Duncan Parker

Duncan Parker, FGA, FCGmA, CAP (CJA)
Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers Inc.

Previously, director of research at Harold Weinstein Ltd., a leading and respected jewellery appraisal company, Duncan has advised innumerable clients on the disposition of personal jewellery. Duncan is a columnist and contributor for industry magazines and journals. He has been an instructor of the gemstone course at Ryerson University, the Gemmology courses of George Brown College and Canadian Gemmological Association as well as instructor Master Valuer Program with the Canadian Jewellers Association. A renowned expert, he speaks regularly at international gem and jewellery conferences and symposiums, as well as at less formal events. He has served as President of the Canadian Gemmological Association since 1995.


Ron Dupuis

Ron Dupuis, F.G.A., G.J.
Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers Inc.

In 1976, I was working in a costume jewellery factory casting reproductions of period pieces. I was also studying gemology and one day I asked my instructor to recommend where I might work with authentic old pieces. I soon began apprenticing as an appraiser at a store that had Canada’s largest selection of estate jewellery. During my four years at Fraleigh Jewellers, I had the opportunity to observe countless purchases of estate jewellery from the public while I gained knowledge of the sale results at auction houses.

In 1980, as Sotheby’s was expanding its galleries in Toronto, I was hired for the position of Director of Jewellery mandated to inaugurating a jewellery department and organizing a series of jewellery auctions.

In 1986, I resigned to establish an auction house specializing exclusively in fine jewellery. From the start, I was determined to build my new business based upon my greatest strengths: accurate appraisals, an understanding of the jewellery industry, and a deep desire to serve the interest of the private consignors. Thus Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers was founded in Toronto to serve buyers and sellers of estate jewellery from around the world.

 

Pearls: The evolution of a classic

You might look forlornly at your showcase of pearls as you polish the glass, perhaps noticing there are fewer pesky fingerprints on that particular case. We don’t see a lot of excitement about pearls these days. The showcase where you keep your pearl merchandise is definitely not the one with lineups two deep, necks craning to see the treasures within. Consumers ...

Alloys through the ages

As I refine and polish this column, I reflect on the metals that have been used in the production of jewels throughout the very long history of precious things. The other day, I was reading Pliny the Elder (as one does), whose writing included a description of ‘touchstones’ used for gold testing during his time. Around 2000 years ago—just before Pliny died in ...

Time and tide: Men’s jewellery through the ages

We don’t tend to think of men and jewels at the same time, except for the stereotype of the hesitant and terrified young man headed for a diamond seller. Aiming for a symbol of a lifetime of wedded bliss, he buys a diamond instead of a far more ‘useful’ extra car, a drone, or an exciting weekend in Vegas. I’ve encountered lots of men who have wedding ...

Understated beauty: Diving into mid-century modern design

All that furniture we moved into the basement, shipped out to the cottage, or dropped at the curb, hoping someone would take it away. The dull-looking teak wood, sticky with aging varnish and with too many children’s mucky hands. Much mid-century furniture was uncomfortable and awful, and yet we wish we had it today, because it would be perfect in the small spaces ...

Being cute: Whimsical jewellery captivates and charms

Although they may be diminutive in stature and composition, designs featuring a whimsical motif have broad appeal in jewellery, especially since they’re often the product of the creative minds and workshops of some of the finest makers. The same high-quality workmanship and material go into these pieces as in their more serious items. These charming designs ...

Leaf motifs: Perennially popular and always in vogue

They’re seemingly everywhere—underfoot and overhead. You may find them ‘flavouring’ a stew pot or on a salad plate. Perhaps they are a topic on Jeopardy or the pattern of a favourite dress. Auction catalogues and jewellery stores, for certain. They are easy to take for granted, but essential for clean air and shade. Foliar representations may seem ...

SHE SAID YES - Now say yes to the jewels

Major newspapers publish dry factual lists of statistics on their front pages indicating cohabiting without the benefit of legally sanctioned marriage is on the rise. Paradoxically, the same issue might contain a whole section printed on enticingly glossy newsprint that’s expressively and engagingly devoted to highlighting fashion choices extolling the ...

