Christie’s and Sotheby’s increasing September Online Jewelry Auctions

As summer comes to an end Fall auctions are fast approaching. Instead of the auctions taking place around the world more auctions of Fine Jewelry are happening online. Read more to see how Christie’s and Sotheby’s are adapting to the change in technology and what this means for the public.

I don’t go too often to New York in the Summer, it’s hot, crowded and the jewelry industry slows down over this season. What I do look forward to is my treks up to the Big Apple to see some major bling in the Fall.

In 2016 I went to both Christie’s and Sotheby’s for their September Fine Jewelry Auctions. Christie’s had a preview of their online jewels and the Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, that was sold in NYC.

A few highlights from Mrs. Reagan’s Collection:

Bulgari Ring

Sotheby’s had plenty to see too. With previews of upcoming auctions happening in London and New York.

A few highlights:

Tiffany moonstone and enamel necklace
Bulgari flower brooch
Yellow and white diamond brooch

Last year neither auction house had previews in NYC. Sotheby’s had two auctions in London, one their Fine Jewelry and the other the collection of actress Vivian Leigh. I took a closer look at that auction in my previous post here.

Christie’s had one jewelry auction, but it was online in September 2017. This year again no September auctions that occur offline for these two auction houses. Sotheby’s has one general fine jewelry auction, one that is selling loose diamonds and the last highlighting one Italian designer. All these auctions occurring online.

Is this a trend that will continue?
Yes, I think more auctions will be having an online presence. Sotheby’s has also tried removing the buyer’s premium to encourage people to try online with out the hidden fees. I am anxious to see how the auctions do with collectors and how smaller auction houses will adapt.

How will this affect the way jewelry is previewed at auctions?
I still think their will be previews and auctions to see the items and handle them. It is very difficult to take size into account when looking online and some gems like opal are hard to get good photos of.

For those that post on social media and blog I think that a time will come that your following and status will play a bigger part in getting to participate in the previews. For now, I have an auction preview in Boston at the end of the month I plan to go to and I’ll be heading to NYC in October not for a preview but for a fun trip that I will share later.
Return for more on the upcoming online auctions and other topics in the jewelry industry dealing with business and marketing. Thank you for reading my article.

Fred Leighton: Auction of the Jeweler who owned a Flower Shop

I learned a lot over the long weekend viewing the auctions for April. If you follow my Instagram account, you will see posts of jewelry that has been auctioned as well as pieces coming up that I got to see and try on! Although I learned a lot about the jewelry one piece of information left the biggest impression on me and that was the auction of Fred Leighton’s personal collection. This man was a jeweler to the stars. I never got the chance to enter his shop while he owned it but I got to see some of his celebrity pieces up close when Fred Leighton came to Dorfman’s in Boston.

Looking at the auction book for a little more about his life I came across an interesting insight into his life that resonated with me. On page 8 of the auction catalogue the first line of the second paragraph reads, “After opening a florist shop in Los Angeles, Mr. Leighton returned to New York in the early 1960s and purchased a shop specializing in Mexican crafts, silver and folk pieces on MacDougal Street in the West Village.” This stood out to me because I don’t come from having a background in the jewelry industry. I have no relatives that I was aware of that did anything with the jewelry business. I have a background in business but a love for jewelry. It was refreshing to see someone start out on one path and transition to another like Mr. Leighton. Breaking into an industry can be difficult. For those that follow my blog I have been sporadic with my postings over the year.

For 8 months I was unemployed and recently started a new job. It has nothing to do with jewelry which can have its good and bad points. Trying to find a job that blends your passion with your skills (math in my case) can be a challenge. Those that do not have those skills can look down on those with ‘less creative’ talents. For the next few weeks I plan to highlight designers and businesses that have done better at mixing art and science. I will focus on those with a less traditional background or those that have both a head for numbers and artistic flair.

This post is focusing on Leighton and his auction. As I went through the preview at Sotheby’s in New York City, I was struck by how many were coming to find one last hidden treasure that Leighton was holding back. I watched a few dealers going over necklaces and rings with loupes taking notes of the lots they liked. The impression I got was that many of these pieces meant something more than money to Mr. Leighton. I came across a set of Van Cleef & Arpels cat brooches with coral stones. These were so small and not at all like the animals you see now.

