This end-of-year recap of my 2019 adventures in jewelry editing in order to identify the pieces that most stand out to me as special and unusual reveals a clear affinity for the many high jewelry collections that came out this year, from Van Cleef & Arpels’ ode to rubies to Mikimoto’s Jardin Mystérieux.
I could not run this piece without acknowledging the importance of the Christie’s Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence auction in June, which was billed as the sale of the century (in the end, it was not a record-breaker—the December 2011 sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels, which totaled $115.9 million, is still the one to beat). Even so, the 400 lots were truly epic, just pieces of unimaginable opulence and craftsmanship, thus raising the standard considerably when it came to most anything else I saw—or that came across my desk.
I’m also including a red carpet moment that made every jewelry editor I know absolutely lose their minds with delight: Dame Helen Mirren, in all her tonal turquoise splendor, at the premiere of her HBO miniseries Catherinethe Great, wearing a suite of David Webb jewels.
With that I’ll start with a trapiche emerald treasure from JCK Tucson 2019 and take you through my year of jewel hunting and vault peeping from there.