Jadeite Jade

JADEITE JADE Fit for an emperor and as fitting for today 'Icy,' 'mottled,' 'mutton-fat,' 'greasy'. No, your freezer doesn't need defrosting, there's been no kitchen disaster, and this is not about the newest trend in restaurant menus or avant-garde ice cream concoctions. These are some of the myriad terms describing a mineral venerated in Chinese culture. ...

Culture of the supernatural

Organics are cropping up everywhere—in your local big box supermarket, at the neighbourhood farmer's market, on the menu of your favourite bistro. For centuries, luxury organics—namely pearls—have been popular personal adornments for the fingers, necks, ears, and wrists of the powerful and the wealthy. It's a fascination that continues today. ...

Timing is everything

Timing is everything A couple of fine watchmakers So exactly what is it that makes a nearly 200-year old pocket watch worth the price of a mid-level German sedan? – age, artistry and rarity are all factors coupled with prestige and status. This fine example of export driven finery was created by Bovet in the early 19th century and is a wonderful example ...

Silver Linings

The idiom that every cloud has a silver lining may have been inspired by that bright element. This shiny metal has been much beloved of silversmiths and other artisans for millennia. We generally use the term 'silverware' when referring to spoons, forks, and knives, even when made from other materials. In popular folklore, a silver bullet is the preferred method ...

Industrial Chic

There's been a noticeable resurgence in popularity lately of mid-century modern furniture, and suburban realtors are rejoicing now that those split-levels and cookie-cutter bungalows, once vilified as boring, are now subject to raging bidding wars. Merchandisers are perennially eager to capture the youth culture demographic, but it's the baby boomers that are ...

Put some thought into it

Gift giving used to be a much simpler task but its myriad complexities are being tackled by respected social psychologists. Motivation, perception and acceptance have all been subject to intensive scrutiny. But we can’t forget the element of fun and pleasure involved in finding the appropriate piece for that special someone, something that expresses their ...

Romancing the stones

ROMANCING the stones True love wrapped up in one neat little package the stones True love wrapped up in one neat little package 'Toi et moi' platinum ring by Birks, with a 3.12-carat Asscher-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond and a Colombian emerald. Scientific researchers continue to prove the benefits accrued to people with healthy interpersonal ...

Orange you happy?

Always an attention grabber, the colour orange is particularly hot, hot, hot right now and if you can actually remember the acid-drenched 1970s, you'll recall it was fashionable back then, too. This citrus colour dominated the collections from major couture houses just this past spring and summer, and its resurgence in popularity is also influencing tastes in ...

Cocktails anyone?

In the 1920s and early 30s, while Prohibition was dampening spirits in America and parts of Canada, European high society was openly enjoying a creative mixture of alcoholic beverages. And voila, the cocktail hour was born, although it's endlessly debatable as to when the first liquid cocktail was invented. On both sides of the Atlantic, the glitterati of the day ...

World events shape design

  Jewellery designs over the past few centuries have been influenced by myriad events‚Äîsome international, some local. Changes in politics and diplomacy, the drama of natural phenomena, exploration, and archeological discoveries have all been contributing factors. Before the Internet, television, and mass transportation, designers, manufacturers, and ...

And the bead goes on

A bid for ubiquity Ask any kindergartner to draw you a picture of a necklace and what you'll see most likely is a simple series of round beads. This is also probably what first comes to mind for some adults when they think of a necklace, a bracelet, and even earrings. Historically and anecdotally, beads have been used for everything from a form of currency, to a ...

The state of estate sales

Someone once said there are no new ideas, just reinterpretations of the old ones. With an upscale twist and a tweak, sales of the yard, garage, tag, and rummage variety now have a new cachet. Nearly everyone has bought a nifty little pre-owned item and been thrilled with the innovative choices on offer. In today's economy, selling secondhand jewellery is the new ...

