10 QUESTIONS FOR LESLIE ROSKIND, HEAD OF DEPARTMENT, JEWELLERY, BONHAMS HONG KONG.
Leslie Roskind is Head of Department, Jewellery, Bonhams Hong Kong. She joined the New York saleroom in 2019, with more than 25 years of auction, retail and wholesale experience. Leslie is responsible for management of the team, maintaining budgeted commission levels, developing and introducing new initiatives for the department, in addition to client development and sourcing property for the eight sales held per year. Prior to joining Bonhams, Leslie worked at the prominent jewelry store, Fred Leighton, where she was the Director of Acquisitions.
She spent a combined total of 17 years in Christie’s Geneva, Los Angeles and New York offices and was very closely involved with many record-breaking, historical sales: The Jewels of Elizabeth Taylor, The Collection of Ellen Barkin, Elegant Jewellery from the Estate of Jacqueline Delubac and Jewels as Art: A Private Collection. During this time, she also curated themed catalogues and sales, such as, Art Deco Jewelry, Chic & Glamour, Important Antique Jewelry, and Simply Blue.
Leslie is a graduate of the American College of Switzerland along with Boston University and holds a Graduate Gemology degree from the Gemological Institute of America. She is also a member of the American Society of Jewelry Historians and The Glitterati.
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My two sisters inspire me. Both are accomplished, selfless, generous, smart, funny, gracious women.
2. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
When I think of luxury I think of things that are timeless (I’m not one for a fad), comfortable and uncomplicated - whether it’s a pair of earrings that fit to perfection and don’t pull or pinch or a pair of jeans that fit just so or a day at a deserted beach with friends and a bottle of rosé.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
James de Givenchy. His designs are truly creative, innovative, wearable, timeless, and are impeccably made. He also happens to be a good and kind person.
Lauren Adriana. I love that she’s a total gemology geek and uses her knowledge to create innovative jewels. She, too, is lovely person.
Jeanne Toussaint. I wish I had just a tiny bit of her creativity, elegance, and style.
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
As it is on my wish list of jewels to own, Cartier’s 1944 open caged bird brooch. I simply love the symbolism.
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6: ALIVE OR DEAD - WHO ARE THE MOST INTERESTING/FUNNY/TALENTED INDUSTRY PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
Harry Winston, Paul Flato, Jeanne Toussaint, Murray Mondschein, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, and Edmond Chin.
I think they would share the most incredible stories.
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
Casting agent for tv and movies!
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
Oh, I have two!!
The first, is the summer of 2001 when I was a cataloguer in Geneva. The deputy chairman was asked by a client if he could spare someone for a few days to go to their bank vault and create a listing with descriptions for their collection of Art Deco bejewelled vanity cases. Of course, I said yes and at the time did not know that the owners were the Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan! It was an absolute honour to be given the opportunity and beyond amazing to have the collection all to myself. And it was a treat to see them again at the Cooper Hewitt in 2017. Always nice to see old friends!
And my second is the week it took to pack Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry for the auction in 2011. The first few days were somber - sitting with the executors, her very lovely son and her security team; however, as the days passed, and we got a bit more at ease with each other and the task at hand, the team opened up shared stories about the jewels and the legend of Miss Taylor. It was truly special.
8. YOUR FAVOURITE GEMSTONE?
I have an eclectic group of favorites: Kashmir sapphires, fire opals, moonstones, natural blue zircons, to name a few.
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
"Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today" (a quote from the ever-prolific Raymond Sancroft-Baker)
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
I look back on my years working and have noted that the most successful colleagues I’ve been fortunate to work with, all started on the lowest rung in their organization. Embrace learning the basics like cataloguing and calculating stone weights, and stepping in to be a dependable team player, including making coffee for clients! Be curious, read about jewelers or time periods that interest you. Always give credit where its due and don’t take it if you didn’t earn it. Be nice and respectful (especially of other people’s time) and get involved in jewelry organisations – like the Glitterati !!
Follow Leslie on Instagram @leslie_roskind_bonhams