News & Insights

Jewellery Report Autumn/Winter 2019

16th December 2019.

It was a delight to see a packed saleroom for the jewellery section of Tennant’s Autumn Fine Sale on 16th November. With 167 lots offered, the section attained almost half of the sale total – a staggering £310,230 (excluding premium). A range of jewellery was included, encompassing antique and modern pieces with estimates ranging from the mid-hundreds up to the tens of thousands of pounds.

During Fine Art Week, Tennants’ Specialists gave talks to visitors about their favourite items in the sale, and Jewellery Specialist Sarah Hardy chose a particularly beautiful diamond brooch, made circa 1900, with a later pearl choker.  Sarah selected this item for discussion to demonstrate the versatility of metamorphic jewellery and the importance of modifying jewellery to allow it to be best used by its (current) owner. Sarah also spoke about the quality of the cut of the diamonds, the manufacture of the brooch and the subsequent overall appeal of the piece. Although this item sold within estimate (£7500 plus premium) it was encouraging to see that diamond brooches, although not the first choice of everyday jewellery for the majority, can still generate a good level of interest and enthusiastic bidding at auction.

Indeed, there was a large selection of diamond and gem set brooches included in the sale; highlights included a diamond bow brooch that soared past its estimate of £500-700 to make £2000, an enamel brooch dating circa 1850 achieved a tremendous hammer price of £1800 against an estimate of £400-600, and an opal and diamond brooch with a similar bar brooch also reached four figures, finally selling for £2000 (against an estimate of £800-1200). A further diamond bow was also strongly contested achieving a hammer price of £2800 against an estimate of £1500-2000.

Sarah Hardy said: “It was heartening to see brooches having a surge in popularity, but there was more than one facet to the sale. Jewellery sold well across the board, with trade and private buyers alike enthusiastically bidding on good quality pieces, particularly the antique items. I was thrilled to see strong prices return for brooches at auction – long may it continue – but I was pleased that after a busy viewing week, buyers attended in their droves to ensure new homes for beautiful rings, earrings and bracelets too. I was waiting with anticipation to see what hammer price the most valuable of our lots – a fabulous 1930s diamond ring - would achieve and was delighted when the hammer fell at £56,000, making this the highest value lot of the sale”.

The Jewellery Department was privileged to handle the aforementioned ring. It ticked all the boxes for a very special auction lot, coming from a private source and having been in their family since the mid-1930s. It was an elegant ring with a beautifully cut principal diamond of some 3.74 carat, a certified colour E and clarity VS1. Sold with its original box from SJ Phillips, and the recently acquired certificate, it carried a pre-sale estimate of £40,000-£50,000.

The Jewellery Department has also just completed another successful 195-lot sale, held on 7th December with further strong prices achieved. Looking forward to 2020, the department will offer the first of the new stand-along Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sales on 11th January, the catalogue for which is now available.  

Jewellery is going from strength to strength at Tennants, and the department has a rare and exciting opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced jewellery valuer to join the team. For more information please visit our Vacancies Page.

Further entries of jewellery are invited for the sale throughout 2020. To discuss buying or selling jewellery at Tennants, please contact Jessica Fall on 01969 623780 or


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