I’m fortunate to live about 10 minutes away from Bonhams’ Los Angeles headquarters. So while I rarely get a chance to preview the magnificent jewels on deck for Christie’s and Sotheby’s spring and fall sales, I’m all over the goods at Bonhams.
On Friday, I attended a preview of the New York sale, set for April 17, and I was thrilled to get a personal tour of the highlights by Bonhams’ Los Angeles–based director, Dana Ehrman, whose knowledge and easygoing charm made the hour I spent I with her feel like 10 minutes.
Here are five of the pieces that I fell for:
Charm bracelets are a jewelry staple and always have been, but I promise you’ve never seen one like this. The circa 1925 Art Deco diamond charm bracelet bears 19 charms, each noting a different year between 1922 and 1940. Owned by a silent screen movie star whose producer is said to have gifted her a charm after each of her movies wrapped, the piece—estimated at $12,000 to $18,000—is like a portal straight to old Hollywood.
The two perfectly matched natural pearls in these diamond earrings by Harry Winston are a wonder of nature. Requiring no faceting, shaping, or polishing, they came into existence looking this good. No other gem in the sale can claim such an unadulterated provenance. Which may explain why they’re expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.
The fact that this circa 1935 platinum and diamond bangle bracelet—estimated at $50,000 to $70,000—has no signature is a good thing. Imagine how much it would cost were it signed by Boivin (see Lot 133 below), which produced a remarkably similar Irradiente bangle in 1936?! Evocative of a genre of 1930s jewelry known as Joaillerie Blanche, whose modern and monumental lines in white were favored by Hollywood’s most fashionable women, the piece is not for the big-boned. It may look bold, but I tried it on—emphasis on the tried—and can attest that it’s tiny.
This glamorous S-shaped diamond dress clip, circa 1934, is attributed to the firm of French jeweler René Boivin, but fans of his protégé, Suzanne Belperron, may recognize her way with curves in the piece’s alluring sculptural form. Think of the 5 ct. collet-set old mine-cut diamond at the bottom of this striking piece as the point on the exclamation mark that should accompany all pieces by the house of Boivin! The $30,000 to $50,000 estimate sounds like a steal to me.
Lot 124 (the cover lot)
The 9.85 ct. Kashmir sapphire at the heart of this deco-era platinum ring “isn’t your typical Kashmir color,” says Ehrman, who describes it as lighter than the stone’s traditional cornflower blue hue. But I actually like it better because it’s so distinctive and so dang pretty.
Estimated at $80,000 to $120,000, the ring is “going to go for more,” Ehrman all but promised. Given that the Kashmir deposit in the Himalayas hasn’t produced new material for more than a century, and all that’s in the market comes from secondhand stocks, I could see the piece fetching 10 times the high estimate. Watch this space!