A guest post by Claibourne Poindexter
While not one of the big corporate auction houses, Skinner in Boston makes a strong presence in the auction market for Fine Jewelry, holding sales quarterly at their Park Plaza location.
The department head Victoria Bratberg, specialist John Colasacco, and Vice President Gloria Lieberman are known for their expertise in the field of fine jewelry and their willingness to educate and share their knowledge in the jewels they sell, both to their consignors as well as buyers, leading to some stellar consignments in the past. From the jewels of Hope Goddard Iselin and artist jewelry from the collection of Joan Sonnabend to important singular examples from houses such as Cartier, Chaumet, Mauboussin, Tiffany & Co., and Boucheron, Skinner consistently brings interesting jewels to the auction block.
This particular sale, as with every Fine Jewelry sale at Skinner, has something for every collector at all price points.
Lot 212 – Important Archive from Descendants of Frank Gardner Hale – Estimate: $3,000 – $5,000 – The archival material includes numerous original drawings of jewelry designs, photographs of Hale’s studio and of Hale himself, an extensive collection of jewelry photographs, an album of lectures, three plaster models, and other various letters and correspondence. Note: Frank Gardner Hale was one of the most important figures in the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Born in Norwich, Connecticut he graduated from Norwich Art School and the Boston Museum School, and later studied at the Guild of Handicrafts in England. He worked as a designer of book and music covers before going to Chipping Campden to join the Guild of Handicrafts with C.R. Ashbee. Upon setting up a shop in Boston, he joined the Society of Arts & Crafts where he was made a master in 1908. He is known for his fine jewelry and enamels, and Hale travelled and lectured frequently about craftsmanship and the craftsman. Skinner is pleased to offer the following collection.
Always bringing great antique jewels to light, this sale has several important examples of significant pieces. Highlights include a private collection of jewelry and archive materials from the descendants of Frank Gardner Hale, arguably one of the greatest Arts & Crafts jewelers of all time. Particularly interesting lots from the collection include a pair of gold, silver, and coral ear pendants (LOT 233), a yellow gold and jade clip (LOT 239), and a darling pink tourmaline and gold ring, which would make a terribly chic pinky ring for today’s modern stylish woman (LOT 243).
Perhaps the most important lot from the collection is the grouping of archival material including original renderings and photographs from Hale’s studio (LOT 212). It goes without saying that there will no doubt be competition from educational institutions and private collectors for this unique assemblage of quintessentially American Arts & Crafts jewelry from the early 20th century.
Lot 467 – Arts & Crafts 18kt Gold, Tourmaline, and Sapphire Necklace, Tiffany & Co. – Estimate: $40,000 – $50,000 – The center oval plaque set with graduated tourmalines surrounded by sapphires and framed by colored pearls, completed by a triple strand of fancy link chain, lg. 13 1/2 in., signed, boxed. Exhibitions: Tourmaline-Romancing the Stone: The Many Faces of Tourmaline, at the Harvard Mineralogical Museum, February 10, 2001-January 20, 2002.
Other important antique pieces include a grouping of three lots of Arts & Crafts jewelry from Tiffany & Company, all probably designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and coming up for sale from a private New England collection. Of particular note is a green tourmaline, sapphire, and pearl necklace (LOT 467), which perfectly echoes the colors in some of Mr. Tiffany’s most famous stained glass pieces. Another two important jewels from the same collection, being sold to benefit the Campaign for Catholic Schools, are the art nouveau plique-à-jour enamel, peridot, and diamond brooch (LOT 462) and an enamel and baroque freshwater pearl iris brooch (LOT 466), both from the venerable but now defunct firm of Marcus & Co.
For collectors of important jewels from the art deco period through the 1970s, this sale is sure to delight.
Lot 662 – Art Deco Sapphire Ring, Tiffany & Co. – Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000 – Set with a cushion-cut sapphire measuring approx. 10.50 x 8.60 x 4.30 mm, in a platinum and 18kt gold mount, size 8 1/4, signed. Note: Accompanied by AGL document no. CS61683, dated June 24, 2014, stating that the sapphire is natural, Kashmir origin, with no evidence of heat.
Great deco examples include an emerald and diamond bracelet from Black, Starr, & Frost (LOT 250), a diamond, jade and natural pearl tassel necklace (LOT 656), an aquamarine and diamond clip by Cartier London (LOT 648), and a superb Kashmir sapphire ring from Tiffany & Co. (LOT 662)
Lot 457 – Platinum and Diamond Bracelet – Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000 – The wide strap designed as a braid set with full-cut diamonds, approx. total wt. 65.00 cts., wd. 1 7/8, lg. 7 7/8 in.
