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Suzanne Belperron & the Fine Jewellery, Watches & Silver Sale Preview

16th June 2023.

A Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond Flower Brooch by Suzanne Belperron, one of the most original and influential jewellery designers of the 20th century, is to be offered in Tennants Auctioneers’ Fine Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on 15th July with an estimate of £5,000-7,000 (all figures exclude buyer’s premium). The brooch is 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 began her career in jewellery design in 1919 at the House of René Boivin, the famed Parisian jewellers, before leaving to become the chief designer at Bernard Herz in 1932. After Herz’s death she took over the company, renaming it Herz-Belperron, and went on to design extraordinary jewellery for the likes of the Duchess of Windsor, Josephine Baker, Jean Cocteau and Frank Sinatra. 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 was known for minimising the use of metal in her blue chalcedony designs to accentuate the effect of the precious gem adornments almost clinging to the sculptural chalcedony. She never marked her pieces, famously quipping “My style is my signature”, however, the brooch is marked for Groëné et Darde, one of her most trusted manufacturers.

From the same vendor comes an Art Deco Diamond Bracelet (estimate: £7,000-10,000), and amongst a host of other glittering jewels in the sale is a Diamond Cluster Ring featuring a fancy intense yellow cut-cornered rectangular diamond (estimate: £20,000-25,000), and a Diamond Ring with a central emerald-cut diamond flanked by step cut diamonds (estimate: £15,000-20,000). The latter was by repute purchased as an investment circa 1940 and rarely worn, passing by descent to the present vendor. Also of note is a late 19th Century Diamond Tiara/Necklace (estimate: £2,000-3,000), with old cut and eight-cut diamonds set in fleuron motifs, and a Coral, Diamond and Enamel Ladybird Clip, made by Cartier circa 1930s (estimate: £4,000-6,000). Cartier first used ladybirds in 1935, and have used the insect to adorn brooches, earrings, cigarette lighters and candlesnuffers.

Amongst a strong offering of vintage and fine watches in the sale is a 1969 Rolex Single Red Line Submariner with Meters First depth rating (ref: 1680). 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. Having been in the same family since new, it is offered with an estimate of £9,000-12,000. A limited edition ‘James Bond 007 Spectre’ Omega Aqua Terra Seamaster is offered with an estimate of £2,500-3,000. 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. A further limited-edition watch, this time made by Breitling in collaboration with Bentley is on offer in the form of an 18 Carat Rose Gold Breitling Bentley, one of only 500 made in 2010 (estimate: £5,000-7,000). Also of note are two Patek Philippe Calatrava watches, the first a 1982 gent’s watch in 18 carat gold (estimate: £5,000-7,000), and the second a lady’s 18 carat gold watch made in 2001 (estimate: £4,000-5,000).

A remarkable 18 carat gold three-piece George VI Café au Lait Service leads the Silver section of the sale, on offer with an estimate of £100,000-150,000. Made by E. Silver and Co.  of Sheffield in 1947, the service comprises a coffee pot, a hot milk jug and a sugar bowl, all engraved with Art Deco style fleur-de-lys and scrolls. Also in the Art Deco style is a French Sapphire Set Gold Compact, attributed to Cartier and made prior to 1935 (estimate: £5,000-8,000). Also of interest is an Elizabeth II Parcel-Gilt Silver Timepiece, made by George Grant MacDonald in 2002 (estimate: £600-800). The timepiece is decorated with cast horses’ heads and riding crops, shields set with lapis lazuli cabochons and a coat-of-arms of the United Arab Emirates.

Amongst the Antique silver are a fine pair of George II Provincial Silver Candlesticks, made in 1746 and 1747 by James Kirkup of Newcastle (estimate: £4,000-6,000), and a Victorian Silver Figural Centrepiece, realistically modelled as a Horse and Rider, made by John Hunt and Robert Roskell of London in 1869 (estimate: £3,000-5,000).


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