“One of the first things I do when I look at a piece of antique jewelry is smell the box,” stated David Bennett, the former worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division. “You can generally odor the glue when it’s not truly outdated. Or run your fingers over the setting — that offers you an enormous quantity of details about the piece.
“You can solely educate folks by dealing with the jewellery,” he added.
Yet Mr. Bennett and his longtime collaborator, Daniela Mascetti, the former chairwoman of Sotheby’s jewellery division in Europe, understand that the finest method to educate jewellery lovers circa 2021 is on-line. So final month they launched understanding-jewellery.com, a platform for jewellery schooling and experiences that features a web site with a mix of free and subscription content material.
This gold fringe necklace is English, circa 1870.
The web site takes its title from “Understanding Jewellery,” a reference work, now in its third version, that Mr. Bennett and Ms. Mascetti wrote in 1989. (A brand new quantity, “Understanding Twentieth Century Jewellery,” is due out in September.)
Open to anybody are the web site’s introductions to the chapters on jewellery in 1900 to 1920 and on diamonds; the News & Events part, with movies of Mr. Bennett and Ms. Mascetti discussing extraordinary gems; the Discover & Collect part, the place they riff on jewels on the market; and Experiences, which lists their on-line programs, museum visits and worldwide jewellery excursions.
“We’re proposing a tour to Jaipur at the end of next year, which will involve visits to various palaces and stone cutters,” Mr. Bennett stated. “We’re trying to open up the treasure box and instill a sense of wonder in jewelry.”
Subscriptions to the web site are 70 Swiss francs ($76) a yr and open up 12 chapters devoted to gem stones, from aquamarine to zircon, and 10 chapters on the main jewellery intervals between 1750 and 2000, highlighting the evolution of bijou varieties from tiaras to brooches.
More than 1,000 photographs on the web site embrace many particular jewels, like a necklace and brooch in the Egyptian Revival type fabricated from gold, steatite, faience scarab and micromosaic, circa 1860, by the Roman jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani; a Deco-era carved coloured stone bracelet by Cartier, designed in the Mughal type popularly generally known as Tutti Frutti; and a 1960s gold and mineral-set necklace by the avant-garde London jeweler Andrew Grima.
A gold historic revival jewel by the Roman firm Castellani from about 1860.
Mr. Bennett and Ms. Mascetti are providing private companies like value determinations, assortment administration and gemstone sourcing, however they conceived of the on-line platform as a broadly accessible supply for data on vintage and classic jewels on the market.
“What we noticed in the last five years and even more so during the lockdown: It’s amazing how people will buy, and can buy, important jewelry on the internet without seeing it,” Mr. Bennett stated. “What was missing was, where could you go to get an opinion on something that isn’t from the person selling it? We want to offer that service.”