From contemporary art that included a crystal encrusted Hershey’s Kiss to classical antiques such as a 16th century suit of armor, there was something for every collector at every taste level.A first time attendee of this prestigious fair, I found myself amazed by the sheer variety of offerings.
After a quick trip home, I was back in south Florida last week working at the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show for Betteridge. The annual event hosted a long list of leading exhibitors in jewelry, as well as art and antiques as its name suggests, from around the globe, including Betteridge, Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Didier, Fred Leighton, M.S. Rau Antiques, Macklowe Gallery, Pat Saling, Richters of Palm Beach, Suzanne Syz, and Veronique Bamps.
What appeared to be marble borders around the entryways were in fact wooden planks meticulously painted to resemble the marble of an original piece within the booth. Understandably, Steinitz garnered much attention from visitors throughout the show, returning to the Palm Beach Show after a years long hiatus.Directly in front of Betteridge’s booth was perhaps the most incredible display of the entire show, Galerie Steinitz of Paris. During set up day, I stood mesmerized while watching the exceptionally skilled craftsman construct the ornately decorated walls from scratch.
Large diamond engagement rings – at least 8 carats – sparkled on practically every female hand that tapped our cases. Sizeable, colorful earrings were also popular choices, as were impressive brooches of every kind. Yes, brooches were another ubiquitous jeweled accessory of the Palm Beach crowd. Thank heavens!
My fascination with Steinitz aside, I was not quite sure what to expect from this show since Palm Beach is world of its own. And since the show was lengthened by two days, most exhibitors did not know what to expect, to some degree, either. Opening night fell on a Wednesday, rather than a Friday, and while guests turned up in droves, the evening felt different from years past, as I was told. Gone were the ballgowns of the daring few, replaced by tasteful cocktail dresses and similarly semi-formal ensembles. However, one thing seemed to remain the same: the jewels. On opening night, and throughout the entire show, guests donned their most spectacular jewelry without batting an eye.
After a week in Palm Beach and at the Palm Beach show, I came to realize that no where is jewelry bigger, brighter and more fun – not to mention more worn – than in that small luxurious island of Palm Beach. “It’s cute” or “it’s sweet” is code for too small, put it back in the case. Customers want jewelry that can be seen – from afar as well as by their friends whose eyesight has seen sharper days. Speaking with other jewelry dealers at the show revealed that, all though the show was going well, customers were mainly buying pieces under $10,000. Major jewels, though oohed and awed over, had very few bites.
Overall, the show seemed to be successful for most dealers. I was able to steal away from the booth during quieter times to walk the show and see what was on display. These are the particular items that caught my eye.