Sotheby’s first major autumn jewelry sale in New York, “Important Jewels,” will be held on September 22, 2016. A total of 220 lots will be on offer at the auctions, ranging from a minimum of USD 2,000-3,000 (Lot 201) to a maximum of USD 2,000,000-2,500,000 (Lot 192). The lots will be on exhibition at the Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from September 17, 2016 to September 22, 2016 from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily, except on September 22, 2016, when the viewing time extends fom 10.00 am to 12.00 Noon. The auction begins on September 22, 2016 at 2.00 pm. The lots include historically important designs by René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, created at the turn of the 20th-century, apart from vintage signed pieces from renowned jewelry houses and designers, such as Bulgari, Boivin Rene, Cartier, Chanel, Oscar Heyman & Bros., Schlumberger, Van Cleef & Arpels, Web David and Winston Harry. The lots also include stunning pieces incorporating dazzling white and colored diamonds, as well as colored gemstones, such as aquamarine, citrine, emerald, garnet, jade, jadeite, peridot, pink sapphire, ruby, blue sapphire, tanzanite, tourmaline, tsavorite garnet and yellow sapphire. Among the types of jewelry on offer at the auctions are chokers, clip brooches, cuff bracelets, earclips, earrings, chains. necklaces, pendants, pendant brooches, pendant necklaces, rings, parures and an unmounted diamond.
The first five top lots of the sale in terms of presale estimates are the diamond containing lots, Lot 192, titled “Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of USD 2.0-2.5 million, becoming the top most lot of the auction. The center piece of the size 6 1/2, platinum ring is an oval-shaped, modified brilliant-cut, D-color, VS2 clarity diamond weighing 27.35 carats. GIA report accompanying the lot, bearing No. 5171479088, certifies the 4Cs of the diamond, and an accompanying letter states that the diamond is Type 11a, which confirms the D-color grade of the diamond. Such diamonds constitute only about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. These diamonds are chemically pure and structurally perfect and are referred to in superlatives such as whiter than white, diamonds of the purest water, purest of the pure etc.
The second highest lot of the sale in terms of pre-sale estimate is lot 137, titled “Platinum, Gold, Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of USD 675,000-775,000. The size 6 3/4, platinum and 18k yellow gold ring, with a yellow gold mounting and platinum hoop, is double prong set with a 30.71-carat, cushion-cut, fancy intense yellow diamond on a yellow gold mounting. The platinum hoop/shank of the ring is accented about half-way downwards on either side of the gallery/bezel with round brilliant diamonds, weighing aapproximately 0.80 carats. GIA report No. 1176440395 accompanying the lot, certifies that the 30.71-carat, cushion-cut diamond is fancy intense yellow, natural color and VS1 clarity. The accenting round brilliant-cut diamonds on the shoulder and hoop of the ring, are approximately F-G color (colorless to near-colorless) and VVS to VS clarity.
The sixth highest lot of the sale in terms of presale estimates, is lot 219, a blue sapphire and diamond cluster ring by Bulgari, titled “Sapphire and Diamond Ring, Bulgari,” with a presale estimate of USD 250,000-350,000. This is the highest valued lot among the colored gemstone lots. The centerpiece of the size 3 1/2 gilt platinum ring, signed Bulgari, is a prong-set 24.72-carat, cushion-cut, blue sapphire highlighted by a cluster of two rows of pear-shaped diamonds, with a total weight of approximately 9.00 carats and mounted on gilt platinum. The sapphire is a richly saturated, medium deep, slightly violetish-blue gemstone and certified by AGL and GGL, that it is of classic Burmese origin, with no indications of heating. The pear-shaped diamonds are approximately F to G color (colorless to near-colorless) , and having an average clarity of VS.
Another highlight of the colored gemstone lots is Lot 78, titled “Two-Color Gold, Emerald and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of USD 200,000-300,000. The size 3 3/4, white and yellow gold ring, is double prong set on 18k yellow gold, with an emerald-cut emerald weighing 12.14 carats. Two matching trapeze-cut, near-colorless diamonds are prong set on white gold on the shoulders of the ring. Total weight of the diamonds approximately 2.40 carats. The emerald is of medium deep, slightly bluish-green color, with inclusions typical of emeralds. AGL report certifies that the emerald is of Colombian origin with minor clarity enhancement. The diamonds are G-H color (near-colorless) and VVS-VS clarity.
