BY JEFF WING
JEWELS & GEMS
OLIVER AND ESPIG’S PEARLS OF WISDOM
n Breakfast at Tiffany’s, George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn amble into Manhattan’s iconic luxury retailer on a lark. When the gentleman behind the counter stiffly approaches to offer his services, the outclassed lovebirds sheepishly ask about having something engraved – a toy ring mined from a box of Cracker
Jack. To their delight (and the moviegoer’s), the over-starched Tiffany’s representative replies with an appreciative arched eyebrow, and immediately becomes a willing co-conspirator. “Didn’t I tell you this was a lovely place?” Audrey gushes. In Montecito’s famously cozy upper village, there exists a similarly embraceable bastion of approachable splendor. Oliver and Espig Gallery of Fine Arts & Jewelry is a treasure trove of such gorgeous stuff as is typically seen only in fever dreams and hushed museums. There are yellow and pink sapphires, emeralds, rubies, garnets, citrine, tanzanite – yes; all the rich, mesmerizing colors of Mother Earth’s mineralogical garden. But Glenn Espig also lives for – and travels the world curating – the unexpected. Among Oliver and Espig’s treasures, you will also find pulse-quickening objets d’art: stunning metallurgical innovations you can slip onto your finger, and wearable instances of the radiant Paraiba Tourmaline, a rare gem (discovered in a small alluvial deposit in Brazil in 1989) into which the geologic eons have whimsically infused trace copper, giving the stone an electric cornflower blue you have to see to believe. The gallery’s collection of represented work also includes Shibori textile art, Alex & Lee creations, and the work of artists Oleg Ardimasov, Tielle Monette Larson, Annie Hoffman, Claire Duncan, Sol Hill, and Claire Scott Espig. Oliver and Espig also represents sculptors Sue DiCicco, Robert Ervin, Kestas Urbaitis, and Francis Jansen.