Aren’t they precious?

One of the associates told me nobody that day had even looked at them. I obviously took them out to see. I love cats and couldn’t bare the thought of these cute gems going unwanted. They did sell so some one was paying attention. But not all of Leightons jewelry sold. I looked at the total auction and divided the lots by jewelry and other (furniture, paintings, etc).

Break down of lots for Fred Leighton Auction at Sotheby’s

The top table is by the number of lots and the second table is in percentages. There were 229 lots offered 95 (41%) of the lots were jewelry; 134 (59%) were other items. Overall 84% of the items sold. By category jewelry did not do as well in % sold as the other items. But what about items that sold far above the estimate? Well I looked at that too!

Of the lots sold on average the non-jewelry category did better. Leighton not only had an eye for jewelry but also furniture, paintings and other beautiful, unique objects.  The top 5 jewelry items that performed the most above their high estimate (buyer’s premium included are below).


To see a better view of the chart above click:

Top-5-lots-Fred-Leighton-Jewelry-Auction-Sothebys 

I was surprised at what did so well and what did not sell. This snake bracelet of gold and rubies did not sell, but a pair of turquoise shell earrings by Leighton estimated to go between $600-800 sold for $6,875. These pieces were pretty but also quirky and many of them fun.

I remember seeing the documentary the September Issue, about getting the fall publication by Vogue put out, and watching some of the deleted scenes. My favorite part of the documentary was the deleted scene with Andre going to Fred Leighton’s shop to see some of his jewelry highlights. It starts with Fred Leighton himself waving some beautiful vintage fans in front of the camera and heading over to talk to Andre in more detail about the fans he is looking at. Leighton in smiling and singing as he makes his way to the editor. Enjoying himself through out the short scene. Fred Leighton did not come from a background in jewelry and in some ways, I think that was a strength. He had an eye for jewelry but was a business man by trade.

Above was how his jewelry was laid out in the cases. Leighton had miniature replicas of Asian inspired furniture that he had made. His family lent it to Sotheby’s because they did not know what to do with it or even if they wanted to keep it. Mr. Leighton, I have a feeling would have been pleased to know that his miniature furniture was a hit! I asked an associate about what would happen to these props, after the sale and with the interest that the public was showing they too may soon be on the auction block at Sotheby’s. Be on the lookout! Before I conclude I will let you see what the top 3 other items that performed above expectations.

Yes, that looks like a gold foot. Not sure if the auction house was off on the estimate or they had misprints, but Leighton did have some unique tastes and others liked it. He did not follow trends but created them and found items that match the style and quality that he wanted to be known for. I hope you will return soon as I get back into posting more on my own personal journey to try and blend my love of jewelry with my analysis skills. Please comment below or send an email if you would like to share parts of your own career journey. As the saying goes, it’s not where you came from but where you are going that counts. Data in the Rough is back!

 

 

 

 

Depending on the Kindness of Strangers Pays Off for Vivien Leigh Auction

It’s been too long since my last post, but I have a lot of exciting things planned for this blog! First though I want to finish my analysis of the auctions I had in my last post. First is the Vivien Leigh auction held at the end of September at Sotheby’s in London.

It was an interesting auction to follow due to the star having passed away about 50 years ago and her last movie was over 52 years ago. Even though Ms. Leigh did not have as many films to her credit as other stars of her generation, the films she did were outstanding. I have not seen all her films but of the ones I have she made it feel as though she was meant for that role. Many remember her for Gone with the Wind but a favorite of mine was That Hamilton Woman, starring her then husband Laurence Olivier. Even in black and white her beauty and talent shown through. All photos courtesy of Sotheby’s

Caesar and Cleopatra, 1944, photo by Cecil Bateman

The auction had many of her personal possessions such as clothes, jewelry, photographs and furniture from the 1930s-1960s. This auction was interesting in how it tried to recapture the memories and life she led privately with her husband Olivier. It was clear that even though their marriage ended in 1961 after 20 years of marriage that she clearly continued to cherish the time they had together. So how did this translate to the bidders… very well in my opinion.

