October 10, 2011

Fine Jewelry in New York

Bonhams auction of Fine Jewelry on October 19 in New York will feature a diverse collection of jewels, highlighting several periods of design. This sale will surely appeal to a diverse crowd of seasoned collectors and first time buyers.

Susan Abeles, Head of Jewelry US, and Virginia Salem, Bonhams Director of Jewelry in New York, stated about the sale, "For the October Fine Jewelry sale, we have amassed an array of carefully selected, rare and unusual jewelry ranging from Sterle diamonds from the 1950s to magnificent rare jadeite jade beads by Marsh. We also have offerings from several private collections, one being of famed actress Lauren Bacall. The rare, the colorful and the stunning are throughout this sale, making it a draw for jewelry appreciators around the globe."

Three highlights of the sale are property consigned by the celebrated screen and stage actress Lauren Bacall. Drawn to jewelry that embodies imagination, ingenuity and wit, she always appreciated fine design. When shopping for the finer things, Ms. Bacall always believed in going to the source. She bought a green enamel melon-shaped eighteen karat gold Bulgari compact in Rome in the 1960s, now on offer in the sale (est. $10,000-15,000) and she later bought a Boivin flexible ruby and diamond "passementerie" ring while she was in Paris (est. $10,000-15,000). Over the years, she became familiar with Jean Schlumberger, who designed several pieces she acquired while in Paris, one being a pair of coral and diamond earclips (est. $10,000-15,000).

A highlight from the Arts and Crafts period, circa 1930, is an aquamarine, diamond and eighteen karat gold pendant necklace from the designer Edward Everett Oakes—a key figure of the Arts and Crafts period, who studied under masters of the time, Frank Gardener Hale and Josephine Harwell Shaw. After opening his studio in 1916, his career took off and he was awarded the Medal of Excellence from SACB and sold a pendant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Known for his meticulously made designs that were never cast, Bonhams is excited to offer an oval-shaped aquamarine, centered within an openwork bezel of foliate motif, suspended from a fancy-link chain with foliate details (est. $4,000-6,000).

Several stunning pieces in the auction come from the Art Deco period, such as a diamond brooch with a lozenge-shaped panel, centering a marquise-shaped diamond, circa 1935 (est. $25,000-35,000); an early art deco sapphire and diamond Coven-LaCloche bracelet, that centers on a pear-shaped sapphire and diamond (est. $45,000-50,000); a diamond solitaire ring with a lozenge-shaped 3.65 carat diamond (est. $30,000-50,000); a sapphire and diamond J.E. Caldwell clip-brooch with old, European-cut diamonds (est. $10,000-15,000); and an oval-shaped, cabochon color-change sapphire and diamond brooch (est. $8,000-12,000).

From the Belle Èpoque period of design, circa 1910, there is an eye-catching pearl and diamond sautoir. Centering on an oval shaped openwork pendant, there are rose and European-cut diamonds, accentuated by button-shaped pearls. The pendant suspends from a necklace of women seed pearl design, detailed with two rose-cut diamond rectangular plaques (est. $20,000-25,000).

Several highlights in the sale come from the brilliant designs of Van Cleef & Arpels. Three of them come from the Estate of Suzanne Covo of Monaco—an eighteen karat gold rope-twist link bracelet, where each link centers around cabochon turquoise, circa 1958 (est. $5,000-7,000); a pair of turquoise and eighteen karat gold floral motif earclips and ring, circa 1958 (est. $5,000-7,000); and a ring featuring a 4.00 carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby with a double-tiered surround of marquise-shaped diamonds (est. $25,000-35,000).

Other Van Cleef & Arpel stunners include a floral design diamond and ruby brooch from 1964 (est. $25,000-35,000); a 1958 ruby and diamond ring which centers on a bombé panel of three rows of invisibly-set rubies within a border of graduated round-cut brilliant diamonds (est. $15,000-20,000); and a square-cut sapphire ring weighing 2.92 carats and a modified square-cut diamond weighing 2.38 carats, completed by baguette-cut scrolling diamond shoulders (est. $15,000-25,0000).

Dazzling colored diamonds are also interspersed within sale. A true gem is the fancy colored diamond solitaire ring that features a round brilliant-cut intense yellow diamond, weighing 3.16 carats. This outstanding diamond ring was a gift to the owner from her husband, who worked for an associated company of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in Johannesburg and was the grandson of Sir Thomas Cullinan, the principal owner of the Premier Diamond Mining Company.

Other spectacular color diamond lots include a modified square-cut blue diamond, weighing 0.44 carats, flanked by modified square-cut diamonds (est. $8,000-10,000) and a oval modified brilliant-cut fancy brownish pink diamond, weighing 2.64 carats, within an oval shaped surround (est. $50,000-70,000). Elsewhere in the sale is a rare heart shaped natural black diamond weighing 98.13 carats. According to family history, this diamond was cut from a piece of rough weighing 320 carats, acquired from the state of Bahia, Brazil in 1951 (est. $70,000-90,000).

Jade also makes a strong appearance in the sale. Three lots come from the designer George T. Marsh whose love of the Orient attracted him to fine jade and pearls which inspire his jewelry designs. There is a jadeite jade and diamond necklace comprised of 38 round jade beads, further detailed with a round brilliant-cut diamond and pearl shaped section (est. $35,000-45,000). Other highlights are a pair of jadeite jade and diamond earclips (est. $8,000-10,000) and a jadeite jade and diamond ring (est. $12,000-18,000).

The illustrated auction catalogue for the Fine Jewelry auction will be available online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further five throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Boston in the USA; Toronto, Canada; and France, Monaco, Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 57 specialist areas. By the end of 2009, Bonhams had become UK market leaders in ten key specialist collecting areas.

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