I have returned from my brief vacation, gotten most of my year end business issues taken care of, I'm starting to replace some stock (my cases, especially my ring trays, are looking very light), and get back to work on some of my inhouse orders. Honestly I could have used another week off but that will have to wait for the summer I'm afraid. I love to work, but the run from mid November to New Year's when I get no days off (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) is trying and it always takes me a bit to recover. But here I am. I want to talk a little about my vacation in this posting, then in the next one I'm going to talk about alternative stones for engagement rings.
My wife Kathy and I went to New York for our vacation. I like New York City. It's always wonderfully alive, there are so many great restaurants, nobody drives a car there (taxis are everywhere) so you can start the cocktail hour as early as you like, it's a wonderful walking city and there are always people and things to look at. People know how to dress there more than any other city I've ever been in. I think it's important that people do, first because people who are more conscious of their attire tend to be more aware of what jewelry can do for them, and secondly because I like to dress up myself a bit. I seem to have inherited this from my grandfather who always considered himself a snappy dresser and in his own strange way I suppose he was (he certainly had a way with the ladies) although I wouldn't wear anything he did.
There is also such an immense variety of places to shop in New York City. My wife likes to shop downtown in Soho and Nolita so we always make the rounds there and continue to find new shops to poke into each time we go. We also usually go uptown on Fifth Avenue (Bergdorf Goodman has a great bar and restaurant on their top floor that looks out on Central Park and I can go have a drink or two there while Kathy shops) although the stores are much bigger name shops up there.
On the latest trip we took a walk down Madison Avenue (from about 80th Street down to the mid 50's). There are quite a few high end boutiques up there, both big name and somewhat smaller places as well. This time I stumbled on an extremely interesting small shop that I had no idea existed.
I don't normally pay a lot of attention to other jewelry shops because I kind of do my own thing (although in New York you do get the opportunity to look at some truly huge gems---usually in boring settings, but boy, they can be big) but I happened to glance into a window and I saw some of the handmade double loop in loop chains that I make (pictured above or for some other handmade chains I make look here). They had some antique coin pendants hanging from them. When I looked a little closer at the other pieces in the window I realized that, with the exception of the chains and the coin holders which were obviously new, everything in the shop was old. I don't just mean old like the 1930's or 1920's. I mean REALLY old like the first century BC and AD. I had to go in. The salesman was a little snooty (especially when I told him I was a jeweler and that I wasn't going to buy anything) but I did manage to pry a little information out of him. Everything in the store was, in fact, ancient pieces of jewelry (well they had some other cool artifacts too but most of it was jewelry). It was almost all like the pieces you would see in a museum and yet here it was for sale to anyone (well anyone who had the money---most of the pieces I asked the price on were in the $20,000 range and I didn't ask about any of the larger items). I was truly flabbergasted. They had as much stuff as any single museum display I had ever seen. It was great to be able to look at so much of this kind of work. All of it was high karat gold, handmade, and as I said, like what you would find in a museum. If the salesman hadn't been quite so aloof, I would have asked to hold a few pieces but I got the feeling I was pushing my luck already. Unfortunately I didn't get the name of the store but if I can find it online I'll post it sometime. It's worth looking at if you're in the city.
Next posting will be in a day or two and I promise to get back to that engagement ring thing.