Fine Jewels
Online Auction: 28 May–4 June 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London

Fine Jewels 28 May–4 June 2020 • 2:00 PM BST • London

L ondon’s Fine Jewels sale includes an array of stylish pieces dating from the 18th century through to the present day.

Among the highlights are a beautiful ‘garland style’ pearl and diamond devant-de-corsage from circa 1900, a statement pair of nephrite and ruby earrings by early 20th century designer Olga Tritt, and a fittingly cubist tribute to Picasso’s muse Dora Maar by the acclaimed British jewellery designer and sculptor Wendy Ramshaw.

In addition to an 18th-century chrysoberyl demi-parure, a naturalistic Swedish silver ’myrtle’ tiara and an archaeological revival necklace by Tombini, the sale also features classic jewels by notable 20th-century houses such as Buccellati, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as contemporary pieces from James Ganh.

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Understanding Jewellery: Bracelets

Band bracelets were the vogue arm ornament of the early 1920s. Usually designed as chains of narrow, articulated, geometrical plaques and links, or set with courses of gemstones of contrasting colours, they became, in the mid-1920s, wider, flexible, gem-set bands.

The geometrical style of the 1920s well suited the linear shape of these bracelets. Zigzags, triangles, concentric squares, stylised buckles, chevrons and chequered patterns, stylised leaves and flowers pierced in platinum and pavé-set with diamond and multicoloured gemstones of all shapes, became the most sought-after decorative motifs combined with motifs inspired by exotic civilization from across the world and the ages.

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Obsessed with Pearls

In 1917, Pierre Cartier famously traded a double-stranded, natural pearl necklace, valued at the time for $1 million, and $100 in cash for a mansion on Fifth Avenue, where he established Cartier New York. Pearls have always exerted a powerful allure. Worn by royalty, legendary beauties and style icons – just think of Audrey Hepburn's pearl-and-diamond statement necklace in Breakfast at Tiffany's or Coco Chanel's signature layered strands, still a staple in the fashion house's runway collections today. Unlike diamonds, natural pearls emerge as finished gems, and the finest are lustrously silky and perfectly round, which makes finding a match an incredible feat.

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