Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Duchess of Windsor's achieve above top estimates at Sotheby's | The Jewellery Editor

Duchess of Windsor's achieve above top estimates at Sotheby's | The Jewellery Editor

The CARTIER Windsor panther bracelet sold for £4.5M!!

Photo by Sothebys

The Cartier panther bracelet from the Duchess of Windsor was sold today at Sotheby's for an absolute record price for such a piece: £4.5 million, three times the estimate! No wonder Sotheby's required a double registration process to view the piece last sunday! If Cartier panthers were already a collector's jewel now this one has become an icon.

My second favourite piece, though not so perfectly crafted, the Cartier Flamingo Brooch, has sold for "only" £1.75 million within Sotheby's estimate.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Ruby and diamonds set of jewellery MOUNTED BY CARTIER

An extraordinary set of gold, diamonds and ruby jewellery signed Mounted by Cartier. It consist of a ring, a bangle, a brooch and a pair of earrings displaying the most incredible collection of cabochon rubies in an amazingly rich design. Similarly to the Cartier Flamingo Brooch for the Duchess of Windsor, when a piece is signed with the name of the jeweller preceded by the words "Monture" or "Mounted by" it usually means that the piece is unique and specially commissioned by the buyer who would normally also provide the stones from a prior piece. This is Haute Couture in jewellery terms!. As a specially commissioned piece, the design is normally agreed between the master jeweller and the buyer.
Photos by Christies

Mounted by Cartier set of ruby and diamonds bangle, brooch, earrings and ring coming up for auction at Christie's London King st.

A pair of CARTIER panther earrings in onix and diamonds

Photo by Christies
Continuing on the Cartier panther topic, here is a great pair of earclips to match the Cartier panther bracelet that comes up at Sotheby's at the Duchess of Windsor sale!. These are fine and discrete pieces, beautifully crafted and with very live diamonds and emeralds.

Cartier panther earrings at Christie's King St

see more Cartier posts

LALAOUNIS golden etruscan revival necklace from Fleur Cowles

Lalaounis golden necklace coming up for auction at Chrisies

Christie's London King Street is holding their pre-Christmas Jewellery auction this week. One of the highlights of the auction is a selection of jewellery that belonged to Fleur Cowles. This golden necklace by Ilias Lalaounis, the famous greek master, is a very good example of her taste.

Fleur Cowles was an american journalist and artist that became one of the style icons of the second part of the twentieth century. She published Flair Magazine where she had characters of the likes of Dali, Lucien Freud and Winston Churchill as contributors. Fleur's style mark was her extravagant jewellery, admired by Marilyn Monroe and Eva Peron, she even designed some of her pieces.

She moved to London in 1955 where she lived until 2009, when she died at the age of 101.

Here is one bracelet designed by Fleur.

Photos by Christie's
Gold and diamonds bracelet designed by Fleur Cowles

BVLGARI: Paris Exhibition

"125 years of magnificent italian jewels". Not to be missed exhibition, for the ones that did not make it to the Rome one last year. It will be held at Paris Grand Palais between December 10th and January 12th. Who needs a better excuse to go to Paris before Christmas?

Click to browse the Bulgari exhibition in Paris

Saturday, 27 November 2010

VERDURA: an emerald suite

Quite a singular example of Verdura at his best!. An emerald suite where he manages to deprive the stones of their importance and overwhelms them with design.

Click to see full details of the Verdura emerald necklace and earrings set

CARTIER: a masterpiece art deco onix and diamond pendant/brooch

A masterpiece!, one of those rare items that surely will achieve a record price at Christie's NY auction. This is a 1910 pendant/brooch signed by Cartier that comprises an elaborate design with onix and old cut diamonds with everything to become an art deco icon. Moreover, it was executed 15 years before the Arts Decoratifs Paris exhibition which makes it even more remarkable as an example of Cartier's vision.

Cartier, as explained by Carol Woolton in the introduction to her book, was the first haute jeweller in Paris to align his trade to the fashion industry. He moved his shop to the couturiers district as early as 1898 and during the 1925 exhibition he set his own one in the Pavillon d'Elegance instead of the Grand Palais with the rest of the jewellers.

