There will be a few opportunities to see some extraordinary jewels at the next edition of Salon Art + Design, the prestigious decorative arts fair taking place in New York City Nov. 10–14, including those from Lauren Adriana, Yvel, and Ornamentum gallery.
If you’re planning a visit, Wilensky Exquisite Minerals, a newcomer to the show, should also be on your go-see list. The NYC gallery will be debuting a new exhibition of mineral specimens that any jewelry aficionado will appreciate—and welcome into their homes as compelling interior design objects.
Entitled Candy, it gathers luscious examples of butterscotch-hued anglesite, cherry-red rhodonite, a rainbow of stripy tourmaline, and more to explore how “humans gravitate toward the brilliance, color, and beauty of stones in the sunlight” and “are powerless against beauty,” according to the gallery notes, which further posit that “understanding beauty needs no explanation. It is a spontaneous discovery that rises within us.”
Though Wilensky has been dealing in fine minerals for 40 years, it opened its Chelsea gallery just five years ago with a clear focus: to exhibit decorative minerals and crystals in a gallery setting, treating them as works of art. “When we were presented with the opportunity to exhibit at Salon Art + Design, it felt like a logical next step, yet another opportunity to show the artistic side of what we do,” company president Stuart Wilensky tells JCK. “Throughout history crystals have influenced art, design, and architecture. As mineral dealers, we express the beauty and sculptural qualities that these natural objects possess.”
There’s no question that mineral specimens are a well-established trend, and many jewelers have been exploring the category as a way to diversify their assortment with adornments for the home for lovers of gem and jewelry.
As such, Wilensky has some advice for retailers dipping a toe into this territory for the first time: “Minerals have a steep learning curve, and I always suggest the same process to all who would like to begin collecting and/or dealing. Find an experienced dealer who you connect with, who you trust and has integrity. They will be your most important resource. Spend as much time learning from them, as well as from books, museum collections, and fellow collectors. Knowledge is everything. I am not talking about the science of minerals or geology. You must know what is possible, what are the very finest known examples, where they are and what criteria to use when judging a specimen.”
Clearly he and his team can help with that, especially when the Tucson Gem Show rolls around early next year. You won’t find them at Pueblo Gem Show tents per se, but “during our weeks in Tucson we will meet with dozens of sources from virtually every continent to find the very few most spectacular and significant mineral specimens,” says Wilensky.
Wilensky allows that the Tucson Gem Show has become the largest commercial venue in the world for minerals and gems. “But it is not easily accessible to the retail buyer or advanced collector. The shows are very lengthy, some run as long as several weeks. Tucson has become an unwieldy event that only the most dedicated, intrepid individuals can endure.”
Which may be why the Wilensky gallery has plans to open a satellite showroom within a new multi-dealer venue in downtown Tucson that will be open in February 2023. While open only during the gem show’s duration, it will service the public as well as dealers and retailers.
“We view our role in Tucson as a filter, sifting through not hundreds, but thousands of specimens, to discover the one piece that has the qualities our clients seek,” says Wilensky.
And if you can’t wait till Tucson, the Candy at Salon Art + Design may be enough to tempt you in the meantime.