Lot 141. A 10.28 carats Type IIa diamond single-stone ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels. Estimate £150,000 - 200,000 (US$190,000 - 250,000). Sold for £311,000 (€368,308). Photo: Bonhams.

An impressive 10.28 carats diamond single-stone ring by Van Cleef & Arpels caught the eyes of buyers around the world as it sold for £311,000 at Bonhams London Fine Jewellery sale this week (27 April 2017).

The E colour marquise-cut diamond, classified as Type IIa, meaning that it has been recognised as the most chemically pure and with exceptional optical transparency, was estimated at £150,000-200,000.


Lot 141. A 10.28 carats Type IIa diamond single-stone ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels. Estimate £150,000 - 200,000 (US$190,000 - 250,000). Sold for £311,000 (€368,308). Photo: Bonhams.

The marquise-cut diamond, weighing 10.28 carats, between pear-shaped diamond shoulders, pear-shaped diamonds approximately 1.20 carats total, signed VCA, sprung sizing band, ring size L

Accompanied by a report from GIA stating that the diamond weighing 10.28 carats is E colour, SI2 clarity. Report number 6183185342, dated 24th February 2017.

Accompanied by an additional letter from GIA stating that the diamond has been classified as Type IIa.
Another diamond which sparkled at the sale was a single stone, 5.01 carats Octagonal Step-Cut Diamond which sold for £81,250.


Lot 140. A 5.01 carats octagonal step-cut diamond single-stone ring. Estimate £ 60,000 - 80,000 (US$74,000 - 99,000)Sold for £81,250 (€96,222). Photo: Bonhams.

The octagonal step-cut diamond, weighing 5.01 carats, within a four-claw setting, ring size K½

Accompanied by a report from GIA stating that the diamond weighing 5.01 carats is G colour, VVS2 clarity. Report number 6187225191, dated 20 March 2017.

Diamonds from the 19th century also performed well at the sale with A Diamond Rivière Necklace – featuring 45 collet-set cushion-shaped diamonds weighing 43.00 carats in total – sold for £115,000 against its pre-sale estimate of £60,000-80,000.



Lot 139. A 19th century diamond riviére. Estimate £ 60,000 - 80,000 (US$74,000 - 99,000)Sold for £115,000 (€136,191). Photo: Bonhams. 

Composed of 45 collet-set cushion-shaped diamonds, graduating in size from the centre, the five largest weighing 2.35, 2.30, 2.08, 1.96 and 1.91 carats, to a similarly-set cushion-shaped diamond single-stone clasp, mounted in silver and gold, diamonds approximately 43.00 carats total, length 37.4cm, fitted case (necklace subsequently shortened)

Provenance: Sir George Faudel-Phillips (1840-1922)
Descent to the current owner, the great-grandson of Sir George Faudel-Phillips, the original owner of the riviére.

Faudel-Phillips was appointed Sheriff of London and Middlesex (1884-85), succeeded his father as Alderman of the Ward of Farringdon Within (1888), and became a Governor of the Honorable Irish Society (1894). The following year, he was created High Sheriff of the County of London and in 1896 he became Lord Mayor of the City of London.

As Chief Magistrate of the City of London, Faudel-Phillips received Queen Victoria at Temple Bar on the occasion of the Jubilee thanksgiving service which was held at St Paul's Cathedral and subsequently at the Mansion House. His year of office was one of remarkable philanthropy; he raised funds which amounted, in the aggregate, to £1,000,000 for the relief of famine in India and for other charitable objects. He was created a baronet and in recognition of his services to India, received the Grand Cross of the Indian Empire. He also received numerous foreign decorations. Sir George Faudel-Phillips also served the Jewish community as president of the Jews' Orphan Asylum and of the Society for the Relief of the Jewish Blind.

Three very rare and extremely attractive coloured diamonds also became the subject of some fierce bidding in the salesroom. The first – an unmounted Fancy Purplish Pink, old brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 0.94 carats – went under the hammer for £40,000, three times its pre-sale estimate. The second – a Fancy Orangy-Pink pear-shape diamond, weighing 1.93 carats – sold to an online bidder for £40,000, also three times its pre-sale estimate. The third – a Fancy Intense Yellow-Green pear-shape diamond, weighing 2.37 carats – sold for £87,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000.



Lot 3. An unmounted 0.94 carat Fancy Purplish Pink, old brilliant-cut diamondEstimate £ 10,000 - 15,000 (US$12,000 - 19,000).Sold for £40,000 (€47,370). Photo: Bonhams.

The old brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 0.94 carat, of purplish pink tint.

Accompanied by a report from GIA stating that the diamond is Fancy Purplish Pink, natural colour, SI2 clarity. Report number 5182177063, dated 24 February 2017.


Lot 4. A 1.93 carats Fancy Orangy-Pink pear-shape diamond ring. Estimate £ 15,000 - 20,000 (US$12,000 - 19,000)Sold for £40,000 (€47,370). Photo: Bonhams.

