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Eternal Flame: Frances Malcolm

Posted in Style
by Beatrice Widmark on 3 February, 2015

"You don’t need a well-heeled granny to get your hands on stunning vintage treasures."

Frances Malcolm grew up just outside of Philadelphia and is currently the editor at the New Museum– a contemporary art museum in New York. She also writes about art, design and culture for private galleries and for various online publications. This week we asked Frances to share her Eternal Flame which happens to be a truly stunning set of timeless jewelry. Luckily she gives us some tips on how to find similar pieces of jewelry – if you are not lucky enough to inherit from a relative.


Tell us about your Eternal Flame!

– I have a thing for antique, heirloom jewelry. Rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, you name it. I’m not just seduced by their beauty and evident preciousness, but perhaps more so by their former lives — by the stories that underpin their often secret histories. As a student of English literature who also happens to work in the art world, I suppose this affinity is unsurprising.

What would be your general advice to everyone envying this thing of yours?

– Most of my antique jewelry has come to me by way of my grandmothers, great aunts, and great grandmothers. One of my favorite pieces, however, is an Art Nouveau ring given to me by my fiancé. It dates from about 1900 and features a baroque freshwater pearl cradled inside a 10k yellow gold setting bearing the era’s hallmark flower motifs and sinuous lines. Aside from these empirical qualities, we don’t know much else about the ring: Who wore it? What was she like? Where did she live? What did she do? Who did she love?

– As this piece of jewelry shows, you don’t need a well-heeled granny to get your hands on stunning vintage treasures. Whether you’re into Victorian, Deco, Modernism, or beyond, my advice is to do your homework — both on- and offline — and get to know your local dealers! We found this ring at a trusted antique and estate jewelry boutique in San Francisco.

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