In 1910 when this piece was conceived, the world was still focused on the Belle Epoque pieces, white diamond jewellery and the reminiscences of the Garland Style. Art Nouveau was a minority and bohemian trend to introduce colour and yet, cartier jumped one generation and went straight into Art Deco introducing this distinctive onix and diamond combination. There are a few pieces by Cartier from this period most of them in museums and important collections, this one is worthy of a place next to them.

VERDURA: pink tourmaline and sapphire brooch

When looking at this brooch by Verdura one cannot help but think Chanel!. Fulco Verdura was born in 1898 in Palermo. At the age of 21, he inherited his family fortune and spent it over six years enjoying life at the centre of Europe's high society. In 1926 he went to Paris to work for Coco Chanel as a textile designer and almost immediately after he joined he redesigned all her personal jewellery, which was a great collection of gifts by her lovers, the Duke of Westminster and the Russian Grand Duke Dmitri amongst others. So Verdura became Chanel's head Jewellery designer for a number of years until he decided to move to New York and start his own business.

The brooch comes up for auction at Christie's New York on december 7th.

VERDURA: a gold scarf necklace

This is a great example of Verdura's work. Extremely delicate craftsmanship and shows how with a great design, a fine jewellery piece can be created without the need of important stones.

The Verdura gold scarf necklace comes up for auction at Christies NY on dec 7th.

A GIULIANO pendant necklace

This is an extremely elegant necklace by Giuliano and a work of art like all his pieces. The golden chain has natural pearls and blue and white enamel pieces. The pendant is a square golden laced piece in red and white enamel with two old cut diamonds and two natural pearls. A piece for connoisseurs.

It is for sale at the Burlington Arcade in London at Richard Odgen.

Click to see full details of this Giuliano necklace

Classics: Here are the Building Blocks of a Jewelry Wardrobe

Good article from the online jeweler magazine...I would add a cocktail ring though

A BOUCHERON art deco ring and brooch aquamarine set

Christie's London does two very different type of auctions, one every month in South Kensington for average budget pieces and two or three a year in King Street which tends to focus more on the upper side of the market. These two art deco pieces by Boucheron belong to the second category. Finding Boucheron art deco examples is not very common but when the piece incorporates aquamarines (a stone that was not the  most popular one during the art deco period) they become something special, even rare.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The CARTIER book club

A CARTIER Art Deco exceptional diamond necklace

Photo by Bonhams
This is a very fine example of the purest Art Deco style executed by Cartier during the 1930's. Undoubtedly it will be the top hit at the next Bonhams Auction in Bond Street, London. The necklace contains 37 carats of white diamonds, set in a graduated geometrical design. A classic in terms of design and execution.

The image does no justice to this piece.The stones are very well matched as one should expect of a Cartier piece, specially the large central brilliant cut diamonds are of very fine quality. What makes the piece exceptional though, is the design of the many different motifs that hang articulated around the necklace. A great amount of work has been put in drawing each one of the different geometrical patterns that are executed to perfection.

Paul Fraser Collectibles | The famous and infamous jewellery collections of Henry Philip Hope

Paul Fraser Collectibles | The famous and infamous jewellery collections of Henry Philip Hope

Here is the full story of the HOPE diamond!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The HARRY WINSTON Hope blue diamond has been remounted

The famous 45.5 carat blue diamond that harry Winston gave to the Smithsonian institute has a new setting called "Embracing Hope". It has also been designed and crafted by Harry Winston who has added 350 baguette diamonds (over 100 carat) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of such a snigular gift.

