NEW YORK — On May 23, Bonhams will host its inaugural Gems, Minerals and Lapidary Works of Art auction—the first auction of its type ever to be conducted by an international auctioneer. Over the past several years, Bonhams gemologist and co-consulting Director of the Natural History Department, Claudia Florian, has seen a need for such a specialised auction increase. States Florian, "in recent years we have seen a watershed phenomenon of baby boomers inheriting a great number of gemstones which they desire to dispose of yet have few outlets to do so......there is an increasing demand for an auction in this niche field, and the quantity of property consigned recently was so abundant that it warranted its own auction separate from our regular Natural History auctions. Much of the auction is to be offered without reserve. Experienced and new collectors are invited to preview the sale in Bonhams' New York galleries starting Saturday, May 19th or online, where one will find many enticing additions to their collections.
At the core of this auction are two large liquidation properties, the first of which was consigned by recently retired jeweller, Robert Wander which consists of gemstones he purchased over three decades but never had the opportunity to use in his designs. Well known for his lines of jewellery carried by Neiman Marcus, particularly in Texas, he marketed his designs under the aegis of his company, Winc Creations and was particularly well-known for his branded line known as the "Crystal Candy" collection. Selecting gemstones which had some natural imperfections, but strong colour, he had them cut in a style known as "mirror-faceting" incorporating a large table facet and virtually no crown facets, easily allowing a view into the interior of the gemstone. These allowed Wander to create one-of-a-kind pieces which embraced the individual beautiful imperfections of the natural stone.
The second collection of gemstones, comprising over 60 lots of the auction, is property de-accessioned by a London dealer who had a fifty-year career who specialised in the sale of fine quality rubies, sapphires and spinels. Sold as parcels sorted by size, they can be used as side or accent stones or in pavé settings and will attract designers and jewellers alike because of their beauty and enticing prices. Both of these collections are to be sold without reserve to the highest bidders.
Another section in the sale is the impressive "100 Carats Club." Stones in this section of the auction are ones that may be too big to mount in jewellery but certainly attract attention as cabinet specimens. Citrines, smoky quartzes, aquamarines, a 250 carats grape-purple amethyst, a stunning 1,300 carats blue topaz and an exceptional, world-class peridot of 232 carats—which is still of the size that could be mounted as a pendant—are among the many stones which are featured.
Rare natural pearls compose another part of the auction. Highlighting the group are brilliant orange Melo pearls from the coastal waters of Vietnam, bright pink Conch pearls from the Caribbean, as well as a very rare, white tear drop-shaped pearl from the Giant Clam shell known as Tridacna gigas.
Gemstones that possess an optical phenomenon, such as a cat's eye, star, opalescence or colour change, comprise another part of the auction.
Also included in the sale are mineral cabinet specimens that range in size from thumbnail to room-sized display pieces, lapidary works of art with highlights from German artist Gerd Dreher and decorative items such as intarsia and pietra dura table tops as well as bowls and boxes.
Julie Saunders Guinta email@example.com (917) 206-1681
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com