Jewelry

Gemologist Josh Cohn joins Morphy Auctions’ team of specialists

July 25th, 2013 by

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions has announced the appointment of gemologist and art glass expert Josh Cohn to itsteam of specialists.

Gemologist and art glass expert Josh Cohn, GG, newly appointed to Morphy Auctions’ team of specialists.

A graduate gemologist (GG) who spent 20 years at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) – the world leader in the grading and quality analysis of gemstones and diamonds – Cohn is a recognized expert in his field. He will bring his vast knowledge and experience to all Morphy sales that include estate jewelry, diamonds and other precious gems.

Cohn, who lives in a New York City suburb, spent most of his years at GIA in a laboratory environment, identifying and verifying diamonds of all types. He also studied while at GIA and earned his GG accreditation there.

“Although he is very well known in the world of diamonds and gemstones, Josh is also a respected dealer of art glass, silver, jewelry and paintings. His shop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, The Emporium, is a popular stop for antique hunters in the Berkshires,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “We’re very pleased that Josh has agreed to become part of our organization.”

Cohn is currently in the process of gathering precious gem and estate-jewelry consignments to evaluate and catalog for Morphy’s Nov. 2 Fine & Decorative Art Auction. So far, highlights include a 5-carat white diamond, a 5-carat colored diamond in a platinum mounting set with smaller colored diamonds, and several highly desirable collector-quality color-changing diamonds known in the trade as “chameleons.” Cohn also expects to receive auction consignments of mounted and loose colored diamonds, and other fine gemstones, including sapphires, expressly for the Nov. 2 event.

 

To contact Josh Cohn about consigning to Morphy’s, call 914-907-9385 or email toobiltd@comcast.net. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.

 

Stephenson’s May 31 Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction features 800 lots of jewelry, silver, furniture and clocks

May 22nd, 2013 by

Selection includes quality pieces from Philadelphia-area estates, private collections

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Laden with heavy silver, fine timepieces and a regal array of jewelry, Stephenson’s May 31st auction blends a 35-year single-owner collection with additional estate and individual consignments of exceptional quality. The 800-lot Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction also incorporates primitives, art, furniture and clocks. With that much to sell in one day, Stephenson’s usual auction start time has been adjusted to an earlier 10 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Tiffany & Co. brass-cased clock. Stephenson’s image.

The Friday sale opens with a fine selection of smalls. Several collections are featured, with the contents including many fine porcelain Boehm figurines and birds; Royal Worcester productions and desirable, larger-size Lladros and Swarovskis.

The centerpiece of the day is the single-owner jewelry collection, which incorporates designs from the turn of the 20th century through modern day. Many of the pieces in the collection are Native American and exhibit a level of skillful hand detailing that only highly accomplished artisans could execute.

A large and heavy circa-1920 sterling silver squash blossom necklace is unusual in its styling, said Stephenson’s fine jewelry expert, Theresa Zaengle, because it does not contain turquoise, coral or other stones, as would be typical of most squash blossom necklaces. “It is all handmade and quintessentially Native American in its appearance, but it is a simpler design with all handmade fluted silver beads, squash blossoms and a central Naja pendant. It’s a heavy piece. The silver content is very high,” Zaengle said. The necklace retains its original patina and has not been cleaned. It is expected to sell in the vicinity of $800.

Many artist-signed Native-American jewelry items will cross the auction block at Stephenson’s, including sand-cast pieces from the 1920s. “These designs stand out because they’re very weighty, and you can almost see where each piece was molded in the sand,” Zaengle said. All of the stones are natural, as opposed to having been dyed or treated.

From a different consignor comes a mini collection of superior-quality Mexican silver jewelry. A highlight is a desirable Hector Aguilar bracelet that has a presciently modern look. A similar example is shown in a leading Mexican jewelry reference book.

Jewelry buyers will have an abundance of choice in this sale. An impressive sapphire and diamond necklace is valued at approximately $1,800; while a “very modern and understated” Italian mesh necklace of white and yellow gold with diamonds is entered with an estimate of $1,000.

A 1920s platinum and diamond bracelet estimated at $2,500 is delicately detailed, which would suggest it is from the period bridging the Edwardian and Art Deco eras. “Some very pretty jewelry was produced during this time of transition. The linear look had not yet come into its own,” Zaengle noted.

Those who enjoy classic timepieces will find an abundance of quality in this auction. A top lot is an 18K gold-cased Vacheron & Constantin man’s wristwatch estimated at $1,500.

