Lot 422
  • 422

Palladium, Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, Raymond Yard

75,000 - 100,000 USD
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  • Raymond Yard
  • palladium, sapphire, diamond
Designed as a flowerhead centered by a cushion-cut sapphire weighing 35.54 carats, the petals decorated with old European and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 1.35 carats, signed Yard; circa 1950. With signed box.


In good condition, with minor surface wear commensurate with age. The sapphire is a medium very slightly violetish blue, lightly included. The diamonds are approximately G-H color, predominantly VS clarity. Very well made. The brooch has a sculptural look with a very naturalistic feel, with excellent detailing throughout. Indistinctly numbered underneath the signature on the reverse. Fitted with a clutch on one of the pinstems. Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 54738 stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Illustrations in the catalogue may not be actual size. Prospective purchasers are reminded that, unless the catalogue description specifically states that a stone is natural, we have assumed that some form of treatment may have been used and that such treatment may not be permanent. Our presale estimates reflect this assumption.

Catalogue Note

Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 54738 stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating.

Raymond Yard’s jewelry career began in 1898 when, at the age of 13, he began working for the well-known New York firm of Marcus & Co. By 1922, Yard had acquired sufficient skill, knowledge and clientele to open his own firm. For nearly 40 years, he presided over the firm that bore his name and continues to perpetuate his legacy today. His jewelry epitomized understated elegance and reflected the styles of the times in which it was made. Accordingly, his clientele included many legendary families of the early 20th century, such as the Rockefellers, Fleischmanns and Flaglers. Yard was intimately involved in every piece of jewelry that carried his name and expected perfection in the final product. With such limited production, high-quality groups of pieces by Raymond Yard rarely come up for auction.

Providing a brief survey of Yard’s work, the following bracelets come from one family’s collection. The sapphire and diamond example, conceived around 1930, was one of Yard’s most popular designs. Due to the prohibition of using platinum and the decline in the importation of precious stones brought about by World War II, the moonstone bracelet set in yellow gold exemplifies his work of the 1940s. The ruby and diamond straightline bracelet from the 1950s alludes to his work in the Art Deco period.

Raymond Yard’s jewelry was renowned for its extraordinarily detailed workmanship and use of high-quality stones. The two brooches offered here showcase such work. The floral brooch with its ribbon-like metalwork and sculptural appearance demonstrates Yard’s attention to the jeweler’s craft. At the center is an unheated Burmese sapphire of over 35 carats, a rare stone in its own right made even more spectacular in such a piece of jewelry. The rabbit represents perhaps Yard’s most well-known design. First executed in the late 1920s, the firm’s rabbit brooches were whimsical, charming pieces, in which detail was paramount. This particular piece may have held personal appeal to Raymond Yard himself, as he was an avid fisherman.

 Since first opening its doors in 1922, the firm of Raymond Yard has had an exalted place in jewelry design, making pieces that adorned many of the leading American families. Yard’s work reflected and helped inspire the fashions and styles of the times and continue to inspire today.