A 17.43-carat Kashmir cushion-shaped sapphire dating from the late 19th to early 20th century will headline the Bonhams Jewels auction in London on April 30. The vivid blue stone is estimated at £300,000-£400,000 ($392,000-$522,520).
It will be the first time this stone — which was formerly owned by a European noble family — has appeared at auction. Bonhams UK Director of Jewellery Emily Barber said, “Sapphires hailing from Kashmir are among the most highly-prized gems for serious connoisseurs.”
She added, “After the discovery of the mine in the high Himalayan mountain region of northwest India in 1881, the majority of mining activity took place during the following decade, after which the supply was essentially exhausted. This makes them extremely rare and highly desirable to collectors who want to add an important sapphire to their collection.”
Another highlight of the sale is a 9.07-carat, F colour, Type IIa, potential VVS1, step-cut diamond ring estimated at £250,000-£350,000 ($327,650-$457,300). Bonhams will also be offering a diamond and sapphire transformable necklace by Grassy. Dated circa 1935, the articulated collar centres on a 34.59-carat unheated Sri Lankan sapphire.
Estimated at £120,000-£180,000 ($156,800-$235,220), the necklace may be worn in a number of ways — the sapphire detaches and may be worn as a ring; the entire central plaque of the necklace may be detached and worn as a clip; the plaque clasp detaches and can be worn as a clip and also be worn in the centre of the necklace.
The sale will also feature an exceptional collection of jewels from the British Modernist movement, dating from the 1960s to the 1980s, including works by Andrew Grima, American-born Charles de Temple, David Thomas and Kutchinsky.
These jewellers championed methods of melting and transforming gold into abstract forms, embracing both shape and texture, before setting the jewels with precious and semi-precious stones.
Additionally, Bonhams will also be offering an emerald and diamond 'Two Bees' ring by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. This was in the collection of Andy Warhol, who was an avid — yet secretive — collector of jewellery.
Dating from the mid 20th century, the 22.02-carat step-cut emerald of Colombian in origin, sits within an elaborate mount formed of two marquise and brilliant-cut diamond honey bees and two curving brilliant-cut diamond leaves. It is signed Schlumberger and Tiffany & Co and is estimated at £65,000-£85,000 ($85,000-$111,000).