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  • yrrpsanis
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New Orleans's Street of Antiques
THE seven blocks of Royal Street between Iberville and Dumaine in the French Quarter of New Orleans, chockablock with street performers and family dynasties of shopkeepers, probably concentrates more quality antique jewelry and furnishings than any comparably sized area in the United States.
Royal Street becomes a pedestrian mall during shopping hours, but the absence of cars is all the street has in common with most shopping malls. Its two and three story Mediterranean style buildings in pink and yellow, with frilly wrought iron balconies and courtyards with hanging baskets of asparagus fern, set a sort of gentrified Tennessee Williams scene. Gerald D. Katz Antiques showcases its 4,000 pieces of jewelry in a suitably brilliant setting. Classical music drifts through the restored 1830 building, where the private viewing room is the original brick walled, wood beamed stable. Surrounded by orchids and Oriental rugs, the customer may browse among gold cuff links from $400 to $2,500 and bar pins from $395 to $895, all the way up to a $250,000 French bracelet from about 1850 with a galaxy of diamonds encircling an eight and a half carat emerald. Reversing the usual light on dark cameo motif is an 1880 black onyx Nubian head ring, set with diamonds and rubies, for $22,500. A mint condition coral and pearl pin from 1870 in the shape of a jockey's cap with movable strap goes for $2,800.
Though it sells mainly 18th century English furniture, 19th century American and European jewelry is also a specialty of Waldhorn Company, a fourth generation family business in a former bank built in 1799 and restored to its original look. The depth of the collection, with 200 Victorian pins, 100 bracelets and 600 antique rings (from $100 to $20,000) provides ample choice. A green enamel frog pin, with diamonds down its spine and ruby eyes, sells for $1,250, while a French 18 carat rose gold bangle bracelet that is set with forever bracelet cartier sapphires, diamonds and rubies is $1,000. Particularly beautiful is an 1860 18 karat gold pin for $2,500 featuring an owl with wings outspread hovering over two garlanded rams' heads with Etruscan wirework horns.
And, everywhere on the street, are gleaming garnets. (Garnets were once the rage with local Creole women, who could adorn themselves lavishly without great expense, heaping mounds of garnets above low cut gowns worn at Mardi Gras balls.) The shop of the Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum, sells a Victorian vermeil pin ($85) that spells out ''Louise'' in garnets. An elaborate necklace of profuse garnet flower clusters ($880) at Moss Antiques conveys the local aversion to understatement.
The ultimate in versatility is an 1860 Victorian diamond ensemble at Keil's for $12,000. With this set of adaptable jewelry, which totals about eight carats, diamonds screw into varied replica how much cartier love bracelet settings to become bracelets, pins, pendants or hair ornaments. J. Herman Son Galleries has Faberge fantasies, such as a yellow enamel servant bell ($9,500) set with diamonds, gold swags and a cabochon ruby.
Ruth Greenblatt of Rothschild's Antiques designs modern pieces and copies old favorites. A reproduction of the ruby, emerald, sapphire and diamond Cartier flamingo pin auctioned from the Duchess of Windsor's estate for $806,000 sells for $15,000. A man's platinum stud set with more than 10 carats of diamonds, including a 1 carat radiant cut gem in the center of each cuff link, is $24,000.
All that sparkles on Royal Street, however, is not gems. Chandeliers shimmer and shine like upended wedding cakes made of ice at the French Antique Shop. The shop sells porcelain Sevres and Meissen chandeliers, Baccarat crystal chandeliers and a prized rock crystal chandelier, with polished rather than cut teardrop shaped stones as big as pears, ranging in color from cartier love bracelet gold plated replica cloudy to clear. (The owners decline to provide prices.) The shop also carries rustic painted tin Tole fixtures as well as lights made from bell shaped glass melon globes (originally placed over canteloupes in the fields in autumn to protect the fruit from frost).
One of the specialties of M. S. Rau is American cut glass from 1880 to 1914. A 1910 J. Hoare pitcher ($1,500) commemorates Halley's comet with star bursts and streaming comet trails. Intricate faceting etches the Queens pattern, delicate as a spider web, on a 1904 Steuben glass bowl ($2,950). A set of 72 Steuben pieces in excellent condition at $9,500 includes goblets, wine and champagne glasses, dessert bowls and lemonade glasses with pink tops and sinuously fluted bases.
Manheim gold plated cartier love bracelet fake Galleries is in an 1822 Moorish building (formerly the State Bank of Louisiana), which has yard thick walls, armored shutters and a soaring rotunda. The jade room is as spectacular as the 1,500 piece collection. A Baccarat chandelier from an Oxford estate hangs above a 1780 table, a tour de force of marble inlay topped with interlocking circles of pink, green, black and white marble. Lining the walls of the oval room are shelves of jade. A white chicken bone jade vase ($45,000), inlaid with gold and rubies, was made for the Mogul Emperor in 1640. A translucent pale lavender jadeite bowl ($25,000) rings like a glass bell.
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