Palm Beach Society Magazine: Worth Going

Palm Beach Society Magazine recently interviewed The Silver Fund’s founder and owner Michael James for the Worth Going column.

Easy-to-read text is below the image below.

The Silver Fund is… Worth Going

FIRST, A QUESTION I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE WHEN THEY WALK IN AND SEE SUCH A DIVERSE COLLECTION… WHY IS YOUR BUSINESS CALLED THE SILVER FUND?
The company was co-founded in London in 1996 by me with a consortium of investors to buy and sell estate silver from the nest Danish silversmith Georg Jensen — it was thus a fund and we took the company private in 2008. Later we expanded into silver from other makers, then after the opening of the shop in Palm Beach we expanded into furniture and design as we had an amazing 2500 square feet to fill.

SO YOU WERE IN LONDON?
Yes, we had a shop on Bond Street before moving to St. James Street in London. We opened in New York on Madison Avenue at 77th and also San Francisco after having had a successful silver concession within Gumps, the famous department store. We were also doing fairs and exhibitions around the world — Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, etc.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
I have always loved buying and selling beautiful things. I started at 18 and it was a hobby that turned into a business and the only way to keep collecting was to keep buying and selling.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PALM BEACH?
We have been exhibiting in Palm Beach for over two decades, starting with the American International Fine Arts Fair. We always enjoyed coming to Palm Beach in the winter to see our friends and clients and to make new ones. The fair was full of the best dealers in the world — it was amazing. There is no where else in the world like Palm Beach. When this space on prime Worth Avenue became available, we couldn’t pass it up.

DO YOU YOU STILL DEAL IN GEORG JENSEN SILVER?
Yes, for a long time we were the largest dealer in Georg Jensen hollowware and flatware in the world having published the definitive book on the subject. We still have a very large collection, but specialize in only the finest pieces now.

(Read more about our collection of Georg Jensen by clicking here.)

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PIECE?
We recently purchased an incredible sh dish. We have a large selection of trays that came from an estate that had specially ordered them directly from Georg Jensen. It’s unusual to be able to find such a large collection of trays.

WHAT OTHER SILVER DO YOU DEAL IN?
Jean E. Puiforcat — French and Mexican. Jean Després — an amazing silversmith who designed and made all of the pieces himself who had an Aeronautical background. Also we showcase Tiffany, Cartier objects and thousands of different items.

WHAT DOES THE SILVER FUND SPECIALIZE IN NOW?
Furniture and lighting from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Fantastic designers including Vladimir Kagan, Karl Springer, Milo Baughman and Paul Evans amongst others. On top of this we have one of the nest collections of 50s, 60s and 70s Murano art glass available for sale in the U.S.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DESIGNER?
It is difficult to pick, because they are so different, but Vladimir Kagan is a design stand out — his pieces are timeless. A few months before he passed away we had the good fortune of meeting him as he was a well-known Palm Beach resident. He was delighted to see a sofa in our gallery that he had custom designed for a client in the 70s and he said it should be in a museum.

DO THE CLIENTS INTERESTED IN MID-CENTURY FURNITURE MOSTLY HAVE MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY HOUSES?
Many of our clients have classic Palm Beach houses. Several of our clients have beautiful Mizner homes and the pieces look incredible, because they provide a wonderful contrast. They also work well with how people live now. The furniture is comfortable. The colors are vibrant and compliment the amazing colors and light of Palm Beach and most importantly, they were handmade in America, before mass manufacturing moved to China.

DO YOU REUPHOLSTER THE FURNITURE? 
Yes, we reupholster all of the sofas and chairs. Choosing the fabrics and colors is one of our favorite aspects of the furniture business. We work with a few very talented local upholsters and restorers to make sure the pieces are all in excellent condition and immediately ready to live with.

ARE MOST OF YOUR CLIENTS IN PALM BEACH?
We have clients around the entire world. That is partly because we’ve been doing fairs around the world for years but also because Palm Beach is a very international city. One day last week our shipper picked up pieces that were going to clients in Miami, Bermuda, as well as the South of France.

WHY DID YOU EXPAND INTO FURNITURE AND DESIGN?
We’ve always loved design and bought things for our own homes. When we took the gallery in Palm Beach we had more space than in previous shops so it seemed like a natural progression. We have created a lifestyle shop which is hard to find in many other places in the world.

IS THERE A COMMON THEME THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU DEAL IN?
Everything we sell is the best of the best when it was originally made. They weren’t pieces that were mass produced, but rather, very expensive furniture in its day and it still shows — because they are of the highest quality.

WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR ITEMS FROM?
We buy a lot direct from estates where we get to select an odd piece here and there, literally, and we reject hundreds of items in order to find the one real exceptional piece that makes its way to the gallery door.

DO DESIGNERS USE YOUR GALLERY AS A RESOURCE?
We have maybe a 100 or so top designers that visit our store when hunting for items for their clients’ projects, they always want that one accent piece that they simply can’t find anywhere else. It’s exciting to be a top resource for so many talented taste makers.

WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO PEOPLE READING THIS?
Visit our store and be inspired — many people out there have been hugely successful due to their financial literacy but we feel that many need that extra inspiration for visual literacy, if we can assist with that, we would love to.

