In The Magazine

The Butterfly Effect

Sunday, February 11, 2018
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Twentieth-century decorative arts dealer Ben Macklowe has newly christened the Macklowe Gallery, his glimmering showcase located at 445 Park Avenue on the corner of 57th Street. The 6,200-plus-square-foot space features large glass windows revealing French Art Nouveau furniture and objects including Tiffany lamps and glassware, antique and estate jewelry.


Among its many treasures is an ornate decorative jeweled butterfly, formerly owned by Charlotte Chandler, Manhattan’s notably eccentric jewelry collector. The exceptional French Art

Nouveau 18-karat gold and enamel brooch was purchased by Chandler from Wartski, London. Art and jewelry connoisseurs know Wartski for the firm’s collection of signed works by masters like Carl Fabergé.


Macklowe acquired the butterfly last year and has still not been able to solve the mystery of its source. With all its beauty and ornate details, including movable wings decorated with realistic gold veining, plique-à-jour and translucent enamel edged with diamonds, the butterfly has no signature. There is only one tiny French mark with no other identification.


Wartski also had been stumped, and neither Macklowe nor Wartski, two of the world’s most esteemed purveyors of antique art and jewelry, are able to identify the creator of this masterpiece. Macklowe is convinced that someone must know who made this magnificent piece of jewelry and he is offering a $15,000 reward to anyone who can unequivocally prove the identity of its maker.


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