Sunday, November 29, 2015

Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Woman of Jewelry!

A stunning pearl and diamond bracelet, and a black ebony and diamond butterfly brooch, both by Alberto e Lina.

In case you didn’t see it already, there is a fun read over at The New York Times called “From Barbara Taylor Bradford: A Life Story That Dazzles” that features the novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford talking about her jewelry collection. I love articles like this because it is always thought-provoking to read about the personal process that takes place, usually over decades, when a woman is putting together a collection of jewels. It was interesting to learn that Taylor Bradford’s husband, Robert Bradford, a film producer, likes jewelry as much as she does and is the one who has given her most of the pieces she owns. Lucky lady!

Jewelry by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

I was especially enamored of Ms. Taylor Bradford’s Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. “Bird on a Rock” brooch, her black ebony and diamond butterfly brooch by Alberto e Lina, and her exquisite sapphire and diamond engagement ring. And I almost fell out of my chair when I read that she is 82. 82? I thought she was in her early sixties, she is gorgeous and so young looking. Wow!

Barbara Taylor Bradford, beautiful at 82!

I liked this quote from Taylor Bradford in the article:

“Jewelry is emotional. I think women love a piece because of who gave it to them, how long they have had it, the love and the memories of somebody caring.”

I read a ton of novels in high school and college that featured strong female protagonists set in a historical background but I cannot remember if I read Ms. Taylor Bradford’s most famous novel, A Woman of Substance. There is a good chance I did because I used to love books that showed a girl of humble background and means who goes onto become rich and powerful in her own right (Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel were pretty good at this kind book themselves.).

Amazing color in this sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

I did not show everything here, you really need to swing by to see the rest of the short slideshow featuring Ms. Taylor Bradford’s jewelry (look for the photo of the three brooches, as well as the shot of the diamond watch!). Do let me know which is your favorite piece I’ve shown here and if you read A Woman of Substance, or any other of Ms. Taylor Bradford’s novels.

All photos by Nancy Borowick for The New York Times.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas in NY 2015: Tiffany & Co.

A magical scene at the Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue Flagship store, November 2015.

I got a chance to make a quick trip into the city last week to see the holiday windows for 2015 and of course they were glorious! I started my visit at Tiffany & Co., and while last year’s windows had a modern theme, as well as a nod to the 1950s and 60s, this year the displays feel like they are all about old world glamour.

So in love with this color scheme!

The jewelry was as gorgeous as you’d expect it to be, with pieces from Tiffany’s high jewelry lines to more modest sterling silver pieces from the Atlas collection and gold bangles from the T Tiffany line, but the backdrops were definitely about the aesthetic from a bygone era. I loved the tiny chandeliers (so gorgeous), the porcelain figurines, the amazing details in each and every mise-en-scène, and the way the lights would change from pale blue to pink to white and then go dim before starting all over again.

This post is heavy on pictures but I hope you are as enchanted by the beauty as I was. Enjoy!

O Christmas Tree!

The porcelain figurines had a classical feel and many were cherubs wearing masks.

I loved how a scene would go from white lighting... pink, right before your eyes. Gorgeous!

I am crazy for the tiny chandeliers and the porcelain reindeer, with diamonds on top!

A stunning Schlumberger “Bird on a Rock” clip. Love love love.

More Schlumberger brooches atop a reindeer sleigh!

A closer shot of the clips. I especially love the “Five Leaves” clip at the bottom, of yellow gold and diamonds.

Glad to see the yellow diamond sparkler lights are still on the building, like last year.

I loved details like this one!

Great bangles and rings from the Tiffany T collection.

A lovely window featuring a watch and a necklace from the Atlas collection.

A window featuring pieces from the new Tiffany Bow collection.

More delicate details to admire here...

...and here.

A very compelling window scene. This one was my particular favorite.

I adore the color scheme and the amazing details in each of the windows.

Beautiful scenery, beautiful jewelry!

There is a little video on the Tiffany website that goes along with the windows, just like last year, and it is very charming and will have you dreaming of the holidays and winter in New York City!

If you saw the windows let me know what you thought of them and if you haven’t but get a chance to, try to go at night, when the crowds are far less and you can have each window all to yourself! Also, Tiffany, unlike Bulgari or Van Cleef & Arpels, each across the street, keeps its jewelry in the windows all night long, they don’t take the pieces out just because the store is closed. I find this so wonderful of them and it definitely gives a gal the feeling, any time of day or night, of gazing into the windows and being able to dream of jewelry just like Holly Golightly did in the opening scenes of Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

A closer shot of the earrings and necklace. Oh I weep...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime

See this if you can!

When putting words into an Amazon search engine to see if I could find one of the six Elizabeth Taylor Christie’s auction catalogs for less than $100 each (apparently impossible), I discovered a DVD released in 2013 called Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime. I bought a copy on eBay after reading a review by an Amazon customer saying it was worth seeing more than once. That customer was right! The DVD, about 72 minutes long, is narrated by the actress Miranda Richardson and combines footage from the auction, when they were selling Taylor’s most important jewels, with film clips, interview reels, and commentary about Liz and her collection from people like Joan Collins, Liza Minnelli, Gianni Bulgari, and Ruth Peltason, editor of Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry, among others.

Liz looking radiant in her Cartier ruby and diamond necklace and earrings, gifts from Mike Todd.

It is such an entertaining DVD to watch and partially makes up for the fact that I did not get myself over to Christie’s to see the auction preview of Liz’s jewelry babies back in 2011 (I have been kicking myself lately over not going, but in my own defense I heard the lines were very long and it was quite a wait to get in and the movie confirms that). You definitely get a sense of the excitement in the air during the auction when items like La Peregrina pearl necklace, the Cartier ruby and diamond necklace from Mike Todd (above), and the Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace (on the DVD cover) went on the block. It is fun to watch the auctioneers acknowledge the bids and work the room as the prices go up, up, and up!

One of the nights of the auction, December 2011.

The Bulgari yellow and white diamond earrings given to her by Eddie Fisher sell for $1.4 million!

Love this photo of Burton and a hairstylist both fussing over Taylor.

It was interesting to learn that perhaps Richard Burton could not really afford the pieces he was buying Liz; it is suggested perhaps he was credited with buying some of the jewelry but Liz was actually footing the bill.

In the emerald and diamond necklace and ear pendants.

It is great fun to hear Ward Landgrian, formerly of Sotheby’s, telling tales of bringing Liz some of the jewels she and Burton won at auction straight to them, wherever they were around the world. For instance, in the three screengrab photos below, Liz is in Wales with Burton and the Krupp diamond, which they had just won at auction. Because she wanted it right away, Ward (in the pinstriped suit) traveled with it and stayed with it as a diamond bodyguard, since there was no insurance yet on the ring! It’s hilarious watching Liz walk the streets of Wales with a pack of reporters behind her, carrying a champagne glass and flashing her huge new rock!

My kind of gal: Huge diamond ring on one hand, a glass of champagne (just visible at the bottom) in the other!

Showing off the diamond to reporters.

Ward (on the left), traveled with the diamond to Wales because there was no insurance yet covering it!

I also loved the story of how a friend of Taylor and Burton’s once visited Liz, saw her wearing the Krupp diamond (above), couldn’t get over how filthy it was (since she never took it off), and cleaned it for her on the spot using vodka, hot water, and a toothbrush!

If you are looking for a pick-me-up over the upcoming holidays, a chance to have your eyes dazzled by gorgeous gems, and a look at Liz and her life over the span of her career, I highly recommend a viewing of Elizabeth Taylor: Auction of a Lifetime. You can get it from Amazon or eBay. There are many copies available. If you have seen this documentary before, let me know what you thought of it!

Liz (with Eddie Fisher) the night she won an Oscar for BUtterfield 8, 1961. Gorgeous diamond and pearl earrings!