Mallams Oxford set a new house record for jewellery on November 15 with the sale of a pair of Art Deco diamond earrings by Cartier for £72,000 (plus buyer’s premium). They attracted bidding across 12 phone lines as part of a consignment of inherited jewellery.
Period jewels by the great French and American ateliers are among the strongest performers in the currently vibrant jewellery market.
This pair of earrings, with a total diamond weight of just under 8 carats, comprised hoops and bombe clusters of brilliant and baguette-cut stones, with a pair of detachable articulated drops.
Art Deco jewels performed strongly throughout the sale.
A diamond clip brooch by Ghiso, of geometric openwork design, sold at £3600 while a pair of similar brooches centred with channels of graduated baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds took £6000.
In a Chaumet case, an unsigned clip brooch and earclips suite in the Tutti Frutti style sold well above expectations at £13,500. Worked as stylised bouquets, they combined carved and cabochon emeralds, rubies and sapphires highlighted with collet set single-cut diamonds.
An Art Deco diamond and onyx pendant/brooch, consigned as part of a deceased estate, offered a different cataloguing challenge for specialist Louise Dennis. Its teardrop-shaped panel was beautifully made – articulated and millegrain set throughout with diamonds and step-cut onyx. However, the ribbon bow brooch fitting was earlier, made perhaps c.1900. The whole, offered in a Cartier gilt tooled leather case, sold at £15,000.
A natural pearl, diamond and red enamel brooch designed as a stylised honeysuckle spray was consigned by a private vendor. It had been commissioned as a wedding gift for her mother in the 1960s. It came in a fitted Collingwood Ltd case and with a recent report issued by Gemmological Certification Services, stating that both pearls are natural, of saltwater origin with no indications of treatment. It sold for £18,000 in the room.
Two gold and diamond set compacts from the Art Deco period also sold well. The example hallmarked for London 1934 and signed Cartier London had, by repute, formerly belonged to Pamela Jackson, née Freeman-Mitford, the second daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale, one of the celebrated Mitford sisters. It sold at £4700.
A French compact fashioned in gold and blue enamel with a thumb piece set with rose-cut diamonds sold at £5800. Opening to reveal a frieze of stylised flowerheads and foliage in shades of light and dark blue enamel, the thumb piece also incorporated the ancient Chinese Shou symbol, representing longevity or long life. It carried marks for Strauss, Allard & Meyer, the Paris-based makers of necessaires and other small boxes and accessories who supplied Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Lacloche Freres among major high-end retailers.
With an unprecedented amount of pre-sale interest, a total of 89% of lots offered were sold. Louise Dennis commented after the sale: “We were grateful to receive some very positive feedback during the view about the quality and variety of pieces in the sale. These results reflect how buoyant the current market is for period jewellery of beautiful design and quality that is fresh to the auction sphere.”