The History Behind Bulgari

Many jewelry experts are familiar with the work of Bulgari, or BVLGARI in its original Latin. The gemstone jewelry and its set of different colors instantly make them stand out even among other major jewelers. However, one thing that not everyone is as familiar with is the history that led Bulgari from its humble beginnings to its current status. In many ways, it makes you appreciate the end product even more.

Bulgari started with Sotirio Voulgaris, who was born in 1857 in Northern Greece, from a region famous for silversmithing. Vougaris’s family were also part of the silversmithing tradition, using techniques dating back to the Byzantine era. He would later move to the Greek island of Corfu and Naples before setting roots in Rome in 1884. While working on getting this business to grow, Voulgaris changed his name to Bulgari, the phonetic version of his last name, which would also be the name for his company. Voulgaris opened his flagship shop with his sons, Constantino and Giorgio. Together, the store quickly garnered a reputation for well-crafted luxury jewelry which was inspired by Greek and Roman concepts.

When Voulgaris passed away in 1932, Constantino and Giorgio made some sweeping changes that introduced some of the iconic elements we associate with Bulgari today. For example, they redesigned the store interiors to better match with the wealthy air they had created around their brand. They also established the BVLGARI logo. After World War II, Bulgari zeroed in on platinum jewelry, encrusted with precious stones, and Italian nobles and wealthy foreigners alike came in to make purchases. Bulgari also began to break from the common French trends, starting to use large, colorful, unfaceted gemstones to create stunning pieces.

Giorgio’s three sons would make for the third generation of Voulgaris brothers and took the brand international, while also venturing into the watch market. Celebrities like Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor would end up being fans of the jewelry, raising the brand even further. In the 1980s and forward, Bulgari would end up expanding even further to try and break out of a stagnant period. This included adding some new everyday jewelry designs, as well as branching into perfume, neckties, sunglasses, leather goods, and scarves. In the early 2000s, Bulgari Hotels and Resorts even launched, a venture with the hotelier Luxury Group.

Bulgari is one of the hallmarks of Italian jewelry, and with such a rich history and reputation for quality, it’s easy to see why so many people would want to try and add some of these works to their own. So, it may be a good idea to see what is selling at auction in Fort Lauderdale. There may be a Bulgari piece available to call your own.

Understanding The History Behind Van Cleef Jewelry

Van Cleef jewelry is one of the signature brands out there, but not a lot of people may understand the name’s humble beginnings, and how it slowly progressed to become a household name among people who are looking for the most quality offerings possible. Here’s a little bit of insight n how this came to be.

The Van Cleef story started with Estelle Arpels meeting Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a stonecutter. The young couple, with a shared passion for blazing new frontiers and precious stones, would end up marrying in 1895. A year afterward, Estelle’s father, precious stones dealer, Salomon Arpels, started up a jewelry business with Alfred start a jewelry business. After Salomon Arpels’ passing in 1906, Van Cleef and Arpels’ son, Charles Arpels, would found the Parisian boutique, the Maison of Van Cleef & Arpels. They would be among the first jewelers to set up in this location, just across the street from the Hotel Ritz. Estelle’s two other brothers would eventually join in, starting  Van Cleef & Arpels in earnest.

The family would reap a great deal of success, winning the grand prize at 1925’s International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. They would also innovate new jewelry techniques during this time, like the “Mystery Set,” where stones are set in a way that no prongs are visible. Taking more than 300 hours to create, this practice is used today, but only a few Mystery Set pieces are done each year. When World War II broke out, some members of the family grew their operations in the U.S, including opening up the famous New York City boutique on 744 Fifth Avenue in 1942.

At this point, it’s over 110 years since the first Van Cleef & Arpels boutique opened, and its legacy is assured. Today, there are standalone stores in

  • New York
  • Milan
  • Beverly Hills
  • Shanghai,
  • Houston
  • Palm Beach
  • Geneva

along with a variety of other cities. Also notable is the way that Van Cleef jewelry has come to incorporate other international influences over the years, like from India and Japan. The Van Cleef brand is still going strong, clearly, but when it comes to adding some value to your jewelry collection, it’s going to be some of those pieces from the earlier days that naturally draw the most interest (and price). There’s still the chance to own these beautiful pieces of history for yourself. Check out your local auction house to see if there are any Van Cleef pieces selling at auction in Fort Lauderdale.

How To Handle Your First Auction

Stepping into an auction house in Palm Beach can be intimidating, especially if you’re a novice bidder. The good news is that there are a variety of different types of auctions going on at different price ranges, so you don’t have to be a member of the billionaire set in order to come home with something you like. However, there are cases where a few novice mistakes can lead to you overbidding or potentially missing out on a piece that you weren’t aware of, but would have really wanted. Here are some basic tips for novices to get the most out of their auctions.