Leigh and Olivier

For my analysis I looked at US dollars and took out the buyer’s premium from the result when calculating how far above the estimate the lots went. My first thought when looking at the auction estimates was that they were too low. I was right all the 321 lots sold and of those 287 sold above the high estimate given by Sotheby’s.

I grouped the lots into types/categories, so you could get a better idea of how well the groups did.

Typically, when I look at auctions I see percentages above the estimate by lot go between 100%-600% for the top lots. For this auction the percentage was in the thousands. Below are the top 5 lots picked by percentage above the high estimate that they sold for not including buyer’s premium.

If you read my blog post before this, you would have seen that I picked the ‘eternally’ ring as a lot to watch. It is ridiculous to think that this ring given by Laurence Olivier to Leigh was only thought to go as high as $793. This tells me that the bidders were sentimental as well to this union.

Next was the Ship of Fools bracelet. I saw this movie recently, funny and sad all at once. Even though she is playing a bitter and aging beauty she is still charming, witty and striking as she had been in her previous movies. This bracelet went above the $198 to result in a sale of $7429.60, good for a costume bracelet.

Ms. Leigh was also a fan of art. She painted, collected and received artwork. Winston Churchill had been noted to give Ms. Leigh some of his own paintings as they were good friends. This piece is an illustration by Roger Furse around 1948 made of watercolor, pen and ink and pencil on paper. Vivien loved cats and I think this was a great tribute to those interests. This was only thought to bring in about $1982, its final price $67,540. As I said something was off with the predictions

Another jewelry lot consisting of a culture pearl brooch from 1964. Estimated to go to $159, sold for $5403.20.

Furniture, books, personal accessories such as dishes for entertaining was the biggest part of the auction.  The fifth lot to do better than its high estimate was a Pier Mirror made between 1765 and 1780.

You might be wondering what was the lot that brought in the most money? That was reserved for the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill whose oil on canvas board titled Study of Roses brought in $719,020.

It really is beautiful. Made in the 1930s by Churchill and given to Leigh as a gift in 1951.

One more lot to note is lot 307 the diamond bow brooch that had been shared countless times on social media.

It was estimated to go for about $46,253. It sold for $49,980 (without buyer’s premium). Sotheby’s predicted that correctly.

 

Takeaways

Sotheby’s London clearly underestimated the interest in Vivien Leigh. Four of the five lots to outperform their estimate were personal items to her. Three were jewelry and not high-end jewelry, a gold band, a costume bracelet and a small pearl brooch. The illustration was of her and what she loved: reading and cats, among many other things.

 

For those looking to bid in future auctions keep in mind the emotional value an item has that may not be accounted for by the auction house. For those selling an item if it has a story, tell it! Sotheby’s I’m sure got a bit of a surprise with the success of those lots. Maybe though if they had shared other lots stories on social media those items may have done better still! The diamond bow brooch was nice, but Ms. Leigh had so many items that were noteworthy, not for the value of the lot itself but of the value of the owner. Ms. Leigh led a complicated and in some instances tragic life but always was a professional who continues to leave an impression on the public to this day.

Leigh photograph taken in 1950s

There are so many other angles to look at this auction data. If you are interested in this return soon as I look at Aubrey Hepburn’s auction that occurred after Vivien Leigh’s at Christie’s London. Also, any comments about my thoughts or opinions on the auction or actress are welcomed. Please return for more Data in the Rough!

Icons on Auction: What to look for this week

There was a saying were you a Jackie or a Marilyn? Well in the spirit of this week’s auctions I will alter the question by asking are you an Audrey or Vivien? This week in London the auctions of items belonging to Vivien Leigh and Audrey Hepburn are taking place. As the format goes I will mention a few items to look for, then check back for the analysis of the results later in the week.

Vivien Leigh

This auction focuses on the life of Vivian Leigh. The personal items include paintings, gifts, clothes and jewelry. You get a sense of her life and tastes through the auction being held at Sotheby’s on the 26th. If you follow fine jewelry on social media you may have seen this brooch belonging to Vivien.

This diamond bow brooch made in the 19th century is predicted to go between 25,000-35,000 British pounds or $33,038 – $46,253. I think that is a good estimate. The rest of the jewelry estimates feel low.

