A superb and colourful selection of 250 pieces by some of the world’s most renowned designers will headline the Fine Jewellery auction on December 8 at Bonhams New York salesroom.
A beautiful pair of clip brooches by Cartier, London are estimated to fetch between USD $50,000 and $80,000. Each large clip is in the shape of a shield, set with stunning vari-cut sapphires and enhanced by circular-cut diamonds. The largest sapphire weighs approximately 17.00 carats.
The auction will also feature many colourful pieces from the art deco period, which are designs that remain collectible in a limited market, and expected to perform exceedingly well.
A rare antique Renaissance Revival suite of sapphire, demantoid garnet and enamel jewellery by Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co., circa 1920, will be featured (est. USD $60,000–80,000).
This beautiful and unique set comprises a necklace and ear pendants in a vibrant blue and green color scheme. It has irregularly-domed, color-saturated sapphires that reflect one of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s favoured palettes, and exemplifies his preference for gemstones left as close as possible to their natural forms.
With its Renaissance form and baroque flourishes such as c-scrolls and formal floral bouquets, the suite demonstrates Tiffany’s interest in historicism and revival styles during the decade of 1910-1920. It was a period during which major collectors like J.P Morgan and Lockwood DeForest (a friend of Louis Tiffany) were amassing historical jewelry from Renaissance Europe, India and other civilizations. These collections were important sources of creative inspiration for Tiffany.
This historicist influence was already evident in Tiffany’s critically acclaimed Etruscan jewelry of 1906, and in the progression of subsequent jewels in the Indian, Hellenistic and Byzantine styles. Although he became more interested in establishing his Foundation, leaving less time for the artistic direction of the firm, Tiffany continued to design jewelry, according to John Loring, until he closed the glass furnaces in 1924.
Under Tiffany’s influence, the jewelry department overseer from 1914-1933, Meta Overbeck, was also incorporating these historical references into the firm’s work. Her design drawings, preserved at the Charles Hosmer Moore Museum of American Art in Florida, contain sketches for jewelry similar to this suite in form and motif. Sketches for analogous pieces appear on page 15 and on preceding pages of her design book, among the series numbered F5100-F5300.
After nearly a century later, it is unusual to find such a suite of jewelry intact; one which reflects the unconventional jewels that Tiffany offered their affluent patrons.
A spectacular and important piece by Cartier is a natural pearl and diamond bracelet, circa 1915, which is estimated to achieve USD $75,000–125,000:
The belle époque bracelet is designed as seven rows of natural saltwater pearls centering an articulated openwork pavé-set diamond plaque, enhanced by old European-cut diamonds, and joined by a rose-cut diamond bar clasp.
This bracelet is a rare and special creation from the early years of Cartier’s New York branch, which opened in 1909. It was a time of opulence in the United States, with an emerging middle and upper class creating a strong demand for belle époque jewels.
Ladies dressed for evening in beautiful lightweight material of chiffon or satin which were adorned with elaborate lace and beadwork. These diaphanous high wasted, less fitted gowns with low neckline, short sleeves, and long gloved arms provided the perfect stage to showcase the jewels of this era. Long hair was worn up and ornamented with jewels and feathers. Bracelets such as this lot would have been a perfect complement to the current elegant fashion.
These new jewels, inspired by the designs of Louis XIV motifs, were fashioned in pearls and diamonds as necklaces, stomachers and earrings defined by swags and wreathes. Platinum replaced the heavier silver mountings allowing gemstones to appear in delicate, yet strong mountings, providing optimum light, airiness and natural beauty. Legendary transactions of pearls indicate their popularity and value, and were considered more value than diamonds.
This jewel, which has remained in the possession of the same American family since it was purchased, circa 1915, and exemplifies the elegant and the opulent style of the belle époque.
Adding to the selection of art deco pieces is an emerald and diamond bracelet also by Cartier, circa 1925, which is estimated at USD $30,000–50,000 (GBP £19,000-32,000):
a European-cut diamond ring with calibré-cut rubies (est. USD $15,000–25,000):
and a lovely ruby and platinum dress set by Van Cleef & Arpels that comprises a pair of cuff links and 4 shirt studs en suite (est. USD $6,000–8,000):
Important rings include:
- A Cartier diamond ring (est. USD $200,000–300,000), centering a cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond, weighing 8.45 carats, within a pierced and openwork pavé-set diamond surround, gallery and shoulders and shank:
- A fine fancy colored diamond and diamond ring (est. USD $100,000-150,000) centering a round brilliant-cut fancy intense pink diamond, weighing 0.72 carat, flanked by old European-cut diamonds, within a pierced and openwork pavé-set diamond and colored diamond mount:
- A fancy coloured diamond and diamond ring (est. USD $120,000-160,000), set with a brilliant-cut natural 5.58 carat yellow-green diamond, with a circular-cut pink diamond surround and pavé-set diamond split shoulders:
- A Kashmiri sapphire and diamond ring (est. USD $40,000–60,000) that features a cushion mix-cut sapphire flanked by old European-cut diamonds, within a pierced and openwork mount:
- A Colombian emerald and diamond ring (est. USD $20,000–30,000/GBP £12,500-19,000) featuring a bulbous, oval emerald cabochon weighing 22 carats surrounded by single-cut diamonds:
The rarest of the selection of coloured stones is “The Carolina Queen”, an unusually large American emerald pendant, which was mined at the foot of the Appalachians in North Carolina in 1998, and is the largest faceted emerald ever found in North America and the finest and largest ever recorded.
The sparkling 18.87 carat gem is of exceptional quality and is estimated to fetch between USD $130,000 and $180,000. Notable not only for its large size, the vivid color sets this stone apart from any others. The color in North Carolina emeralds results from the presence of chromium, the same coloring agent in the famed emeralds of Colombia. The color of the present emerald is comparable to very fine Colombian stones.
A charming section of baubles from the collection of best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor-Bradford will also be offered, including an 18k gold sautoir by David Webb (est. USD $6,000–9,000), which the writer wore often and considered one of her favorites; and a ruby, diamond and 18k white gold bracelet in a signed pouch by Lena & Alberto of Capri (est. USD $8,000–12,000):
This sale is characterized by lush, beautifully coloured stones set in jewellery ranging from the 18th century to modern day. Aside from the ruby, sapphire, and emerald selections, we have a wonderful assortment of fancy coloured diamonds, and fine signed jewellery. Susan Abeles, Vice President and Director of Jewellery for Bonhams North America.
Material courtesy of Bonhams Press Office.