By Clive Kandel
In May 2008, the V&A opened its newly modernized jewelry gallery named after William and Judith Bollinger, who provided the financial assistance to make this possible.
William Bollinger is the retired co-founder and a limited partner of the hedge fund Egerton Capital LP. His wife, Judith, oversaw the merger of ABG Securities with Sundal Collier in 2001.They both are based in London and are involved in many philanthropic causes.
Eva Jiricna Architects Limited, London, UK, won the competition to design the new gallery that would house the newly expanded collection, that included as many as 400 pieces from the Patricia Goldstein collection.
The showcases are lined in the colour of a very deep red, evoking the rich lining of a precious jewellery box, and also a reminder of the Victorian period during which the Museum was constructed.
Patricia Goldstein (1930-2002) was a lifelong New Yorker who combined the passion of a collector with the knowledge of a dealer. She bought her first 19th-century locket at the age of 15. After many years of collecting jewellery, she was persuaded by her husband, Bernie, and her step-mother to set up in business in 1968 as a dealer. She brushed up her French at the Alliance Francaise in New York, and from then until 1986 her visits brought her annually to Europe. She wore two small enamelled American flags on the lapel of her blazer, sustained herself on bananas stuffed into the pockets of her Burberry, and became a familiar face to many dealers in France, Belgium and Britain. At auctions she was a formidable opponent, sitting ramrod straight with her bidding paddle up, ready to take on anyone. In September 2001, following Bernie’s death, and knowing she was terminally ill, she asked a friend, Clive Kandel, a generous donor to the V&A, to make the first approach to the Museum on her behalf. She subsequently wrote offering her collection, explaining that every one of her trips to Europe had “included a visit to the V&A’s jewellery galleries, where I would wander for an hour or two in blissful serenity”. Her wit and determination were in no way diminished by the pain of her final illness, and she completed the arrangements to give her jewels to the American Friends of the V&A a few days before her death in February 2002. Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum London.
Patricia Goldstein’s collection has taken over 10 years to catalog, and has offered the Museum’s collection many examples of 20th century jewelry that it had lacked. Although the Goldstein collection was rich in fine antique jewelry, Patricia started collecting many rare fine examples of Art Deco to late 1950’s jewels in the mid 1970’s until as recently as a month before her death. A diminutive figure, Pat Goldstein frequently wore different period pieces at the same time – the outsized 1930’s Chaumet bangle ( see V&A banner) would be on one wrist, whose hand would have a Georgian diamond emerald ring entwining a size 4 finger. Whilst the other wrist could be wearing a Patek Philippe watch, and the middle finger carrying a Van Cleef & Arpels baguette diamond ‘Rouleau’ ring from 1937. Furthermore, at the same time she could be seen wearing Cartier Paris gold diamond 1955 ear clips and an Imperial Russian diamond spray pin. Her clothes alternated between Brooks Brothers, L.L.Bean and Akris. Her shoes were Ferragamo, purses either Vuitton or Chanel. She was a highly intelligent woman with a self enjoyed notoriety for voicing her opinions. A chain smoker her whole life, she enjoyed nothing better than the company of men, with whom she felt most at ease.
By Clive Kandel
V&A Images Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and Clive Kandel Collection