What to watch

For the jewelry, I have 3 items that I am particularly interested in the results, in addition to the brooch mentioned. The first the costume bracelet Vivien wore on the movie, Ship of Fools. The estimate is $132-$198. I know the gems and pearls are synthetic but it was in several scenes from her last film.

Next is the ‘Eternally’ ring, a token of love from the passionate affair and marriage of Leigh and husband Laurence Oliver. Inside is inscribed, Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally. Thought to go for $529 – $793. I say there must be an error in the predictions but we’ll see.

 

Finally, my favorite piece, the chrysoberyl demi-parure. The stones are beautiful and the earrings are screw back! As most of her earrings are. This is what I’d buy if I could. The estimate is $5,286 — $7,929.

Audrey Hepburn

The auction of Ms. Hepburn’s items tell the story of an icon. Almost like opening a time capsule you are transported back remembering Roman Holiday and running around with Cary Grant in Charade! Lots of photos on sets, scripts, accessories and mostly costume jewels. Christie’s is focusing on her clothes and style for this auction being held on the 27th. An online auction is going on now and ends the 4th of October. I am just focusing on the live auction for this post.

A gift from Steven Spielberg to Audrey in 1989. A Tiffany & Co. bangle inscribed, You are my “ inspiration” Always, Steven. Original box and note included. Estimate $4,065 – $6,775.

Gripoix clip on earrings made of glass and faux pearl. They are unusual and colorful, set to sell between $1,355 – $2,032.

A paste tiara that was worn for the premiere of The Nun’s Story and in the film Two for the Road. I am always interested to see movie props on sale. What fans will spend is fun to guess and learn the result!

That is why this final piece, trying to keep it even since I pick four of Ms. Leigh’s items, is another item of interest. A movie prop from my favorite film of Hepburn’s Roman Holiday! A gold pendant, that I will have to rewatch the movie to see if I can get some good stills of. This would be my choice if I got only one item of her jewelry to keep.

Anyone following either or both sales? What was a favorite movie of either of these stars? I have been waiting many weeks for these sales and after tonight we will get to see what the world still thinks of these Hollywood legends. Return soon for the analysis only found on Data in the Rough!

 

Summertime Jewels: Analysis of Sotheby’s Online Auction

Summertime Jewels: Analysis of Sotheby’s Online Auction

Summer has its moments but I’m excited for the Fall auction season to begin! While I wait there are a few auctions happening now. I ran across an article the other day on Sotheby’s website about their Specialist Picks: 10 Stand Outs from Jewels Online. The jewels on auction belonged to Marjorie S. Fisher. For this post, I want to look at a few key points to learn more about the items on auction. Look at Sotheby’s top picks and then give you 5 of my favorites.

The auction as a whole

What to know:

  • 99 lots total
  • 18 are marked by a designer
  • 81 do not have a designer identified with it
  • Over 60% are estimating to sell between $5,000 -$12,000
  • Range of estimates $3,000-$60,000

Graph breaking down the types of jewelry by count of lots.

The biggest surprise is that only 1 ring is for sale. A colored diamond ring that is a top pick of Sotheby’s. Not sure if that is intentional or not. Besides that, the variety is very good in my opinion. Mrs. Fisher had an amazing collection so it is not hard to pick a great piece from all the options. So let’s see what the specialist picked!

Sotheby’s Picks

A nice variety of pieces but a little heavy on the diamonds and price. Two of the picks are estimating to go as high as $60,000 (the 2 lots at the end, 96 & 99). It is a good start for building a solid collection but Mrs. Fisher had some fun pieces that should also be considered.

My Picks

I went for more warm colors. It is summer! Corals, citrine and gold caught my eye. The Michele Della Valle coral and diamond necklace (lot 2) is all you need with a great summer dress to go out for evening events. My favorite piece is at the end, Lot 40 the Egyptian inspired ruby, emerald, sapphire, enamel and diamond brooch! Very unique even among Mrs. Fisher’s items.

The auction ends tomorrow so bid now! If you saw another item that you really liked but is not listed above please comment below and return soon for more Data in the Rough!

Will this be the year that the Pink Star shines?

