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17th Century Peruzzi cut diamond, one of the first models of brilliant cut diamonds.
Victorian antique love bangle with two diamond hearts tied together by a ribbon.
Upon entering Adin, located in the centre of Antwerp, it is clear this is not a run-of-themill jewellery store. As you are met with a friendly interior, reminiscent of a warm living room, the jewellery on display is somewhat overshadowed by several bookcases that are filled to the top with reference works. These books reflect Wijnberg’s passion for fine antique jewellery and his extensive knowledge on the subject. “I enjoy explaining the history and clarifying the symbology or design of a piece of jewellery. I want to give people information that is useful and show them that there is more to it than just metal and gemstones,” he says.
Capturing a moment in time Wijnberg opened the shop in 1983, and by now it is a household name in Antwerp’s jewellery industry. “Quite often jeweller colleagues will direct customers through to me if they encounter an antique piece of jewellery, because many don’t specialise in old jewellery like I do.” Having built a strong reputation over the years, Wijnberg has a strict policy regarding the pieces in his collection. “I specialise in exclusive, second-hand antique jewellery that represents the style of the period 20 | Issue 48 | December 2017
in which they were made,” he says. “The piece has to be true to the style of the day, and doesn’t replicate a foregone fashion.” One of his oldest pieces at the moment is a sizeable, 1.83 carat ‘peruzzi’ cut diamond dating from before 1700. This is a predecessor of the modern brilliant-cut, and was developed by a Venetian polisher. At the time, a simpler rose-cut was far more popular, and due to its age and size Wijnberg believes this might be one of the very few still around today. This and many other jewellery stories are proudly listed on his website.
Delving into the Garden of Adin Keen to share his knowledge, Wijnberg has been using his website - antiquejewel. com - as a platform to reveal snippets of information on various subjects. By now, he has built a glossary database with over a thousand entries, and a series of ‘jewellery lectures’ in which he explains the hallmarks of different style periods, how to date a piece, different birthstones and much more. Aside from that, he also sends out weekly newsletters in which he focusses on special pieces from the collection. Dubbed
Superb Baroque style French cameo with frilled mounting from ca. 1820 featuring a miniature after a fresco by Guido Reni
‘The Garden of Adin’, he photographs a piece in an unusual setting to highlight its design features and tell its history. “The name came about in 2012 when we photographed a beetle pin in our garden, and we have used this ever since to showcase special pieces in a tongue-in-cheek way,” he says.
A glance into the goldsmith’s workshop One unusual piece that he recently described is an 18-carat gold baroque cameo from France. It features a miniature inspired by a ceiling fresco by Guido Reni in a palace in Rome. “The cameo has incredible detailing featuring the Roman goddess of dawn,” he adds. Like every piece in his collection, it is listed on the website with numerous high-quality photos from all angles. Wijnberg explains that for professionals like him the back of a piece is as important as the front. He compares it to peeking under the bonnet of a classic car, to see how the engine works. “The back is never on display, so seeing how much care a goldsmith put into finishing this, is usually a sign of the overall quality,” he continues. “The best pieces are not just down to a top gold-
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