Sunday, November 18, 2012

Celebrating 100 Years of Oscar Heyman

The American house of Oscar Heyman has fabricated their signature heirloom jewelry since 1912. The rich heritage of Oscar Heyman is traced from the workshops of FabregĂ©, Russia to Cartier, New York and is coveted among collectors for its uncompromising craftsmanship and enduring designs. 
Oscar Heyman Platinum, Sapphire and Diamond Brooch at Fourtane circa 1950 

Oscar Heyman Diamond Dome Ring at Fourtane

The firm is recognized as a pioneer in manufacturing techniques using platinum. Their spectacular floral collection of pansies, orchids and gardenia brooches were awarded highest honors at the New York World Fair in 1939. Oscar Heyman was commissioned by Cartier to create the world famous "Taylor-Burton" diamond necklace for the power couple in 1969.

Oscar Heyman  floral designs

"Jewelry should never be a candidate for redesign but should transcend time like a fine painting, never losing its appeal"   -Oscar Heyman

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Sneak Peek Inside the Jeweler's Bench

Fourtane is pleased to share a glimpse of a work in progress from our jeweler's bench. This competition ring is a coiled serpent designed and entirely hand rendered in house by Juan Da Silva in 18k yellow gold.

The challenge was to create a design around two unique diamonds, Cadillac and Step cuts, which resulted in this splendid snake.

The fascination and mystic lure of the serpent has intrigued for centuries. Their lithe, colorful forms and sinuous movements are expressive and captivating. This piece is ready for enameling and close to completion.

Fourtane Collection serpent ring 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Selecting the ideal strap for your watch

Adding a new watch strap to your timepiece can dramatically alter the overall look of your watch. By making this simple change, your watch can be transformed to look more rugged, elegant, modern or just "freshened up". Whatever style satisfies your senses, there is a watch strap out there to suit your taste. 

At Fourtane, our passion is vintage, so we prefer straps with a distinct vintage aesthetic and those that best compliment the iconic designs of 1940s and 1950s dress watches. Distressed leather and suede, thick hand stitching and antiqued hardware truly complete the look of a vintage sport watch, making it the ultimate, exclusive accessory. However, the addition of such a strap to a more classic watch elevates its style, as well. 

A strap made of an exotic skin or in a bold color is also a great way to "wake up" a watch that has been sitting idle and distinguish it from its counterparts. The right strap can truly heighten the style of any watch and keep those around you distracted by your wrist all day!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Selecting a Wedding Band for your Vintage Engagement Ring

The excitement of selecting an engagement ring can sometimes overshadow some practical details that should be kept in mind to ensure you end up with a ring that is truly “perfect for you”.

Some modern engagement rings are sold as a set with a matching wedding band, however, for those who choose a vintage piece as their engagement ring, it can sometimes be a challenge to find a band that is the ideal compliment.

Many art deco style rings, such as the example depicted above, are rounded on the outside, creating a curve against which a flat band will not sit snugly.  It is still possible to wear a classic band next to a ring of this style and many brides chose to do so, however, there will be a bit of “air” between the rings and the band will sit at a bit of an angle. 

A skilled master jeweler can hand fabricate a custom band to snugly hug the curves of a vintage ring. This is typically the preferred choice for those brides who want a traditional wedding set, with a band that truly mirrors the style of the engagement ring; however, those brides who are drawn to the unique vintage aesthetic of pieces with some history often appreciate the individual nature of having an engagement ring and a wedding band which are an imperfect, yet symbiotic match. Others choose to entirely forego wearing a wedding band next to their engagement ring at all. For those who exchange bands during their ceremony, but chose not to wear the rings together, the wedding band can either be worn on the right hand or in place of the engagement ring (in such cases as during travel).

The tradition of wearing an engagement ring and wedding band have evolved. Whether you chose to do so or not, keep in mind that there is no right, wrong or imperfect way to show the world you are spoken for. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Andy Warhol's 1940s Rolex for Sale

Fourtane is honored to offer for sale a 1940s Rolex watch which was part of the estate of legendary American artist Andy Warhol. Whoever is fortunate enough to acquire this extraordinary timepiece will also receive the original hardcover auction catalog from the Christie's auction at which the watch was originally sold following Mr. Warhol's death. This unquestionable provenance adds to the allure and overall pedigree of this very special watch. 

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Art Nouveau Jewelry

The period of Art Nouveau was a colorful cultural movement in the arts that swept through Europe during it's transition from the 19th to the 20th century. This was one of the first departures from classical art and design toward Modernism. Art Nouveau jewelry is highly varied and asymmetrical which reflected the shifting political and social customs during that time.

Art Nouveau Yellow Gold Earrings and Turquoise Ring at Fourtane 

Characterized by graceful, soft undulating curves, ethereal, languid feminine forms and nature, Art Nouveau jewelry emotes romance and is infused with elements of whimsy and fantasy. 

Enamel Art Nouveau Pendant at Fourtane

Jewelers during this time drew inspiration from the natural world using flowers, birds, insects, serpents, twining plant tendrils and the female form.

Yellow Gold, Seed Pearl and Enamel Art Nouveau pin at Fourtane

Moonstones, pearls, opals, shells and semi-precious gemstones were prominent materials and plique-a-jour enameling techniques gave a transparent, colorful stained glass effect to Art Nouveau jewelry. Pioneers assocciated with the Art Nouveau movement were Louis Comfort Tiffany, a celebrated American glass maker, and Rene Lalique, who went on to contribute designs for Boucheron and Cartier.

 The Art Nouveau period was a pivotal development in jewelry's evolution and helped to pave the way for the advent of modern art and culture.
Pliqu-a-jour butterfly brooch at Fourtane