April has arrived and with it some amazing auctions! Hong Kong is the major auction destination this week for Sotheby’s. If you have not checked out their items for the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction, you should! That Auction is on Tuesday afternoon, but the real show is the diamond that is coming back on the market for a single auction in the evening. You may have seen or heard of the Pink Star. (Pictured above courtesy of Sotheby’s) This internally flawless pink diamond is a massive 59.6 carats was up auctioned off in November 2013 at their Geneva sale. The winning bid was $83.2 million dollars but the buyer soon backed out. The reason for the buyer’s change of heart? They could not afford it. Sotheby’s then acquired the gem and now is hoping that their investment pays off. You can read more on that 2013 auction here.

It was a disappointing end I’m sure for the auction house. Christie’s had sold the Princie Diamond, a 34.9 carat pink diamond in their April auction for $39,323,750 (buyer’s premium included).  I saw that one up close, the florescence was amazing. The glow unlike anything I had ever seen! (Picture of diamond below courtesy of Christie’s)

 

2015 would again bring mixed results for large colored diamonds at the auction house. Sotheby’s again faced disappointment at their Magnificent Jewels sale held in April 2015 at New York, with the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond failing to make the minimum estimate.

Shirley Temple Blue Diamond, my photo

Then Sotheby’s achieved a notable success. The Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Auction in November 2015 saw the highest price paid for a blue diamond. The Blue Moon a 12.03 carat blue diamond sold for $48.4 million, having the highest price paid per carat for a blue diamond. Christie’s also had success in their November Geneva Magnificent Jewels Auction that year. They set the record for highest price per carat for a pink diamond. The Sweet Josephine (16.08 carats) sold for $28.5 million dollars. What is interesting is both diamonds that year were sold to buyers in Hong Kong.

Sweet Josephine, courtesy of Christies

 

Blue Moon, courtesy of Sotheby’s

So will this be the year that the Pink Star shines and leaves Sotheby’s with a great return on investment? It can go either way. On the one hand the economy has been a little shaky the past few months. On the other hand, jewelry is being looked at more seriously as an investment piece again. Town and Country had a great article on that here.  Having the diamond sold at the Hong Kong auction is a smart move as that has had some major buyers in the past, mentioned above. Without knowing the estimate, it is harder to say if it will sell or not. People did bid on the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond they just did not meet the minimum required. I do not know how much Sotheby’s paid for the Pink Star, the minimum is anyone’s guess. There was no estimate listed the last time in was up for sale. I will be watching for it and commenting on my other social media channels. Have you seen the Pink Star? Do you think it will sell? Love to hear your thoughts! Thank you for reading and visit Data in the Rough again very soon for more!

Pink Star, courtesy of Sotheby’s

Rubies: The Top 5 at Auction

What does the color red invoke in your mind? Does it bring up thoughts of passion, anger, evil, danger? For gemstones, rubies are considered, ‘the king of precious stones’. These stones are highly prized in cultures from the past and present. At auction these stones are also highly sought after. Jewels du Dour looked at the top rubies at auction for their July 2015 article. I want to update that and include some current rubies that have surpassed the cost per carat of the reigning champs. My table is below:

Ruby_blog_post_top_5_rubies

May of 2015 Sotheby’s topped the charts with the highest amount paid per carat at auction for their Sunrise Ruby Ring. An almost 26 carat ruby that brought in over $30 million for the final bid. The price per carat was over $1 million a first for an auction house to receive for a ruby. The Sunrise Ruby surpassed the highest amount per carat of $997,727 ($8.6 million total) that Sotheby’s received for the 8.62 Graff Ruby auctioned in November 2014. The record was not theirs for long, the Christie’s December auction sold a 15.04 carat ruby for over $18 million making the per carat $1,222,233 a little over $15,000 more per carat than Sotheby’s Sunset Ruby. Then another top selling ruby hit the Christie’s Auction House, a ruby ring by Verdura. I saw this ring at auction, it had a great color and the design was befitting a king,for only royalty could have afforded a ring this grand! I posted pictures that I took below!

