This week we caught up with Lazuli Whitt, the antique jewelry collector behind Monk Estate. We asked her to name the one thing she most associates with her personal 'Permanent Collection.'
Lazuli Whitt: I most value a long strand of hand carved walrus tusk beads that was given to me by my mother.
Permanent Collection: What's the story behind these beads?
L.W.: I'm not sure how old the beads are but my guess is from the early 1900s. They were purchased for my mother by my father from Elna Clarico's antique shop which overlooked Tomales Bay. Elna was a bitty woman who was funny, tough and kind and my dad was her doctor. I remember my mom wearing the beads with her classic understated sense of style. She gave the beads to me several years ago when she started to give me gifts from her personal collection for birthdays and Christmas instead of buying me something new. This is one of my most treasured gifts.
P.C.: That's a beautiful story. Does this mean that these beads are the best gift you've ever received? (We often ask that question).
L.W.: I cherish anything given to me by my mother, whom I adored. It was hard to chose between these beautiful beads, several other pieces of jewelry she gave me, and the journal she wrote to me in the first person starting in 1990 when I was 16 years old, and which she continued to pen over many years. She left it in her bedside table for me to find at her death several years ago. The first line is "Maybe someday you'll find this years later and sit down and read it."
P.C.: Describe a current project you are currently working on, or a current
L.W: I am currently working on my new estate jewelry brand Monk Estate, the pop-up we are doing with Permanent Collection, a website and new jewelry displays. I just got back from a buying trip to London and Paris and I am very excited about the incredible pieces I found, each with their own unique spirit and story. I am also very excited about a possible trip to Egypt in March to visit temples dedicated to women rulers and Goddess sects. Egyptians loved jewelry and other objects made of Lapis Lazuli which I was named after.
P.C.: Lastly, what's your trustiest flea market or vintage shop?
L.W.: For antique and vintage finds of all sorts I love the Sunbury Antique Market at Kempton Racecourse. It is a bi-monthly faire outside of London. I also love the town of L'Isle Sur le Sorge in Southeast France. It's filled with the most amazing antiques. The last time I was there with my dear friend Lizzie I bought a mid-century modern bar cart, a large Italian mirror from 1900, and two paintings of chairs by a contemporary artist...the only problem was getting them home!