An endearing and enduring motif

Want to ward off bad luck, the evil eye, and bewitch a potential lover, all at the same time? The all-purpose heart motif, in ever-changing variations, fits the bill. Shakespeare, his fellow poets, writers of fiction, confectioners, and Hollywood’s movie moguls have all tapped into the idea circulated by the ancient belief the human heart is the seat of ...

Production evolves as it revolves

Next time you light the charcoal briquettes on your barbecue or plug in the kettle to make yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea, consider the major impact coal, steam, and electricity had on the industrial practices ushered in during the Second Industrial Revolution. Now consider their effect on jewellery production. In the mid-1880s to the early 1900s, ...

Wearable Art

How many times have you overheard the phrase, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like?" Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and if you take a look around, it's everywhere. If artwork displayed in museums and chi-chi sculpture gardens, is too intimidating, consider a mini version on a smaller scale in some fine examples of wearable ...

Neither faux nor faux pas

The surprising reality of synthetic gemstones If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck, right? Maybe … or maybe not when it comes to gemstones. Synthetic gemstones have the same chemical makeup as their naturally occurring counterparts. The difference is synthetics don’t originate randomly below ...

World of Watches

Units of time are measured for a reason‚Äìto keep the chaos of daily life at bay and at a minimum. Consider the extent of disorder if universally agreed upon divisions of time weren't the norm. Everything from appointment schedules to driving safely in rush-hour traffic with signals adjusted for volume would be impossible to achieve.   In ancient ...

Queen for a day

Diamonds, pearls and other gemstones chosen by the bride and groom to wear on their special day can be the stuff of fairy tales. Many of these designs have a strong historic connection to notable collections from the past. Those original over-the-top selections are transformed by simpler, more affordable modifications, and passed down as classic choices for ...

Future Connections

Whether you're located in a small community or a large metropolis, your regular base of customers probably consists of a mix of professionals, all in varying states of prominence. No matter how long you've been in the business, and how much experience you've had, if you learn to expect the unexpected and capitalize on new connections, the little surprise ...

Function follows form

Trends in jewellery design are so closely linked to changes in fashion that it's well worth recalling the age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship has powerful impact on the bottom line and inventory of retail and resale merchants, and this symbiosis contributes to the growth of the ...

Engraving

For untold eons, human being have had the primal urge to make a visible mark on their surroundings and possessions. Imagine the sense of wonderment and surprise at the revelation when primitive man first noticed a set of footprints left behind in the sand or that first line boldly sketched in the dirt with a sharp stick, one of the simplest, most ...

Convertible Creations

Across the board, buying practices and attitudes reflect the current culture and the prevailing mood of the times. Removing clutter, downsizing, and simplifying our lives and surroundings are more commonplace, as diminished square footage and miniature condo areas force changes to be made. To maximize space at home, furniture designers have devised newer, ...

Gemstones A kaleidoscope of choice

In her infinite wisdom with regard to our planet's carbon-based existence, Mother Nature created only three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. In endlessly imaginative permutations and combinations, these hues comprise the whole spectrum of colour available in everything our eyes behold, including the myriad world of gemstones. The rise and fall in ...

Gifting: the vintage advantage

Every sentimental or momentous occasion deserves special recognition that can be marked with the giving of gifts. However, when an item of wearable jewellery might not be appropriate or is too gender-specific or personal, suitable alternatives are still available to mark a rite of passage, whether it is a birthday, wedding, anniversary, or any such ...

An eye for detail

With Baby boomers entering their retirement years, good period pieces are springing up everywhere. As a dealer of estate jewellery, you need a keen eye for detail and experience to spot an item worth adding to your collection. To begin, examine every part of the piece, front and back, to determine its authenticity. Look for signs of repair in older jewellery. ...

Evolution in White

During the 19th century, diamonds and other precious stones were set in either gold or silver. However, when the setting was silver, gold always formed the backing due to its strength and hardness. In fact, the majority of such pieces used 14-carat gold for backings, as opposed to the softer 18-karat gold. For these silver-topped settings, copper was preferred ...