Palm Beach Society is the social magazine of Palm Beach. It focuses on all the major fundraising activities which take place throughout the year, to raise money and support for a wide variety of charities and non-profit organizations which are committed to serve the local community.

Dealer Michael James Discusses Allure of Silver at Culture & Cocktails

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County hosted 120 people on March 5 for its second edition of Culture & Cocktails with Michael James, owner and founder of The Silver Fund.

The evening’s topic at The Colony was “The Eternal Allure of Silver” — which James would know about, being the largest dealer worldwide in estate Georg Jensen silver, and selling more than $40 million to private clients since 1996.

James displayed more than a half million dollars of dazzling silver pieces that night.

The next and final Culture & Cocktails event on April 2 will feature Palm Beach Opera General Director Daniel Biaggi and Beth Clark, CEO of the Young Singers of Palm Beach.

Lighthouse Guild Cocktails at The Silver Fund

The Silver Fund hosted a cocktail party committee members and supporters of Lighthouse Guild’s upcoming Palm Beach gala “A Visionary Evening”. The evening will honor Grace Meigher and her daughters, Elizabeth Meigher and Amanda Mariner, and Junior Honoree Wyatt Koch.

Among those in attendance were Judith and Rudolph Guiliani, Marc Rosen, Carla and George Mann, Lucy Musso, Kate Gubelman, Pauline Pitt, Stephen DeAngelis, Mai Harrison, Eles Gillet, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Kathy Bleznak, Allison and Don Gulbrandsen, Gigi and Harry Benson, Nancy Paul and Pam Fiore.

New York Social Diary

Palm Beach Daily News

Lighthouse Guild Ushers in Gala with Private Reception

The Silver Fund honored the Lighthouse Guild at a private reception in its store on Jan. 18 drawing nearly 100 guests including honorees, chairmen, committee members and supporters of the upcoming dinner dance.

Michael James of The Silver Fund welcomed Mark G. Ackermann, who acknowledged honorary chairman Arlene Dahl. He also thanked Dinner Dance Chairs Thomas Quick, Frannie Scaife, Kit Pannill and Talbot Maxey as well as Young Visionary Chairs Michael Idy and Mathieu Rosinsky.

Among those in attendance were Judith and Rudolph Guiliani, Marc Rosen, Carla and George Mann, Lucy Musso,Kate Gubelman, Pauline Pitt, Stephen DeAngelis, Mai Harrison, Eles Gillet, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Kathy Bleznak, Allison and Don Gulbrandsen, Gigi and Harry Benson, Nancy Paul and Pam Fiore.

The Palm Beach “A Visionary Evening” Dinner Dance will be held Feb. 22 at Club Colette.

Designer Regine Traulsen showcases Moroccan style in Palm Beach

By Carleton Varney – Special to the Palm Beach Daily News

Morocco and Regine Traulsen, in my mind, always walk hand-in-hand.

Regine, who is married to a former Town Councilman Bill Diamond, is a virtuoso at entertaining. She can be found organizing parties in Palm Beach, New York, Paris or Casablanca.

Regine was born in Morocco and enjoys a life of travel across the globe. I first met her some years ago during her days as a fashion designer. Her tunic caftans — embroidered and colorful to perfection — rode quite a new wave in the 1970s.

A fashion designer nearly always is a decorator as well, and the Diamonds’ Palm Beach residence has reflected Regine’s artistic passion, creating a showcase for the best of Moroccan style. From the tiles, lighting fixtures and rugs, to the candelabra and banquette seating, the look would be perfectly appropriate in a Moroccan palace.

The Diamonds often have greeted their dinner guests at an entrance lined with lighted candles in hurricane glasses. The staircase as well as the walkway are enhanced with a Moroccan rug runner.

The folk of the Northern African country are great colorists and fond of rugs. I use Moroccan rugs often in interiors, along with those handmade in the historic Persian countries and Turkey.

For centuries, artists have decorated ceilings with paintings and walls with murals — think, for instance, how one knows to look up when visiting the Sistine Chapel. Regine has gone the other direction and brought floor art in the Moroccan style to her Palm Beach residence, and the look draws great appreciation from decorating connoisseurs. What one might have mistaken as Aubusson rugs, Regine has created with paint on stone surfaces, all durable and ready to walk on, preserved for the future. Washing doesn’t affect the artwork.

When considering a design for floors, we are all familiar with those stencil designs that can be painted on and protected with polyurethane finishes. But not too many of us know how to go over the top — yet underfoot — in the Regine Traulsen style!

At a recent dinner at her home, Regine gave her guests a tour, pointing out all of her new creations and selections. Those included a shimmering blue-topped coffee table purchased from The Silver Fund at 330 Worth Ave., a shop with British roots that reflects great imagination and is stocked with unique pieces — from sofas to tables, from the glass of Venice to the jewelry of Sweden.

The shop focuses on 20th-century pieces, so you never really know what you’ll find. But you can be sure everything has been carefully selected under the sophisticated eye of proprietor Michael James. I would vote The Silver Fund among the best destinations for out-of-the-ordinary designer furnishings and accessory store in the Palm Beaches.

I always love when I hear from readers about design sources in Palm Beach and vicinity for the newest, the best and the most interesting objects. Please drop us an email.

And meanwhile, Regine is certainly making the most of her own sources as she expresses her love of Morocco from head to toe, entertaining with such style in Palm Beach.

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