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Fred Leighton

Estate Jewelry Hunt

How does one come to own a piece of history while simultaneously becoming a part of it? It is not necessarily the type of philosophical predicament best left for an accessory to answer. But it would be mistake to classify estate jewelry as simply an accessory – it is the wearer who accents, becoming a character in the larger, antiquated history of a jewel. For those with tastes of a bygone era, estate jewelry brings a bit of the past into the present while writing the wearer into the piece’s own vivid past. Often rare and even one-of-a-kind, the journey to acquire estate jewelry can be complicated. They last only moments at auction, are sometimes (quite literally) diamonds in the rough at estate sales and are so coveted as to spur forgeries.

Enter Fred Leighton, renowned and respected for their extraordinary collection of vintage and estate jewelry from the greatest design periods of jewelry's history. Another place and time awaits you with the slip of ring through Fred Leighton estate jewelry, now at GEARYS Beverly Hills.

1940's France

Retro Fishscale Motif Necklace Set in 18K Yellow Gold (French, circa 1940s)

A piece of 1940's France designed to hang beautifully in a yellow gold fish scale pattern accented with flower motifs featuring ten 0.30 carat round diamonds. Available $20,000.

Old Hollywood

Ruby and Diamond Retro Bracelet Set in 14K Rose Gold and Platinum

Gleaming with the bold glamour of Old Hollywood, this Retro (circa 1945) bracelet saves the best for last – a gorgeous clasp closure where thirty-one 0.75 carat single-cut diamonds meet eight 0.75 carat round rubies in rose gold on a platinum mounting. Available $18,000.

Rubies Meet Diamonds

Ruby and Diamond Bypass Ring Set in 14K Yellow and White Gold (circa 1940s)

With this 1940s bypass ring, you can have the splendor of six square 0.90 carat rubies and six 0.60 carat old mine cut diamonds on yellow and white gold mounting decadently wrapped around your finger. Available $6,500.

Coral & Diamonds

David Webb Coral and Diamond Ear Clips Set in 18K Yellow Gold (circa 1970s)

Glossy coral is gracefully enveloped in seventy-six diamonds of approximately 1.50 carats set in an 18K yellow gold and platinum mounting, signed by legendary American jeweler David Webb. Available $22,000.

The Art Deco Ring

Art Deco Diamond and Onyx Ring

A study in subtle geometry and exercise in collective drama, this Art Deco ring brings together multiple individual features into a single stunning effect that is emblematic of the period. Geometric onyx lines surround three 1.25 carat round diamonds amidst a larger, dramatic diamond surface comprised of numerous .35 carat round diamonds and set in the contour of a soft, elongated octagon shape on a platinum top with yellow gold mounting. Available $15,000.

The Jackie O Bracelet

Schlumberger Enamel Bangle Bracelet Set in 18K Yellow Gold

Rather than wear her heart on her sleeve, Jackie Kennedy preferred Schlumberger on her wrist. Luminous in yellow gold enamel and an alternating pattern of diamond and sphere shapes, this signed Schlumberger bangle embodies the essence of the classic “Jackie Bracelet”. Available $35,000.

Opal by Tateossian London

Boulder Opal and Diamond Cufflinks by Tateossian London Set in 18K Yellow Gold

A pair of deep blue opal cufflinks delicately accented with 18K yellow gold “parenthesis” holding seven round 0.16 carat diamonds by internationally renowned Tateossian London. Available $13,000.

The “Paisley” Ear Clips

Canary Diamond, Carved Lapis, and Natural Turquoise Cabochon “Paisley” Ear clips Set in 18K Yellow Gold

Wear the essence of vintage in delicate paisley ear clips. Dazzlingly marine-blue carved lapis are surrounded by nineteen natural, turquoise cabochon spheres further accented by thirty eight canary diamonds, all set in 8K yellow gold. Available $10,000.


Tips for those on the hunt for estate jewelry

• “Estate” derives from the fact that these pieces are often a part of a personal estate or a collector.

• Estate jewelry is defined by its history and quality, not age or even expense. They can include fine as well as costume jewelry and dates can include 20th century pieces.

• In order for an estate piece to be considered an antique, it must be at least 100 years old though some experts generally classify antique as pre-1920.

•Always inspect pieces for the maker’s mark like initials or logos to verify authenticity.

• Usually, the safest place to purchase estate jewelry is through a specialty store staffed by experts who are knowledgeable about the market.

• Christie Romero, formerly of PBS’s Antique Road Show, advises buyers to focus on “the seven criteria”: condition, craftsmanship, color, design, demand, scarcity and size.