For the boys

Since the earliest recorded history, there is plenty of evidence men adorned themselves with jewellery of some form or fashion to convey a sense of authority, importance, or ceremony. Anthropological excavations show pre-historic males carried ornaments for luck in hunting and protection in battle. The Pharaohs of Egypt, as well as male members of the Inca ...

A case for the watch

Mechanical timekeeping began in the 15th century in the form of clocks powered by variously configured internal springs. For greater accuracy, Leonardo da Vinci’s clock measured minutes as well as hours, using two separate trains with independent weight, gears, and escapement. A 16th - century German named Peter Henlein is credited with creating the first ...

Vintage value

Confronted with the looming economic crisis, bidding at recent jewellery auctions has been measured. Secondhand dealers have been more conservative in their purchases as a greater number of private buyers have entered the auction market. Such a high number of private buyers were last recorded at auctions in the year following the events of Sept. 11. At the ...

Gold: A standard of adornment

From the dawn of time, man’s natural fascination with lustrous objects has driven the desire to acquire them, at times at great risk or peril. Throughout the ages, science and art have co-existed in the quest for new sources of gold, related technologies and breathtaking designs, serving to maintain the enduring desire for this precious metal. A ...

Portrait of an auction

Imagine an event combining the spine-tingling intrigue of a spy novel, the heightened excitement of a major sports event, and the subdued exclusivity of a private club. For those in the know, the seating will have been reserved long in advance and it may be standing room only for the late arrivals. You're at an auction of international calibre and about ...

Platinum period

  The discovery of new sources of diamonds in the latter half of the 19th century brought with it designs that utilized a profusion of these stones. To complement rather than contrast the white brilliance of diamonds, jewellers switched from gold to silver settings. The effect allowed these stones to look larger and, when set in close proximity, ...

Demistifying auction values

Demystifying auction values As an appraiser for nearly 30 years, and in the auction industry for 28 of those years, I have met with countless jewellery owners. The perceptions that these people expressed about the pieces they own is, more often than not, out of sync with the reality of the piece. If their jewellery is old they usually figure the age based on ...

A magnificent tiara

As the ultimate symbol of the highest form of jewellery, tiaras carry a special aura with jewellery collectors the world over. These impressive and elegant designs usually exemplify the best craftsmanship of their era. They also conjure images of fairy tale princesses and often possess an intriguing history. When featured in an auction, a tiara becomes the main ...

Appraising the appraisal process for period jewels

APPRAISING THE APPRAISAL PROCESS FOR PERIOD JEWELS One of the trickiest challenges in the jewellery industry is providing clients with appraisals for period pieces made prior to 1950. Authentic pieces are becoming increasingly rare, while more and more copies of period jewellery are being manufactured and represented as the real thing. There are, however, several ...

The story of the Asscher cut

The story of the Asscher cut It's always been hip to be square As with fashion, everything old is new again. Witness the renewed interest in cushion cuts, rose cuts, briolettes, diamond beads and rondelles, which have all found new life in contemporary jewellery. In a very unique category, you'll find the cool beauty of the exclusive Asscher cut - a stone with ...

The Timeless Elegance of Art Deco

The Timeless Elegance of Art Deco Little did the organizers of the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs know that what they were about to celebrate would become one of the most influential styles ever envisioned - a style that would encompass art, architecture, furniture and jewellery Only works demonstrating "new direction and true originality" would be worthy ...

If jewels could talk... What stories they'd tell!

If jewels could talk... What stories they'd tell! Retailers of fine jewellery often have customers come in to inquire about selling jewels. Their reasons for selling vary, but in general, they sell because the jewels are not suitable for the owner's current lifestyle. Often this has resulted from one of the three "D's": divorce, death or debt. Those involved in ...

Solving the puzzle of period pieces

Solving the puzzle of period pieces With the growing popularity of period pieces, there has been a corresponding rise in the manufacture of reproductions. As buyers become more willing to pay a premium for these pieces, the design and execution of reproductions is getting more sophisticated and sometimes indistinguishable to all but the most experienced jewellery ...

