The 'Banks diamond' pendant/brooch, late 18th century and later
40,000 - 60,000 GBP
The 'Banks diamond' pendant/brooch
late 18th century and later
the centre set with a cushion-shaped yellow diamond in a closed setting, within a brooch of scrolled design set with cushion-shaped diamonds and suspending three pear-shaped diamond pendants, the reverse of the central diamond with a glazed locket containing woven hair, with the initials JSB
Carat weight of yellow diamond unable to gauge as in a closed setting, diameter approximately 11.0 x 10.9mm. Estimated clarity SI2, as graded in the mount. Stone possibly foiled, visible through culet. Untested for natural colour origin. Remaining diamonds in open setting, total carat weight of remaining diamonds approximately 6.00-8.00 carats. Length approximately 45mm. Reverse with later brooch fitting and collapsible pendant bails. Pear-shaped drops previously articulated but have been soldered. Some oxidising to initials and pinpoints to glass. Gross weight approximately 11.5 grams. Overall condition good.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's. We do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the property. We do not guarantee that watches are in working order. 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. Prospective buyers should also refer to refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue, in particular to the Notice regarding the treatment and condition of gemstones.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
According to family tradition the coloured diamond is said to have been acquired by Sarah Sophia Banks (1744-1818). An avid collector, she primarily focused on coins, trinkets, medals, and printed ephemera, creating a vast and historically important collection, of which over 30,000 objects were donated to the British Museum after her death. She was heavily influenced by her brother, the renowned naturalist and explorer, Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who accompanied Captain James Cook on the voyage on HMS Endeavor to the South Seas in 1768-71, and the pair corresponded regularly during his international travels with Sarah Sophia helping to organise his collections upon his return.
Sir Joseph Banks married Dorothea Hugessen (1758-1828) in 1779, and Sarah Sophia was inseparable from the couple, living with them in their house at 32 Soho Square, London for many years. An extract from Sarah’s will conveys this close relationship- “I bequeath to my sister Lady Banks…all my royal presents all my trinkets diamonds seals etc…no two people ever contributed more to the happiness of others than they both have to mine, they are everything to me”, and it is assumed that the lock of hair and initials JSB represent the entwined initials of Joseph and Sarah. The scrolled surround is a later addition made to incorporate the yellow diamond.