A particularly special jewel, reminiscent of the all white large carat weight style of the house of Harry Winston, is the 65-carat diamond bracelet (LOT 457), which also happens to grace the cover of the printed catalogue.
Lot 591 – 18kt Gold, Amethyst, and Ruby Suite, Black, Starr & Frost – Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000 – c. 1960s, designed as a fringe of oval cabochon amethysts, with diamond melee and circular-cut rubies, ear pendants en suite, lg. 17 1/8, 2 3/8 in., signed.
Wonderful jet setter jewels from the 60’s and 70’s include a “Dot Losange” bangle bracelet by Schlumberger (LOT 621) which is a fun variation on the classic “croisillon” bangle composed of white and yellow paillone enamel, a wonderful coral and diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels (LOT 620), and a particularly unusual amethyst and ruby suite by Black, Starr, & Frost (LOT 591).
Lot 611 – 18kt Gold, Ruby, and Cultured Pearl Lips Brooch, Henryk Kaston, Designed by Dali – Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000 – Note: Kaston, whose work has been exhibited at the Met, the Vatican, and the Smithsonian, is the only living jeweler to have worked with Dali. A person of many accomplishments, Kaston was also a sculptor, inventor, and violin bow maker. Dali said of this design: “Poets of the ages, of all lands, write of ruby lips and teeth of pearls. It remained for Dali to translate this poetic cliche into a true surrealistic object.”
Rounding out the sale are several jewels done by famous artists, a category within the jewelry department that Skinner is strongly known for, including two pieces by Henryk Kaston for Salvador Dali and a brooch done after Pablo Picasso (LOT 609).
Lot 610 – Artist-designed Enamel and Gem-set Brooch, Henryk Kaston – Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000 – The brooch is designed after The Eye of Time, by Dali, the enamel dial framed by full- and baguette-cut diamonds, ruby cabochon accent, platinum and 18kt gold mount, lg. 1 1/2 in., signed “KASTON” and “DALI”. Note: Kaston, whose work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Vatican, and the Smithsonian, is the only living jeweler to have worked with Dali. Of this image, Dalí said: ‘One cannot flee from time, nor change it. The eye sees the present and the future.’
The variety in every sale at Skinner makes it one of my favorite places to both browse and shop. The thrill of the hunt and combination of unique and often times affordable jewels combined with excellent customer service makes it in an undeniably fun experience.
Containing over 650 lots this sale will, without a doubt, be no exception.
Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Claibourne Poindexter began studying the history of 19th and 20th century jewelry at the age of fifteen. While earning his degree in Brand Management and Marketing in the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, Claibourne continued to pursue his passion for jewelry on the side, landing a job at respected regional auction house Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales in the jewelry department. Currently based in New York City, he works for Nicholas Varney Jewels as the head of product development.
Additional highlights include:
Lot 613 – 18kt Gold and Hardstone Cuff Watch, Piaget – Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000 – c. 1965, with lapis dial and alternating lapis and green hardstone tablets within a heavily textured tapering cuff bracelet, 123.0 dwt, interior cir. 6 in., numbered, signed.
Lot 462 – Art Nouveau Plique-a-Jour Enamel, Peridot, and Diamond Brooch, Marcus & Co. – Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000 – Centering a circular-cut peridot within a shaped plique-a-jour enamel frame with old European-cut diamonds and suspending a drop, lg. 2 1/2 in., signed.
Lot 466 – Art Nouveau 18kt Gold and Baroque Freshwater Pearl Iris Brooch, Marcus & Co. – Estimate: $1,000 – $1,500 – With pearl petals and enamel stem, lg. 2 1/8 in., signed.
Lot 656 – Art Deco Platinum, Jade, and Pearl Tassel – Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000 – The carved jade bead measuring approx. 22.00 mm, with enamel and old mine-cut diamond mounts, pearl fringe, the pearls graduating in size from approx. 1.90 to 4.10 mm, with rose-cut diamond cap, and surmounted by an old European- and old single-cut diamond bow, and suspended from a pearl and bezel-set old European-cut diamond chain, the tassel lg. 4 5/8, chain lg. 26 in., in a fitted box.
Lot 621 – 18kt Gold and Enamel “Dot Losange” Bracelet, Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co. – Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000 – France, of alternating paillonne enamel and gold panels, interior cir. 6 in., maker’s mark and export stamps, signed.
Lot 626 – 18kt Gold Bracelet, Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co. – Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000 – Designed as a strap of intertwining foliage, lg. 7 1/4 in., signed.
Lot 609 – Gold Pendant/Brooch, After Pablo Picasso – Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000 – “Horloge a la Langue,” dia. 1 15/16 in., no. 1427, 4/20, maker’s mark for Pierre Hugo and French guarantee stamp, signed, boxed, (later added pinstem).