Gem Trails aims to provide special, stylish and coveted vintage pieces of jewelry to the refined and demanding contemporary woman.
We chase unique pieces all over the world in the trails of old Europe, but also among the American collectors, Indian old families and Asian Connoisseurs.
Our collection is composed by iconic pieces : signed jewels, artist jewelry, historic pieces with a contemporary twist.
We believe jewelry should be viewed as wearable Objets d’Art and hope to help you to curate and build your own collection, placing an emphasis on education, research and investment consultancy.
After some years at Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris as well as a stint in Jaipur to discover the heritage of the Maharajas, Karine Zacharias has become a jewelry hunter. Sourcing hidden treasures from private collectors, her travels all around the globe, estate sales and flea markets, the French born, London based gemologist is irremediably attracted by Post War unique pieces that speak of a natural elegance. Also captivated by the history of the heritage pieces and stories around them, she tracks precious gems, historical pieces and stylish vintage jewels…to wear, collect and cherish, imparting the elusive “French Touch”.
Why collect jewelry, as opposed to other art or design objects?
KZ: Pieces of fine jewelry are both works of art and objects of desire. They transform women; they enhance their beauty and their style. Some of them can be mystically charged with the powerful energy of their stones, others tell a story about a specific period of history or their wearer.
What period most interests you personally?
KZ: I like the Art Deco period myself. It represents liberated, feminine, and innovative women. New designs and materials, geometrical and bold shapes …it were so original and so contemporary. For Gem Trails, I focus on the second half of the 20th century, where we see trends in jewelry coincide with a social and economic booming, the liberation of the woman, and we can find more arty and design pieces completely utterly wearable today
I find myself gravitating toward the 1970s. The pieces are very artistic, featuring a mix of wood and gold, enamel, hard colored stones. The designs are simple, artistic, androgynous, and very elegant at the same time
What advice would you give to a collector who is just starting out?
KZ: First of all, choose a piece you like: Emotion is very important! To start, it is easier to go with a signed piece from a famous jewelry house or designer. Read up on the house’s history to understand its story and its major designs. But don’t be afraid to take reasonable risks if you want to have a very individual collection which reflects your personality.
What is your dream item that you desire but do not yet have?
KZ: Too many, unfortunately! If only I had all the pieces by Suzanne Belperron…stored in a huge Faberge egg ! But I also have accessible dreams, too—it’s always a thrill to find 70s stylish pieces from Van Cleef, Cartier, and my new crush, the brazilian designer Burle Marx.
Evy Philippides comes from a family of entrepreneurs who has always worked in luxury for generations and used to be, for the better part of a century, the agents of Boucheron in the Middle East. She started her first company at 21, which is still running successfully and thereafter, studied at Columbia Business School in NYC. She has always been passionate about jewelry and started collecting at a very young age, constantly learning about styles, designers, techniques, collectors, historical pieces and how they changed and made history. Today, amongst others, what catches her eye are Hellenistic rings and 60s, 70s pieces .
How was Gem Trails born?
EP: I met Karine through common friends on one of her trips in Athens. I suggested we met at the Benaki Museum, Greek folk art, to which she replied “that’s one of my favorite museums in the world”. We ended up spending hours talking about jewelry, famous collectors, our favorite designers and how we like to wear our vintage. We had such an affinity that it got us thinking that we should do something together.
Our idea was to create a collection of vintage jewelry that would allow us to wear it in a arty, original, unique and modern way. And like that, Gem Trails was born.
How would you describe your collection ?
EP: Some pieces are incredibly modern, I would even say youthful which make you think that often societies in the past were much more open than we think today.
We look for pieces that are unique, original, that would be worn by a woman who is unconventional, unapologetic but also understands the intrinsic value of the piece. You have to remember you are wearing a piece of history, something that brings along elements of the recent past, Some vintage pieces are incredibly modern!
Pursuit of Rarity…Value of Eternity..Do you consider Jewelry as an invesment ?
EP: Even if on one hand I have an incredible emotional reaction to the beauty, the craftsmanship, the history of a piece, on the other, I also have a very rational approach that makes me look at the “real” value of each piece or in other words, its “investment grade”. That’s why, we aim to choose jewels that are wearable investments for collectors of jewelry and design.
“The pursuit of rarity, the value of eternity”… that’s really truly us !