COMMENTARY – Rarity, beauty and branding underpin Bonhams London Jewels sale results
By David Brough
LONDON, September 24, 2019 – Exquisite and rare coloured gemstones, natural pearls and branded jewellery outperformed at the Bonhams London Jewels sale, while provenance contributed to a strong result for a gorgeous Art Deco brooch.
The prestigious Graff name combined with the exceptional quality and rarity of emeralds, contributed to a superb result for an emerald and diamond bracelet that fetched a hammer price of 490,000 pounds, soaring above a pre-sale estimate of 100,000-150,000 pounds, at the sale on September 24.
Among coloured gemstones, rare rubies and sapphires flourished, especially rubies of Burmese origin that showed no evidence of heat treatment, and historic Kashmir sapphires.
One example was a ruby and diamond three-stone ring that garnered a hammer price of 28,000 pounds, well above a pre-sale estimate of 8,000-12,000 pounds.
Natural pearls were greatly sought after, reflecting tight supplies linked to pollution in the oceans, as well as a resurgence of demand for pearls in global jewellery design trends.
A natural pearl necklace attracted a frenzy of bidding to achieve a hammer price of 50,000 pounds, versus a pre-sale estimate of 10,000-15,000 pounds.
In terms of provenance, the standout item was an Art Deco emerald, diamond and enamel brooch, by Hennell, circa 1925. It contained an engraved emerald, dated 1813-14, that was probably presented by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II to Mary Hood.
The brooch was sold for a hammer price of 120,000 pounds, well above a pre-sale estimate of 40,000-60,000 pounds.
The contribution of provenance to the sale of a jewel is famously hard to predict, but clearly played a big part in the excellent result achieved by this brooch.