The pieces, like ones pictured here, predominantly reflect the particular tastes of the Palm Beach rich.
New Yorker: …business was brisk at the Madison Avenue headquarters of CIRCA, a jewelry-buying firm, where Madoff-related jewels had been incoming all month, like expensive shrapnel. “When Madoff hit, then we started to get the calls,” the firm’s C.E.O., Chris Del Gatto, said the other day in his office, which is decorated with polo paraphernalia. An older woman in Beverly Hills had mailed in a nine-carat diamond to sell, so that she could pay her expenses; the company had sent armoured cars to retrieve two batches of family jewels from Chicago and Arizona. “If it’s high enough value, one of the services we provide is we’ll send Brinks,” Del Gatto said.
He got on his speakerphone and called Tracy Sherman, the company’s Palm Beach director, who talked about the daily rounds she’d been making to the homes of Madoff victims. “Just visualise a dining-room table with everything laid out in rows,” Sherman said. “They’ve taken the jewelry out of the safety-deposit box and laid it out—all the earrings, and then come the bracelets and the suites of things that go together.” Often, the house is for sale, too. “Everybody down here has David Webb jewelry,” Sherman said, referring to a company known for its gem-encrusted animals…
[Jeweler] Del Gatto went into a back room and retrieved a manila envelope, which he emptied out onto a table: the day’s harvest from Palm Beach, more than a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of jewels. There was a worn leather case containing a teardrop-shaped platinum-and-diamond pin made by Cartier in the twenties ($50,000); a diamond tennis bracelet from the seventies ($5,000); a yellow-gold Franck Mueller watch, worth 30 thousand dollars; and a sixties- or seventies-era gold bangle with two green enamel bullfrogs on the ends and matching frog earrings. The frogs had ruby eyes and diamond warts. “This is kind of interesting,” Del Gatto said. “This is a David Webb animal suite.” The set was worth fifteen thousand dollars.
Del Gatto gestured toward the haul and said, “This will be sold to collectors all around the world,” and it was possible to imagine the frog family, together with the rest of the jewels dislodged by Madoff, going on a great migration—from Palm Beach to Russia, or Dubai, or wherever the outlook is still rosy, if such a place exists.
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