The Royal Jewellers S03 ep7 : Epoque Antique Jewellery [Brussels]

Interview with Patricia de Wit

The company was founded in 1958 by Mrs. Nicole Verschuere and is today one of the leading companies dealing in high quality antique and period jewellery. The company specialises in the very finest jewellery from the 19th and 20th century, with a predilection for Art Nouveau, Garland Style and Art Deco. The collection shows the work of many famous jewellers, such as Cartier, René Lalique, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Mauboussin, Fabergé, Tiffany.


Epoque fine jewels is actually one of the leading companies dealing in antique jewellery. It is a
company that was founded by my mother in 1958, she started as an antique dealer and then finally
she decided to quit antiques and to only focus on jewellery.

And she fell in love with antique jewellery because of the uniqueness, the beauty, the high
standard of workmanship, the quality, the precious stones they used yeah she really fell in love
with her business.

I was born in it and even when I was a little child when I was six years old I already join her to the
shows and I was always by her side so no I never thought of doing anything else. I also fell in love
with the business.

epoque antique jewels

I did History of Art at the university. Actually when I was 16 I already did my first gemmology
course in Belgium and then I went to (I pushed her, I pushed her) and then I went to live in
Antwerp where I did graduate Gemmology and at the HID at the High …. And then finally I
moved to Germany where I did FGG, gemmology course. She is also a graduate gemmologist (yes)
in Antwerp but my brother he is in the business, he had the training as Master Jeweller, he can
make and he can repair but he is also a graduate gemmologist, he stayed in New York where he
finished his GIA the Gemmologist Institute of America, graduate gemmologist.

We always kept things like they were, we still do, they have to be genuine. They can’t be
transformed, you can’t make a pair of earrings into a pendant or no it’s not allowed, it has to be,
stay as it was born.

Modern jewellery have nothing, they have nothing to do with our jewellery. It’s a different
business. We go and look everyday for the unique thing that a great artist made and I think if you
deal in modern jewellery you pick up your phone and you order something, that’s not very
interesting I think I prefer to travel around the world and find interesting pieces that were made in
the past.

epoque antique jewels

We have here a very nice piece by Lalique which we discovered last year we sold it to the to a
museum in Paris but it’s really one of the finest pieces that we’ve seen by Lalique. He combined
the enamelling technique, the pli…. Enamel which was so typical for Lalique and he combined it
with glass flowers which was also so typical for Lalique. And the fact that he combined diamonds
which were precious material and then the glass which is an inexpensive material and in 1900 he
dare to use those two materials together and that was really a revolution at that time.

An English dragonfly made around 1890 but the other piece is very interesting, that’s neo-
Renaissance brooch by Jean Valentel Morrel, he was part of the Maison Chemair actually and it’s
a very interesting piece because it depicts the heads of the Goddess .. and it’s cultured in rock

epoque antique jewels

Well I stick to Lalique to be honest but it depends on what period you’re talking eh, and if you’re
talking about the art deco period I would say Cartier jewellery but then with designers like Charlet
Jacout he was one of the best designers Cartier ever had and for the 40’s and 50’s I would say
Vancleef … and then towards the 70’s was a lot of jewellery making then for example there was a
lot of interesting jewellery made by Tiffany as well in the 70’s.

We love revival jewellery like the Egyptian revival jewellery from the end of the 19th Century
there was Felice for example there was Biez., F … they all made jewellery in the revival style.
Made jewellery in the Renaissance revival, Egyptian revival and the taste of Japan.

I’m always proud to sell pieces to museums then you are sure that piece will remain intact, and
that’s not always the case when women wear a piece of jewellery.

epoque antique jewels

The first year she started collecting jewellery but then she found love to start trading with
jewellery and I start to show it to my clients and they wanted to buy it and I sell money and this
time I had not much money so yeah.

In antique jewellery we sell a lot to men. They are looking for an investment, they are looking
more for the future, for the children.

This is an art deco clip brooch which is typical from the 1920’s, 30’s and my earrings are also from
the 20’s art deco. These are Vancleef, she’s wearing a brooch by Gublin but the necklace and the
earrings are also from the 50’s and they by Vancleef and Arcos, that’s a little bit our strength we
have the same taste.

The jewellery that Vancleef made in the 1940’s and 50’s was very feminine and that’s what
women of today like to wear which you can wear everyday actually.

Since a lot of our jewellery is made in platinum there is not that many repairs to do to be honest,
no, and I think when you go to a certain level of jewellery, the jewellery if you buy high quality
jewellery they are very often good quality, in good condition. We don’t buy used pieces or when
there’s too much wear on the piece we simply don’t buy it.

When there’s a crisis the last thing that they sell is a piece of jewellery. They might sell easier a
painting or a piece of furniture but I think they really hold on to their beautiful pieces of jewellery.
We feel the crisis because there’s nothing on the market to buy.

Actually this piece has a story to tell because it was on the Antique Roadshow but on the Dutch
version of the Antique Roadshow and it was an old lady who came to show it, she didn’t know the
value of it, and it was on television and that’s how we discovered that piece.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Epoque Antique Jewellery