A head of the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale on 13 November, Sotheby's global team of jewelry specialists has gathered a selection of extraordinary jewels which tell the story of jewelry design through the 20th century. The autumn selection will showcase emblematic designs from the seminal period of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as more contemporary pieces, bringing jewelry design up to the present day.
Speaking ahead of the sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, said, “This season’s auction will offer a walk-through of the most important themes of 20th century jewelry. There are exquisite Cartier pieces from the Art Deco era - a period which we have seen time and again holds special appeal for collectors from New York to Paris to Shanghai - including the Burmese cabochon sapphire bracelet, which is a stunning and timeless 1920s design. Emblematic pieces from the ensuing decades, created by master jewelers including Harry Winston, Bulgari and JAR, bring to life key moments in modern jewelry design.”
Treasures From An Important Asian-American Collection
Of particular note this November, the auction will offer a selection of extraordinary Art Deco pieces emblematic of this highly sought-after era, widely recognised as the ‘Golden Era’ of jewelry creation. These include jewels from an important Asian-American collector who, over the course of five decades, acquired important pieces from top jewelry houses, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and ‘the King of Diamonds’, Harry Winston. The group is led by a breath-taking Art Deco bracelet made by Cartier in 1927, set with a sensational Burmese cabochon sapphire weighing 46.07 carats, flanked by two pear-shaped D Colour diamonds weighing 8.60 and 9.27 carats respectively.
From the same collection, an exquisite sapphire and diamond clip brooch by Cartier from 1937 offers a fascinating insight into the jewelry house’s design evolution during this key era; as the house sought out cleaner lines and more architectural shapes suited to the machine age, figurative motifs such as the fan took on an increasingly abstract geometry.
1920s and 1930s Glamour
Known for emblematic designs, avant-garde materials and glamorous commissions, the 1920s and 1930s continue their prominence in the world of auctions. Further highlights in the November auction include an elegant diamond tiara made by Cartier in the 1930s, from the collection of philanthropist and banker, Sir John Smith and his wife.
Channelling the spirit of the bold, forward-thinking 20s, is a stunning diamond and rock crystal sautoir made by Chaumet in 1929, which was featured in this summer’s “Chaumet in Majesty” exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
And finally, a fabulous emerald and diamond pendant/brooch combination, created by Cartier in 1927 uses extraordinary cabochon emeralds from Colombia. The juxtaposition of organically-shaped precious stones – the top emerald is carved into the shape of a flower - with calibre-cut diamonds in the more geometric setting is a triumph of 1920s design. The jewel is illustrated as part of a long sautoir in Hans Nadelhoffer’s seminal 1984 book about Cartier.
Bold Is Beautiful: The 1970s
This stunning pair of Colombian emerald and diamond earrings by Harry Winston is very evocative of the bold and beautiful jewels of the 1970s. The earrings are set with cabochon emeralds weighing 11.33 and 11.94 carats respectively and detachable emerald drops weighing 21.64 and 22.29 carats respectively.
This emerald and diamond necklace by Cartier features exquisite Colombian emeralds, the most sought-after in terms of their geographic origin.
A striking and richly decorative sapphire and diamond necklace by Bulgari offers an insight into the eye-catching designs of the Italian jewelry house, which thrived during the 1970s. The necklace was formerly in the collection of Faith Domergue, the American actress and contemporary of Marilyn Monroe, perhaps best known as a “scream queen” for her early appearances in science fiction and horror pictures of the 1950s.
Cutting Edge Contemporary: Jewels & Gemstones
Exceptional contemporary jewels complete the picture, demonstrating the continuing mastery and creativity of modern-day diamond cutters and master jewelers.
Widely recognised as one of the most talented jewelers of his generation, Joel Arthur Rosenthal’s creations – under the name JAR – frequently command strong prices at auction thanks to their unique design and extraordinary workmanship. This pair of amethyst, Ceylon sapphire and diamond ear clips perfectly illustrate his unique talent.
Meanwhile this captivating ring created by Cartier is set with an emerald from Colombia weighing 9.39 carats, and a selection of rare and top-quality diamonds and precious stones in the November sale includes a stunning Fancy Vivid Blue diamond weighing 3.03 carats and a Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond weighing 6.03 carats.