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Results: Suzanne Belperron Brooch Sells for £38,000

18th July 2023.

A Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond Flower Brooch by Suzanne Belperron, one of the most original and influential jewellery designers of the 20th century, sold for £38,000 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Fine Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on 15th July. The brooch was the Property of a Lady, who was given it on her wedding day in 1952 by the Italian noblewoman Marchesa Maria Nunziate di Mignano. Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) is lauded for her distinctive, strikingly modern designs, which are decidedly feminine yet often incorporate stylised geometric motifs. Belperron favoured working with gem materials that many would regard as non-precious, such as agate, rock crystal and chalcedony as in the present example, and she never marked her pieces, famously quipping “My style is my signature”.

In a very strong sale for jewellery, one of the most in demand pieces in the sale was a Late 19th Century Diamond Tiara/Necklace, which sold for £16,000, despite articles after the Coronation labelling such jewels as unfashionable. This delicate example was typical of the mid to late Victorian period and displayed fine workmanship and versatility in its ability to be either worn on the head or around the neck. Further period pieces included a Victorian Hinged Bangle (sold for £1,900), and a circa 1920 Sapphire and Diamond Double Clip Brooch (sold for £2,500).

Two impressive diamond rings also sold very well, with a Diamond Ring with an emerald-cut central stone, that had been purchased by the vendor’s family in the 1940s as an investment piece, selling for £22,000, and a Diamond Cluster Ring with a fancy intense yellow diamond selling for £19,000. Further notable sales included an 18 Carat Gold Fancy Coloured Diamond and Diamond Cluster Pendant on Chain (sold for £8,500), a Diamond Clip (sold for £1,500), and a Pair of Hoop Earrings by Cartier (sold for £2,200). Indeed, all pieces by the likes of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arples sold well.

A Victorian Silver Figural Centrepiece realistically modelled as a horse and rider sold for £6,800, leading the silver section of the sale. The centrepiece was made in London in 1869 by John Hunt and Robert Roskell, the pair being renowned for their depictions of horses and figures. Novelty and animal-themed silver sold well, too, with private buyer’s bidding strongly; highlights included a Set of Four George VI Silver Stacking Beakers and a Cover, by Z. Barraclough and Sons Ltd, London, 1937, which sold for £1,100, and a realistically modelled Elizabeth II Silver Model of a Wren made by Asprey and Co. Ltd in London in 1970, which sold for £800 against an estimate of £100-150. Also selling well at £2,800 was a Pair of Queen Anne Silver Candlesticks made by Jacob Margas of London in 1709.

The leading names in watch design continue to pull in bidders, with strong results for Cartier, Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe seen across the board. The top lot of the sale was a 1969 Rolex Single Red Line Submariner with Meters First depth rating (ref: 1680), which sold for £16,000 having been in the same family since new. This rare watch is notable for the depth rating appearing with the metric before the imperial figures, which Rolex only did for a short period, and the ‘Submariner’ model name on the dial being written in red. A limited edition ‘James Bond 007 Spectre’ Omega Aqua Terra Seamaster sold for £4,000. Since Golden Eye was released in 1995, Omega has been the watch of choice for the Bond film franchise, and this example made in 2016 to celebrate the release of Spectre features an automatic rotor in the form of a stylised spiral gun barrel and the Bond family coat of arms as both a repeating pattern on the navy dial and on a shield on the seconds hand. Military watches continue to perform well above estimate, too, with a circa 1944 IWC Military Issue Wristwatch, one of the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’, selling for £5,500 against an estimate of £1,000-1,500.

As with the jewellery, Cartier watches are much in demand; amongst the sale highlights were a 2010 steel and gold Cartier Tank Solo (ref: 2742), which sold for £2,500, and a 1995 steel and gold Cartier Santos (ref: 1566), which sold for £2,600.

The sale achieved a total hammer price of £673,915 with an 88% sold rate for 323 lots.


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