The first time I stumbled over Jewels du Jour blog, I was hooked! Hooked by the information, hooked by the beauty of the posts, hooked by the subjects of each posts. Natalie has done a tremendous job in choosing her subjects and keeping us on edge waiting to read her next post.
Jewels du Jour has the best daily feature on any blog that focuses on jewelry! I am sure that Natalie’s blog will be considered one of the top blogs in the industry. She already is my go-to when looking for information on a certain time period or a specific jeweler. I am so happy to introduce you to Natalie.
Josette: You studied economics at UPenn and now you are writing a jewelry blog. Were you always interested in jewelry? Where and how did Jewels du Jour get it’s start?
Natalie: Jewelry has always fascinated me, but never as much as it does now. Three years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be writing a jewelry blog. My passion for jewelry really started after I met my fiancé, who works in his family’s fourth generation jewelry business. After spending some time with him around his family, I realized it might be wise to know a thing or two myself so I could partake in their jewelry-centric conversations. As soon as I started doing a bit of research, I was instantly hooked. What makes jewelry so special for me is the artistry, the history and ultimately the story behind each piece that makes it so much more than the object itself.
I first used Pinterest as a means to catalogue pieces that I really liked or knew were important, and I spent hours pouring over auction catalogue archives to learn what designers were important, what type of gemstones were most prized, and so on. As my Pinterest account garnered more and more followers, all unbeknownst to my fiancé, I knew I was on to something. When my fiancé finally discovered my Pinterest account, he was shocked and amazed about how much I had learned and the neat pieces I had found, many of which he had never seen before, as well as the number of people following me. At his suggestion, I decided to start a blog and that’s when Jewels du Jour was born.
Josette: You write extensively about auction news; you write about the Collectors behind the pieces and the women who bought the jewelry. Which one of these women has influenced the jewelry industry the most by commissioning pieces from her favorite jeweler?
Natalie: This is a tough question to answer because there are so many influential women whose jewelry collections have impacted the industry. However, the one woman who truly transformed the jewelry auction business with the sale of her collection is the Duchess of Windsor. While I’m not a fan of her as a person, there is no question that she was an exceptionally fashionable woman with impeccable taste in jewelry. Her specially commissioned pieces from the world’s great jewelry houses, like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, are revered as some of the most brilliantly designed jewels ever made. What’s important to note is how involved both she and the Duke of Windsor were in the design process of each piece, personalizing the jewels with engraved notes and scrutinizing the designs to their personal tastes at each step.
When her collection came up for auction at Sotheby’s in 1987, the intense interest in owning a piece of her jewelry drove auction prices skyward and set a new record for a jewelry sale at $50.3 million – seven times Sotheby’s estimate. To give you an idea of how astronomical a figure that was for the time, the previous record for a jewelry sale was $8.09 million – for the collection of Florence Gould, the widow of railway magnate Frank Gould. The Duchess’s sale total would hold strong until 2011 with the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection. After the Windsor auction, provenance became both a marketable and profitable attribute to a piece of jewelry, ultimately adding more value to the piece.
Josette: What is your favorite time period that you most like to write about?
Natalie: This is another difficult question to answer as I like to write about so many jewelry periods. But, if I have to choose only one, it would have to be the Art Deco era. Arguably an easy favorite, however, the 1920s and 1930s in jewelry design had so much going on all at once and is lumped in to the same period. Because of that, there is always something new or interesting to write about, whether it be Art Deco’s hallmark geometric and linear designs or the wave of Egyptian, Indian and Oriental-inspired jewels. The amount of pieces that were created during this period is truly astounding, it was a period of prolific design and manufacture – not to mention wealth – and because of this, there is a never-ending source of material to write about on the blog.
Josette: When Mark & I were starting our business and living in New York City, one of our favorite things to do was to visit bookstores in lower Manhattan and buy old auction catalogs to further our jewelry knowledge. These bookstores are mostly gone now, and I feel that your blog has helped to fill the void. How do you feel about your blog being used as a historical reference for jewelry and what direction do you envision for your blog in the future?
Natalie: You, Mark and myself must be cut from the same cloth. When I was working in the city (the blog has only recently become a full-time gig), I was fortunate enough that my company’s office was located in the Union Square area – and a stone’s throw away from The Strand bookstore. I would go there during my lunch breaks almost weekly to see what jewelry books and/or jewelry auction catalogues had come in. Thanks to The Strand, my collection of jewelry books grew and I had more and more resources to turn to for my blog.
I’m honored that you consider my blog a historical reference and still can’t believe it has become a place of research online. When I started the blog, my initial intent was to create content that I myself would like to see on a jewelry website but hadn’t really found online at the time. I’m a history lover, so of course I love jewelry with a history, which means I usually do a lot of research from a myriad of sources when writing about it. It’s very important for me to get the facts right and I really do strive to maintain that integrity whenever I write the more in-depth, historical articles on the blog.
It’s hard to say what I envision for the blog in the future, it’s been less than two years since I first started and I’m honestly still amazed at how quickly it has grown and how widely it has become known. One thing that I have really tried to focus on since leaving my full-time job for the blog is creating better content and being consistent with the daily newsletter. I think down the road I would love to curate a collection of jewelry and sell it through the site, but for now I’m just trying to keep pace as my blog continues to grow.
Thank you Natalie for being part of my blog and good luck! In such a short period, you have accomplished a lot. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you and Jewels du Jour.