James Dean’s iconic ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ jacket up for auction

Rico Baca, auctioneer and co-owner of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, points out features on a jacket worn by actor James Dean in the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” The jacket, privately owned since Dean wore it in the 1955 film, will be publicly auctioned in Florida on March 3. (AP)
Updated 27 February 2018
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James Dean’s iconic ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ jacket up for auction

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida: James Dean’s cherry-red jacket from “Rebel Without a Cause” is expected to bring up to $600,000 when it goes up for auction this week in Florida, offering fans a rare chance to own something linked to the actor who died at 24.
The bomber-style jacket still looks cool at Palm Beach Modern Auctions, where it was displayed recently on a mannequin dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, similar to Dean’s signature style in the movie.
The nylon windbreaker is worth an estimated $400,000 to $600,000, auction house co-owner Rico Baca said.
That sounds pricey, but Baca said the jacket is as important to pop culture as a dress worn by actress Marilyn Monroe, one of Elvis Presley’s rhinestone jumpsuits or gloves worn on stage by singer Michael Jackson.
“It just represents a really significant period of our culture in the 1950s,” Baca said.
Dean died in a car crash in September 1955, about a month before the premiere of the film that cemented his status as an icon of teen defiance. Because he died so young and starred in only three movies, collectibles tied to him are scarce, Baca said.
The dress Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy sold at auction for $4.8 million in 2016. One of Jackson’s white gloves was auctioned for nearly half a million dollars in 2009, and one of Presley’s rhinestone suits sold for $250,000 last year.
“There’s a great deal of interest in these types of items, and I expect to have the same sort of interest in this jacket” at the Saturday auction, Baca said.
Michael Scott of Hobe Sound has had the jacket since the 1980s. A friend whose uncle got the windbreaker from men’s wardrobe supervisor Leon Roberts at the end of filming left it to Scott in his will. The actor had been a hero to Scott and his friends, who were in high school when the film premiered.
“We were called greasers,” Scott said. “We were going through some of the same kind of torment that he was living in the script.”
The garment has a Bud Berma tag sewn into its lining, a cigarette burn on the left sleeve and stitching to take in its elasticized waist to fit the trim Dean.
“I think it’s in good condition, considering the age of the jacket,” Baca said.
The jacket seen in the film was bought off the rack, but it’s unclear how many were on set, Baca said.
Scott’s documentation includes a 1962 letter from Roberts asking his friend’s uncle to donate “the red jacket worn by the late actor James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause” to the Hollywood Museum.
“You have a letter from him asking for the jacket back. I don’t know how it can be construed any other way than this is the jacket that came from the set,” Baca said.


The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

Updated 21 April 2019
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The ethical gold rush: Gilded age for guilt-free jewelry

  • Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output
  • Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations

PARIS: Forget how many carats — how ethical is your gold? As high-end consumers demand to know the origin of their treasures, some jewellers are ensuring they use responsibly sourced, eco-friendly or recycled gold.
Specialized producers now tack a “fairmined” ecologically friendly label on their output, and the Swiss house Chopard last year became the first big name to commit to “100 percent ethical” creations.
The Geneva-based firm, which makes the Palme d’Or trophy for the Cannes Film Festival, says it now uses only verified suppliers of gold that meet strict standards to minimize negative environmental impacts of mining the precious metal.
Among the many certificates and standards claiming to codify “responsible” goldmining, two labels stand out.
They are “fairmined” gold — a label certified by a Colombian NGO — and the more widely known “fairtrade” label launched by Swiss foundation Max Havelaar.
Both support artisanal mines that seek to preserve the environment in terms of extraction methods, along with decent working conditions and wages for the miners.
Such production remains limited — just a few hundred kilograms annually. Global gold output by comparison totals around 3,300 tons.
Concerned jewellers are keen to ensure they can trace the source of their entire supply to an ethical production cycle and to firms certified by the not-for-profit Responsible Jewellery Council, which has developed norms for the entire supply chain.
RJC members must adhere to tough standards governing ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices across the precious metals industry.
The French luxury group Kering, which says it has bought more than 3.5 tons of “responsibly produced” gold since 2015 for its Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo and Gucci brands, has committed to 100 percent use of “ethical” gold by 2020.
“We are trying to maximize the proportion of Fairmined and Fairtrade gold — but their modest production is in great demand so the bulk of our sourcing remains recycled gold, (which is) certified ‘RJC Chain of Custody’,” says Claire Piroddi, sustainability manager for Kering’s jewelry and watches.
Fairmined or Fairtrade gold is “about 10 to 12 percent more expensive. But recycled gold barely generates any additional cost premium,” Piroddi told AFP, since it was already refined for a previous life in the form of jewelry or part of a high-tech product.
Going a step further, using only precious metal from electronic or industrial waste is an original idea developed by Courbet, a brand launched just last spring.
“We do not want to promote mining extraction or use recently extracted gold, so we sought suppliers who recycle gold used in graphics cards or computer processors. That’s because we know today that more than half of gold’s available reserves have already been extracted,” says Marie-Ann Wachtmeister, Courbet’s co-founder and artistic director.
She says the brand’s watchwords are ethical and environmental consciousness.
“In a mine, a ton of terrain might contain five grams of gold, whereas a ton of electronic waste might generate 200 grams,” Wachtmeister says.
“Clients are also demanding an ecological approach more and more — they are aware of their day-to-day impact and consider the origin of what they wear,” she adds.
“The issue of supply really resonates with the public at large,” adds Thierry Lemaire, director general of Ponce, a jewelry firm that was established in Paris’s fashionable Marais district in 1886.
The company is RJC-certified and uses only recycled gold.
“There is a logic to that — if we want to do our work well, then let’s go the whole hog and respect nature. That can be done today because the entire chain has become standardised.
“Studios such as ours that work for major names on Place Vendome are all certified,” Lemaire says, referring to an upscale square in Paris.
He represents the fifth generation of family firm Ponce, which produces 45,000 gold rings a year from recycled gold.
Working in a pungent atmosphere of heated metal, refiners sit hunched over polishing machines, a large leather hide slung over their knees to catch the tiniest shaving.
“Every Friday, we have a great clearout and go over the workshop with a fine-tooth comb to pick up little bits of (gold) dust and shavings,” Lemaire says.
“Nothing is lost, it’s a truly virtuous chain.”