ON THE WEB
Before Bef presenting jewelry to a client, clie Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos may spend spe months or years researching and gathering pieces by an influential jeweler or from a certain design movement. mov The collector’s curatorial approach app creates a narrative and historical hist context for designs that set the Mahnaz Collection (mahnaz collection.com) coll apart from other vintage-jewelry vint boutiques. “I like to bring brin lost masters to the fore to tell their thei story—who made it, when they made mad it, and the cultural context in which whi they made it,” says Ispahani Bartos, Bar who last summer moved her growing grow business from her private studio stud to a larger, by-appointment gallery gall on Midtown Manhattan’s
East Eas 57th Street.
Her H own story is compelling, too. The global policy expert turned vintage-jewelry vint dealer worked for the New York–based Ford Foundation for 10 years before launching her vintage-jewelry vint collection in 2012.
“At the Ford Foundation, our philosophy was to give people voice. That is w what I want to do with the jewelry as well,” w she says. If policy and jewelry seem unlikely bedfellows, they have hav a connection in Ispahani Bartos. Jewelry Jew is part of her roots: “I come from a culture where we’re always involved invo with jewelry. I was raised around arou jewelers, and it has always been bee in my life.” Born in Pakistan, she began collecting pieces early, accessorizing acce her dolls with emerald eme earrings handed down from her grandmother.
In I the 6 years since founding her business, Ispahani Bartos has garnered garn a loyal clientele who rely on h her for a range of vintage jewelry, from examples by revered houses (starting at $7,500) to those of lesser-known jewelry artists (from $2,000). This eclectic mix includes a Mellerio dits Meller brooch with lapis lazuli and diamonds, textured gold rings by 20th-century designer Andrew Grima, and a Van Cleef & Arpels two-headed eagle pendant from the 1970s, to name a few.
Ispahani Bartos is currently focusing her attention on the works of Native American jewelry designers. “What interests me in [Native American] jewelry is the play between tradition and ideas about what is modern,” she says. To date, she has acquired pieces ranging from Richard Chavez’s sugilite mosaic rings and bracelets to Charles Loloma’s textured tufa-cast cuff bracelets and the Yazzie family’s sophisticated silverwork pendants, bangles, and rings. She plans to unveil the exhibition early this year. —CAROLYN MEERS
Designs from the Mahnaz Collection include a scorpion necklace by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co. and a ring and cuff by Richard Chavez.