Stephenson’s is well established in the Philadelphia area as an estates specialist. Without exception, each of their sales includes at least one exciting discovery, like the Tiffany clock in the May 31 offering that came from a residence in the Philadelphia-area borough of Jenkintown. Standing 43 inches high, the ornate, baroque-style brass clock has an enameled face and dates to the last decade of the 19th century. Its works are marked “Tiffany & Co.”

Platinum and diamond bracelet. Stephenson’s image.

Stephenson’s owner, Cindy Stephenson, described the beautiful timekeeper as “the largest, most ornate table clock I’ve ever seen.” Among the visuals incorporated in its motif are dolphins, a woman riding Pegasus, and caryatids as the supports. Its finial is a three-dimensional figure of Father Time, seated on a sphere and holding a scythe.

“The woman who owned it is in her 90s and had childhood memories of watching her father wind the clock, but in our research we have not been able to find a comparable example. We’ve estimated it at $3,000 to $5,000, but collectors could prove us wrong and bid well above that range,” said Stephenson.

Three fine English oil-on-canvas portraits were consigned from the same Jenkintown home that produced the clock. The paintings – one of which is dated 1776 – are unsigned, English-school artworks with an interesting backstory.

“The consignor had seen a picture of a small antique shop in a magazine and was attracted to a portrait appearing in the shop’s window. She actually traveled all the way to England to try to find the shop, but knew only the name of the village where it was located,” Stephenson said. “She had to ask many people before she finally bumped into a couple in a tavern who actually knew the shop. Not only did they take her there, where she bought the three portraits in our sale, but she also became lifelong friends with the couple.”

As a further testament to the consignor’s refined taste in antiques, Stephenson’s will offer an 8ft wide breakfront from the Jenkintown home. It was custom made in the 1940s of Georgian-style flame mahogany and would add elegance to any traditional home.

Other furniture in the sale includes mid-century modern designs, such as the Peter Hvidt & O. Molgaard-Nielsen for John Stuart teakwood armchair with loose cushion and cane back. It is entered with a $1,000 estimate.

The selection of stoneware is led by a pair of cobalt-decorated chicken feeders, decorated with a botanical motif and clearly incised with the name “Thos. Haig” and the address “975 N. 2nd St. Phila.” The estimate for the pair is $2,000.

Stephenson’s Friday, May 31 Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at the earlier-than-usual time of 10 a.m. Eastern. The company’s gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. Inspection is on Thursday, May 30, from 1-6 p.m., and on auction day from 9-10 a.m.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.liveauctioneers.com.

For additional information on any auction lot, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail info@stephensonsauction.com. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.

Emeralds, gold coins reign at Government Auction, April 28

April 26th, 2013 by

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – Government Auction’s auction on Sunday, April 28, will feature emerald jewelry, antique gold coins, designer handbags and Rolex watches worthy of an ancient Egyptian ruler or modern-day trendsetter. The auction will begin at 5:45 a.m. Pacific time (8:45 a.m. Eastern time) and Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

12-carat emerald and diamond ring. Government Auction image.

Cleopatra was perhaps the first “celebrity” associated with the enigmatic emerald. The Egyptian queen had a fascination bordering on obsession with the brilliant green stone and even owned an emerald mine. To those in ancient Egypt, the stone represented wealth and power, and was the symbol of fertility. Cleopatra’s hoard of gemstones has never been found, but her association with the rare gemstone endures. A highlight in the April 28 auction that the last pharaoh surely would have coveted is the 14.97-carat emerald with 10.25-carat diamond necklace.

A stunning piece composed of 14K yellow gold, the necklace has a drape motif that suits even the most elegant of evening wear. The 18-inch necklace features 20 graduating emerald and diamond bezel pendants supported by an emerald and diamond lattice with numerous prong- and bead-set round brilliant-cut diamonds. The piece is topped off with matching yellow gold links and a concealed box clasp with twin safeties.

Another piece Cleopatra would have been proud to add to her collection is a 12-carat emerald and diamond ring. The ring is composed of 14K white gold, with the featured large emerald set within a diamond lattice gallery supported by diamond set shoulders and completed with a 2 1/2-millimeter wide band. There are approximately 28 prong- and bead-set diamonds in the ring weighing 1.70 carats.

