Skinner Antique, Renaissance Revival and Art Deco Jewelry Auction

. March 2, 2009

Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses, will host an auction of fine jewelry at its Boston gallery on Tuesday, March 17th at 10:00 a.m. The sale will feature unique antique, Renaissance Revival and Art Deco jewelry items from Tiffany & Co., Boucheron and Castellani, a number of which descended in the Walters Family, founders of Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum. More than 500 lots will be featured in the upcoming sale.

A number of impressive pieces come to the sale from the family of William and Henry Walters, who established Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum, a privately assembled collection that excels in many diverse fields of the fine arts. Items include a stunning Renaissance Revival long chain (lot 530, est. $75/125,000), designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. circa 1901. This item has never been on the market. In addition, two impressive Castellani pieces grace the sale courtesy of the Walters family including an archaeological Revival gold and glass bead fringe necklace, c. 1880 (lot 520, est. $4/6,000) designed as a fringe of grape leaves alternating with clusters of shaded purple glass grapes, suspended from foxtail chain. As well, an archaeological Revival gold “Millefiori” bracelet, c. 1860 (lot 521, est. $4/6,000) will be offered. Each link is designed as a boss set with clusters of flowerheads framed by applied bead and ropetwist accents. Another Renaissance Revival masterpiece is an enamel, sapphire and diamond brooch (lot 529, est. $30/50,000) by Gustave Espinasse, a Parisian jeweler who produced important work for Boucheron. Overall, theses pieces represents the high level of taste and connoisseurship that the family had developed as self-taught collectors.

Another important piece of jewelry is the Art Deco diamond, onyx, jadeite and coral brooch by Boucheron Paris (lot 514, est. $50/75,000). Boucheron has confirmed that the brooch was exhibited with a small group of similar items as examples of the jeweler’s finest work at the Exposition Universelle des Arts Decoratifs, the 1925 Paris exhibition which defines the high point Art Deco period.

The work of Louis Comfort Tiffany is also featured in the sale, represented by two Arts & Crafts brooches that reveal different aesthetics in the artist’s work. There is a richly colored 18k. gold, plique-a-jour enamel and pink tourmaline brooch (lot 465 est. $6/8,000), and a moonstone and sapphire brooch, framed by platinum ropetwist coils (lot 466, est. $18/22,000). They both date from c. 1915.

There is a group of early cameos, including a sardonyx cameo brooch depicting Mars and his chariot, by Domenico Calabresi, whose work is also found in the British Museum (lot 526, $8/1,200). There is also a fine antique cameo, mounted by Tiffany & Co., representing Pluto and Perspehone (lot 525, est. $6/800).

For the sophisticated collector of a more modern aesthetic, the sale offers a Marianne Ostier 18kt. gold, platinum, emerald and diamond “Voodoo” necklace, approximate diamond weight 6.22 cts. (lot 440, est. $10/15,000). The necklace was designed as a textured chased fringe highlighted by seventeen cabochon emeralds and diamond-melee-set branches. Also by Ostier, offered by the same collector, is an 18kt. gold, platinum and diamond “fences” brooch (lot 439, est. $4/6,000). Ostier, a descendant of the famous Austrian court jewelers, was a designer active in New York in the 1940s-1960s.

As for other contemporary signed jewelry, a set of the popular “Alhambra” pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels will be featured including an 18kt. gold and turquoise necklace, composed of ten turquoise quatrefoils joined by trace-link chain, with original sleeve and presentation box (lot 410, est. $2/3,000) and 18kt. gold and turquoise earclips, with original sleeve and presentation box (lot 411, est. $1/1,500). Further, there is Tiffany & Co.’s 18kt. “Bird on a Rock” brooch (lot 432, est. $15/20,000) designed by Jean Schlumberger as a diamond encrusted bird with ruby melee eye, perched on a fancy-shape aquamarine. The “Bird on a Rock” was first produced in 1958 and has remained a popular design to the present day.

Fashion watches make a strong statement in the upcoming auction including a Hermes, stainless steel and enamel bangle watch, featuring a silvertone dial with abstract numeral indicators, joined by hinged lugs to bangle with two polychrome enamel panels depicting Helios in his chariot on a black ground, signed, with original box (lot 11, est. $4/600). The sale also features a Chanel ceramic, stainless steel and diamond wristwatch, with white ceramic dial and Arabic numeral indicators, date apertures, micropave-set diamond bezel, enclosing a quartz movement, completed by brickwork ceramic links (lot 317, est. $1,5/2,500).

Other highlights include an Hermes, signed, sterling silver “Kelly Bag” pillbox (lot 6, est. $2/300); an Hermes rouge leather “Kelly” handbag, boxed and unworn (lot 1, est. $3/5,000); antique diamond ear pendants with elaborate scrolling forms set throughout the old mine-cut diamonds, approx 8.00 cts. (lot 512, est. $2,5/3,500); and a Renaissance Revival 18kt. gold gem set armlet, c.1880, featuring sapphire and diamond florets, bezel set sapphire, emerald, and ruby accents, and rose cut diamond highlights (lot 528, est. $2,5/3,500).

Catalog and Preview Information
Previews for the auction will be Sunday, March 15th, 12pm-5pm and Monday, March 16th, 12pm-7pm. Illustrated catalog #2448 is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240. It is also available at the gallery for $29. Prices realized will be available at www.skinnerinc.com during and after the sale.

For more information, call 617-350-5400, or visit www.skinnerinc.com

Category: Antiques News

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