LONDON - Women in the 1920s loved to bedeck themselves with jewels. Long cords of pearls and diamonds would be draped around their necks, a bandeau would be worn in the hair and their arms would be stacked high with bracelets.

The age looked toward the allure and exoticism of the East with stark bold colours and geometric forms, a style beautifully brought together by this enamel and diamond bracelet by Verger Frères (below). The ability to reverse the bracelet to show either the burnt orange or dark green enamel also captures the air of that fast-paced era, allowing the wearer to change the bracelet throughout the night and into the early hours of the following day.

This was the time of The Great Gatsby and jazz, prohibition and Al Capone, a time when fashionable flappers would spend their evenings partying into the early hours at the hedonistic nightclubs of London, Berlin, Paris and New York.

Why not take inspiration from the women of the 1920s and not only wear statement bracelets, but also statement earrings as well. This is a wonderful pair of pendent earrings, each suspending a fancy dark yellow-brown and fancy dark brown yellow cushion-shaped diamond enhanced by a frame of yellow and near colourless diamonds (below).

This was the time of The Great Gatsby and jazz, prohibition and Al Capone, a time when fashionable flappers would spend their evenings partying into the early hours at the hedonistic nightclubs of London, Berlin, Paris and New York.

Enamel and diamond bracelet, Verger Frères, 1920s. Estimate £20,000–30,000.
Fancy coloured diamond and diamond earrings. Estimate £55,000–75,000.
Onyx, enamel, coral and diamond vanity case, Lacloche Frères, 1920s. Estimate £8,000–12,000.
Fluorite, ivory and agate love bird carving, Cartier, circa 1910. Estimate £8,000–12,000.

Women bobbed their hair, wore cloche hats and hiked up their skirts. The ubiquitous vanity case was the must-have accessory, in this instance taking design inspiration from the Modernist movement with stark geometric forms. These stunning cases appeal not only to the collector, but to anyone with an eye for style and a taste for the glittering period that produced them. It would make a wonderful accompaniment to an intriguingly named cocktail from the era – perhaps an Angel’s Wing or a Bentley in the bar at Claridges?

For something slightly more unusual there’s this beautiful sculpture by Cartier from the early 20th century (above). Depicting two carved fluorite lovebirds on a branch, this piece was inspired by the fine hard stone carvings, which were popular in Russia at this time. The carvings were popular and were produced well into the 1920s and the lovebird motif was used by Cartier throughout the early 20th century.


Jessica Wyndham is a specialist in the Jewellery department, Sotheby’s London.

Fine Jewels
Exhibition 13–15 July
Auction 16 July, London
+44 (0)20 7293 6409

珍貴珠寶

16 July 2014 | London