Results of Sotheby's Important Jewels Sale NY, 20th September

Here are our top picks for the 'Important Jewels' Sotheby's New York sale on September 20th.

September 15, 2011

Here are our top picks for the 'Important Jewels' Sotheby's New York sale on September 20th. After the usual August summer break when the auction world is 'shut down' for a month, it will be interesting to see how the initial sales do after the holiday period and how prices are reflected. Buyers have had a break and time to reflect that in this economic climate tangible assets such as good quality jewellery is an appealing investment. Hopefully, they will return to the sales rooms revitalized and view these jewels with a fresh eye. We kick off the upcoming year with some really cracking sales; very strong in their content and bursting with some stunning lots. We have chosen some of the more unusual and unique pieces and the big single stones that we often see in these sales, which can have some interesting stories behind them. Where better to start than at lot 536, an iconic Cartier 'Tutti Frutti' bracelet c1928, estimated at $200,000-$300,000. As always with Cartier this bracelet is stunningly craftedand made of carved sapphires, rubies and emeralds, set in platinum and enhanced with old European-cut and single-cut diamonds and black enamel. The main part of the bracelet is beautifully articulated and the jewelled band is supple on the wrist. The clasp of is set with diamonds on geometric black enamel. Jacque Cartier first travelled to India in 1911. Having seen the maharaja's carved emeralds he was struck by the Indian tradition of carving and engraving colored gems, and this was what inspired his designs of the flamboyant pieces that became known as the 'Tutti Frutti' jewels. Lot 533 is a platinum and diamond pendant necklace estimated at $500,000-$700,000. On a platinum chain hang a 0.10 carat and a 0.92 carat near colorless diamonds, culminating in a 2.95 carat fancy intense blue diamond, which is the real focus of this lot. It is crucial that these high profile stones have a gemological certificate stating their carat weight and colour, and whether their colour is natural. This information is vital to their price and value as it is much rarer and more special to have a natural colored gemstone. It is the saturation and intensity that determines a colored diamond. The colour of a blue diamond is totally unique, always containing a little bit of grey and no other blue gem could be confused with a blue diamond. It will be interesting to compare the sale of this to the blue diamond Bulgari ring in the Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale on 21st September. In lot 338, estimated at $80,000-$120,000 we see some beautiful Burmese rubies. It is always so special to have unheated stones and see their natural colour and it is important to have the certificates to show this. Rubies, especially unheated ones, are fetching huge amounts of money at the moment so it will be interesting to see what this goes for. This is dated c1875 and this is evident due to the slightly 'lumpy' setting of the stones. Platinum was not used in jewellery until about 1900. Platinum allows much finer setting and so the appearance of these heavily set stones is indicative of jewellery pre-1900. This comes with a fitted box, which adds to its appeal. All jewels would have had a box made for them, so it is possible to see from the box whether the necklace is in its original state, whether it has been tampered with and shortened or lengthened, or if it was part of set with say earrings to match. An interesting combination of materials is present in lot 82, estimated at $8,000-$12,000. These floral earclips and ring are made of the more traditional gold and diamonds but it is the use of titanium and tanzanite that really catches our eye. The petals are 'anodized purple titanium'. Anodized titanium is the process of which a coating is built up onto the metal by electrolytic means. The colour achieved in anodizing is dependent on the wavelength of light passing through the oxide layer and reflecting off the metal itself. Titanium is very much a material of the 1960's. It is not possible to solder titanium so the jeweler has to manipulate it in other ways. Tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery, first found in the Mererani Hills of Northern Tanzania in 1967. Tanzanite is a reddish brown colour in its rough form and needs to be heated to 600 degrees to bring out the blue-violet colour of the stone. It is a relatively soft stone and is therefore usually used for earrings and necklaces, but it is worth noting the design of the ring as often with softer stones the form of the design will be catered to protect the stone. The tanzanites stones in this lot collectively weigh 20.90 carats. A necklace very appropriate for this time of year is lot 245, estimated $6,000-$8,000. These beautiful autumnal stylized leaves are created from yellow, red and green gold as well as copper. Precious metals need alloys to enable them to be used for jewellery as they are too soft in their purest form, the carat number refers to the gold content of the alloy. This is 14 carat gold which means that it is 58.5% pure gold (585 parts per thousand parts). It is the alloy metals that give the gold its varying colours and very much depends on the proportions used. For example copper can be used to make yellow and red (also known as rose) gold. For white gold palladium, nickel and silver can be used. Green gold is made also with silver. Angela Cummings was trained in Perugia in Italy and in Hanau in West Germany. She joined Tiffany & Co in 1967 and later in her career established Angela Cummings Inc, in 1984. She was known predominantly for working in 18 karat gold, as well as platinum and silver. Her inspiration often came from nature which correlates with the fact that she was recognized for mixing traditional jewellery materials with unconventional substances such as wood. We can see in the beautiful oak type leaves that the technique of oxidation has been used on the copper to create an expressive visual impact. Lots 246, 247 and 285 are all by Marilyn Cooperman, their varying estimates between $5,000 and $12,000. These jumped out at us as they are very distinctive and unique in their style. The combination of colours is very subtle and earthy, even though there is a range of pinks and oranges and greens. Lots 246 and 247 are bombé set andalusites, citrines with tourmalines in lot 247 and topaz in lot 246. Cooperman's work is very three dimensional and the pieces are jeweled concave shaped nuggets. All the different cut gems have been carefully arranged to fit around each other and a great deal of attention has been paid to the design of each earclip. In lot 285 a polished gold rub-over setting has been used to set the near colorless diamonds, which makes the overall affect much brighter from the other two lots. It adds even more three dimensionality to the earrings as the gold (which will not tarnish) really stands out from the brown hues of diamonds set in the tarnished silver. This is a fine example of how the metal properties play such a role in the design of jewellery.

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