Bonhams' Melbourne auction will reveal an extraordinary private collection of white diamonds, which have been in safe-keeping since the 1940s. They will be sold as part of a deceased estate.
The jewels and loose diamonds offered were inherited by the late Georgette Jacobson (née Van Soom) from her father, Belgian diamond cutter Karel Van Soom, who began his career as a diamond cutter in Antwerp during the early 1920s.
In 1929, when a number of diamond cutting workshops were being established in South Africa by De Beers and other independent companies, Karel moved to Capetown, South Africa and established 'K Van Soom Diamond Cutting Works' at Nerita House, Buitenkant Street.
In 1947, he was chosen as one of the cutters commissioned to prepare a gift from the Union of South Africa to the British Royal Family for their visit to South Africa in 1947. According to the Diamond Fields Advertiser of April 21, 1947, this included 'a single stone, a most beautiful marquis weighing 8.55 carats...and a collection of 500 jewels', believed by Georgette's family, to be the diamond cut by Karel and gifted to the late Queen Mother.
Karel continued to work as a cutter and polisher for Albert Diamond Cutting until his retirement in the 1960s. The family immigrated to Australia in the 1980s.
The collection features twenty-three diamonds, some offered mounted in jewellery, others loose, ranging in size from just under 1 carat to over 5 carats. The overriding feature of the collection being the exceptional quality of the stones reflected in their highly graded colour and clarity. Included in the highlights are six diamonds weighing between 4.01 and 5.42 carats, with certified colour ranges from D to G colour.
The collection includes a potentially flawless, 4.18 carat, D colour marquise-cut diamond brooch, circa 1950, carrying an estimate of AUD$80,000-100,000. Two further outstanding pieces are a 5.42 carat, round brilliant-cut, and a 4.85 carat rectangular-cut diamond, both graded as F colour, VVS2 clarity, estimated at $AUD180,000-220,000 and AUD$90,000-120,000.
The collection has been exhibited at Bonhams international salerooms including Hong Kong, where demand from Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese jewellery collectors continues to grow for high colour diamonds, and unique coloured stones.
From another estate, is an Art Deco ruby and diamond ring. The 1.91 carat ruby of Burmese origin, and highly sought-after natural 'Pigeon's Blood' hue, is believed to be an early 19th century cut and comes with interesting provenance. By repute, the stone was gifted to the owner's family by a Maharajah in India during the 1800s. The ring is offered at an estimate of AUD$20,000-30,000.
Commenting on the sale of this collection, Anellie Manolas, Specialist in Charge of Jewellery for Bonhams, Australia, said: 'We are delighted to offer such an important private collection of loose diamonds and diamond jewellery. Genuine estate offerings at auction of diamonds of significant size and exceptional quality are rare in Australia particularly, in such quantity.'
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