Results of Sotheby’s Fine Jewels, London July 13th 2011

Sotheby's summer sale of fine jewels features a range of interesting and even eccentric jewels - from the grand diamond tiara from a Ducal house (SOLD FOR £277,250) to a delicate, lifelike René Lalique anemone brooch (SOLD FOR £94,850).

Lot 287. Property of Ducal House. Diamond Tiara. 1920's. Estimate £35,000-£55,000

Sotheby's summer sale of fine jewels features a range of interesting and even eccentric jewels - from the grand diamond tiara from a Ducal house (SOLD FOR £277,250) to a delicate, lifelike René Lalique anemone brooch (SOLD FOR £94,850). The Summer sale of Fine Jewels will be held in London on 13th July 2011 at Sotheby's. The first lot to catch our eye at the viewing of this sale is lot 15 (est £5,200 - £5,800) SOLD FOR £7,5000, a charming little diamond and gold lyre brooch about one inch in diameter. It is a mid -nineteenth century piece and the stones are very clean for that period. In this era diamonds were cut mainly for weight rather than clarity and that is why often you see much more included stones. It was not until 1870 that the diamond mines in South Africa were discovered. It is always nice to see that the stones have not been replaced in an antique jewel. The attention to detail is superb, the strings of the lyre are grooved all the way around and the chased laurel leaves are in green gold. Lot 24 (est £3,000-£5,000) SOLD FOR £3,750 is an exquisite example of micro mosaic. It is a bracelet made up of four main plaques depicting images of historic Rome. Each of these is joined together by some beautiful oval micro mosaic plaques depicting nature. The art of micro mosaic is so meticulous and a fantastic exhibition of delicate craftsmanship. These plaques have such fine detail that to the naked eye it looks just like a painting. It is only when you view it through a jewellers' loupe that you can see the tessaes (little tiles) that are a bit like the pixels in a digital photograph. The higher the quality, the more tessaes per square centimeter. To fully understand the superiority of this bracelet you can compare this with lot 21SOLD FOR £3,750 which you can see is much cruder in comparison. Lot 54 (est £10,000-£15,000) SOLD FOR £94,850 is a stunning gold and enamel René Lalique brooch circa 1900. Every time a Lalique piece comes onto the market it is exciting as every single one of his pieces is one of a kind and unique in its own right. The green plique-a-jour and translucent opalescent enamel folding leaves are beautifully enveloping the frosted moulded glass flowers. The blue centers of the flowers are reminiscent of the poppy seeds that he also created. It was in the late 1890's that Lalique began to incorporate the moulded glass motifs into his enamel work. As always with his pieces, the attention to detail on the back is wonderful.  Lalique was very inspired by the art of Japan that was opened up to the West in 1853 and subsequently influenced European and American jewellery. In Japan they did not wear jewellery but instead adorned themselves by wearing hairclips and 'netsuke's', which hung on the end of the ropes of their kimonos. These would have been viewed from all angles and there was therefore not really a front or back, this aspect particularly influenced Lalique. Lot 128 (est £3,500-£5,200) SOLD FOR £6,875 is an abstract brooch. It is interesting because it is signed Afro and Masenza. This is because Mario Masenza, who owned a shop in Rome, invited painters and sculptors to use his goldsmithing workshop. It was the 1940's that his shop became a meeting spot for collectors and artists. The shop was held in great prestige as it Masenza supplied the Italian Royal Family.  The other signature is of Afro Libio Basaldella, who was an artist who was invited by Masenza to dedicate himself to gold jewellery. This lot is one of the results of this collaboration. The gems and diamonds which are set in gold combine with a branch of coral to form a sculptural abstract fish. Lot 51(est £6,000-£8,000) SOLD FOR £16,250 is a really stunning cigarette case by Van Cleef & Arpels. It feels so solid and well made to hold. Despite the delicate looking millegrain set diamonds and synthetic sapphire side pierced details, it still feels sturdy. The royal blue enamel work is beautiful, and this photo really does not do it justice. It looks flat in the photo when in reality the royal blue is a very vibrant colour. The inside is just as lovely, there is a  Vesta case (for matches, with a strike area) and a lovely cut-out strip of gold to hold cigarettes. Easily the most stunning lot in this sale is lot 287 (est £35,000-£55,000). SOLD FOR £277,250 This is a magnificent platinum and diamond halo tiara, 1920's. A Halo tiara is a tiara that sits high-up on your head. Platinum is an incredibly strong metal and needs a high melting point to be worked with.  This is a fabulous example of how platinum can be used to achieve such an extremely delicate look, which could not have been created using silver for instance as you would have to use too much of the metal to hold the diamonds in place. You can see the typically platinum 'knifewire' edges used here, joining the lace-like diamond work together. The tiara is very light to hold and the diamond in the middle is a truly beautiful stone, it is incredibly bright. There are two things which make this lot particularly special. One of these is a beautiful slide action that allows each of the diamond panels to move smoothly in both directions. This results in a very graceful articulation. When you look at the back of the tiara it is very clean and the movement is very fine. The other thing that makes it so amazing is the fact that it can also be a collier de chien. Some tiara's can also be worn as a necklace but we have never come across one that can also be a collier de chien - or dog collar-style choker. For the full results, click here. ALL SOLD PRICES INCLUDE BUYERS' PREMIUM


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