In keeping with our theme of powerful and sophisticated women, a Louis Stewart designer bag reported to have been owned by Chris Jenner of “Keeping with the Kardashians” is also featured in this auction. The Louis Stewart line is fast becoming the latest trend and is popular with the celebrity set due to the company’s product quality and style. Stewart is a designer who worked for Louis Vuitton before launching his own brand. This brand has not made it to the stores yet, but is receiving high visibility from celebs such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj. The Louis Stewart handbag featured on April 28 is black patent leather with a small crystal bling lock, and the Louis Stewart logo is displayed on a front silver badge.

Also offered for auction in the coin category is a highly sought-after piece—an 1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty Head gold coin. The Double Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted from 1850 during the height of the California gold rush until 1907. Of all the U.S. gold coins minted before 1907, the Double Eagle had the highest gold content, almost one full ounce of pure gold. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin weighs 33.43 grams and is composed of 90 percent gold

1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty gold coin. Government Auction image.

and 10 percent copper.

Another collectible coin for auction is the 1925-D $2.5 U.S Indian Head type gold coin. The Indian Quarter Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted in Denver. Designed by Bela Lyon Pratt the coin features an incuse, or sunken, design of an American Indian with full feather war headdress on the obverse and the American eagle on the reverse. The piece is 18mm in diameter, weighs 4.18 grams, and is comprised of .900 fine gold and .100 copper.

An exceptional Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch is an auction highlight in the elite timepiece category. This man’s watch is crafted in stainless steel with silver sunray finish dial and steel hour posts and band.

Additional auction highlights include a 5.00-carat princess-cut diamond, Chanel sunglasses, Louis Vuitton leather bag, Formula 1 Hublot Watch and much more.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Debbie at 661-823-1543 or email info@governmentauction.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Bidders take their pick from Pennsylvania Treasury’s ‘unclaimed’ vault in Morphy’s million-dollar Feb. 8-9 auction

February 22nd, 2013 by

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions’ Feb. 8-9 collaboration with the Pennsylvania Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property resulted in an exciting weekend of transactions that tallied over one million dollars (inclusive of basic 20% buyer’s premium). Of that total, 26% was attributable to prices realized by 200 lots of fine jewelry, watches, coins and other valuables from the Treasury’s vaults in Harrisburg, Pa. The greater portion of the 1,146-lot sale included consignments of paintings, mechanical music, a collection of vintage violins and a broad selection of decorative art, including Part II of a highly refined Amphora pottery collection.

“There was a lot of interest from the media in the run-up to this sale, especially because of the Treasury Department items,” said Dan Morphy. “It was the first time in 10 years that the Treasury had sanctioned a live auction of unclaimed goods from safe deposit boxes. The quality was there, all the way.”

There were 2,179 registered bidders for the sale, and more than 100 people attended the event in person, including representatives from the Pennsylvania Treasury. The phone bank was active throughout the auction, and Internet bidders made their presence known in a big way, with online purchases representing 62% of the gross over the two-day period.

Of the Treasury consignment, the earliest representation of Pennsylvania’s history was a Spence-authenticated,

1787 land deed signed by Benjamin Franklin

Spence-authenticated 1787 land deed signed by Benjamin Franklin, $13,200. Morphy Auctions image.

handwritten 1787 property deed signed by Benjamin Franklin. Estimated at $7,000-$10,000, it was bid to $13,200.

Bidders dipped into the Treasury’s jewelry box with glee, taking away many exquisite gold, diamond and platinum pieces just in time for Valentine’s Day. A heart-shape diamond-encrusted pendant set in 14K gold featured a 1.25ct pear-shape center diamond surrounded by smaller rough-cut pave diamonds. Its sparkle and heft encouraged bidders to ignore the $7,000-$10,000 estimate, and ultimately it checked out at $18,600.

A stunning platinum engagement ring with a 4.25ct European-cut diamond and two flanking baguettes, each weighing .30 carats, came very close to achieving its high estimate at $19,800. The ring would have made quite a spectacular statement if paired with another retro-chic design that finished high amongst prices realized: a platinum, diamond and ruby bracelet with an Art Deco feel. It featured an eye-filling medley of round, Asscher- and emerald-cut gems, and drew a winning bid of $15,600.

14K gold heart-shape pendant

14K gold heart-shape pendant set with 1.25ct pear-shape center diamond, smaller rough-cut pave diamonds, $18,600. Morphy Auctions image.

Timepiece highlights included an impressive 18K diamond-face Rolex Presidential watch, $10,800; and a sporty Swiss-made Breitling Chronograph with cobalt blue and gold face, $5,700.

