An impressive 10.28 carats diamond single-stone ring by Van Cleef & Arpels caught the eyes of buyers around the world as it sold for £311,000 at Bonhams London Fine Jewellery sale this week (27 April 2017).
The E colour marquise-cut diamond, classified as Type IIa, meaning that it has been recognised as the most chemically pure and with exceptional optical transparency, was estimated at £150,000-200,000.
Another diamond which sparkled at the sale was a single stone, 5.01 carats Octagonal Step-Cut Diamond which sold for £81,250.
Diamonds from the 19th century also performed well at the sale with A Diamond Rivière Necklace featuring 45 collet-set cushion-shaped diamonds weighing 43.00 carats in total sold for £115,000 against its pre-sale estimate of £60,000-80,000.
Three very rare and extremely attractive coloured diamonds also became the subject of some fierce bidding in the salesroom. The first an unmounted Fancy Purplish Pink, old brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 0.94 carats went under the hammer for £40,000, three times its pre-sale estimate. The second a Fancy Orangy-Pink pear-shape diamond, weighing 1.93 carats sold to an online bidder for £40,000, also three times its pre-sale estimate. The third a Fancy Intense Yellow-Green pear-shape diamond, weighing 2.37 carats sold for £87,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000.
Art Deco jewellery in high demand
Jewellery from Cartier continues to exceed pre-sale estimates at auction due to its exceptional quality, rarity and a global appreciation of the Art Deco era.
Two notable pieces by Cartier were much admired during the previews in London, Geneva and New York earlier this month.
The first, an elegant Art Deco Diamond Bracelet, designed as a finely pierced articulated strap of geometric motifs, decorated with cushion-shaped old brilliant and single-cut diamonds, dated circa 1925, sold for £50,000, against its pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000.
The second, an Art Deco Diamond Brooch, dated circa 1930, featuring a repeating arabesque design, set throughout with bullet-shape, old brilliant, baguette and single-cut diamonds, sold for £22,500, against its pre-sale estimate of £10,000-15,000.
Strong appetite for signed jewellery
Signed jewellery from the world's most famous houses continues to be extremely desirable to buyers and collectors across the world. Key pieces which performed well during the sale included:
A highly desirable Diamond 'Fuchsia' brooch and earring suite by Van Cleef & Arpels. The diamond suite, consisting of 27.05 carats, was much admired during the pre-sale previews, appealing to collectors of period Van Cleef & Arpels given the small quantities made. It went under the hammer for £87,500.
An enamel and diamond 'Serpenti' bracelet-watch by Bulgari, circa 1965-70, sold for £68,750 against its estimate of £50,000-60,000. Iconic in its design, this is a rare surviving example of the famed Bulgari Serpenti bracelet watch. The highly articulated bracelet is composed of a series of overlapping scales applied with orangy-yellow and red enamel. The serpent's head features a forked tongue and marquise-cut diamond eyes, its mouth opens to reveal a circular watch dial signed Vacheron Constantin.
Appreciation of spinels continues to soar
One of the most charming stones in Bonhams April sale was An Early 20th century spinel and diamond ring. Dated circa 1915, the step-cut spinel, originating from Burma and weighing 5.30 carats, has no indications of heat treatment and boasts exceptional transparency and intensity of colour. Estimated at £15,000-20,000, it went under the hammer for £65,000, more than four times its estimate.
Jewellery from artists such as Andrew Grima, John Donald and Stuart Devlin continues to gain momentum. These jewellers created jewels where the value lay in their aesthetic composition rather than the carat weight of expensive diamonds and gemstones used. In this particular sale, a number of pieces by Andrew Grima, the Anglo-Italian designer who became known as the doyen of modern jewellery design in Britain, achieved strong prices. These include:
A gold, diamond and fire opal brooch/pendant, 1970. The oval-cut fire opal set amongst an abstract arrangement of textured 18 carat gold cinnamon sticks, with a brilliant-cut diamond accent sold for £8,500 against its estimate of £5,000-7,000.
A rutilated quartz, cultured pearl and diamond torque necklace, 1990. This sold for £11,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £7,000-10,000.
A colour change sapphire and diamond ring, 1977. The sapphire is of Sri Lankan origin and has no indications of heat treatment. It sold for £10,625 against a pre-sale estimate of £5,000-7,000.
The auction, which achieved £2,814,000 with 80 per cent of lots sold by value, was Bonhams London's first Fine Jewellery sale of 2017.
Jean Ghika, Head of Jewellery for Bonhams UK & Europe, says: "It is encouraging to see such strong prices achieved at our first auction of 2017. There is an increasing appetite from our clients globally for the finest examples of jewellery, coloured and white diamonds and gemstones, and we expect this to gain further momentum throughout the year."