How long have you been collecting for?
I’m not THAT old! Only 3 years or so. I was a dealer back in the day, mostly trading and importing diamonds. Markets, like circumstances, have changed and I’ve found other ways of pursuing beauty this time around.
Your career has involved extensive work with science fiction, fantasy and other narratives, and the transformation of ideas into visual media. Has involvement in this process, and these genre, informed your taste and approach to collecting?
No, no. The other way around. Fun but useless fact: When I was shaping the model for my Hollywood business I considered the history of de Beers and sought to do the best I could at cornering the market of the best science fiction and fantasy authors and their intellectual property.
Tell us about how you began collecting jewelry: at what moment, and after acquiring which piece, did you say to yourself, “it’s official: I’m a collector.”
I didn’t ever say that to myself. A dealer I worked with posted a collection of some of my finer items, identifying me as a collector. So...
What is it that makes jewelry compelling for you?
Beauty. Texture. Richness. Story. People fall in love with gems or jewelry items, like they might flowers or people. All the same. It’s the light, we see. If we see. Or the story we feel. There are four ways of seeing God, says Joseph Campbell. One of those is beauty.
Your brooch, which features in Sotheby’s Fine Jewels sale, once belonged to Dame Joan Evans, a historian who specialised in Medieval art and the history of jewelry. How important is provenance to you when acquiring a piece, or do other considerations come first?
She was the most remarkable woman and I have been so proud to carry this piece, though only for a while. But to answer your question, each item has its own consideration and provenance is not the first criteria on my list.
The brooch, while Victorian, is a Catholic emblem that dates back to the early Middle Ages — the Sacred Heart. Tell us more about this, and its significance to you as a collector.
My kindergarten teacher sent me home with a letter one day, informing my parents that I had an overactive imagination and tended to day dream too much. I imagine the various people who might have worn or held this brooch over the last 250 or so years and the things they said.
One of your best known productions is the highly acclaimed series Game of Thrones. Did the brooch serve as any kind of inspiration or visual reference?
Not as much as one could imagine.
Are you particularly attracted to Victorian jewelry? If so, what is it about this era that engages you?
Unique, stand-out jewelry of any era appeals to me. But for my taste, the elaborate design and architecture displayed in the more celebrated items of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, whether in jewelry or buildings, remain the pinnacle expression of human, artistic achievement. What some call The First Golden Age of human potential culminating in the Atomic Era, did extend into the realm of fine jewelry and pieces we all cherish still today. And just like the people I seem to collect, I do prefer misshapen stones with character and warmth and history, but jewelry items must convey the genius of the artist so as to transport my imagination to their studios, their lives, their habits, and their own imaginations too.