Sparkling Seasonal Gems at Christie’s and Sotheby’s


By Clive Kandel

December is thought of as the month when jewelers are most busy. Auction houses try and hold high quality sales with tempting selections. Whilst jewelry stores can plan their purchases, auctions are dependent on sellers. Sotheby’s, 9 December, has several spectacular period and modern jewels. Among them are Cartier jewels formerly belonging to Mrs. Cole Porter, then given to Princess Natalie Paley. Linda Cole Porter’s Cartier Art Deco Egyptian Revival belt buckle belongs in the realm of super rare Cartier jewelry. The last similar jewel was sold a year ago for over $300,000 to Dame Jillian Sackler. This piece is similarly estimated, however the rule of thumb in today’s market is if two bidders want it, pricing goes to the moon.

Cartier Art Deco Turquoise Scarab Belt Buckle. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Images.

As well as these, the collection of the late Lucia Moreira Salles is being offered. Salles was Chanel’s best-known model and a muse of Valentino. The Salles collection is chic and shows this was a woman who bought jewelry with an eye to wearability and simplicity. From her Cartier Art Deco purse remade in black crocodile by Fred Leighton to strands of small oriental multi-color pearls and superb cabochon rings of emerald and ruby by Jar to a massive pair of melting gold cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels, this is a collection of great style.

Van Cleef and Arpels Gold Manchettes. Courtesy of Sotheby’s Images.

Christies, 10 December, on the other hand, is offering, to the deep pocket buyer, an exceptional seasonal gift. Taking advantage of the flight-to-diamond Asian market, their auction includes a 39-carat D color Golconda India diamond named the ” Evening Star.” According to the press release, the owner of this estimated $3.6-$5.5 million delight wore this ”only to her most important events and galas.” That’s disappointing, I always think such mighty rocks need to be exposed to less formality. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of comparing Golconda diamonds to mere modern African stones, the difference may be briefly described as the experience of feeling oneself melting into a Golconda whilst the latter’s brilliance keeps your eyes bouncing back and forth.

The Evening Star. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Between Mrs. Cole Porter’s Pharaonic emblems, Lucia Salles’s chic and Moghul Indian earthly delights, there will be a few grinning faces this season of giving.

Reported for New Focus on Fine Living, December 7, 2009

Images Courtesy of Christies Images and Sotheby’s Images