Join us for our weekly BAJ:Insight on the latest industry trends by Rachael Taylor, a freelance journalist who writes about jewellery for a number of titles, including The Financial Times, The Jewellery Editor and Retail Jeweller. In her 10 years reporting on the industry, she has travelled the globe to visit key industry fairs, descended a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, toured silver jewellery factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.
In this week’s BAJ Digest, we highlighted a column written for the Guardian by Nikki Marshall, antique jewellery fanatic and founder of Instagram account @life.is.short.diamonds. It is a hilarious, and at times poignant, read, charting her discovery of antique jewellery and the obsession that followed thereafter.
Column written for the Guardian by Nikki Marshall
One of my favourite lines in her column – and there is a lot of gold in there – is this: “It was Instagram’s antique jewellery community who enthralled us – a passionate, politically engaged, occasionally batshit-crazy bunch of adornment adorers, posting about purchases, precious heirlooms, old paintings and pets.”
I love it because it’s completely spot on. My Instagram feed is populated by many of the same antique jewellery accounts that I imagine Nikki also follows, and it is perhaps my favourite category of the bejewelled sub-culture of social media. In fact, it has completely changed the way I – and, no doubt, countless others – view antique jewelley. Instagram is not made for purveyors of these jewels – it’s fresh and now and tech; all the things such people should hate. Yet they excel at it. Jewels that might once have been overlooked in a dusty cabinet serving as a table top for the till in an antiques store, are suddenly generating thousands of likes. And yes, they often are batshit-crazy, but in a beautiful, beautiful way.
So here are some of the antique jewellery accounts that I enjoy following. If you’ve likewise been bitten by the bug, add yours to the comments below.
Let’s start with the obvious one… two jewellery-loving sisters in Bondi Beach, Australia.
New York’s hippest decorative arts historian and jewellery lecturer, who is also the archivist at American jeweller David Webb.
Francesca Cartier Brickell is independently researching the stories behind Cartier’s historic jewels, using her famous family’s archives and memoirs.
Francesca Cartier Brickell
Anna Kachra is the international fine jewellery account manager at online antique jewellery treasure trove 1stdibs.com.
The official Instagram account of auction house Christie’s jewellery department.
Another auction house account worth following is the official page for Bonhams international jewellery department.
Joanna Hardy is an independent fine jewellery consultant, specialist on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and an international jewellery lecturer.
Independent fine jewellery consultant – Joanna Hardy
Emily Barber is the head of the UK jewellery department at auction house Bonhams, and a valuer for the Treasure Valuation Committee of Great Britain.
Head of the UK jewellery department at auction house Bonhams – Emily Barber
Lucas Rarities is a London jeweller specialising in rare and exceptional pieces of period jewellery and objet d’art from Art Deco to the 1970s.
London jeweller – Lucas Rarities
Sandra Cronan is one of London’s leading sources of exceptional and esoteric jewels from the 17th Century through to the early 20th century.
London jeweller – Sandra Cronan (on the left)