Read the full story

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A TIFFANY 1915 american sapphire and moonstone necklace

There are no better words to describe this piece than a direct quote for the Sotheby's catalogue for the next London sale on December 14th:

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), first exhibited his jewellery at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis in
Missouri, 1904. He only began designing jewellery after the death of his father Charles Tiffany in 1902. His early
collections took inspiration from nature and each jewel was a work of art in themselves, the present necklace is
more stylised and symmetrical with simpler lines. Using platinum for the setting allows for a very delicate piece. The
subtle use of combining moonstones and sapphires was particularly favoured by Tiffany and there are several
examples of jewels created in a similar manner. The sapphires are particularly striking with a distinctive bright
cornflower blue, these are typical of examples those of Montana sapphires. Tiffany, under the guidance of Dr.
George F. Kunz, Tiffany &Co.'s gemmologist, encouraged the use of American gemstones in his jewels, including
tourmalines from Maine, freshwater pearls from Mississippi and in this case sapphires mined from Yogo Gulch,
Montana. Intensive mining began in the 1890s and continued until 1923 when a flood and a possible earthquake
destroyed the mine. His jewels are signed, Louis C.Tiffany or Louis C.Tiffany Artist, after 1907, when the studio
moved address the jewels were stamped Tiffany &Co.

This other example of Louis Comfort Tiffany moonstone necklaces comes up for auction at Sotheby's NY on December 9th.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The CARTIER Tigers: bracelet and brooch

For those who didn't manage to get the Panther from the Duchess of Windsor, here is another great cat by Cartier. This tiger suite is magnificent, and very fashionable too!. The tiger is set in yellow gold with onix and yellow diamonds and two emeralds set as the eyes. There is also the matching brooch difficult to resist to!. These many not be unique aristocratic pieces but they come as a rare opportunity to acquire the finest haute jewellery at a really good value estimate. It will be auctioned at Christie's Milan next November 25th.

Photos by Christies

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A BUCCELATTI diamonds dragon brooch

Magnificent piece by Buccelatti. This Dragon combines coloured and white diamonds with rubies. Extremely beautiful, the piece achieves a sense of movement very unusual in jewellery. This is as close to couture as one can get today apart from a direct commission.

It comes up for auction at Sotheby's New York on December 9th.

A BUCCELATTI sapphire bangle

Buccelatti today continues being a family business run by the son of the founder. The tradition, the design and the quality of craftsmanship remains intact. The pieces have a unique "texture-engraved" style that sets them apart from any other just at first glance. Their hallmarks are one of the oldest in Milan and can be traced back to the 18th century. 

This bangle is a very fine example of one of the best known Buccelatti designs. The diamond lace setting around the sapphires is extremely delicate. It will be sold at the Magnificent Jewels Sotheby's auction in New York on December 9th. 

A BUCCELATTI alternative to Kate Middlenton's ring

Photo by Sothebys

Thanks Prince William!! For having given back to the world the concept that an engagement ring has to be something special instead of the largest diamond that one can afford! This is a great version of a classic cluster ring by Buccelatti featuring an excellent sapphire surrounded by two rows of brilliant cut diamonds.

A KUTCHINSKY cocktail ring

Photo by Bonhams

Extremely original design by Kutchisnky in 1975. This ring of sculptural organic design is executed in such a way that the stones appear really bright and full of light. It comes up for auction at Bonhams London this week with an estimate of £1,500. It is not an important jewel but it is a very fine one and rare survivor of the original Kutchinsky. It is quite a large statement ring, not for everybody's size, but if fits it looks beautiful.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

TIFFANY & Co: Two very rare pieces of art nouveau jewellery

Tiffany & Co is today one of the biggest jewellery firms in the world. It was founded in 1837 in New York as a small shop in Broadway of "curiosities of every description". The founders decision to speculate on diamonds provided the financial means to open several shops in Europe and to hire the best craftsmen. The business flourished and they earned many appointments as jewellers to monarchs both in Europe and Africa. Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder, designed the famous coloured glass lamps that are treasured today by interior collectors. He also experimented with jewellery focusing on the use of enamel and the combination of coloured stones rather than on important diamonds. His pieces were inspired on Impressionism and very few have survived until today.

Sotheby's New York is hosting an auction of the jewellery collection from the Estate of William B. Dietrich  (Philadelphia) which presents two very rare pieces signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. A coloured stone pendant-necklace set in an original gold and enamel chain of art nouveau design, and an opal, sapphire and garnet brooch that are a true collector's find.

