Houston-based designer Shelley Marks Weathers and her firm Pontiel Jewellery have acquired a spot in sustainable jewelry history by repurposing scarce and exquisite antique and classic glass items in original, deluxe 21st century patterns. These are striking as they echo bygone glamour and historical motifs, and they are largely set in gleaming sterling silver and vermeil. (Weathers can produce 18-karat or larger gold pieces for bespoke customers.) Pontiel jewels contain antique iridescent Egyptian Revival scarab beetle pendants, aquamarine glass plaques of Artwork Deco-era female silhouettes gracefully etched sunrays, flowers and other enchanting life types. Sourcing her scarce resources in the U.S. and throughout Europe, Weathers sells her jewels on her Instagram, @pontieljewelry, on the Pontiel site, and in the Houston luxury division retail outlet, Kuhl-Linscombe.
When all Pontiel jewels gleam with refined glass aspects that ended up produced in the four decades right before Environment War II broke out, each and every a single is made up of exceptional or one particular-of-a-type aspects. Therefore, there is an intriguing historical aura, texture and presence of the past embodied in these adornments. As Weathers points out, “I’m passionate about the intricacies and motifs in every single piece of etched, molded or pierced glass that I obtain. The unique qualities, tones and colors of every single piece are what make them intriguing, unusual and collectible.”
For case in point, pierced, etched and molded glass plaque patterns ended up mass made in the several years previous Entire world War II in diverse colours and sculptural designs, this sort of as pyramids, lozenges, octagons, squares or circles. These variously embodied these kinds of really in-depth motifs as female figures, very long-legged wading birds, floral bouquets, luscious fruits, abstract Cubist styles or radiant sunrays. Weathers also collects and utilizes camphor glass in some of her jewellery layouts. Frosted-looking, semi-opaque and similar in physical appearance to carved rock crystal, camphor glass items have been designed through the Art Deco era (circa 1908 -1935). Its distinctive misty outcome was made by dealing with obvious colorless, blue or pink glass with vaporized hydrofluoric acid.
All Pontiel items are handmade in Houston by three grasp artisans. Requested to name some of her favored creations, Weathers instantly replies, “The Tamara Bracelet. Established in sterling silver, the aqua coloured glass panels in this are from Paris. The back again-to-back woman nude bathing figures are reminiscent of the performs of the good 20th century artists Carl Werner and Tamara de Lempicka.” Then there is the Astrid Bracelet, set in sterling silver. “The glass in this piece is a quintessential instance of the cubist aesthetic in design,” Weathers claims. “It is a uniquely angular and geometric piece motivated by Cubist portray and sculpture.” The rarest piece in her selection is a frosted glass pendant with intricately molded birds and leaves. Fragile and impressive, it’s an Art Deco-era piece from France, in the type of René Lalique.” [Writer’s Note: in a 2003 auction, a 20-inch long, circa 1930 René Lalique necklace, featuring twenty-eight carved and frosted, colorless glass songbirds, each perched atop a rectangular-shaped clear glass link, sold for $28,680 at Christie’s.]
As it takes place, “My complete favored piece is a perfect illustration of Artwork Deco geometry, blended with flowers and straight strains,” Weathers claims. “Upside down, it appears like an Art Deco skyscraper. “It’s so fantastic. I’m hoping to make a mildew out of it and reproduce it in the in the vicinity of foreseeable future.” An artwork historian by teaching, Weathers notes, “These items are additional than just glass. They’re ornamental objects with historic and cultural relevance. They are symbolic artifacts of a slower time, when craftsmanship was really regarded, and reflective of motifs in artwork and design and style that had been contemporaneous to the pieces.” Numerous of the glass things that animate Pontiel Jewelry came from the multi-generational, household-operate glass studios that shut down for the reason that of Entire world War II. As Weathers notes, “The strategies that were employed ahead of the War remain obscure and un-replicated. One of my plans is to layout and develop my very own glass pieces applying these traditional techniques.”
Weathers sets her etched, pierced and molded glass into sterling silver, vermeil and gold jewelry. “Most factories that had been creating glass for use in jewelry and other extras in the previous Czechoslovakia, France and Germany have been possibly transformed to generate products for the war effort or shut down by their homeowners,” she notes. This time of chaos, along with Europe’s prolonged submit-war restoration, place an conclude to mass generation of etched, pierced or molded glass components for jewellery.
