Sapphires, Verdura steal show at Moran’s jewelry auction
Two of the most highly fought-after pieces were those by Italian-American designer Verdura. The first was a camel-form brooch featuring baroque cultured pearls set into the hump. Further set with 170 full-cut round diamonds, a pear-shaped yellow sapphire, and rubies, the camel was conservatively estimated at $8,000 – $10,000, but eager bidders drove it up to a final price of $36,000.
The second Verdura lot was very much a statement piece, made from a striking natural orange lion’s paw shell with deep blue cabochon sapphires and round-cut diamonds set in frothy lines of resembling sea foam. Their passions justifiably inflamed, bidders reserved every available phone line for the necklace weeks prior to the sale, and when the bidding finally began it came fierce and rapid-fire. In a matter of moments, the price shot past the estimate of $10,000 – $15,000, the hammer coming down a moment later at $96,000.
Not to be overshadowed by the success of the Verdura, a Harry Winston necklace featuring a gorgeous 24-carat certified natural Ceylon sapphire surrounded by diamonds and cultured pearls drove buyers to their limits. With a dark-horse Internet bidder keeping pace with a quietly determined bidder on the floor, the necklace finally sold to the floor bidder for $138,000 (estimate: $70,000 – $90,000).
Additional highlights prominently featuring sapphires included a ring by Van Cleef & Arpels, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000, and a sapphire, diamond, and white gold bracelet estimated to sell between $1,500 and $2,000. These gorgeous pieces found buyers at $7,800 and $3,300, respectively.
Animal-form jewelry, ever popular at Moran’s auctions, also brought competitive prices. Early in the sale, a circa-1890 silver-topped gold snake brooch set with demantoid garnets and rubies realized $960 (estimate: $300 – $500). Shortly following, a diamond and platinum moth brooch, estimated at $2,000 – $2,500, found a buyer at $3,000. A charming diamond and gold teddy bear charm bracelet, set with 177 diamonds and oval sapphire accents on the eyes, nose, and foot pads was a breakout highlight, climbing to a selling price of $7,200 in a matter of minutes (estimate: $3,000 – $5,000). A diamond and gold spider motif pendant-brooch, estimated at $2,500 – $3,500, realized $6,000, and went home with an absentee bidder.
A collection of Jay Strongwater items (estimate: $250 – $350) from the Atlantis collection – a series of color-dazzled underwater flora and fauna – caused a bit of a stir. Overcoming fierce competition between online bidders, a persistent LiveAuctioneers bidder went home with the lot of fish, shell boxes and snails for $1,004. A bit later in the sale, a collection of shell-embellished picture frames and a box by the same designer (estimate: $300 – $500), found a new owner for $1,882.50.
Jade appeared to be the mineral of the hour, snapped up furiously at or above the estimates. Perhaps one of the most impressive jade lots in the sale, a French compact of pale green color set with ruby accents, received a fair amount of rapt attention at the Friday preview. Despite some minimal condition issues, the delicate piece brought $7,800, going to a private collector in the room (estimate: $1,000 – $1,500). Late in the sale, a jadeite, diamond and gold collection featuring a pair of earrings and a carved vegetal-form pendant, estimated to bring $700 to $900, realized $1,845. Shortly following, a pair of jadeite and gold rings brought $2040, while a lot comprising a carved butterfly brooch and horse pendant sold at $1968 (estimates: $700 – $900 and $600 – $800, respectively).
Watches were in demand. A Panthère gold wristwatch by Cartier, sporting diamonds and sapphires, found a new home for $11,637.50 (estimate: $6,000 – $8,000). A Rolex Datejust II in stainless steel and gold, estimated at $6,000 – $8,000, was quickly bid up to a final price of $9,600.
Additional highlights from this sale included:
- A rare circa-1900 Waterman’s Ideal gold fountain pen with its original box and papers, formerly the property of A.C. Harper, mayor of Los Angeles from 1907 to 1909, earned $15,600 at the block (estimate: $200 – $400).
- A glistening silver, plique-à-jour and champlevé enamel box by Wiener Werkstatte designer Georg Stoger made a colorful late addition to the auction, selling at $3,900 (estimate: $2,000 – $4,000).
- A ruby, diamond, and pearl collar necklace featuring six cabochon rubies (approximately 12 carats total), excited bidders with its delicate detailing. A floor buyer held out long enough to snatch the lot up for $3,600 (estimate: $1,000 – $1,500).
Another John Moran Auctioneers HQ Jewelry auction is scheduled for Dec. 10 and consignment inquiries are always welcome for this and all other upcoming auctions.
For inquiries concerning upcoming auctions or consignment, please contact John Moran Auctioneers directly, via www.johnmoran.com, email: email@example.com, or phone: 626-798-1833.
View the fully illustrated catalog of Moran’s May 21HQ Jewelry and Luxury Auction, complete with prices realized, at LiveAuctioneers.com.
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE