Last year the Dutch Silver Museum in Schoonhoven received a generous gift from the estate of Ilona Ptasnik. A large collection of antique jewellery was given by this lady who had been unknown to the Museum before her gift. Ms. Ptasnik was born in Amsterdam in 1918 from a Jewish Polish family. In 1938 her family emigrated to the USA where Ilona married Adriaan van der Bilt with whom she returned to The Netherlands after the Second World War. From her jewellery collection appears a preference of gemstones, but apart from this, a large variety of styles, techniques and fashions.
The Museum got curious; Who was this woman, how did she look and what does her collection tell us about her life? The Museum asks us to help them bring her jewellery to life. We can contribute with stories, drawings, collages, poems – anything – with your idea about who Ilona Ptasnik was. You can send your work to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions will form a part of the exhibition that shows Ms. Ptasnik’s jewellery collection from 25 September until 25 November in Schoonhoven. You will see what promises to be a very impressive collection and if your ideas correspond with reality. I can’t wait to see and who actually knew Ilona??
This charming Pierrot brooch has a nice provenance, it comes from Doris Duke’s personal jewelry collection.
It was made for Van Cleef & Arpels designed and patented by Maurice Duvalet in 1949. Duvalet worked both for Van Cleef & Arpels and John Rubel & Co. and was most famous for his ballerina brooches that he designed for both companies.
One of the masterpieces at the Rare Jewels and Objets d’Art: A Superb Collection at Christies NY in 2009 was the diamond ruby and emerald “ballerina” brooch. Several ballerina brooches had been designed in the late thirties by Maurice Duvalet for the New York branch of Van Cleef & Arpels. This particular brooch depicts Maria Camargo, a Spanish star ballet dancer from the 18th century, posed in arabesque. The use of emeralds and rubies resulted in a brilliant rendering of the flowers set on her costume as pictured by a French painting from Nicolas Lancret. Maurice Duvalet designed this particular piece in 1942 and used mainly rose-cut diamonds which are reputed to have originated from the Spanish Crown Jewels. This piece was manufactured by John Rubel & Co, the usual manufacturer for Van Cleef & Arpels New York. Estimated by Christie’s at $80,000 to $120,000, the brooch reached $350,000 (before commission). Also the Arpels had close ties with the ballet and were influenced by the great dancers and choreographers of the day. They even approached George Balanchine to produce a ballet entitled ‘Jewels’ where various countries were represented by different precious stones.
Duvalet’s, more modest Pierrot, is in the same style. It is made from 18 carat gold, weighing 9.8 grams. The brooch has graduated cultured pearl arms and legs that move, and a cabochon ruby head. It measures approximately 2 inches tall, and is signed and numbered: Van Cleef & Arpels, 15838.
This pierrot brooch was originally owned by the tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912 – 1993). All Ms. Duke’s jewellery was sold by Christie’s auction house in 2004. Per Doris Duke’s instructions in her will, all of her jewelry was temporarily on display at her home, Rough Point, in Newport, Rhode Island prior to the auction. Her jewelry collection was overwhelming. Duke’s 399 piece jewelry collection was catalogued in Gems From the East and the West, The Doris Duke Jewelry Collection, by Janet Zapata, Ulysses Dietz and Zette Emmons in 2003. Page 102 of the catalogue shows our Pierrot brooch.
Van Cleef & Arpels and Otazu jewellery on the big screen
Sex and the City 2 follows the ever famous Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte & Samantha as they this time jet off to Abu Dhabi. And guess what happened: while filming they had to flee to Morocco, since sheikh bin Zayed did not allow any further shooting of the scarcely dressed foursome. Scarcely dressed, though covered with interesting jewelry.
This fashion movie is definitely for fans. No gripping storyline, but fashion, product placement, vintage, new designer jewellery and: more fashion. For this movie SATC stylist Patricia Field choose to work together with the famous Argentinean jewelry designer Rodrigo Otazu. Otazu, who happens to be our former neighbour in Amsterdam is now a New York City based. He especially created costume jewelry for the actors. But off course all women of the world now are able to buy these earrings, bracelets and rings to experience their own 15 minutes of Sex and the City fame.
Exposure in Sex and the City 2 will do Otazu good, because we are convinced that he will be better understood in the US: the country that loves big and over the top, than he will ever be in Holland. Though for SATC2 Otazu created some great funky colorful costume jewellery that we would like to see on Dutch versions of Carrie & Samantha!
Polished and naïve Charlotte wears iconic vintage jewellery designed by Van Cleef & Arpels. Her Alhambra necklace is made of 18 carat white gold and mother of pearl. The Fleurette earrings are created with diamonds in 18 carat white gold.
The movie is interesting from the jewellery point of view. Detailed style finishes off personality. We like the colors and styles shown in the movie. And as you see, every character in Sex and the City 2 is again accurately represented by the right jewellery. Like in real life we hope.