Signed pieces by Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier are among the top highlights of jewelry designed by Iconic houses. Lot 21 with a pre-sale estimate of USD 150,000 to 200,000 is a creation by Bulgari, titled “18k Gold, Sapphire, Diamond and Peridot Necklace, Bulgari.” The 18k yellow gold neckace, with an internal circumference of 14 1/2 inches (36.83 cm), signed Bulgari, is bezel and prong set with 14 cushion-cut, yellow and blue sapphires, all of Ceylon origin, spaced at intervals by four half-cylinder shaped blue sapphires. The sapphires range in color from a medium slightly violetish-blue to a medium yellow, with one light yellow diamond at the back of the necklace. Total weight of sapphires 156.25 carats. The total weight of the sapphires is stamped on the necklace. Circular motifs join the bezels containing the cushion-cut sapphires, and are set with buff-top (almost flat cabochon-cut) calibré-cut peridots. The peridots are a light, slightly yellowish-green. Another semi-circular motif on the lower side of the necklace, between the cushion cut sapphires, and below the peridot motifs are set with round brilliant-cut diamonds, with a total weight of approximately 5.65 carats. The diamonds are F to G color (colorless to near-colorless) with a clarity of VVS to VS. AGL report accompanying the lot certify that the 14 sapphires are of Ceylon origin, 11 sapphires with no indications of heating and 3 sapphires with indications of heating. Gross weight of the necklace is 138 dwts equivalent to 214.614 grams.
Lot 218 is an “18k Gold, Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Necklace and Ear Clips by Van Cleef & Arpels,” with a presale estimate of USD 150,000-200,000. The centerpiece of the detachable pendant-brooch is a square cushion-cut yellow sapphire, weighing 84.90 carats, surrounded immediately by a layer of pave-set round brilliant-cut diamonds, which in turn is surrounded by a single layer of prong-set, cushion-cut blue sapphires. Outside the layer of blue sapphires is a discontinuous layer of bezel-set round brilliant-cut diamonds. Total weight of round brilliant-cut diamonds approximately 7.45 carats. The pendant/brooch is signed Van Cleef & Arpels and numbered NY 37918.
The 21 inch (53.34 cm) necklace is set with 7 modified cushion-cut yellow sapphires , one rectangular cushion-cut yellow sapphire placed in a median position from which hangs the detachable pendant-brooch, and the other six square cushion-cut yellow sapphires placed in symmetrical positions, three sapphires on either side of the median line. Total weight of yellow sapphires approximately 145.00 carats. The median rectangular cushion-cut yellow sapphire is surrounded by a layer of oval and cushion cut blue sapphires. Two oval-shaped and cushion-cut blue sapphires are placed between two cushion-cut yellow sapphires, except at the rear of the necklace, where four blue sapphires are placed. Thus 16 oval-shaped and cushion-cut blue sapphires are placed on symmetrical positions around the necklace. Total weight of blue sapphires approximately 40.00 carats. The yellow and blue sapphires in the necklace are further accented by round brilliant-cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 33.50 carats.
The matching pair of earclips are set with two modified cushion-cut yellow sapphires weighing approximately 35.00 carats, suspended from two modified cushion-cut blue sapphires, weighing approximately 4.00 carats, accented by round diamonds surounding the yellow and blue sapphires and forming a rosette of round diamonds in between. Total weight of round diamonds approximately 8.70 carats. The pendant part of the earclips are detachable. The earclips are signed Van Cleef & Arpels and numbered 37918.
AGL report accompanying the lot states that the 84.90 carat yellow sapphire is of Ceylon origin, with no indications of heating.
Lot 84 is a stunning Art Deco bracelet created by Cartier in the 1930s. The lot titled “Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Bracelet” has a presale estimate of USD 150,000-200,000 placed on it. The highly articulated link bracelet of geometric design, characteristic of the Art Deco period, is bezel-set with five oval-shaped cabochon emeralds with a total weight of approximately 21.35 carats. The bracelet is further accented by circular-cut, old-European cut, single-cut and baguette-cut diamonds, with a total weight of approximately 17.70 carats. The emeralds are saturated, medium to medium-deep, very slightly bluish-green with typical inclusions. The diamonds are F to I color (colorless to near-colorless) with a clarity grade ranging from VS to SI. Length of bracelet 7 inches (17.78 cm), signed Cartier Paris, Londres, New York, on the edges of the two middle links.
Top among the pearl lots is Lot 114, “Pair of Platinum, Natural Pearl and Diamond Earclips,” with a presale estimate of USD 150,000-200,000. The pendant earclips supports two drop-shaped natural pearls with dimensions of approximately 14.9 x 12.5 mm and 14.5 x 11.8 mm. The pearls have a silvery-white body color with soft pink, blue and green overtones and good luster. The pearls are almost perfectly symmetrical. Blemishes on the pearl not apparent when worn. The surmounts are topped by two old European-cut diamonds with a total weight of 3.60 carats approximately, further enhanced by baguette-cut, old mine-cut and single-cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 3.60 carats. Color grades of larger diamonds I-J (near-colorless) and smaller diamonds G-H (near-colorless). Clarity grades of larger diamonds SI and smaller diamonds VS-SI. Length of each earclip 1 1/8 inches (2.86 cm). SSEF report accompanying the lot certifies that the pearls are natural, saltwater pearls.
