Emeralds and diamonds headline Bonhams' London Fine Jewellery Sale of 2018
April 10, 2018: Auction house Bonhams is spreading some of the most exquisite jewels for its London Fine Jewellery auction, including three pieces from Hennell.
Hennell, which shuttered down in 2001, was one of Britain’s oldest and most venerated jewelers. Their clients included members of the British aristocracy and landed gentry, Indian maharajas, American billionaires and European royalty.
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, “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.
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.
Rounding off the exceptional emeralds in the sale is an Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Necklace/Bracelet combination estimated at £150,000-250,000.
Diamonds also feature in the sale, led by a Diamond Single-Stone Ring, which 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. The two other notable diamond lots are also both marquise-cut.
Signed jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. will also feature in the sale. Highlights include a Ruby and Diamond Bracelet by Cartier, circa 1965, estimated at £40,000-50,000 and an Emerald and Diamond 'Trombino' Ring by Bulgari estimated at £40,000-60,000.