COMMENTARY – Well-made Art Deco jewels with fabulous gems shine at Geneva auctions
By David Brough
A 1927 Cartier bracelet featuring an exquisite cabochon sapphire weighing 47.07 carats, between two pear-shaped diamonds of 8.60 and 9.27 carats, sold to a female Asian collector for $6.1 million, surging above its pre-sale estimate of $2-3 million, at Sotheby’s on November 13.
It was one of the highest prices ever achieved for an Art Deco bracelet.
Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough handles 1927 Cartier sapphire and diamond bracelet at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2019
“This combination of the luscious, voluptuous curves of the cabochon sapphire, and of the two antique-cut pear-shaped diamonds, with this architectonic bracelet, is really typical of the best period of Art Deco,” said auctioneer David Bennett.
Bidding was fierce for this lot, underscoring a realisation that such items will only get rarer.
“As the auction houses have privileged access to high-level private collections, these treasures are achieving high prices and the collectors are ‘fighting’ against each other,” said Geneva-based gem dealer Elke Berr, who attended the sales.
Art Deco pieces together achieved a combined total of $9.6 million at Sotheby’s, against a pre-sale estimate of $3.9-6 million.
Another standout lot at Sotheby’s was a 1937 sapphire and diamond clip by Cartier, which fetched a hammer price of $328,348, comfortably above its estimate of $150,000-250,000.
A striking cabochon emerald and diamond pendant/brooch by Cartier, dated 1927, an example of Cartier’s Indian style of the period because of its use of Mughal stones, garnered $1,062,836 after a flurry of bidding, far above its $150,000-250,000 estimate.
A diamond and rock crystal sautoir made by Chaumet in 1929 achieved $529,397, well above an estimate of $300,000 – 500,000.
The Christie’s Geneva sale on November 12 conveyed the same stark message about Art Deco – well-made pieces featuring extraordinary gems will always entice collectors.
A unique multi-gem and enamel cuff, by Georges Fouquet, sold for a hammer price of $190,000, comfortably within its $150,000-250,000 estimate.
“It (Art Deco) will continue to make great prices as it gets more and more scarce to source,” said auctioneer Rahul Kadakia.
Berr said after the sale: “Excellent Art Deco pieces, especially those with very rare gems, are very sought after by dealers and collectors.”
Kristian Spofforth, head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department, handles a striking cabochon emerald and diamond pendant/brooch by Cartier, dated 1927