The jewellery of 1918 to 1939

The jewellery of 1918 to 1939 Jewellery production, like most non-essential work, came to a virtual halt during the First World War. Jewellery making was revitalized in the 1920s, however, and while many of the pieces created between the wars seem banal to today's taste, the work during those 20 years clearly forecasted many present-day trends. Several important ...

The Magnificence of Micromosaics

The magnificence of micromosaic The burgeoning tourist trade between England and Europe, particularly Italy, triggered a neoclassical revival in art, objects and even literature. This revival also spurred a renewed interest in pietre dure, a micromosaic jewellery-making technique invented by the craftsmen of antiquity, perfected by the artists of the Renaissance and ...

Jersey Jewellery

Jersey Jewellery Several historical and social events converged in the mid-19th century to create a jewellery manufacturing centre in Newark, New Jersey, that would become the epicentre of American jewellery design. The building of the railroad, the output of the 1849 California Gold Rush, the continuing effects of the Industrial Revolution and the increasing ...

Love, Victorian style

Love token jewellery, with its elaborate symbolism of affection, was abundant during the Victorian era, particularly during the romantic period of Queen Victoria's reign. The 21 years following her marriage to Albert in 1840 were the happiest of Victoria's life, and Prince Albert often presented his queen with gifts of romantic symbolism, and his gestures led to ...

Fabergé: Jeweller to the Czars

Fabergé: Jeweller to the Czars In 1870, at the age of 24, Carl Fabergé took over his father's quaint St. Petersburg jewellery store. By then, he had already formulated the principle that the value of an object should be determined by the quality of the craftsmanship and not by the intrinsic worth of the materials. He also maintained that a modest, well-mounted ...

Untouched jewels retain their value

Untouched jewels retain their value Throughout history, jewellery pieces have been remodelled and updated to reflect current designs. As a result, few jewels of bygone eras remain in their original condition. There is renewed interest in those rare pieces that remain untouched, and whenever they appear at auction, they are avidly pursued for their design and ...

'50s design full of optimism, exuberance

'50s design full of optimism, exuberance The 1950s were characterized by a quest for stability following the turmoil of the Second World War. The U.S. began to show its industrial might, and the American middle class was soon able to afford automobiles and other tokens of prosperity. The '50s were also a time of optimism, and this was reflected in some of the ...

Cameo Appearance

Cameo Appearance While the majority of cameos are made of shell, and have been since the 15th century, these miniature sculptures were also carved from various shades of lava as early as the 17th century. By the 19th century, souvenir cameos were being made of low-grade gold. Historically, gold cameos can be of interest, but their value is minimal compared to ...

Diamond aristocrats: a history of cut

Diamond aristocrats: a history of cut A few years ago, on a warm day in early May, a fur-wrapped woman attending one of my previews walked nonchalantly up to the case I stood behind and, in a loud voice, announced that she could never wear a piece of jewellery that had been worn by someone else. I smiled, but thought "Look what you're missing!" November's In Style ...

Cufflinks with the Past

Cufflinks with the Past Despite the fickle fluctuations in fashion, a handsome pair of cufflinks, whether antique or modern, still denotes a well-dressed man." Cufflinks have the power to convey the personality or mood of the wearer. They can make a formal impression or a more casual, playful one, depending on their style and use of materials. From ...

Estate jewellery as a source of rare and fine gems

Estate jewellery as a source of rare and fine gems Most of us have heard the expression "hidden gem." In the case of estate jewellery, the phrase is more than just a metaphor. Estate jewellery can turn up anywhere - it's often sold in the same shops as newly made pieces, where it is often overlooked, yet turns up frequently at auction, where it can sell for premium ...

The beauty of authentic Deco

The beauty of authentic Deco The organizers of the 1925 Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs declared with great exuberance that only works of jewellery demonstrating "new direction and true originality" would be worthy of their event. AH of the anonymous entries were screened by a committee of mysterious judges, and only upon the spectacular unveiling were ...