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Private collection of ruby Mystery-set jewels by Van Cleef and Arpels
Auctions Bonhams High Jewellery

Van Cleef & Arpels at Bonhams London

A collection of fine jewels signed Van Cleef & Arpels and never-seen-before jewels from the Heritage collection of the Buccellati family will highlight the sale.

An important ‘Mystery Set’ ruby and diamond bracelet and rare jewels from the private Heritage collection of the Buccellati family will lead Bonhams London Jewels sale this September.

Next Jewels sale, at Bonhams London, will see a few important private collections, with truly remarkable pieces. Rubies, sapphires and Colombian emeralds will outshine next 24 September.

One collection, purchased circa 1990, centres around Van Cleef & Arpels quality and fine craftsmanship, including the top lot of this sale, that is a ‘Mystery Set‘ Ruby and Diamond bracelet.

Private collection of ruby Mystery-set jewels by Van Cleef and Arpels
Private collection of ruby Mystery-set jewels by Van Cleef and Arpels. Bonhams London

The bracelet is remarkable as it contains 177 perfectly matched individual rubies, each meticulously cut and set in seamless channels, creating a bright mosaic of colour, unbroken by any trace of yellow gold.

More in the collection:

A ruby and diamond 'Bellegarde' necklace, by Van Cleef & Arpels
A ruby and diamond ‘Bellegarde’ necklace, by Van Cleef & Arpels. Bonhams London.
A 'mystery-set' ruby and diamond 'Noeud Ruban' brooch, by Van Cleef & Arpels
A ‘mystery-set’ ruby and diamond ‘Noeud Ruban’ brooch, by Van Cleef & Arpels. Bonhams London

This remarkable private collection embodies Van Cleef & Arpels’ commitment to creating jewels at the pinnacle of jewellery design.

Emily Barber, Director of Jewellery at Bonhams UK

Sapphires are also expected to attract collectors’ attention, with two rings. The first is a Sapphire and Diamond Three-Stone Ring, featuring an oval-cut sapphire, weighing 5.16 carats, set between brilliant-cut diamonds.

The second is a refined Sapphire and Diamond Three-Stone Ring, dated circa 1900, set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 4.46 carats, set between cushion-shaped diamonds, with smaller old brilliant-cut diamonds highlights.

Both sapphires are accompanied by gemological reports stating their Kashmir origins, with no indication of heating – and, for this, highly coveted.

A sapphire and diamond three-stone ring. Bonhams London.
A sapphire and diamond three-stone ring. Bonhams London.
A sapphire and diamond three-stone ring. Bonhams London.

Sapphires hailing from Kashmir continue to be sought after by collectors and gem lovers given their colour, history and the limited supply of the finest examples. Kashmir sapphires of a sizeable carat weight are very rare to find so we are particularly delighted to offer these two impressive stones for sale.

Emily Barber, Director of Jewellery at Bonhams UK

The Emerald & the Lady

Emeralds come to the scene as the protagonist of a splendid jewel, an Art Deco Emerald, Diamond and Enamel Brooch by Hennel.

An Art Deco emerald, diamond and enamel brooch, by Hennell, circa 1925
An Art Deco emerald, diamond and enamel brooch, by Hennell, circa 1925. Bonhams London.

Lady Hood was the heiress of Francis Humberston Mackenzie, chief of clan Mackenzie and last Baron Seaforth (1754-1815). The chieftaincy devolved to her after the death of her father and she was also the inspiration for the character of Ellen Douglas in Sir Walter Scott’s poem The Lady of the Lake.

In the early 1800s, Lady Hood travelled extensively and charmed the upper echelons of Anglo-Indian society. It is during these years that she acquired the emerald, believed to have been presented to her by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II. The rulers of Mughal India often ordered their names and titles to be inscribed on gems; engraved seals were widely used and gifted amongst foreigners and noblemen in India.

The Mughal octagonal-cut Colombian emerald is engraved with five lines in nastaliq, interspersed with floral motifs, bearing the name Mary Hood and the date 1813-14. It is set with an openwork frame of black enamel, brilliant and single-cut diamond with calibre-cut emerald accents at each corner, mounted in platinum.

This emerald was inherited by Mary’s youngest daughter, Louisa Baring, Lady Ashburton (1827-1903), the prominent philanthropist and art collector. It has since passed down through the family to the current owner. 

This is a glorious jewel and with an evocative and impeccable provenance. It has been passed down the female line of the family since Mary Hood’s death and is the first time it has been offered for sale on the open market. It is thought that the emerald was mounted as a brooch by Hennel, around 1925, by a granddaughter of Lady Ashburton. The resulting Art Deco jewel perfectly encapsulates the early 20th century vogue for Indian-inspired jewellery that resonated particularly in England due to Britain’s colonial interests. The brooch is also a fitting tribute to the extraordinary life of Mary Hood and we are privileged to offer this for sale.

Emily Barber

Jewels from the private collection of the Buccellati family

Twenty pieces from the private collection of the Buccellati family are set to be offered at Bonhams during the upcoming Jewels sale, next 24 September.

The pieces, all designed by Mario Buccellati, date from 1919 to the 1960s, and span Buccellati’s meteoric rise from a small firm operating in Milan to one of the world’s most recognised jewellery houses, with an enviable list of international clients including royalty, aristocracy, industrialists and actors.

These lots are spectacular early prototypes of what went on to epitomise the Buccellati style. They act as a visual history of Buccellati’s production and demonstrate the company’s vast range of refined, intricate and tactile gold work techniques, used to simulate sumptuous fabrics in precious metals and still very much the cornerstone of Buccellati design.

Emily Barber

  • A gold, silver and emerald bracelet, attributed to Mario Buccellati
  • A moss agate bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • A diamond bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • An emerald and diamond bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • A sapphire line bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • A garnet line bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • An opal and peridot ring, by Buccellati
  • A gold and amethyst three-stone ring, by Buccellati
  • A diamond plaque brooch pendant, by Buccellati
  • A ruby and diamond giardinetto brooch, by Mario Buccellati
  • A ruby and diamond tree brooch, by Buccellati
  • A ruby and diamond bracelet, by Mario Buccellati
  • A varicoloured gold and multi gem-set bangle, by Mario Buccellati
  • A varicoloured gold and multi gem-set bangle, by Mario Buccellati,
  • A gold dress watch, by Buccellati
  • A gold and amethyst ring, by Mario Buccellati
  • A 'bugnato' gold bangle, by Buccellati
  • A varicoloured gold and emerald bangle, by Buccellati
  • A varicoloured gold and sapphire bangle, by Buccellati
  • A silver, gold and emerald nécessaire, by Mario Buccellati

More stunning signed jewels will also be featured in this sale. Among them, the following ones, signed by Andrew Grima:

  • An amethyst and diamond pendant, By Grima
  • A diamond lichen brooch, by Grima
  • A fire opal, emerald and diamond brooch, by Grima, 1968
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