Vedura_ruby

It will be interesting to see who comes out on top for the next round of auctions. Diamonds both white and colored have been topping the news as major selling pieces, but I like watching the other precious gemstones go up for auction. If you have any quality rubies you are thinking about parting with it might be time to look into selling before the economy starts going into a recession. I personally feel the country is due for one soon.

Do you own any ruby rings? I have one given by a family member as an heirloom, not as pricey as above but it creates feelings of love and excitement for me! Thank you for reading my article. Sign up for my email above to keep updated! Also for the July birthdays or ruby lovers, the below photos are for you, rubies that I have seen at auction. Check back later for more from Data in the Rough!

Rubys_auction

Spotting David Webb Jewels at Christie’s June Auction

This month wraps up the summer auctions for fine jewelry in New York and Boston. As I was looking through the auction catalogs I saw a necklace in the sale of Christie’s jewels that had me take a second look at the description and mark it as a must see when I came to the auction house this past weekend. It was a beautiful multi- colored sapphire necklace. Shown below:

DavidWebb_sapphire_necklace_6_16

What had me take a second look was the designer…

Sapphire_necklace_description

That’s right, David Webb. The same David Webb whose other jewels in the same auction look like this:

David_webb_christies

No date is given, so it might have been a special commission. Either way I wanted to get a look at the necklace. I ended up having the chance to try it on!

20160604_141353

 

It was spectacular! All those stones and colors! A closer view is below:

20160604_141041

It got me thinking of what other designs Webb has produced that are not what would be considered his signature looks. So I wanted to play a quick game of guess the designer. I will put up two similar jewelry pieces and you guess which is the David Webb piece.

Pair #1: Amethyst flower earrings

Amethyst_earrings

The left or the right?

It is the left:

Amethyst_earrings_skinner

These earrings were found in the archives of Skinner Inc in Boston from an auction in 2006. These signed earrings went unsold. The earrings on the right are from a previous auction at Christie’s in 2013 that are unsigned and from the 1950s.

Pair #2: Butterfly Brooch

butterfly_brooch

Guesses?

The David Webb brooch is on the left. This is from the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Auction of 2012. This brooch sold for $20,000 and is signed. The brooch on the right is from Bulgari made in 1969 this brooch sold for $23,750 at the 2015 Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auction.

Pair #3: Pink Sapphire Earrings

pink_sapphire_earringsThe answer:

The right pair is by David Webb. Sold at Christie’s in 2010. The pair on the left has Kunzite as well as pink sapphires and diamonds, made by Michael Youssoufian, sold at Christie’s in 2002.

Ready for a bonus round?

Bonus: 18kt Gold Gem-set Day/Night Ear Pendants:

ruby_sapphire_earpendants

While searching for past pieces I saw a pair of earrings listed that I had seen somewhere before at another auction house and they did have the exact same design. The gem colors are different but they look like a very close match. So which is it?

The left is David Webb sold at Sotheby’s in 2014 and the right is Van Cleef & Arpels sold at Skinner in 2016. Both signed but no dates listed. Would love to know the story and original owners of these earrings. You don’t usually see copies like these from different houses. Any thoughts? Hope you enjoyed the quiz! I had a great time at Christie’s and look forward to seeing the results tomorrow!

Come back later for more posts!

Emeralds at Auction

May is almost over and there are only a few more major auctions before summer is here. So before May ends I want to look at the emeralds that went on auction in the 2015-2016 season. Emeralds are the birthstone for May but they are also the stones for celebrating a 20th or 35th anniversary.  The interesting meaning behind emeralds is that they are called the ‘Stone of Successful Love’. ‘Emerald promotes friendship, balance between partners, and is particularly known for providing domestic bliss, contentment and loyalty. It was dedicated in the ancient world to the goddess Venus for its ability to insure security in love’.(CrystalVaults)

I will look at 4 auction houses: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, and Skinner. I have picked 3 emerald lots from each auction house, all for their beauty and design, and a few for their story.