The first thing you should do is get in the habit of research when it comes to heading to an auction. The reason for this is that the best way to bid effectively is to know exactly what it is you are bidding on. It’s okay if you don’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject, just bring on an expert. The best way to connect with skilled appraisers and other experts is to ask experienced collectors who they trust. Note that it’s best to pay for added help and the best databases rather than opting for free ones. These can lead to misleading results.

If you’re a newcomer and a bit worried about your impulse control, it may be a good idea to start your bidding with an absentee bid. An absentee bid allows you to bid the exact amount your budget allows or what the expert recommends, allowing you to automatically win out on any ties that you get with a live bid. In these situations, it’s best for you to try and pick a bid that’s above a typical threshold, like $21,000 over $20,000. This little bit extra may allow you to win a bid over getting a tie bid.

If you opt to go for an in-person bidding experience, and it’s worth doing at least once, you’ll get an idea of how things run very quickly. For example, the bulk of art dealers tend to sit in the first few rows and make subtle gestures for their bids. The reason for this is that they will likely be reselling the work down the line, so they want to keep things private. Another thing to note is that this often means the auctioneer will be focused on those rows. Make sure that you sit on a side seat so even if the auctioneer doesn’t notice you, the spotters will, so your bid gets counted.

Breaking Myths On The Auction Process

Auctions are generally associated with being strictly for the richest of the rich, and while there are a lot of options out there specifically catering to this clientele, there are also a variety of different options up for sale that can match different, more reasonable price ranges. This is only one of the major myths surrounding auctions, but this is a positive example. Auction appraisals and the auctions themselves in Fort Lauderdale aren’t always going to be as seamless as they seem in pop culture, so here are some of the things you should keep in mind.

For example, not only are there plenty of auction options for people looking for more modest options, it’s not just experienced art and memorabilia collectors who are visiting auctions as well. For example, roughly one-third of Christie’s online bidders are under the age of 45, with many of them just starting to get into collecting. Some good places to start getting used to the auction world are with wine, photographs, and jewelry prints.

Another thing that you may not realize is that for art and other auctions, online bidding is a major possibility. Using online platforms, you can connect to different auction houses to see what their offerings are, and even participate from your computer or phone. On this same subject, a lot of auction veterans have their bidding planned well in advance. Remember, a lot of galleries and auction houses will be open to looking at prior to the actual auction day so you can familiarize yourself ahead of time with what you want to buy. Remember, buying art or historic pieces is like an investment, and you want to have all the information on hand before you buy.

As a final note, the pop-culture trope of someone getting in over their head on an auction, only to need to return the item, doesn’t really work out in practice. The whole “buy and try” policy for auctions doesn’t work out in practice, and only in extreme cases can you return your purchase. The bulk of auctions you buy will have something called rescission rights, which only apply for pieces that are damaged or not as described. An auction is a binding contract, so be sure to treat it as such.

With this said, there are a few things that do hold true when it comes to auctions, with one such example being that its good to act fast. So, whenever you decide to get started in the auction world, or if you’re already experienced, don’t be afraid to act on that instinct (provided that you have the budget for it).

What To Understand about High-End Art Appraisals

One thing that may surprise you when it comes to the world of art is that it’s pretty much unregulated. As long as they are not practicing any fraud or misrepresentation and keeping things legal, technically anyone can call themselves an art dealer and price as they wish. What this means is auction appraisals in Palm Beach can vary wildly from somewhere else. This doesn’t mean that the art industry is a bad one, and many people are able to find pieces they love for value. To make sure that you are one of those people, just make sure that you are working with top professional help.

The good news about this is that if you go to a formal auction house, you’re going to be pretty safe, as there are professional appraisers who do the work of figuring a piece’s true value before the bidding ever starts. However, there are a lot of situations where transactions may take place outside of a gallery setting, and this is why you want to make sure that you get outside help, especially if you’re not an art expert and happened to inherit a piece or something similar.

To dispel another notion, it’s not a simple job to try and appraise a piece of art yourself. The work of an art appraiser is comparable to that of a real estate broker trying to put together the price for a home. True professionals research and analyze specific traits that you can associate with the piece, the background of the author, as well as the markets and trends for those types of art. This can include looking at figures like:

  • The artist’s recent auction/sales history
  • The size of the piece
  • Ownership history
  • Condition
  • Comparison with other works from the same artist

As you can see, it’s a lot more than you can tell by simply looking at the artwork or a basic Google search. In addition, if you want to base your knowledge on something like art price guides or databases, you may want to revisit them. While these are interesting, there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes that lead to those prices, and there’s no guarantee that a price you see there will instantly apply to your art.

In addition, if you’re a novice to the art world, it’s also a good idea to try and use an appraiser or advisor to try and inspect art that you may be thinking about buying just before you bid. This is less about risk protection and more about making sure you don’t overbid on a piece that may not be as strong an investment as you think at first.

