The Jewelry History Series Has Big Plans for a Third Year

U.S. Antique Shows’ commitment to supporting ongoing education in the antiques community is prevalent at the multiple special events they host throughout the year, such as booth talks, Appraisal Day and book signings – just to name a few. For a third year this January, the show producer will once again host the Jewelry History Series prior to the start of their premier event, The Original Miami Beach Antique Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This jewelry conference, January 26-27, brings together a phenomenal group of jewelry historians, dealers, and graduate gemologists to speak on various jewelry history topics. Plus, new this year, the series will host a special screening of the award-winning documentary, Sharing The Rough.

The conference annually welcomes retailers, wholesalers, appraisers, seasoned and novice collectors, as well as anyone with an interest in learning about the history of antique jewelry.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with some of the scheduled speakers about their career backgrounds and the lecture they prepared for the upcoming conference.
EmilyEmily Stoehrer
Emily Stoehrer’s educational background is in fashion history (she received her master’s degree from FIT) and early in her career she focused exclusively on textiles and fashion arts. In 2007, however, Stoehrer met curator and jewelry historian Yvonne Markowitz at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, whom opened her eyes to new career opportunities.

“My degree concentration was in fashion and textiles and a large part of my coursework focused on fashion history. There was little emphasis in jewelry. While my Master’s thesis on the great fashion and jewelry collector Countess Mona Bismarck included jewelry, it wasn’t until I met Yvonne that I considered jewelry as a specialization. She opened my eyes to thinking more deeply about jewelry and encouraged me to consider how jewelry, fashion, and other accessories worked together.”

With Stoehrer’s stellar background as a foundation,  Markowitz mentored her – even encouraged her to pursue her Ph.D. So when Markowitz retired in 2014, her protégé Stoehrer was the perfect candidate to take her place. “Yvonne is irreplaceable, but our close relationship and my knowledge of the collection aided in making a seamless transition,” she says.

As Stoehrer continues to develop her role as the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry, she will be curating a brand new exhibition on revival jewelry in 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Jewelry History Series’ attendees will be the first to get a sneak peek. “My lecture [at the conference] is going to explore revival jewelry and the upcoming exhibition I’m working on about this topic. When you refer to revival jewelry, many people think of the 19th century and all the exhibitions that were occurring around Europe, inspiring different designers during this period. I will discuss that in my lecture, however, I will also explore how 21st century designers continue to be inspired by this jewelry.”
EricEric Hoffman
From aerospace to Asian antiques, Eric Hoffman turned a 40 year hobby into a second career after retirement. Hoffman was an aerospace engineer who spent his career at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and retired as chief engineer of the Space Department. “Studying and collecting Chinese arts, antiques, and antiquities was always a hobby for me, even while working as an engineer. After retiring around 10 years ago, it blossomed into a business. My principle interest is Chinese jade and I study, write, and lecture on the topic regularly.”

Through Hoffman’s studies on jade, he came to appreciate kingfisher feather jewelry, called tian-tsui in Chinese. “Kingfisher feather jewelry has been part of the Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, dating as far back as the Han Dynasty. The Chinese have painstakingly applied the iridescent blue feathers of the kingfisher birds to create spectacular jewelry and art objects,” he says.

Hoffman will present his findings on this exquisite and prized jewelry at the Jewelry History Series, putting the pieces together for series’ attendees. His lecture will explore all aspects of kingfisher feather jewelry – where it comes from and the history behind how the Chinese began using it as a decorative accessory. He will also arm attendees with some clues on dating these pieces and detecting the inevitable fakes in today’s market.
JeannineJeannine Falino
Jeannine Falino is defined by many different roles – curator, scholar, educator, and author. She has been a curator for her entire career, which spans nearly 30 years. She specializes in American decorative arts from colonial to contemporary, including metalwork, jewelry, modern craft, and design.

Along with curating, lecturing, and writing, Falino also enjoys working with living artists. “Collaborating with artists has been an exciting part of what I do now. I like speaking with them about their artistic vision and visiting their studios.” She is currently co-curator of the exhibition Gilded New York: Design, Fashion & Society at the Museum of the City of New York. This exhibit explores New York City’s visual culture at the end of the 19th century, displaying 100 works, including costumes, jewelry, portraits, and decorative objects.

Falino is excited to take part, for the first time, in the Jewelry History Series this January. “My lecture will focus on American Modernist jewelry and the artists who translated the excitement of surrealism and modernism into wearable jewelry. This topic is very interesting because for the first time, artists were making jewelry out of non-precious materials and individuals chose to wear such pieces – not for their financial worth – but for the new avant-garde attitude it signified.”
During the two day Jewelry History Series, an array of sessions will take place. Below is the complete list of speakers scheduled for the 2016 jewelry series.

January 26

  • Patricia Faber, The Next Wave: Collecting Studio Art Jewelry 1970-1990
  • Michael Goldstein, The History of Diamonds in Jewelry
  • Gail Brett Levine, Precious Stone Wannabees
  • Panel Discussion: Many Ways to Look at Jewelry
    (Panel Members: Elyse Zorn Karlin; Yvonne Markowitz; Gloria Lieberman; Suzanne Martinez and Gail Brett Levine)

January 27

  • Elyse Zorn Karlin, Jewelry of the French Courtesans
  • Emily Stoehrer, Castellani to Cartier; Historically Inspired Jewelry
  • Yvonne Markowitz, Oscar Heyman & Bros.: The Jeweler’s Jeweler
  • Jeannine Falino, American Modernist Jewelry: The Excitement of Avant Garde
  • Eric Hoffman, Tian-Tsui: Chinese Kingfisher Feather Jewelry
  • Ulysses Grant Dietz, Jewelry, from Pearls to Platinum to Plastic

Series attendees will also be among the first to see The Original Miami Beach Antique Show before it opens with a tour of select jewelry exhibitor booths on Day Two of the conference. During this tour, attendees will preview the magnificent pieces available for purchase.  In addition, series attendees receive complimentary admission to the show once it opens.

For a descriptions of the sessions, information on the documentary and to register, visit

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