NEW YORK - As the crisp days of early autumn signal the end of summer, we prepare ourselves for falling leaves, shorter days and the inevitable retreat indoors. For the lover of jewelry, however, this is the time for rebirth. Into the closets go wispy fabrics splashed with vibrant colors and playful prints. To the back of jewelry boxes go the demure jewels that sparkled on sun-kissed skin. Let’s trumpet the return of serious, bold jewelry.


Stern/Vogue;©Condé Nast.

Never for the faint of heart, but always for the lighthearted, the ‘Oiseau de Paradis’ brooch by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. (Estimate $150,000—250,000, lot 425 in the 23 September Important Jewels sale at Sotheby’s New York) is a perfect example of the commanding presence that fall fashions are able to support. From the polished gold beak and swirled plumage atop its swiveling head, to the rainbow of colored stones employed in its torso and tail feathers, the realism – and surrealism – of Schlumberger’s design is playfully illustrated in a Bert Stern photograph featured in the November 1963 issue of Vogue. By showcasing the Oiseau de Paradis’ as a form of sculpture delicately placed on the hand of a model (adorned with her own emerald-hued plumage), rather than capturing it on the shoulder of a coat or bodice of a gown, Stern encapsulates Schlumberger’s ability to combine the worlds of bijou and objet.

As the crisp days of early autumn signal the end of summer, we prepare ourselves for falling leaves, shorter days and the inevitable retreat indoors. For the lover of jewelry, however, this is the time for rebirth.

oiseau-combo(left) 18 Karat Gold Evening Bag, Anndra Neen. Estimate $20,000—30,000 (center) 18 Karat Gold and Diamond Bracelet, Bulgari. Estimate $10,000—15,000. (right) 18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Star Sapphire and Diamond Ring, Verdura. Estimate $30,000—40,000.

Sharing Schlumberger’s predilection for design over simple practicality is a gold evening bag by Anndra Neen (lot 340). Created by designer-artist duo Annette and Phoebe Stephens, the piece reflects a playful approach, proving that women, while not wanting to live in gilded cages, are happy to carry them. Similar to the ‘Oiseau de Paradis,’ its bold style demands attention and is not for the timid. Using the ‘more is more’ mentality of the fall, the evening bag inspires the layering on of gold and diamond bracelets by makers including Bulgari (lot 204) and Van Cleef & Arpels (lot 85) and the flaunting of bold cocktail rings such as the Verdura design from the Collection of Danielle Steel (lot 83) centering a star sapphire weighing approximately 60.00 carats.

oiseau-combo-3(left) Pair of 18 Karat Gold and Citrine Earclips, Verdura. Estimate $10,000—15,000. (right) Gold and Citrine Ring, René Boivin. Estimate $5,000—7,000.

As large-scale jewels are featured in fashion’s legendary September issues, classic fall trends are also well represented in Sotheby’s Important Jewels catalogue. Layered looks can be created from a selection of Van Cleef & Arpels ‘Alhambra’ longchains (lots 295, 296 and 300). With the potential to be worn in a variety of lengths and combinations, these iconic necklaces lend interest to the simplest of fall ensembles. Similarly, the autumnal hues of citrine as found in a pair of swirling floral earclips by Verdura (lot 281) and a sleek geometric ring by René Boivin (lot 279) add a touch of warmth to a chill September evening.

So let go of summer. Alleviate the loss of slow sunsets and sandy floorboards with the salve of Cartier, Lacloche and Tiffany. And say hello to the season of our content.

Lead image: Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Colored Stone and Diamond 'Oiseau de Paradis' Brooch, Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., France. Estimate $150,000–250,000.

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23 September 2014 | New York