However, the most significant feature of the Sotheby’s New York, Autumn “Important Jewels” Sale will be the appearance of historically important, exquisite turn-of-the-20th-century designs by René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany. René Lalique (1860-1945) regarded as the father of Art Nouveau design in jewelry grew up in the northeastern French town of Aÿ-en-Champagne, where his exposure to the natural fauna and flora of the countryside had a lasting impact on his life, and inspired him to adopt animal and plant motifs in his creative designs as a professional jewelry designer. He moved to Paris as a young jewelry artisan, where he worked as a freelance jeweler for firms like Boucheron and Maison Vever. In 1887, at the age of 27, Lalique started his own jewelry business that gave him the freedom to reveal the true depth of his artistry. He chose materials for their power, light and color and borrowing techniques from other decorative arts, brought the plants and animals of his childhood into his work as a designer. He fearlessly combined glass, enamel and semi-precious stones with precious metals like gold, creating Art Nouveau pieces that included stunning flora and fauna designs. Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), the French actress was a patron of Lalique’s work. On two occasions Lalique designed two serpent-form jewels for Sarah Bernhardt to be used in her role as the formidable Empress Theodora of Byzantine. Lalique was so fond of this motif that around the year 1900 he created a Medusa-inspired ring, featuring a blue glass portrait of Medusa framed by a curving snake,with textured gold scales, accented by green and blue enamel. The serene expression on the blue molded glass face of the Medusa,seem to be at odds with a coiled serpent on its head, poised to strike., with its mouth open and fangs on the upper jaw.
Lot 151 is René Lalique’s 1900 creation, titled “18k Gold, Molded Glass and Enamel Ring, René Lalique, France,” with a presale estimate of USD 15,000-20,000. Gross weight of the ring is 15.6 grams approximately. The Art Nouveau vintage piece is moderately prized, but given the provenance and historical importance of the piece, being designed by the deft hands of the renowned and internationally respected jewelry designer himself, and its collector’s value, without any doubt the vintage piece would sell for a much enhanced price, several fold of the presale estimate.
Louis Comfort Tiffany became the first designer director for Tiffany & Co. in 1902, the company founded by his father in 1837. In this capacity he initiated the creation of a series of highly stylized jewelry pieces, in which priority was given to conception and craftsmanship, over intrinsic value. This led to the creation of relatively cheap pieces with exquisite proto-modernist designs, yet having timeless aesthetic value. One such piece is lot 191, designed around the year 1915, combining relatively cheap semiprecious moonstone and lapis lazuli with platinum and diamonds. The lot titled,”Platinum, Moonstone, Lapis Lazuli and Diamond Necklace, Tiffany & Co, Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany,” has a moderate presale estimate of USD 20,000-30,000 placed on it. The 16-inch (40.64 cm) predominantly moonstone pendant necklace is bezel set with mostly oval-shaped moonstones on platinum segments linked together. There are nine moonstones on either side of the drop pendant. A crescent-shaped Lapis Lazuli is set at the base of the moonstone in each segment. A circular-cut diamond is placed at the base of each segment, on the outer side, below the crescent-shaped Lapis Lazuli. The clasp behind is set with six circular-cut diamonds.
The drop-shaped pendant is suspended from a shield-shaped bezel-set moonstone.The drop-shaped pendant is bezel-set with a large oval-shaped moonstone, standing on a shield-shaped moonstone, which breaks the crescent-shaped Lapis Lazuli into two segments. The top and bottom of the drop-shaped pendant is set with a row of circular-cut diamonds. Thus there are 21 moonstones in the necklace, 18 on the neckchain and 3 on the pendant. The circular-diamonds are old European-cut and single-cut diamonds. The color-grade of the near-colorless diamonds is G-I color and the clarity grades vary from VS to SI. Total weight of diamonds approximately 2.90 carats.
Lot 190 is a “Platinum, Gold, Sapphire and Diamond RIng, Tiffany & Co,” also designed during the period of designer director Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1905. The centerpiece of the 5 1/2 size platinum ring is an oval-shaped Kashmir blue sapphire set in yellow gold, with dimensions of 7.8 x 6.7 x 4.7 mm, within an openwork mounting of scrollwork design, set with old European-cut and single-cut diamonds, with a total weight of approximately 1.15 carats. Color-grade of diamonds I to K and clarity grade VS-I. AGL report certifies that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating.