Spectacular Art Deco Emeralds and Magnificent Diamonds Headline Bonhams First London Fine Jewellery Sale Of 2018

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Set to be some of the most talked about lots in Bonhams London Fine Jewellery sale next month (25 April) are three outstanding Art Deco jewels by Hennell who closed its doors for good in 2001.

 

Hennell and was one of Britain's oldest and most venerated jewellers and by the 20th century was rightly regarded as the British jeweller.

Their clients, the crème de la crème of society, included members of the British aristocracy and landed gentry, Indian maharajas, American billionaires and European royalty. During the Art Deco period Hennell was known for offering its discerning clientele jewels of superlative quality, rivalling the offerings of the best French houses. 


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The three Hennell jewels hail from the private collection of Louise Stephens, wife of Michael Stephens, scion of the Stephens Ink family. In 1832, Michael's grandfather, Dr Henry Stephens, invented an indelible "blue-black writing fluid" which was to become famous as Stephens' Ink and revolutionise office life. The family firm manufactured the ink, building a factory in London, and transformed it into a successful worldwide enterprise and secured their fortune in the process.

The first of the three pieces that will go to auction is An Emerald and Diamond Pendant/Necklace by Hennell, dating from the first quarter of the 20th century, estimated at £150,000 - 200,000.

 

Two magnificent Colombian emeralds feature in this piece: the first a double-sided cabochon emerald crescent, weighing 12.13 carats, and the second a pear-shaped emerald drop, weighing 6.23 carats.  Accompanying the emeralds are a marquise-cut diamond, weighing 2.47 carats, E colour, VS2 clarity and classified as Type IIa, graduating old brilliant-cut diamonds and two smaller marquise-cut diamonds (total diamond weight 15.95 carats).

The second piece in the collection is An Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Dress Ring by Hennell, circa 1930, estimated at £150,000 - 250,000.

 

The magnificent emerald, weighing 9.28 carats, is of Colombian origin, with minor clarity enhancement by oil and is cut as a polished sugarloaf cabochon. The striking gem is offset by the ring's refined gallery and shoulders that are an elegant jigsaw of trapezoid, baguette, tapered baguette and square-cut diamonds. At the time, this combination of different cuts and types of setting would have been the last word in sophisticated modern jewellery design.     

Emily Barber, Director of Bonhams Jewellery, UK, says: "The gems in these two jewels are not only superlative examples of Colombian emeralds but also of the vogue for "Mughal Empire" style jewellery in the first part of the 20th century.  At this time, European jewellers looked to the traditional jewels of the Indian sub-continent for inspiration, incorporating large, top-quality polished - as opposed to facetted – gems into their modern platinum creations."

"We believe the extraordinary cabochon emerald crescent in the necklace to have come from a much earlier Indian jewel given that the crescent was an auspicious motif and prominent in Mughal jewellery design. Mughal Emperors revered emeralds because they believed in their powers of protection and good luck and green was Prophet Mohammed's favourite colour. Indian lapidaries were highly skilled in cutting the gems to maximise their weight and best display their exceptional 'green fire'."

The final piece from the collection of Hennell jewellery is A Diamond Clip Brooch, circa 1930.  Consisting of an estimated 40.15 carats of old-cut diamonds, the brooch is estimated at £100,000 - 150,000. 

 

Elegant in its design, the brooch consists of a double tier of cushion-shaped and old brilliant-cut diamonds, with a pear-shaped diamond weighing 7.49 carats, at the centre. 

Art Deco Indian-inspired Cartier bracelet set to go under the hammer.

 

Cartier's homage to India during the first part of the 20th century is represented by a striking Art Deco Emerald and Diamond bracelet, circa 1930, and estimated at £80,000-120,000.  The vogue for Indian-inspired jewellery particularly resonated in England because of Britain's Imperial interests and Cartier astutely made their London branch the pivot for all things connected with India, including customer relations with visiting maharajas who brought their valuable historic family gems to be re-set into modern European jewels and the sourcing of gems from India to use in their Indian-inspired jewels bought by Europeans. Here, the vibrant emerald beads, no doubt sourced from India, are combined with diamond-set Oriental "fountain" motifs.


Diamond Rivière Necklace Formerly Owned By Zsa Zsa Gabor At Bonhams New York


Rounding off the exceptional Art Deco emeralds in the sale is An Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace/Bracelet combination estimated at £150,000-250,000. The front five  emeralds are of optimum colour and transparency and are of Colombian origin and range from minor clarity enhancement to no clarity enhancement.

 

Trio of marquise-cut diamonds set to sparkle in the sale



A Diamond Single-Stone Ring £400,000-600,000

No Fine Jewellery sale at Bonhams would be complete without diamonds, and this sale has three particularly wonderful specimens. The first, A Diamond Single-Stone Ring, comes from a private collection. Estimated at £400,000-600,000, the marquise-cut diamond weighs 13.40 carats, is D colour, VS2 clarity and Type IIa. Diamonds classified as Type IIa are highly sought-after because they are the purest type of diamonds in the world.

The two other notable diamond lots are also both marquise-cut:

A 12.43 carats Diamond Single-Stone Ring estimated at £250,000-350,000. The diamond is F colour, VS2 clarity.  

A 7.92 carats Diamond Single-Stone Ring estimated at £100,000-150,000. The diamond is D colour, VS1 clarity and Type IIa. 


Signed jewellery from world-renowned designers up for auction. A Diamond Bracelet by Boucheron, circa 1955, estimated at  £80,000-120,000

Signed jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. will also feature in the sale. Highlights include:

A Diamond Bracelet by Boucheron, circa 1955, estimated at  £80,000-120,000.  Bold and oozing glamour, the wide flexible strap is set throughout with old brilliant, baguette and square calibré-cut diamonds (total weight 71.00 carats).

A Ruby and Diamond Bracelet by Cartier, circa 1965, estimated at £40,000-50,000.  Of modernist, abstract design, the bracelet is set with vari-cut Burmese rubies, and brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds.

An Emerald and Diamond 'Trombino' Ring by Bulgari estimated at £40,000-60,000.  Eye-catching and stylish in its design, the ring's central stone – an oval cabochon emerald - weighs 9.63 carats and is of Colombian origin. 

Details and full information on all 154 lots featured in the sale can be found here http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24576. Bids can be placed online on Bonhams' website www.bonhams.com, via telephone, in writing, and also in person on the day of the sale.

Bonhams sells more jewellery lots each year than any other international house and has more dedicated jewellery auctions annually.

Follow Bonhams Fine Jewellery on Instagram on @BonhamsJewels. 

The next Bonhams Jewellery sales will take place in Hong Kong on 27th May 2018, Knightsbridge, London, on 13 June 2018 and Los Angeles, US, on 19 June 2018.

 

Images and content courtesy of Bonhams London; Art Direction by Janet Walker

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