WATCH REPLAY OF WEBINAR – Indian auction house Saffronart sees flight to quality in high-value jewellery auctions market


Saffronart, which stages its online Fine Jewels auction on October 28-29, is seeing a shift to smaller, important pieces and a flight to quality in the high-value jewellery auctions market during and beyond the lockdown, Co-Founder Minal Vazirani tells Jewellery Outlook digital magazine Editor David Brough.

Watch replay of this Jewellery Outlook webinar, previewing the Saffronart auction by clicking on this link:

Watch Replay


What types of jewellery does Saffronart present in its online auctions?

Minal Vazirani: Saffronart does one large Fine Jewels sale annually, but also conducts smaller sales weekly for several categories of collectables, including jewellery.  October 28/29th are the dates for Saffronart’s annual sale.  This year, the focus is on jewellery that highlights India’s design and craftsmanship heritage but also contemporary innovation in jewels.   Some of the pieces reflect a grand history of jewels from India but the collection as a whole has been curated to reflect the current environment and a shift in collecting and acquiring jewels during this pandemic:  smaller pieces that may be worn and enjoyed but are no less spectacular.  This year’s collection is a purposeful departure from the significant marquis jewels that are usually meant for large events such as weddings or the festival season – simply because these have been curtailed.   2020 has been a time for introspection for many, a time to re-evaluate how we view the world and the aesthetics that have come to define us.  In keeping with this viewpoint, we have collected a very wide range of pieces, some with important provenance, some from important periods, and some that tell a story – but all that have value. Please register for the Saffronart auction via this link:

The next Saffronart online fine jewels auction will take place on October 28-29. Can you please highlight 3 or 4 items in the sale?

Minal Vazirani: Here are some of the pieces that hightlight the way the catalogue has been curated:

  1. Indian Jadau jewels which contain a reverse side completely covered in enamelled designs or Meenakari, are characteristic of centuries of the luxury of design and aesthetics in India.  They reflect an appreciation of art, skill, a focus on detail and beauty even when it’s not the realm of the obvious — much of this enamelling or ‘meenakari’ is unseen by others but held next to the body by the wearer — a secreted away luxury that makes each piece more of an enigma.

Lot 28 – Click here for more details 

Estimate  $6,900 – 9,660


2. Lot 95  Emerald and Diamond Polki Bajubandor Arm Ornament – click here for more details

Estimate $4,830 – 6,210

3. Emeralds are a significant highlight in this sale as you can see from the cover.  We have exquisite stones that are Colombian and Zambian in origin.

Lot 78 – These are a pair of earrings with Zambian emerald melon beads that are about 113 carats -– these are reminiscent of Mughal design with the diamond briolette caps and the inverted set diamond terminals below and the pearls that tie them together.  These earrings reflect design elements that we see in Mughal miniatures and architecture.  – click here for more details

pair of earrings with Zambian emerald melon beadsEstimate $75,865 – 89,660

Lot 69:  These are a contemporary design that uses Colombian emeralds, certified as being vivid green with insignificant oil.  The earrings are set with flat cut diamonds that highlight the depth of the emeralds and virtually no metal that shows. Click here for more details.


Estimate $34,485 – 48,280

Lot 138 – Cartier silver box previously owned by Maharani Narinder Caur of Kapurthala.  The box contains a commemorative coin for the coronation of George VI and is signed Cartier London and hallmarked along with the initials J.C.  click here for more details

earringsEstimate $4,140 – 6,900

4. Lot 162:  An early Patek Philippe pocket watch accompanied with its original box and with an archival certificate.  Click here for more details

Estimate $4,140 – 6,900

What trends has Saffronart seen in online jewellery sales during lockdown – what types of items are best sellers, and what pieces tend to be less in demand?

Minal Vazirani: Overall, during the online auctions this year, we have seen a shift to smaller but important pieces.  Jewellery collecting and adornment is an inherent part of Indian culture, during festivals, events, weddings, and even symbolic in everyday life — however, without those gatherings, jewellery is being purchased to wear in more personal ways.  The flip side of this is that we are also seeing purchases of pieces as a store of long-term wealth as clients follow the flight to quality during times of uncertainty -– leading to a distinct shift towards quality.

How do you see the digital transformation of jewellery auctions sales? How can auction houses ensure that collectors/buyers will trust in the transactions?

Saffronart has led the market with online auctions and the cornerstones of the business have been to leverage technology in order to provide buyers and collectors with greater transparency and easier access to pieces.

With over 300 auctions, curated exhibitions of art and of jewellery around the world, and a strong team of experts, Saffronart has established a significant level of trust in the brand, both in India and internationally.  We have seen this grow as the positive experience of our clients has underscored that faith.

As we look to the future, I expect that we will see a greater reliance on technology to enhance the user experience and ability to ‘examine’ the piece of jewellery virtually.