Patrick Orbe made his debut as Morphy’s fine art consultant with the selection of paintings he curated for the Feb. 8-9 sale. The auction’s top fine-art lot was a Ferdinand Richardt (Danish, 1819-1895) oil on canvas titled “View of Niagara Falls.” The signed 33 x 43in painting presented in a custom-made gold leaf frame realized $37,200.

Bidders competed aggressively over rare pieces of Amphora from the Les Cohen collection, especially the monumental 18½in “Daughter of the Rhine” vase with applied jewels and enameled flowers. Well exceeding estimate hopes, it rose to $18,000. Another crowd-pleaser was the 22½in Amphora Saurian & Crab vase. Estimated at $7,000-$9,000, it was chased to $13,800.

Other decorative-art categories also held up very well. Desirable Loetz glass was led by a circa-1903 pink luster vase with a blue pattern reminiscent of peacock feathers, $4,800. The top Rookwood lot was an initialed and dated 1927 monumental vellum vase in a hibiscus motif, created by Elizabeth Lincoln. The vessel garnered $6,000.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way bidders responded to the fine jewelry and other articles from the Pennsylvania Treasury,” said Dan Morphy. “Even though all of their items were offered without reserve, nearly every piece met or exceeded expectations, with sales totaling $260,000. We’re very much looking forward to presenting the next Treasury selection, which we anticipate will be sometime in the fall.”

To contact Morphy Auctions, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com

Antique Jewelry: 19th and 20th Century Gypsy Jewelry

August 8th, 2012 by

The Gypsy people, also called Roma or Romani, can trace their origins back more than 1000 years to the Indian subcontinent. Gypsy bloodlines and cultures have since proliferated across Europe and most of the rest of the world. During the early part of the 20th century, many Gypsy families arrived in the United States, bringing with them their culture and of course their possessions, which tend to showcase the Roma’s unique skill with intricate metalwork. This skill is easily recognized in a form of rare and now highly valued antique jewelry.

Metal smelting, plating, and shaping skills were believed to have developed among the Roma more than a millennium ago and have since been passed down from one generation to the next. As a result, the most beautiful and prized antique jewelry of this century is often set in or composed of various metals, specifically copper and gold. Gold cuff bracelets and earrings, gold belts, and gold medallions made by Roma are often more valuable then the gold used to make them– worth more than their weight, so to speak. But there are other reasons why these pieces are so sought after, many originating in aspects of the Roma culture and lifestyle.

For example, as a nomadic people, Gypsies historically limit their possessions to what they can carry or wear, so jewelry has become a form of wearable currency. But this exposes items to damage and loss and so, as generations go by, truly antique jewelry can become harder to find. The Roma also traditionally bury possessions with their owner upon the owner’s death, the possible exception being a single ring given to the owners oldest daughter. Jewelry belonging to a deceased person cannot be sold, and even as these restrictions have changed and lifted over the years, it still remains taboo to sell this jewelry within the Roma community. All of these factors contribute to a general attrition of truly authentic antique jewelry displaying Roma metalwork. The current rarity of these items can also be traced to the 1930’s and the great depression which left many families in financial circumstances that forced them to pawn or melt antique jewelry pieces down in order to sell the gold.

A few features to look for when evaluating antique jewelry with Gypsy origins: First, the metalwork. Gems and stones are often set in the pieces, but Gypsy owners typically preferred to invest in gold, since gold is more difficult to counterfeit. Intricate wirework, or filigree, is also a common feature of authentic Gypsy pieces.
Keep an eye out for Gypsy motifs as well, the most popular being horseshoes, hearts, and the head of a beautiful woman in profile, often referred to as “the Gypsy queen.” If you happen to own antique jewelry displaying these images, keep in mind the Gypsy belief that such pieces are good luck to own, but bad luck to sell. This also, of course, escalates the pieces in both rarity and value.

- Erin Sweeney

Ivey – Selkirk – Auctioneers & Appraisers

May 4th, 2012 by

The last day to consign for these auctions is May 9th

 

Sotheby’s Geneva – Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

May 2nd, 2012 by

The Noble Jewels session on the 15th May is led by the sensational Beau Sancy diamond, a stone of supreme historical importance with an impeccable royal provenance stretching back to Marie de Medici; also featured is the Murat tiara commissioned by Prince Alexandre Murat in 1920 from Chaumet and set with one of the largest natural pearls ever recorded. Enjoying similarly illustrious provenance is a selection of jewels from the collection of a member of the Princely Family of Thurn und Taxis, the collection of the late Prince Kinsky, and the collection of Prince Filippo Corsini to name but a few.

