just the chain.

 Judith Ripka blue topaze Smithsonian ring for QVC


Judith Ripka sterling blue topaz and
diamond ring

Photo courtesy of QVC


JCK: What are some of the pieces that
QVC viewers will see Tuesday night?

JP: All of the pieces that will be
shown on Tuesday night feature real gemstones, so it’s hard to do big diamonds,
rubies, and emeralds within the QVC price point. But there are some Smithsonian
pieces with an interesting design and story that were able to inspire similar
designs. We have a ring in our collection, an Edwardian period ring, with a
small pearl in the center, a north-south elongation, and a small diamond, that
shows the light touch of Edwardian-style pieces. QVC was able to design a very similar
ring with aquamarines instead of diamonds, and a pearl in the center. They took
central design elements and created pieces from them.


JCK: How is this relationship with QVC
going to benefit the Smithsonian?

JP: It’s a business deal to bring in extra
money to support our collections. It’s also a really intriguing opportunity to
talk about what we do here and to expose our collection to a broader audience.
QVC says it reaches about 93 million homes, and a lot of those can’t make it to
the Smithsonian. We were able to provide additional background on our
collections through video footage shot by QVC at the museum, with the hope of
intriguing more people to learn more about our collections and what we do. We
see this as a two-prong opportunity for us to raise money for things we do here
and to talk about what we do in a different way. This is a selling and an
outreach opportunity.


 turquoise and white topaz earrings QVC/Smithsonian

Sterling turquoise and white topaz earrings

Photo courtesy of QVC


JCK: Did you help select the exact
pieces that inspired the QVC collection?

JP: My background has nothing to do
with sales, but my colleagues and I worked with the design staff and pointed
out some of our favorites—some of which may not be so highly featured in our
collections, yet have some intriguing stories, history, and design elements to
them. One example is the Edwardian ring, which is not currently on display in
the museum. Then, based on the stories we told and the pieces we showed them,
QVC selected pieces that they thought would make nice pieces of jewelry.


JCK: Will there be more than one
collection on QVC?

JP: This one is the first, but I don’t
know how many are planned. This deal was struck with Smithsonian
Enterprises—the business arm of the museum—and we worked with them. They have
all of those details, and this is a multiyear deal, starting with pieces
inspired by our gem collections but then from all over the Smithsonian. This
deal will be much bigger than just gems.


 citrine necklace QVC/Smithsonian

Citrine necklace

Photo courtesy of QVC


JCK: How much time did you spend
researching pieces for the QVC collection?

JP: Many tens of hours over the last
two couple of years. And QVC gave us a chance to approve all of the designs, to
be sure that our collections were well represented. 


JCK: What is most exciting for you and
your staff about this deal?

JP: We have a chance to focus on pieces
in our collections that are not always available on display. In the museum, we
mostly get questions dealing with the iconic exhibitions—people focus on the
ones they’ve heard about; we never have time to talk about the others. This
deal gave us a chance to go through the drawers in our vault and pull out
pieces that we’ve admired for a long time but just couldn’t put out in the

 morganite ring QVC/Smithsonian

Morganite ring

Photo courtesy of QVC


JCK: Can you reveal anything else about
the jewelry we’ll see Tuesday night? Did QVC select any of your favorite pieces
to re-create?

JP: Many of the pieces that will show
up tomorrow night are ones that I was happy to see them use. A ring featuring
Smithsonite, for example, will be on sale. Smithsonite is a mineral named is in
honor of the Smithsonian’s founder, James Smithson. That ring will be a nice
connection to our story here.


QVC/Smithsonian packaging


Click here to see some of jewelry on the QVC site.

Check out the two-hour program, Smithsonian
Institution: National Gem Gallery, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 7– 9 p.m. EST.  


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