How To Treat Your Antique Jewelry

It’s a dream for a lot of people to have an antique jewelry piece of their very own, and along with this, it’s important to make sure that make sure that it looks as wonderful as it does when you first saw it. This means developing an understanding of how to treat said jewelry, not just for yourself, but for future generations if you want to hand it down. So, if you were to pick up a Cartier or similar piece from one of the antique auction houses in Dania Beach, here’s what comes next.

As a start, you want to be sure that you choose the right cleaning product for the metal and stone type that your piece has. Not all antique jewelry is the same. For example, gold naturally tends to get darker over time. In order to deal with this issue, you can clean it with a combination of ammonia and water, and the same will work for platinum. However, this can be risky, which is why many people recommend using professional cleaning solutions formulated for these instead. Should you go this route, just make sure that you choose a respected brand and inspect the instructions to make sure what you have is the right fit for your piece.

For gemstones, only certain types are able to be cleaned using powerful solutions, like diamonds and rubies. However, there are other options here. For example, for pearls, wearing them is actually a way to help keep them clean, as the natural oils in our skin maintain the shine of a pearl. Combine this with wiping a pear with a soft cloth that has a few drops of olive oil on it.

One step that precedes any jewelry cleaning is taking some time to dust off the piece. Make sure you do this gently, with a soft brush, so any of the particles don’t accidentally scratch the jewelry. When you have the proper solution and are free of dust, you can apply the jewelry cleaning. Generally, you want to apply some of the solutions to a soft cloth and gently rub it to keep it clean. A soft Q-tip is handy to reach for places a cloth cannot. The final step you can take to cap off your cleaning process is to polish the jewelry with a special cloth that you can find either online or at a jewelry store. This is a nice and inexpensive way for you to add some sparkle and shine back into your piece.

How Piaget Is Breaking Records For Thinness

Piaget has always been at the forefront when it comes to timepieces, but rarely do we get to see a piece in action that actually breaks a record. Such was the case recently when Piaget put forward not one, but two pieces that managed to take new levels of thinness forward: the Altiplano Ultimate Concept and the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P.

At only 4.3mm of thickness, the Altiplano Ultimate 910P managed to be the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. The Altiplano Ultimate Concept, at only 2mm of thickness, is now the world’s thinnest mechanical hand-wound watch. Putting together the Concept was the end result of four years of research. CEO of Piaget Chabi Nouri mentioned that the goal of Piaget was never to break the record to try and get a place in history, but to try and push “the boundaries of creativity.”

In order to hit this creativity limit, the experts at Piaget had to completely re-engineer how the dial and caliber fit inside the watch case. The entire process necessitated the filing of five separate patents. For example, with the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 910P Automatic, Piaget redesigned the regulating organ at 9 o’clock. This meant getting rid of the balance wheel bridge and fusing the inner ring, the roller, and balance staff all into one piece.

To continue the innovation with this watch, Piaget designed a new barrel, placing it at 6 o’clock This has no cover or drum, instead attaching the ball-bearing mounted mainspring to the frame of the watch. Another new control device has been added at 3 o’clock. This uses a control stem and selection lever to control certain functions.

Other watch lines that are taking advantage of this new technology include the Possession line. One new quartz-powered Possession line for women features rotating bezels combine with interchangeable straps. Nouri mentioned how the goal here was to combine “the Piaget savoir-faire with the gem-setting, gold craftsmanship.” The also adds that the rotating dancing ring adds an element of playfulness that you may not see elsewhere. “It has a playfulness to it, with the rotating dancing ring.”

Piaget is a stalwart as far as watches go, and in many cases, there’s a reason to seek out both the classic designs as well as some of the newer options on the table like the Altiplano Ultimate Concept and the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P. To try and claim these and other Piaget pieces for your own, be sure to visit an auction house in Fort Lauderdale and see what is up for auction.

How To Care For Your Classic Paintings

Getting a classic painting is a dream for many would-be art collectors, and it’s clear from some of the prices that these different works can bring at auction. With this said, auction selling in Fort Lauderdale is only the beginning. When you bring a piece of classic artwork into your home, you want to do everything possible to care for it. Here are some things you need to keep in mind.

For one thing, location means a lot, whether we are talking about antique paintings, prints, or even photographs. Always make sure you store your new purchase in a secure area that’s not damp, exposed to direct sunlight, or above a fire or radiator. These will keep the elements from causing the materials to wear down over time. Something else that’s also missed is making sure that the painting is leaning away from the wall to allow air to circulate around it.  Makes sure that if you need to hang a heavy painting, that you put a pair of hooks on each side, with a wire running free to an upper pair. This will mean your painting is still supported should one hook break or give way.

Another thing that makes a lot of difference that you may not be aware of is how important it is to learn how to frame and mount paintings properly. For extremely rare or valuable paintings, it may be worth it to see an expert, but it’s still important that you understand how good framing helps keep things in good condition. For example, be sure to keep oil paintings in a frame that’s deep enough to hold the painting on its stretcher. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure that you line it with velvet ribbon or foam rubber strips to protect the edges of the painting.

As a final note, when it comes to conservation efforts, you’re always best served to work with a professional. The moment that you start seeing any flaking on one of your oil paintings, for example, make sure that you meet up with a restorer right away, as it can deteriorate quickly. Sometimes, your restorer may need to remove the varnished surface on the oil painting and renewed, without dissolving the paint layers below it.

However, with works of art based on paper, like drawings, prints, and watercolor work, it may be the paper that is the issue. The more acidic the paper, the more likely it is to get discolored or deteriorates. Make sure you are storing these items in acid-free materials to slow this process.

What Makes Tiffany & Co Synonymous With Quality


Since its establishment in 1837, Tiffany has become the iconic name associated with American jewelry. Even today, people around the world instantly associate the blue box with white ribbon with quality and exquisite craftsmanship. However, while a lot of people could tell you about the value of a Tiffany piece, it may be difficult to pin down how the association took hold. Let’s take a closer look.

Some people may be quick to point out the iconic Audrey Hepburn movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and while this played a part in raising its profile for sure, it’s important to add that the company was known as one of the top jewelers well before came about. To give you a bit of perspective, the company put out its first catalog, the Blue Book, all the way back in 1870, and the Blue Book is still running today. In addition, its international reputation was cemented back in 1878, when it won a gold medal for jewelry and a grand prize for silverware at the Paris Exposition. This also sheds light on the fact that Tiffany has a broad range of offerings outside of jewelry, from leather goods to picture frames to silverware.

One of the major things that have given Tiffany designs staying power over the years is the inspiration that they’ve derived from the natural world. After all, the natural world is where the gemstones come from that provide for these designs. This is part of the reason that Tiffany, along with trailblazing concepts like the engagement ring, was also one of the first companies to focus on ethically finding and procuring these materials.

At one point, Tiffany & Co. Chairman and CEO Michael J. Kowalski, noted that their position as a leader in the luxury jewelry market gave them a unique combination of responsibility and opportunity to make sure their behavior matched their core beliefs as a company “protection of the environment, respect for human rights and support for the communities in which we do business.”

Overall, it’s difficult to try and ignore the market share Tiffany has when it comes to talking about luxuries like jewelry. In addition, some of the antique pieces from those early days are able to fetch quite an impressive price at auction. With such a powerful history and brand strength behind the Tiffany name, it’s only natural for you to want to have some of these items for your own. Be sure to keep your eye out for jewelry auctions in Dania Beach to see that you get your chance.

The Value Of The Works Of Le Pho

Le Pho is known today as one of the most prominent names in all of Vietnamese art, with two distinct types of artwork becoming his signatures: pastoral scenes featuring flowers and women as well as calligraphic art done in silk, bringing together the sensibilities and techniques of the east and west. While we can see Le Pho works in fine museums like Paris’s Museum d’Art Moderne, do you know exactly what led to his success? Let’s take a closer look.

The tenth out of twenty children, Le Pho was born into a position of privilege, being the son of the Viceroy of Tonkin. This good fortune gave him access to some of the best arts education available in Vietnam, with him starting painting at 16 before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de l’Indochine in Hanoi, teaching painting there as well. After furthering his education in Paris, Le Pho would briefly return to Hanoi to teach before formerly settling down in Paris. Women have always been a common presence in his painting, from his early period to when he moved onto oil painting.

Notably, among Vietnamese artists, not only is Le Pho one of the most recognizable, but his work is also seen as the most lucrative. For example, his work, “Girl picks up flowers” recently commanded $339,797 at auction. There are also several paintings by him still held in his native Vietnam, where they are among the most expensive paintings available. In 2007, Gallery Leslie Hintman valued his “Woman in Garden” at a grand total of $30,000-50,000. Generally, his smaller paintings sell between $6000 and $8000.

Several other prominent examples show Le Pho’s place in the pantheon of Asian artists. When Larasati’s in Singapore held its 10th auction, some Le Pho paintings were auctioned among other great names like Hendra Gunawa, Affandi, Wu Guanzhong, and Sudjana Kerton. There, his painting “Mother and children” was put up for sale for between $102,000 and 128,000. Another example comes from 2009, from Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. There, Le Pho’s “Girl with blue scarf” brought was valued between $100,000 and 120,000. This would be the third most expensive painting in that year’s entire auction.

While Le Pho is most known in Asia, any art collector would be happy to call some of his work their own. If you want to add some of the works of this great artist to your own collection, be sure to keep an eye out on your live auction at Dania Beach.