Christie’s

2016_blog_Christies_emeralds

The first piece to the left is an emerald necklace created in 1810, this was a major piece auctioned at the November Magnificent Jewels Auction in Geneva. It has a detailed and rich history behind it. This necklace belonged to royalty. This necklace was a wedding gift to Princess Hlne, whose family were descendants of Louis Philippe 1st, King of France. Princess Hlne ended up marrying Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Italy in 1895. This necklace also came with a tiara from her godfather. Gifts like these were traditional when both parties go into a union to strengthen the alliance between their countries. Emeralds seem like an appropriate gift considering their meaning. The princess became involved with the Red Cross in Italy during World War I and with the turmoil royal families were enduring at this time the necklace stayed out of sight. The princess died in 1951 and the necklace and tiara then were in the possession of Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley. When that woman died in 1989 the jewels were auctioned and this necklace made another appearance 25 years later. This necklace was estimated to go between $1,500,000 – $2,500,000 and made the estimate with a final price of $2,625,522 (buyer’s premium included). The necklace now starts another chapter in it’s exciting story!

The piece in the middle is an emerald, onyx and diamond brooch by Graff. I chose this piece because of the design and appearance of this bird of paradise. The emerald is about 11.18 carats and from Columbia. This item was auctioned at the Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale in December. It was estimated to sell between $233,345 – $362,981 and far surpassed that estimate selling for $767,445 (buyer’s premium included).

To the right is a pyramidal cabochon emerald and diamond ring. It’s hard to tell with this photo but the emerald is about 53.46 carats and comes from Columbia, where the best emeralds are mined from. This was sold in December at the New York Magnificent Jewels Auction for $1,685,000 (buyer’s premium included). It was thought to go for about $200,000 – $300,000, a great surprise for Christie’s.

 

Sotheby’s

2016_blog_Sothebys_emeralds

The left item is a platinum, emerald and diamond brooch by Marianne Ostier from the Magnificent Jewels sale from April (Another jewel sold from this auction I wrote about in this post.)  This design has the emerald hollowed out from behind, so instead of focusing on carats the dimensions are given of being about 21.3 to 20.9 mm by 9.6 mm. The designer of this jewel is the real story Marianne Ostier got involved in jewelry designing in the late 1930s when she married her husband who worked as a jeweler. Mrs. Ostier is credited with inventing the pincushion clip and free-form jewelry. She was also the first life-time member elected to the Diamonds-International Academy and received other honors in her career. She closed the business shortly after her husband passed in 1969. You can read more about her on this blog. This item estimated to sell for $175,000 — $275,000 sold above that for $346,000  (buyer’s premium included).

The earrings in the middle are from Bvlgari and made in 1970. I love that it is not just the emeralds that are carved but the rubies as well the emeralds together weigh 65 carats and the rubies 22 carats. I could not find the origin of the emeralds but I assume they are Colombian. The interesting piece is in the conditions report which states: articles of jewellery containing jadeite or rubies of Burmese origin all less than 100 years old may not be imported into the US. So it looks like the buyer if American will not be bringing these back. This Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction was held in April 2016 at Hong Kong. The earrings were estimated to go between $20,630 – $30,946 and sold above that for $53,188 (buyer’s premium included).

The last piece to the right is a favorite piece of mine. This was from the same auction that sold the Marianne Ostier brooch from above. This is a platinum, emerald and diamond clip-brooch created by Seaman Schepps. It is a favorite not just because of it’s design but it is an original item from this jewelry house. I know it is a piece that the designer was involved with because of the date it was made. It was made in 1935. Schepps started his business in 1920s and retired in the late 60s. He passed away in 1972. So this brooch is one of his earlier works. I heard one of the men who took over Schepp’s business, Anthony Hopenhajm, speak at a Christie’s class and he mentioned that unique pieces from the time Seaman Schepps was involved in his business sometimes get bought back by the firm. It doesn’t seem that this one made the cut if the company knew about it. The piece failed to sell for the $20,000-$30,000 estimate. Another of the many times I wish I had had the money for a piece I saw.

 

Bonhams

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My final New York auction house had pieces that focused more on design than the size of the stone. The necklace to the left not only has emeralds and diamonds but includes rubies and a sapphire. This necklace is by Graff. You can tell it is a high end house that designed this due to the unique cuts of the central emerald and sapphire. You do not often see trapezoid shaped gems in jewelry. The reasoning is that these shapes go to a specific design and can not be easily incorporated into other designs so it is more expensive of a loss if the item does not sell because the stones can not be reused. This piece is also fun because it is from 1985. I feel a lot of jewelry auctioned is early 20th century so seeing some more recent but dated jewels is refreshing. This piece sold for $ 32,956 ( inc. premium) at the Fine Jewelry Auction held in London on April 20, 2016. No estimate was available when I found this piece and it too has restriction to the U.S. because of the rubies.

