Emeralds of exceptional quality caught buyers’ interest at Bonhams London Jewels sale this week (24 September 2019).

The top performing lot in the sale was An Emerald and Diamond Bracelet by Graff.   This became the subject of a spirited bidding war between buyers from all over the world and eventually sold to a private buyer for £603,062 ($749,847), far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £100,000-150,000 (US$120,000-180,000).

The elegant bracelet – which features 13 step-cut Colombian emeralds – the largest weighing 2.56 carats – is interspersed with an equal number of step-cut diamonds and is of superb quality.

Emily Barber, Director of Jewellery at Bonhams UK, said: “The emeralds in this classic and elegantly designed bracelet are of superlative quality. They have a rich vivid true green colour and crystalline transparency.   To amass this number of emeralds that are so well matched in terms of colour, quality and size would have been a painstaking and expensive selection process and encapsulates Graff’s commitment to using only the very best quality stones.”

Staying with emeralds, another lot which captured a great deal of global media interest in the run up to the sale due to its rarity and enviable provenance, was also the subject of a fierce bidding war at the sale.  The Art Deco Emerald, Diamond and Enamel Brooch by Hennell, the distinguished British jeweller, dated circa 1925, sold to a private buyer for £150,062 ($186,587) against its pre-sale estimate of £40,000-60,000 (US$49,000-73,000). 

The engraved emerald, dated 1813-14, is thought to have been presented by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II (Reg. 1806-1837) to Lady Mary Hood.

Lady Hood was the inspiration for the character, Ellen Douglas, in Sir Walter Scott’s poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’.

The Mughal octagonal-cut Colombian emerald is engraved with five lines in nasta’liq, interspersed with floral motifs, bearing the name Mary
Hood and the date 1813-14. It is set within an openwork frame of black enamel, brilliant and single-cut diamonds with calibré-cut emerald highlights at each corner, mounted in platinum.

Emily Barber of Bonhams added: “This was the first time the emerald had come to the open market. It had been passed down the female line of the family since Mary Hood’s death and it certainly captured a lot of interest during the sale with bidders from 25 countries. It was a privilege to oversee the sale of such a splendid and historic jewel and with such an impeccable provenance.”

Rubies by Van Cleef & Arpels exceed pre-sale estimates and all sell at Bonhams

A superior collection of “Mystery-Set” jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels which were purchased circa 1990 all went on to find new homes.  The collection sold for a total of £324,060 ($402,938) and included:

  • A ‘Mystery-Set’ Ruby and Diamond Braceletcontaining 177 perfectly matched individual rubies, each meticulously cut and set in seamless channels, creating a bright mosaic of colour, unbroken by any trace of yellow gold.  It sold for £143,812 ($178,816), exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £100,000-150,000 ($120,000-180,000).
  • A Pair of Mystery-Set’ Ruby and Diamond ‘Lampion’ Earrings sold for £77,562 ($96,411), double the pre-sale estimate of £30,000-40,000 ($36,000-49,000).
  • A Ruby and Diamond ‘Bellegarde’ Necklace sold for £42,562 ($52,922). 
  • A ‘Mystery-Set’ Ruby and Diamond Bombé Ring, sold for £32,562 ($40,488), surpassing its pre-sale estimate of£20,000-30,000 ($24,000-36,000)

A ‘Mystery-Set’ Ruby and Diamond ‘Noeud Ruban’ Brooch,sold for £27,562 ($34,271), also exceeding its pre-sale low estimate.

Rare Buccellati Jewels from the Private Collection of the Buccellati Family became a total sell out 

All 20 pieces consigned from the private collection of the Buccellati family went on to be sold at Bonhams this week, with each lot exceeding their pre-sale low estimates.

The jewels, all designed by the great Mario Buccellati, the “Prince of Goldsmiths” himself, date from 1919 to the 1960s.  Sale highlights from the collection included:

  • A Silver, Gold and Emerald Nécessaire by Mario Buccellati, dated circa 1940, sold for £25,062 ($31,162), five times its pre-sale estimate of £5,000-7,000 ($6,100-8500). The nécessaire is engraved with a ‘telato’ woven finish which makes it appear as though made of linen.
  • A Varicoloured Gold and Multi Gem-Set Bangle by Mario Buccellati, circa 1930-1940, sold for £12,562 ($15,620).  The bangle, set with cushion-shaped and circular-cut amethyst and varicoloured tourmalines, features three of the elaborate engraving techniques Buccellati is perhaps best known for: ‘modellato’, ‘rigato’ and ‘ornato’. 
  • A Diamond Bracelet by Mario Buccellati, circa 1925, sold for £23,812 ($29,608), doubling its pre-sale low estimate.  The articulated bracelet is set with rose-cut diamonds on a pierced ground of intricate three-dimensional ‘modellato’ decoration, mounted in silver and gold. 

A ‘Bugnato’ Gold Bangle by Buccellati, 1929, sold for £9,812 ($12,200), far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £2,000-3,000 (US$2,400-3,600).  The wide yellow gold cuff was conceived from Mario Buccellati’s admiration of the ‘bugnato’ or rusticated façade of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

Bonhams Fine Jewels sale summary: In total, 82 per cent of lots sold by value during the three-hour sale.  

A succession of jewellery sales will take place at Bonhams in the next few weeks starting with Bonhams New York Jewels this Thursday (26 September 2019), followed by Knightsbridge Jewels, London on 16 October and 20 November 2019, California Jewels in LA on 12 November 2019 and Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite on 24 November 2019.

Bonhams sells more jewellery lots each year than any other international house and has more dedicated jewellery auctions annually.

Follow Bonhams London Jewels on Instagram on @BonhamsJewels.

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