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Highlights from Sotheby’s Important Jewels Sale – New York – September 24 & 25, 2015

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September is my favorite month of the year, owed partially to the fact that it is my birth month but also because it is the start of the fall auction season. The first sales are like a tantalizing amuse bouche before the spate of magnificent jewels to come later in the season. Sotheby’s opens its season with a rather sumptuous sale of over 500 lots that will span two days. The Important Jewels sale will take place in New York on September 24th and 25th and comprises a wide variety of pieces – signed and unsigned – perfect for every occasion.

Important Pair of Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Earclips, Harry Winston

Important Pair of Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Earclips, Harry Winston – Supporting two emerald-cut emeralds weighing 12.16 and 10.18 carats, with cluster-style tops set with round, pear and marquise-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 13.65 carats, signed HW; pendants detachable

 

From glamorous gems to whimsical pins, the sale has something for every taste – and budget too as estimates start from $5,000. Of course, fine diamonds and precious stones are at the top of the highlight reel, the most important (read: pricey) piece in the sale being a 30.15-carat emerald-cut diamond of F color and VVS2 clarity estimated at $2.4 to 2.8 million. Another gem heavyweight is a pair of emerald and diamond pendant earrings by Harry Winston, featuring two Colombian emeralds weighing 12.16 and 10.18 carats, respectively, suspended from Winston’s iconic diamond cluster clips (est. $650,000-750,000).

Lot 516

Platinum, Diamond, Onyx and Emerald Bracelet, Lacloche Frères, France – Of floral design, set with numerous rose, single and old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately 4.30 carats, the flowering vines set with calibré-cut cabochon onyx segments, spaced by stylized shou characters, symbolizing longevity, set with calibré-cut emeralds, the reverse decorated with floral engravings, length 6½ inches, signed Lacloche Frères, indistinctly numbered, with French workshop and assay marks; circa 1925.

 

Major stones aside, the sale really focuses on the breadth of jewelry design of the 20th century. Among the earlier pieces, two jewels display the multifarious influences of the Art Deco period. The first, a diamond, onyx and emerald bracelet by Lacloche Frères, illustrates the fascination with the Orient during 1920s. The bracelet’s stylized floral panels, set with diamonds and calibré-set cabochon onyx, are spaced with emerald-set ‘shou’ characters, which symbolize longevity, exhibiting the then popular color scheme of white, black and green. Vibrantly cheerful, the second piece displays a rare use of color for jewelry of the 1930s. The hardstone and diamond necklace, attributed to Ernst Paltscho, is composed of lapis lazuli and calcedony plaques adorned with delightful carved hardstone flowerheads in a multitude of hues, starkly contrasting the monochromatic jewels of the late Art Deco.

Lot 278

18 Karat White Gold, Hardstone and Diamond Necklace, Attributed to Ernst Paltscho – The carved hardstone plaques, composed of chalcedony and lapis lazuli, decorated with carved flowerheads composed of various colored stones including carnelian, turquoise, amethyst and agate, further decorated with round diamonds weighing approximately 9.55 carats, internal circumference 15½ inches; 1930s.

 

Pieces formerly from the collections of women including Estée Lauder, Mrs. Spelman Prentice and Mamie Doud Eisenhower as well as jewels from the Estate of Dolores Sherwood Bosshard illustrate their passion for collecting and individual sense of style in addition to offering jewels of notable design and provenance.

Lot 260

18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Yellow Sapphire, Amethyst and Diamond ‘Licorne’ Brooch, Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. – The fantastical unicorn within a swirled mane, set with round diamonds weighing approximately 6.25 carats, accented by numerous yellow sapphires and calibré-cut amethysts, signed Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger; circa 1955.

 

The sale also includes a number of fantastic brooches, including a sapphire and diamond-encrusted stylized bow brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels from 1937 (est. $60,000-80,000); several whimsical creations by Schlumberger such as his ‘Licorne’ brooch (est. $40,000-60,000), which combines the fury of a lion’s mane to the mythical unicorn; one of Raymond Yard’s iconic ‘House’ brooches (est. $7,000-9,000); and a cute ‘Lifesaver’ clip by Cartier (est. $5,000-7,000).

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Gold, Coral and Coin Necklace, Bulgari – The triple-strand necklace of graduated design, composed of 95 coral beads measuring approximately 16.0 to 6.8 mm, gathered at the sides with two gold coins, the reverse to the mountings of each inscribed, ‘Heraclius & Heraclius Constantinus 610-641 AD Solidus,’ set with round diamonds weighing approximately 4.95 carats, mounted in 18 and 19 karat gold, length 14 inches, signed Bulgari, Made in Italy, numbered BV 8; circa 1980.

 

Highly collectible as they are wearable are a number of pieces from the 1970s. The flamboyant glamour of the decade comes to life in jewels by Bulgari, Aldo Cipullo and David Webb. However, my favorite piece in the sale is a ruby bead and diamond ‘Boule’ ring, by Cartier, circa 1960s (est. $15,000-20,000).

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18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Ruby Bead and Diamond ‘Boule’ Ring, Cartier, Paris – Of bombé form, with seven rows composed of ruby beads, accented at the sides with round diamonds weighing approximately 1.15 carats, gross weight approximately 18 dwts, size 6½, signed Cartier Paris, with French assay and workshop marks.

 

Cartier’s colored stone bead jewels were a favorite of the most fashionable ladies of the post-war era. Heiress Daisy Fellowes owned a pair of ‘Boule’ rings made by Cartier in 1948, one with sapphire beads and the other ruby, which did not have the diamond accents on the shank. The diamond panels were later added to designs in the 1960s. The Duchess of Windsor, an enduring icon of style, owned two later examples of the ring – one with emerald beads and the other ruby. The striking design with its voluminous dome is not only a testament to Cartier’s creative ingenuity but to its jewelry-making prowess too, as the ring’s construction is rather complex. Only a handful of these rings have ever been sold at auction, making this piece a true collector’s item. What’s more, it is timeless design that is just as chic today as it was half a century ago.

Additional highlights include:

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