In accordance to Weathers, her favored jewelry designers incorporate Lalique, Buccellati, Elsa Peretti and Anabela Chan, alongside with Shaun Leane, Ted Muehling and Lalaounis. As she tells it, “I’ve constantly been creatively pre-occupied with shade, light and transparency. I studied painting and artwork record at Occidental School in Los Angeles, where my fascination with the transparency of paint developed into a really serious curiosity in glass as a jewellery materials.”
Soon after graduating from Occidental, Weathers labored in many museums and galleries in Los Angeles and London. “Back in the 1990s,” she relates, “I purchased a magnificent pair of Art Deco glass earrings at Merola, a London boutique, and that acquired me hooked on classic and antique glass as a jewelry product.” All around the exact same time that she acquired people Artwork Deco earrings, Weathers commenced planning luxurious hair equipment adorned with glass factors and Swarovski crystals for her brand name, Shelley Marks Equipment. “My parts marketed around the entire world at Harrod’s in London, many Neiman Marcus shops throughout the U.S. and also at Barneys in New York and Beverly Hills, CA.,” she recollects. Hair components by Weathers were being also usually highlighted editorially in U.S. and intercontinental editions of Vogue and Elle.
Soon after decades of amassing classic glass things from close to the world, Weathers formed Pontiel in 2019 as a imaginative avenue to glorify the glass in her assortment. As Philip Jelley, Senior Vice-President and Senior Professional in Sotheby’s New York Valuations Office observes, “Collectors immediately after all are custodians of art and society for future generations.” Weathers agrees, introducing, “I’m a collector who is also a designer who gives new lifestyle to these amazing classic or antique glass components.” Detailing the this means of her brand’s identify, she proceeds, “A pontiel is an iron rod utilized in glass-building for rotating the glass although it is gentle. Mainly because I am so intrigued by and respectful of glass artisans, I named my jewelry model Pontiel.”
Like all connoisseurs, Weathers is a focused sleuth who never reveals her resources. “Let’s just say I have a community of suppliers all around the environment,” she says with a chuckle. “I’ve been accumulating for decades and at the second I have in excess of 500 parts. The full thing about men and women in the classic glass earth,” she relates, “is that they are definitely secretive and protective of their resources. After creating a zillion cellphone phone calls,” Weathers recollects, “I sooner or later observed a girl that experienced been collecting vintage glass for 60 yrs. The magnitude of terrific points she has in her collection is astounding.”
Some of the most amazing parts that Weathers owns and often sets into bespoke or retail jewels include things like iridescent scarab beetles that radiate lively colours that change according to the ambient light-weight. As Weathers describes, “The word iridescent comes from Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Examples of naturally iridescent elements include peacock feathers, opals, blue Morpho butterflies, oil slicks and cleaning soap bubbles.” While Weathers has established some iridescent scarabs into earrings and pendants, she’s guarding some of the scarabs for herself, as she suspects they may perhaps have been made all-around the turn of the 20th century by the wonderful New York-dependent jeweler Louis Consolation Tiffany. “These pieces glimpse remarkably very similar to Tiffany’s Favrile iridescent glass,” Weathers notes. “I treasure them.”
[Writer’s note: Favrile glass is a type of iridescent art glass created by Louis Comfort Tiffany. After patenting this process in 1894, he first produced Favrile for manufacture in 1896 in the “Tiffany Furnace” factory in Corona, Queen, across the river from New York City.]
“The magic of the vintage and antique glass that I use in my layouts lies in the obscure but masterly artisanal techniques concerned in creating these things,” Weathers ventures. Used arts experts like Jelley places the function of Weathers in an additional gentle. “What Pontiel delivers to the desk,” he says, “is curating images and elements that have been dropped in the firmament and bringing them new relevance.”
“Glass is an awesome product, “ Weathers says. “Since antiquity, glass has been made to embody every shade in the rainbow moreover gold, silver and copper, nonetheless glass can enable light to pass by means of it and produce extraordinary results,” Weathers concludes. “This can make it an excellent content for jewellery of unusual splendor. I hope to extend my selection, indefinitely!”