The pear-shaped diamond, weighing 1.93 carats, of pink tint, ring size O½

Accompanied by a report from GIA  stating the diamond is Fancy Orangy Pink, I1 clarity. Report number 2185256344, dated 4th April 2017.

Accompanied by a report from Anchorcert stating that the pink diamond is of natural colour. Report number 1/20571-001, dated 8 July 2010. 


Lot 133. A 1.93 carat Fancy Intense Yellow-Green pear-shape diamond ring, by Star Diamond. Estimate £ 50,000 - 70,000 (US$62,000 - 87,000)Sold for £87,500 (€103,623). Photo: Bonhams.

The pear-shaped diamond, weighing 2.37 carats, of yellow-green tint, between marquise-cut diamonds of pink tint, pink diamonds untested for natural colour, signed Star Diamond, numbered 10052, ring size L, maker's pouch 

Accompanied by a report from GIA stating that the diamond weighing 2.37 carats is Fancy Intense Yellow-Green, natural colour, SI2 clarity. Report number 5131745532, dated 12 September 2011.

Art Deco jewellery in high demand
Jewellery from Cartier continues to exceed pre-sale estimates at auction due to its exceptional quality, rarity and a global appreciation of the Art Deco era.

Two notable pieces by Cartier were much admired during the previews in London, Geneva and New York earlier this month.

The first, an elegant Art Deco Diamond Bracelet, designed as a finely pierced articulated strap of geometric motifs, decorated with cushion-shaped old brilliant and single-cut diamonds, dated circa 1925, sold for £50,000, against its pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000.


Lot 45. An art deco diamond bracelet, by Cartier, circa 1925. Estimate £ 20,000 - 30,000 (US$25,000 - 37,000)Sold for £50,000 (€59,213). Photo: Bonhams.

The articulated integral-link strap pavé-set throughout with old brilliant and single-cut diamonds, with fine geometric pierced decoration, to an openwork buckle-shaped clasp, mounted in platinum, diamonds approximately 12.00 carats total, signed Cartier Londres, numbered 9324, length 17.8cm

The second, an Art Deco Diamond Brooch, dated circa 1930, featuring a repeating arabesque design, set throughout with bullet-shape, old brilliant, baguette and single-cut diamonds, sold for £22,500, against its pre-sale estimate of £10,000-15,000.



Lot 43. An art deco diamond brooch, by Cartier, Circa 1930. Estimate £ 10,000 - 15,000 (US$12,000 - 19,000)Sold for £22,500 (€26,646). Photo: Bonhams.

The finely pierced plaque of repeating arabesque design, set throughout with bullet-shaped, old brilliant, baguette and single-cut diamonds, diamonds approximately 11.60 carats total, signed Cartier London, numbered 0078, width 6.0cm, Cartier case

Strong appetite for signed jewellery
Signed jewellery from the world's most famous houses continues to be extremely desirable to buyers and collectors across the world. Key pieces which performed well during the sale included:

• A highly desirable Diamond 'Fuchsia' brooch and earring suite by Van Cleef & Arpels. The diamond suite, consisting of 27.05 carats, was much admired during the pre-sale previews, appealing to collectors of period Van Cleef & Arpels given the small quantities made. It went under the hammer for £87,500.



Lot 137. A diamond 'Fuchsia' brooch and earclip suite, by Van Cleef & Arpels, Circa 1990. Estimate £70,000 - 100,000 (US$87,000 - 120,000)Sold for £87,500 (€103,623)Photo: Bonhams.

The brooch designed as a fuchsia flowerhead, the petals pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds, issuing an articulated cascade of pear-shaped diamond line stamen, to a pavé-set brilliant-cut diamond trumpet and graduated calibre-cut diamond stem, the earrings en suite, diamonds approximately 27.05 carats total, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, numbered 35504, maker's mark, French assay marks, lengths: brooch 7.1cm, earclips 4.2cm

An enamel and diamond 'Serpenti' bracelet-watch by Bulgari, circa 1965-70, sold for £68,750 against its estimate of £50,000-60,000. Iconic in its design, this is a rare surviving example of the famed Bulgari Serpenti bracelet watch. The highly articulated bracelet is composed of a series of overlapping scales applied with orangy-yellow and red enamel. The serpent's head features a forked tongue and marquise-cut diamond eyes, its mouth opens to reveal a circular watch dial signed Vacheron Constantin. 



Lot 135. An enamel and diamond 'Serpenti' bracelet-watch, by Bulgari, 1967. Estimate £40,000 - 60,000 (US$49,000 - 74,000)Sold for £68,750 (€81,418). Photo: Bonhams.

Designed as a highly articulated coiled 'Serpe dei Ratti Giallo', the scales applied with orangy-yellow and red enamel, the serpent's head with a forked tongue and marquise-cut diamond eyes, the mouth opening to reveal a circular-dial with baton indicators, inscribed 'Serpe dei Ratti Giallo' to the inner undertail scales, signed Bulgari, dial signed Vacheron Constantin, Swiss assay mark, maker's pouch

Note: Bulgari's "Serpenti" collection of jewellery and watches date from the late 1940s and has achieved iconic Bulgari status and is still today one of firm's most popular designs. This popularisation was partly thanks to the late Elisabeth Taylor, who was photographed wearing one of the first "Serpenti" watches on the set of the film 'Cleopatra' in 1962.

This early example of the "Serpenti" bracelet-watch displays the intricate manufacture of each "Serpenti" made in the second half of the 1960s. The hand crafted gold spring core, enabling the flexible serpent to coil and cling around the wrist.

Inscriptions were often marked on the undertails referring to specific species whose skins inspired the enamel work. This particular example is of a 'Serpe dei Ratti Giallo', or a Yellow Rat Snake.

For further examples of 'Serpenti' bracelet-watches by Bulgari see Triossi, A. (ed.), "Bulgari: Between Eternity and History", Milan, 2009, pp. 194-199.

Appreciation of spinels continues to soar
One of the most charming stones in Bonhams April sale was An Early 20th century spinel and diamond ring. Dated circa 1915, the step-cut spinel, originating from Burma and weighing 5.30 carats, has no indications of heat treatment and boasts exceptional transparency and intensity of colour. Estimated at £15,000-20,000, it went under the hammer for £65,000, more than four times its estimate. 


Lot 44. A 5.30 carats Burmese spinel and diamond ring, circa 1915. Estimate £15,000 - 20,000 (US$19,000 - 25,000). Sold for £65,000 (€76,977)Photo: Bonhams.

The step-cut spinel, weighing 5.30 carats, within an octagonal surround of single-cut diamonds, diamonds approximately 0.40 carat total, ring size M

Accompanied by a report from GCS stating that the spinel is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating. Report number 5777-9067, dated 27 February 2017.

Artist jewellery
Jewellery from artists such as Andrew Grima, John Donald and Stuart Devlin continues to gain momentum. These jewellers created jewels where the value lay in their aesthetic composition rather than the carat weight of expensive diamonds and gemstones used. In this particular sale, a number of pieces by Andrew Grima, the Anglo-Italian designer who became known as the doyen of modern jewellery design in Britain, achieved strong prices. These include:

A gold, diamond and fire opal brooch/pendant, 1970. The oval-cut fire opal set amongst an abstract arrangement of textured 18 carat gold cinnamon sticks, with a brilliant-cut diamond accent sold for £8,500 against its estimate of £5,000-7,000.


Lot 72. A gold, diamond and fire opal "cinnamon stick" brooch-pendant, by Andrew Grima, 1970. Estimate £5,000 - 7,000 (US$6,200 - 8,700). Sold for £8,500 (€10,066). Photo: Bonhams.

The oval-cut fire opal nestled in an arrangement cinnamon sticks, cast in 18 carat yellow gold, with a brilliant-cut diamond accent, signed Grima, maker's mark HJCo, London hallmark, length 8.1cm, maker's pouch

A rutilated quartz, cultured pearl and diamond torque necklace, 1990. This sold for £11,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £7,000-10,000.


Lot 74. A rutilated quartz, cultured pearl and diamond torque necklace, by Andrew Grima, 1990. Estimate £7,000 - 10,000 (US$8,700 - 12,000). Sold for £11,500 (€13,619). Photo: Bonhams.

The textured torque suspending at the front a carved rutilated quartz 'apple' with brilliant-cut diamond highlights, surmounted by a grey cultured pearl and brushed leaves highlighted with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed Grima, inner diameter 12.8cm, maker's case

Exhibited: Grima Retrospective, Goldsmiths' Hall, London, May 1991, no 102, in the exhibition catalogue, colour illustration and description on page 58.

This lot is accompanied by the limited edition book, Grima, by Johann Willsberger, 1991, an original illustration of another necklace by Grima and a signature panel from Andrew Grima.

A colour change sapphire and diamond ring, 1977. The sapphire is of Sri Lankan origin and has no indications of heat treatment. It sold for £10,625 against a pre-sale estimate of £5,000-7,000. 



Lot 73. A colour-change sapphire and diamond ring, by Andrew Grima, 1977. Estimate £5,000 - 7,000 (US$6,200 - 8,700). Sold for £10,625 (€12,582)Photo: Bonhams.

The cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 13.33 carats, within a surround of brilliant-cut diamond 'rods', diamonds approximately 0.75 carat total, signed Grima, AG Ltd maker's mark, London hallmark, ring size M, maker's box

Lankan origin, with no indications of heat treatment. Report number 5777-8900, dated 20th February 2017.

The auction, which achieved £2,814,000 with 80 per cent of lots sold by value, was Bonhams London's first Fine Jewellery sale of 2017.

Jean Ghika, Head of Jewellery for Bonhams UK & Europe, says: "It is encouraging to see such strong prices achieved at our first auction of 2017. There is an increasing appetite from our clients globally for the finest examples of jewellery, coloured and white diamonds and gemstones, and we expect this to gain further momentum throughout the year."