Collecting Vintage and Contemporary Jewelry: Anne Hathaway on the Cover of Vogue

Collecting Vintage and Contemporary Jewelry: Anne Hathaway on the Cover of Vogue: "To me, Anne Hathaway has always had a nostalgic look about her, but never more so than in her photos from the cover of the November issue of Vogue..."

The CARTIER Panther bracelet from the Duchess of Windsor

I love Cartier panthers (who doesn't). This one is a great piece, yet not one of the best ones that Cartier has ever made. It is a onix and diamond fully articulated bracelet that wraps around the wrist in a magnificent way. Yet what makes this piece special, and has multiplied by ten times the estimate from the true value of the piece, is that it also belonged to the Duchess of Windsor. This one was not a gift from the Duke, it was purchased by herself which gives an idea of how modern this woman was for her time. It comes up for auction at Sotheby's London on november 30th together with the Flamingo brooch and some other not remarkable memorabilia. The estimate is £1M to £1,5M.

Photos by Sothebys

The CARTIER Flamingo Brooch from the Duchess of Windsor

This piece has everything!. Acquired form Cartier (signed Monture Cartier, designed by Peter Lemarchand) by the Duchess of Windsor this is a truly unique brooch. Not only for its perfect craftsmanship and live stones or its original design but also for its history. The Duchess of Windsor was the american socialite Wallis Simpson and her marriage to Edward VIII forced him to abdicate the British Throne 75 years ago. The Duchess provided the stones for this brooch from her own jewellery collection, Cartier then made this design specially for her. The first recorded time when she displayed the jewel was on her arrival with the duke to the Ritz Hotel in Madrid for the Duke's forty-six birthday on 23rd of June 1940.

The story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor has fascinated the world over decades and it will be recorded in history as one of the greatest love stories of all times. Many believe that jewels carry their previous owners Karma, who wouldn't want to have this one?

It comes up for auction at Sotheby's London on november 30th, estimate is £1M to £1.5M!

Photos by Sothebys

KUTCHINSKY gold and diamond watch by Jaeger LeCoultre

Photo by Bonhams
Coming up for auction at Bonhams this week. This is a fine Jaeger LeCoultre 1950's retro watch designed by Kutchinsky. It is a delicate gold bracelet and the watch dial is hidden underneath a gold and diamond leaf that wraps around the net. It belongs to a time when it was not elegant for a lady to use a wrist watch when dressing up. Yet this piece can be terribly fashionable today with the right lay-like outfit; indeed a very good alternative to the bold golden male Rolex that Victoria Beckam wears lately!.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A BOUCHERON mandarin garnet ring

Not all the old masters brands have survived until today maintaining the same standard of quality and specially of design. This is a very special modern piece by Boucheron. It is a ring of unique design that features a magnificent stone: a 28 carat mandarin garnet, extremely rare and beautiful for the intensity of its colour.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A pendant/brooch by VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

This is a great and very fashionable brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels from the 1940s. One can just imagine how trendy it can look today hanging on bold gold necklace, just the statement jewellery of the season!.

It is also a really good example of Van Cleef's signature elements: the mystery set sapphires and the star set diamonds in a hexagonal design.

Lot withdrawn from Christie's Geneva

An important Art Deco sautoir by CARTIER

Photo by Christies
This great piece comes up for sale at Geneva's Christies auction. A pure Art Deco example but rare for the uncommon display of such large diamonds in this period. It is a very important piece by Cartier that goes beyond a particular style for its magnificence.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A mystery set brooch by VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

Van Cleef & Arpels is renowned for developing the "mystery set" technique, which allows to mount stones in such a way that no links are noticed. This requires expert craftsmanship and it is still the trademark of the   firm.