The pieces in the middle are a pair of twentieth century emerald and diamond dress clips from Hong Kong Rare Jewels & Jadeite Auction, November 2015. These emeralds have a total weight of about 55 carats. I love how the diamonds and metal surrounding the emeralds are styled like peacock feathers. These clips sold for $159,662 ( inc. premium).

The pendant to the right looks a bit out of place to the more refined picks I have made up until now. The colors are bold and the pendant is large at 9.5cm (3.74 inches) in length but the details and pave work are amazing. The front of this cross has 24 carats of emeralds surrounded by 22.7 carats of demantoid garnets. The back however is completely cover in 27.6 carats of diamonds!

back of Emerald Garnet Cross
back of Emerald Garnet Cross

 

Skinner Inc.

The last set of emeralds we will be looking at comes from Skinner Auction House in Boston, Ma.

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This emerald and diamond brooch dates back to the Edwardian period. The exact date is not listed but the report on this piece places the origin of the emerald as being from Colombia. The diamonds are also old European-cut. I saw this in person it is smaller than many of the pieces listed but the emerald was eye clean and flawless looking. It was estimated to sell between $50,000-75,000 and out performed its high estimate by 547% selling for $410,000 (premium not included). Sold at the December Fine Jewelry Auction.

The earrings in the middle are not primarily emerald but the look of these 18kt Gold Gem-set Day/Night Ear pendants by Van Cleef & Arpels were too fun to pass up! These were sold for $67,650 (inc. premium) in the March Fine Jewelry Auction, above the $30,000-$40,000 estimate.

This antique emerald and diamond pendant/brooch has an emerald measuring 8.00 x 7.90 mm (.31 x .31 inches) surrounded by larger mine cut diamonds with  rose cut diamond accents and is 3 inches in length. This was also sold in the March Fine Jewelry Auction. It just made its estimate of $2,500-$3,000 by selling for $3,198 (inc. premium).

I hope you liked my selection! Do you have any emeralds from a loved one for marking an anniversary or special event? Anyone with an emerald engagement ring? Would love to hear your stories about your own emerald treasures! Below are some of the emeralds from my article that I got to see in person from my photo archives! What are your favorites?

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Shirley Temple Blue Diamond at Auction

When seeing a movie besides the story and actors I pay attention to the jewelry shown. A favorite scene of mine is from the movie Bright Eyes starring Shirley Temple and James Dunn. (pictured below)

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Close up of the ‘magic’ ring…

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Dunn tells Shirley that this ring is a magic ring. If she ever needs him, she just needs to send the ring and he will come right back for her.

Well Shirley Temple had another ring that is up for auction this week. It is nothing less than spectacular it is an almost 10 carat deep blue diamond. As a fan of her work, I had to make the trip to New York to glimpse at this piece of history. What I got was a step back into old Hollywood and remember not only the star she was but the amazing person she continued to be long after her final movie.

I walked up to the fine jewelry department at Sotheby’s Auction House and was greeted to the red carpet treatment as I entered to find the blue diamond on display with videos and quotes on Shirley Temple Black’s life.

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She had an amazing career, serving as a U.S delegate in the 60’s and Chief of Protocol of the United States in the 70’s.

The blue diamond was a gift from her father around the release of her new film The Bluebird in 1940.

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It was quite a treat to see the diamond and learn more about her life’s story. I will finish with a line that James Dunn says to Shirley in Bright Eyes when she mentions how pretty a lady he knew looks. He looks at Shirley with a serious tone and says, it’s not enough to be pretty here (points to her face), you need to also be pretty in here too (and points to her heart). I believe Shirley was both and I am grateful for being able to see her films that taught the values that would make you pretty inside.

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If you have a favorite film of Shirley Temple’s, please share below! Also, come back for more looks at the auctions held this week!