Bulgari Serpenti necklace was the most requested piece at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York ♦ ︎
The Magnificent Jewels spring auctions seem like a ping-pong game among the big auction houses. The one organized by Sotheby’s in New York, for example, has shown strong interest in antique and contemporary jewelry and pieces by Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Harry Winston, but also for colored and white diamonds. The sale, which also included fine jewelry, totaled $ 21.5 million.
The timeless appeal of rare designer jewelry has been reaffirmed in New York with the masterpieces of Bulgari, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, created over a century, capturing the attention of international collectors. It was exciting to beat these objects of great interest and to see that the attention was translated into a so lively relaunch contest.
Gary Schuler, President of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division
The eyes were on the Serpenti necklace made of diamonds by Bulgari, which reached 920,000 dollars (halfway through the estimate of 800,000-1,000,000 dollars). The jewel is composed of 260 carats of diamonds. Among the period jewels, the Pendeloque brooch with diamonds, corals, emeralds and beads was also highly appreciated, sold for $ 824,000, more than double the highest estimate (350,000). The shape of the brooch is supple: originally it was intended to cover the shoulder. But she was inspired by the Indian sarpech, a turban pin that hangs like a tassel between her eyebrows. Moreover, the graphic geometry of the piece as a whole is strongly architectural: the triangular projections of coral and diamonds evoke the winged roofs of the Far East pagodas, prefiguring at the same time the iconic Chrysler Building in New York.
The auction house also signals the outcome for a set that includes rare sautoir in enamel and diamonds and a pair of Tiffany & Co earrings, which were sold to an online bidder for $ 500,000 (maximum estimate of 300,000). Designed by the great American jeweler Paulding Farnham, this set was shown for the first time at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, which celebrated the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. At the time, Farnham was the main designer of Tiffany & Co and the jewelry director, responsible for famous designs including his acclaimed orchids series and the Belmont Stakes Trophy. The necklace and earrings presented in the auction are embellished with large rose-cut diamonds framed by antique European diamonds and single-cut diamonds. Paulding Farnham’s works rarely appear on the market but some important pieces have entered private collections and museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Federico Graglia