Classic rope design by VERDURA

Fulco Verdura was an italian aristocrat that designed pieces for Coco Chanel jewellery range at her Paris atelier. He moved to New York where he opened his own business in a very personal way; he only designed and manufactured pieces for the people he liked. He focused on design rather than on showing expensive stones, yet his pieces are always exuberant. Today one can still have the experience of exclusivity in the personal way that he lived and sold his creations by visiting a recreation of his apartment in the 12th floor of a magnificent New York skyscraper at 745, 5th Avenue.

A DALI pair of earrings

The spanish genius devoted himself not only to painting. Salvador Dali's sculptures are well known but here is a bit more rare example of his dexterity in a pair of earrings. The piece captures completely the style, the dreamlike atmosphere and the surreal universe that earned Dali a place in the history of art. They look quite unusual for a pair of earrings but actually the work very well and the arrangement of the stones displayed is exquisite and harmonious. A treasure for a collector.


If I had to have chosen a piece at today's Sotheby's auction at Geneva for its rarity, it would have actually not been the pink diamond, it would have been this one: a much more simple looking old cut 6 carat stone. But it happens to be also a Type lla diamond that is likely to come form the Golconda region in India. It is like having a piece of an legend and can even imagine it bestowing some kind of magical powers...

I quote below the description of the Sotheby's catalogue in awe to them having found such an extremely unique piece:

The Old Mine brilliant-cut diamond weighing 6.13 carats, simply mounted in platinum, size 51½.

600,000—900,000 CHF
Lot Sold.  Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium:  962,500 CHF

Accompanied by GIA report no. 6127143123 and by Gübelin report no. 1007083, stating that the diamond is D Colour, Internally Flawless. Together with GIA diamond type classification report and Gübelin note stating that the stone is a Type IIa diamond. Further accompanied by Gübelin appendix stating that: Diamonds of this type, exhibiting an antique cutting style as well as superior quality, are very rare and will most certainly evoke references to the historic term of 'Golconda'.

'Golconda' is a name steeped in the annals of diamond lore. The name of a now ruined fortress which originally served as a commercial trading centre, some days distant from the historic Indian mines of Ramalakota, Kollur and Soumelpour. The term 'Golconda' has now survived to describe the historic diamonds peculiar to India of great limpidity and purity. These diamonds are from the famed 'First water' mines, which produced the world's most spectacular diamonds, such as The Koh-I-Noor, The Hope and The Agra. This beautiful stone, with its appealing antique cut, is a member of the rare Type IIa group of diamonds known for their extreme purity, qualities compared so often throughout history to pure crystallized water. Scientifically this purity is due to the absence of nitrogen, producing stones often said to be beyond white.
In our opinion, this present gemstone may well be part of the highly desirable group of surviving diamonds which were mined in the Golconda region up to the beginning of the XVIIIth century.

And the pink diamond goes for...$45 million!

Record price ever paid for a diamond at an auction!. We were anticipating the high end of the estimate band but it has ended up being short by $10 million!. Clearly there is no recession for the best quality and unique pieces. The stone weights c. 25 carat, so the value per carat (and we know this is in no way the correct approach to value such a piece) has almost reached $2 million per carat, another record in itself!.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

FOUQUET Art Nouveau

Fouquet and Lalique were the masters of Art Nouveau. This pendant is a fine example of the style he introduced as a complete breakthrough after Belle Epoque. An organic design with different opal stones that create an almost translucent effect. An extremely delicate and elegant piece which could be the ideal starting point of a XX century collection.

This piece is for sale at Hancocks, London.

A CARTIER tutti frutti

Photo by Hancocks

An absolute masterpiece, a Cartier 1928 tutti frutti bracelet!. Platinum, diamonds and carved sapphires, emeralds and rubies and an onix clasp. A pure example of the Art Deco tutti frutti style in which Cartier excelled. This piece is exceptional not only for its beauty but specially for the difficulty of its craftsmanship.

This piece is for sale at Hancocks, London.


Just yesterday talking about this season trend of statement fancy jewellery when i got this morning this newsletter from net-a-porter. A said, whilst nice styling, I would still much rather focus on getting ONE fine piece of jewellery. A unique fine jewel has a personalised elegance that the trendiest high street cannot match.