 

The Magnificent Jewels section features a superb emerald and diamond necklace by Bulgari as well as  impressive D colour, Internally Flawless diamonds. Leading this group is an exceptional 36.43 carat modified oval step‐cut, Type IIa, diamond ring by Harry Winston, and a very fine 21.88 carat pear-shaped diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels.  Also D colour are a 22.10 carat, Potentially Flawless, diamond ring, and a highly important diamond necklace supporting a 41.40 carat, VVS2 clarity, pear-shaped stone.

 

Coming to auction alongside the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale is an important private collection of fine jewels and gemstones. Assembled by two generations of a discerning family, from the mid-1960s until the present day, this collection is a celebration of taste, style and colour. Comprising over 75 pieces, it reflects the passion for gemstones that animated the family for 50 years, while also featuring jewels signed by the greatest makers of the 20th century, including Bulgari, Cartier, Harry Winston and Van Cleef and Arpels.

Sotheby’s London – From the Collection of Prince and Princess Henry De la Tour d’ Auvergne Lauraguais

May 2nd, 2012 by

The history of the de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais family is a long and distinguished one. Related by marriage to the noblest dynasties in France, it is one of only six families (alongside the houses of Savoie, Lorraine, Grimaldi, Rohan and La Tremoille) to be granted the rights and privileges accorded to foreign princes.

The collection of Prince and Princess Henry de La Tour d’Auvergne Lauraguais includes a breadth of items, from very fine Neo-classical and Empire furniture, headlined by a magnificent gilt-bronze mounted amaranth and tulipwood secrétaire by Joseph, circa 1770, to the finest collection of 18th century scagliola to appear at auction.

A selection of other items integral to the daily lives of this great aristocratic family include: porcelain, silver, glass, linen, jewellery, clocks, objets de vertu and paintings and in addition, medals, orders and Cardinal’s regalia.

Session Two presents the important collection of books, manuscripts and livres d’artistes, including books from the library at Château de Rochecotte of celebrated designer and architect Emilio Terry (1890- 1969), maternal uncle and mentor of Prince Henry.

Sotheby’s New York – Magnificent Jewels

April 3rd, 2012 by

This spring the New York sale of Magnificent Jewels is distinguished by the many beautiful, fresh-to-the-market signed jewels from prominent Estate collections. From Dallas philanthropist Nancy B. Hamon to Valerie Pascal Delacorte, benefactor of the Norton Museum of Art, the collections offered in the April sale reflect the style and taste of accomplished women who loved to wear their jewelry.  Leading the Estates are the jewels of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, a former model, whose interests ranged from exquisite antique and Art Deco pieces to the bold designs of David Webb. Collectors of period jewels will find a remarkable group of Jewels from a New York Estate representing two centuries of jewelry history including pieces from Mauboussin, Boucheron and Sterlé.

This sale also provides an in-depth look at many of the best jewelry designers of the 20th century.  The cover lot, an extraordinary brooch conceived by Cartier in 1920, features a beautiful Mughal carved emerald elegantly framed by calibré-cut sapphires and emeralds. This jewel exemplifies Cartier’s unsurpassed talent for merging  Eastern exoticism with avante garde design during the Art Deco period. The signature styles of Suzanne Belperron, Flato and Verdura are also well represented in the sale, as are the bold, architectural jewels of the Art Moderne movement.

For the gemstone connoisseur, the sale offers a superb selection of important diamonds, gem-quality colored stones and natural pearls.  Highlights include a 20-carat sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire ring mounted by Cartier, a Fancy Blue diamond ring in a turn-of-the-century Tiffany & Co. setting, and a 13-carat Cartier Colombian emerald ring, as well as an impressive 23-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring. The core of the sale is formed by an extensive selection of white diamonds, from charming antique cuts to more contemporary shapes in sizes of up to 30 carats.

Sotheby’s New York – Important Jewels

December 29th, 2011 by

A wonderful group of Art Nouveau jewels, including works by Fouquet and Lalique, highlights the Important Jewels sale in New York this February.  The sale also offers vintage and contemporary signed pieces from leading jewelers such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb and Buccellati.  Collectors looking for fine diamonds will find a wide selection of white stones under 10 carats and a beautiful heart-shaped fancy orangy pink diamond that leads the sale this season.

Los Angeles: 5-6 January 2012
San Francisco: 9-10 January 2012
Philadelphia: 10 January 2012
Chicago: 18-19 January 2012
Ft. Worth: 24 January 2012
Dallas: 25 January 2012
Los Angeles: 25-26 January 2012
Houston: 26 January 2012