Archive for May, 2009

Pietre Dure, the Original Rock Stars

May 27th, 2009 | posted by Jim Cottrell

Pietre Dure is an art-historical term for the technique of using small intricately cut and highly polished stones to create what amounts to a painting in stone. I love the idea of painting in stone. You take the beauty that nature has formed in stone over millions of years, in every shape and color imaginable and use them to create incredibly detailed convincing pictures. To say the least, this is a painstaking art form… one that only few artisans over the centuries have mastered to perfection. We have had the pleasure over the years of offering some amazing example of Pietre Dure. Take for instance the spectacular pair of Russian Pietre Dure ormolu and malachite plinths that we acquired recently. The artist carefully selected stones that would portray the many elements in the classic scene of a vase with flowers. One stone illustrates the curve of a vase while another gives the delicate natural warmth of a flower petal. Each stone is cut and polished until it is perfectly suited for the “canvas.” A pair of plinths such as this would have taken many months to complete, but the result is amazing. If you’d like to learn more about Pietre Dure, or this lovely pair of plinths, I invite to you contact me.

Superb Russian Malachite and Pietra Dura Plinths

Superb Russian Malachite and Pietra Dura Plinths

Fondest regards,


A great piece of advice…

May 27th, 2009 | posted by Phillip Youngberg

I was speaking with a client late last year about why he enjoys collecting art, and he told me something that has really stuck with me. He said, “If you can afford a Picasso, and you want a Picasso…buy it. If the financial world collapses tomorrow, even amid the ruins you still own that Picasso and you can still enjoy it. But if the financial world collapses tomorrow and all of your money is in a bank or a company that no longer exists, then all you have is a worthless scrap of paper.”


I’ve taken those words to heart myself. Several months ago, while traveling, I came across a remarkable, large map of New Orleans, which piqued my interest. It was a true rarity, dated 1880, depicting an area of New Orleans near where Audubon Park is today, during the New Orleans Industrial Convention…in full color. I knew that Tulane University had a similar map in black in white. The one I had found was the only known example in color. I had to have it! My friend’s advice came to mind, and I purchased the map. Now, I hope that my bank doesn’t go under and my stocks don’t tank any more than they already have! But I take comfort in knowing that my “investment” in the map is long lasting. When my friends and clients visit my home, I enjoy showing off my map and hearing them all say “how cool is that!”

We all know, collecting is fun…and it’s also good to know that if you collect what you truly love, your enjoyment will be long lasting. I hope you can visit me in New Orleans and let me show you the many rare and wonderful pieces in our store. Maybe one or two pieces will pique your interest! Oh, by the way, my map is not for sale…not today, anyway.

All the best,


Happy Birthday, Princess

May 27th, 2009 | posted by msrauantiques

Birthday parties are great, aren’t they? Most of my birthday parties were backyard affairs…lots of cake, lots of kids and, of course, lots of presents and toys! I guess that’s how most of us remember our birthdays…unless you’re a royal. We recently acquired a most remarkable piece of silver, given by King George III to his godson as a birthday gift. This incredible silver gilt tray, with its woven sides, intricately twisted rope handles and impeccable engraving was presented to the King’s godson on his…10th birthday!

Royal Silver-Gilt Tray

Royal Silver-Gilt Tray

I could not imagine receiving such an elaborate gift when I was ten years old…and I know at that age, I certainly could not have appreciated the craftsmanship and beauty of it. Would I have taken the time to contemplate the time and the talent that would have gone into crafting such a piece? Perhaps not, but had I been born a princess, I can promise you this…I would have used that beautiful tray for all of my tea parties!

I hope you can take a moment to take a look at this lovely tray. At any age, it’s beauty and grace is undeniable.



Black, the new white!

May 27th, 2009 | posted by Susan Lapene

My latest favorite piece of jewelry, which is subject to change at any moment, is our recently acquired 121.05 carat Black Diamond Necklace.   Yes, the diamonds are black, and yes, they look like diamonds.  This black diamond necklace really pops when it is against your skin and dresses up that little black dress or even jeans.  Plus, it has this great mac daddy white gold and diamond clasp that can be worn off to one side if you like.

Black Diamond Necklace

Black Diamond Necklace

Black diamonds are really cool because no one knows what they really are!   They are very rare and were only discovered in 1840 in Brazil.  They are made up of several crystals instead of just one like white diamonds.  That’s what gives it its black opaque color.  Also, they are not formed in the earth’s crust.  In fact, some scientists believe that black diamonds may have come from outer space!  Now, how cool is that?

Any woman who is adventurous, likes unusual things that no one else has and enjoys dishing out a little shock factor, would love this necklace.

All my best,


It’s all about the Canes!

May 26th, 2009 | posted by Bill Rau
If you’ve ever been to our gallery in New Orleans, you know that it’s filled with amazing collections…something for everyone really. Of all the wonderful things on display there is one collection that rarely fails to garner interest. Walking sticks!
Soothsayer's Cane

Soothsayer's Cane

When people walk through the gallery, a good majority are always surprised by our extensive walking stick collection, and I always take pleasure in talking with them about the many different types of canes. Of course weapons canes and systems (or gadget) canes are the big crowd pleasers with all of their ‘secrets’ and functions. Then there are the canes with provenance, owned by a president or a royal and of course, the canes by Faberge and Tiffany…these are always showstoppers.

Hidden Dagger Cane

Hidden Dagger Cane

But I think what really amazes people is finding out that, yes, there are thousands of avid cane collectors out there. Few people understand the passion for collecting as well as the cane collector. The beauty of collecting canes is that anyone can do it. Canes are available at all price points and there are so many areas to concentrate on. Perhaps you love games…there are dozens of gaming canes. Weapon canes may be more your style; lady’s canes may strike your fancy; or, Faberge canes may be right for you. Whatever you prefer, I find that after a brief introduction to the world of canes, anyone can become an enthusiast!

Fabergé Cane

Fabergé Cane

We have a great article on the history of canes in our online Resource Library. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it. Then, drop by the cane selection on the website to see what might capture your interest. As always, if you are interested in starting a cane collection or adding to your existing collection, we are here to help.



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