Lot # 31 - RARE Collectible 1915 Tower Of Jewels Certified Shimmering Novagems

Opening Bid : $ 1500.00
Pickup Instructions: Pick ups are Saturday October 30th from 9-3. Bring help to move heavy items. No alternative days for pick ups. We will not hold items.
Start Date/Time: 20-Oct-2021 7:00:00 AM
End Date/Time: 27-Oct-2021 7:30:00 PM
Current bid:

$1,500.00

Highest bidder:

poppygirl

Auction has ended

Description :

RARE Collectible 1915 Tower Of Jewels Certified Shimmering Novagems. Also included, NEVER OPENED set of 1977 postcards from the 1915 exposition.  We will ship this item, at the expense of the buyer.


2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco’s recovery from the devastation of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its emergence as a global city. While physical remains of the fair are few, it is fortunate that some buildings and decorative elements have been preserved in the Bay area. I recently discovered this narrated film that shows very rare footage of the Fair.

The story of the PPIE, officially nicknamed the "Jewel City," began more than two decades before it opened, and surprisingly gained momentum following the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. San Francisco leaders’ first thought, as they surveyed the nearly four square miles of shattered masonry and charred wood left by the disaster, was to rebuild. Their second thought was to throw a giant celebration and invite the world to come. Perhaps a judicious course would have been to delay or cancel the world’s fair the city had contemplated since 1891, but San Francisco—steep, brash, wayward San Francisco—was never known for its prudence.

The Tower of Jewels, which rose to 435 feet and was covered with over 100,000 cut glass Novagems. The 3⁄4 to 2 inch colored "gems" sparkled in sunlight throughout the day and were illuminated by over 50 powerful electrical searchlights at night.

Constructed from temporary materials (primarily staff, a combination of plaster and burlap fiber), almost all the fair's various buildings and attractions were pulled down in late 1915. Intended to fall into pieces at the close of the fair (reportedly because the architect believed every great city needed ruins), the only surviving building on the Exposition grounds, Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts remained in place, slowly falling into disrepair (although the hall used to display painting and sculpture during the Fair was repurposed as a garage for jeeps during World War 11 The Palace, including the colonnade with its signature weeping women and rotunda dome, was completely reconstructed in the 1960s and a seismic retrofit was completed in early 2009.

During the fair, new jewels were sold as souvenirs, and these ones often have a small PPIE emblem on the back. After the close of the fair, the actual jewels that hung on the tower were sold for $1 each. These jewels often have little chips in them, as they had been blown around against the building for the better part of a year. Some of these have a little dangling brass tag with the tower on one side and 'certified' by Walter Ryan, creator of the Novagems on the other. There were also many jewel-related souvenirs, including pins, cufflinks, and spoons.

Auction History

Highest bidder is poppygirl

Date Bid User
27-Oct-2021 5:42:35 PM $1,500.00 poppygirl

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