A Conversation about the National Antique & Arts Dealers Association Of America, with Peter L. Schaffer at A La Vieille Russie

by Reema Farooqui

Since its founding in Kiev in 1851, A La Vieille Russie (ALVR) has been a family enterprise. Today, under the direction of brothers Paul and Peter L. Schaffer and Paul’s son, Dr. Mark Schaffer, A La Vieille continues its tradition of dealing in fine art and antiques at their present location, 745 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Peter L. Schaffer has spent over thirty-five years working at A La Vieille Russie and is a former member of the board of directors and former president of the National Antiques and Art Dealers Association of America. Mr. Schaffer has lectured and taught courses at the Smithsonian Institute, the American Gem Society as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, he has collaborated with Ulla Tillander-Godenhielm on “Golden Years of Fabergé: Drawings and Objects from the Wigstrom Workshop” an incredible album of rare drawings from the Carl Fabergé workshop in St. Petersburg.

I had the wonderful opportunity to ask Peter L. Schaffer a few questions about the National Antiques and Arts Dealers Association of America’s Online Exhibition, which is currently taking place, through Alexa Sayre at Stacy McLaughlin Communications.

I asked Mr. Schaffer about NAADAA, how the online exhibition came to be and also why jewelry lovers should buy Antique and Vintage Jewelry.

What is NAADAA?  

The National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America (NAADAA) is a non-profit trade organization of the United States’ leading dealers. Founded in New York City in 1954, NAADAA has since become the preeminent art and antique dealers’ association in the United States. Members are mutually pledged to safeguard the interests of those who buy, sell or collect antiques and works of art, achieved through just, honorable and ethical trade practices. Many years of study and experience are necessary to acquire the specialized knowledge that has made NAADAA members recognized authorities in their various fields. NAADAA members take pride in the careful, personalized service they provide. NAADAA can help you acquire a single object, or start or add to a collection. Members also purchase antiques and works of art.

1970s Sapphire and Citrine Bracelet by Jean Été. Image Courtesy of ALVR

How did you get involved with NAADAA?

A La Vieille Russie was one of the founding dealer members back when my parents were running the gallery. They viewed this organization as an opportunity to bring the community together and share their expertise with a much larger audience than they could’ve done on their own.  

How did the exhibition come to be?

We had long planned to host a large, joint in-person exhibition, but with COVID-19 and the cancellation of many of the annual traditional large fairs and exhibitions, we decided to mobilize quickly and take advantage of digital platforms upon seeing the success of others fairs.  This was a way for our group to be more proactive and open up to the world of fine antiques to a much larger audience.

Edwardian Demantoid Garnet and Diamond Crab Brooch. Image Courtesy of ALVR

Why did you want to participate? 

Aside from wanting to have the opportunity to work and present our jewelry and Faberge  alongside our colleagues, we also have missed connecting with our clients and the potential to meet new people. Fairs and exhibitions are really our opportunity to interact with clients we only see once or twice a year, so this online exhibition gives us that opportunity again just in a slightly different way. Now being a week into the exhibition, we also recognize that this way of showcasing our work is the wave of the future.

Fabergé Aventurine Quartz Hand Seal. Image Courtsey of ALVR

Why should people buy antique and vintage jewelry?

Antiques and vintage jewelry are the ultimate recyclable, it’s a way for people to acquire something new for themselves without adding to their carbon footprint and further harming the environment. Ultimately, people also love to be stewards, caring for items with history and owning something from another time carries some romance and who doesn’t want a little more romance in their lives. The quality, craftsmanship and rarely or stones is something that is just not really duplicated today. For instance, there are stones such as Burmese rubies and old mine diamonds that simply are not available anymore, so the only way to acquire them is by purchasing exceptional pieces of antique jewelry. Antique jewelry is also representative of some of the highest quality and craftsmanship and truly great pieces of jewelry never go out of style. In the last few years specifically, we have seen more and more people integrating and including  antique jewelry to fit the modern context of style. 

Thank you Mr. Schaffer for answering my questions and also to my lovely friend Alexa for making it possible!

Head over to the NAADAA Online Fair and see the marvelous pieces of jewelry and decorative art currently on exhibit at A La Vieille Russie’s virtual booth.

Featured Image: 1950s Multigem Necklace by Mauboussin, at ALVR’S Virtual Booth, NAADAA Online Exhibition

All images used in this post are subject to copyright and are the property of A La Vieille Russie. Any person or organization not affiliated with A La Vieille Russie may not use, copy, alter or modify any of the images used in this post, without the advance written permission of A La Vielle Russie.

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