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Historic Collection of Emeralds and Diamonds Sell For £1.9 Million at Bonham’s London April Fine Jewellery Sale
1930s emerald and diamond necklace/bracelet combination goes under the hammer for more than £1 million
By: Diamond World News Service
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Apr 26 2018 3:42PM
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Reference: 16297  

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This season’s most talked about emeralds caused somewhat of a stir when they went under the hammer at Bonhams London this week (25 April).

Greatly admired during the auction house’s previews in New York, Geneva, Hong Kong and London, the three pieces of Art Deco diamond and emerald jewellery, attributed to Hennell, became the subject of a bidding frenzy in Bonhams New Bond Street saleroom, eventually selling for a total of £1,928,250.

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

The three jewels which were offered by Bonhams hail from the private collection of Louise Stephens, wife of Michael Stephens, scion of the Stephens Ink family.  After the 1930s and the death of their former owner, the pieces stayed in the family but were hardly worn.  As a result, they are in exceptional condition.

All three pieces exceeded their pre-sale estimates.  The first, An Emerald and Diamond Pendant/Necklace, attributed to Hennell and dating from the first quarter of the 20th century, sold for £1,328,750, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £150,000 - 200,000. The necklace featured a double-sided cabochon emerald crescent, of Colombian origin, weighing 12.13 carats.  It is thought that the extraordinary cabochon crescent in the pendant was an old-mine gem, originating from a much earlier Indian jewel. It made $100,000 per carat.

The second lot, An Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Dress Ring by Hennell, circa 1930, sold for  £368,750, beating its estimate of £150,000 - 250,000. The magnificent emerald, weighing 9.28 carats, is of Colombian origin and is cut as a polished sugarloaf cabochon. The 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.

Emily Barber, Director of Bonhams Jewellery, UK, says: “These jewels are simply magnificent. Superb emerald specimens like this do not come to market very often so we’re delighted to bring them to auction for the first time.  The crescent-shaped emerald is no doubt an historic Indian gem, cut to maximize its “green fire” and the sugarloaf cabochon emerald, a cut favoured by early 20th century Art Deco jewellers, is one of the finest examples we have seen.”

The third and final piece from the collection is A Diamond Clip Brooch by Hennell, circa 1930. This sold for £230,750 against its estimate of £100,000 - 150,000.  Featuring approximately 40.15 carats of old-cut diamonds, the elegant 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 bracelets catch the eyes of Bonhams buyers

Staying in the Art Deco era, buyers also competed for a striking Art Deco Emerald and Diamond bracelet, circa 1930.  Signed Cartier, the bracelet sold for £308,750 against its estimate of £80,000-120,000.

Emily Barber comments: “This is a remarkable bracelet as the emerald beads are extremely vibrant, perfectly matched, and were no doubt sourced from India and the diamond-set Oriental “fountain” motif reinforces the rolling fluidity of the beads.  This piece, made circa 1930, featuring exceptional gems, and signed by Cartier, is a seminal example of Cartier’s “Maharaja-style” from the Art Deco period.”

Rounding off the exceptional Art Deco emeralds presented in this sale, buyers from all around the world also competed for An Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace/Bracelet combination.  This sold for £1,052,750, more than four times its pre-sale estimate of £150,000-250,000, equivalent to $78,000 price per carat. 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.

Marquise-cut diamonds achieve strong prices at the sale

It’s quite unusual to have two sizeable marquise-cut diamonds in any fine jewellery sale so Bonhams London was particularly pleased to offer its clients three beautiful specimens this April ranging from 7.92 carats to 13.40 carats. All three sold exceeding its pre-sale low estimate.

The first, A Diamond Single-Stone Ring, hails from a private collection. Weighing 13.40 carats, the D colour, VS2 clarity and Type IIa diamond sold for  £836,750 (equivalent to $90,000 per carat) against its estimate of £400,000-600,000, The second, A 12.43 carats Diamond Single-Stone Ring, F colour, VS2 clarity, sold for £392,750, exceeding its estimate of £250,000-350,000, and the third, A 7.92 carats Diamond Single-Stone Ring, D colour, VS1 clarity and Type IIa, sold for £224,750 against its estimate of £100,000-150,000.

The sale achieved a total of £7,825,250 and sold 91 per cent of lots by value.

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

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

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