Rio Show Spotlights Rarities

The Las Vegas Antique Jewelry and Watch Show, held June 2–5 at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino, continued to draw crowds. Opening one day before the nearby JCK Show, this year’s show saw a 5 percent jump in attendance as buyers took advantage of the timing. Show officials declined to provide attendance numbers.

As usual, the show’s nearly 300 exhibitors offered an enormous range of items, and while the aisles seemed quiet on the afternoon of Friday, June 3, dealers were pleased with sales. “We did a month’s worth of business in just the first day,” said a happy Kate Fisher of McTeigue, New York, and many other exhibitors echoed her enthusiasm.

Alongside vintage pieces by the big names—Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Patek Philippe, etc.—were a number of unusual, one-of-a-kind pieces that caught the eye this year.

Lorri Michelle, Los Angeles, showcased a 375 ct. emerald-cut aquamarine pendant once owned by actress/dancer Anne Miller—the piece just screamed “Hollywood”—as well as a gem-encrusted watch with a history. According to original Marshall Field & Co. documentation dated July 6, 1893 (as well as engraving on the back of the watch itself), the piece was presented to “Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of York, later Queen Mary of England.” The 18k yellow gold watch, set with 16 rubies and 32 old-mine-cut diamonds, is wound by turning the gem-set bezel.

Portland, Maine, dealer Nelson Rarities featured an opal and green enamel Arts & Crafts pendant by the hard-to-find English designer Mrs. Newman. Dennis Nichinson of Watchhunter.com, New York, offered another interesting item in the form of a brass clock-watch. A clock-watch is an early horological piece that, according to the salesman, “repeats on the hour and half-hour by itself.” The one shown by Watchhunter dated to the 1720s and still retained its original box.

Show exhibitors hope to lure customers, but they also attract the attention of other exhibitors, as was evidenced by Teresa Emrick, a graduate gemologist and exhibitor from Beverly Hills, and her appreciation of two necklaces shown by Yossi Dina of Dina Collection, also in Beverly Hills. Emrick’s “favorite pieces in the show” were a Victorian silver-topped gold snake necklace set with opals and diamonds, circa 1860, and a French Egyptian-revival scarab necklace that dates to 1920 or slightly earlier.

Next year’s show will run at the same venue from June 1–4.