Bonhams Rare Vintage Jewelry Auction

. April 5, 2009

On April 20th, bidders will vie on several lots of rare jewelry from a notable private collection going to the Madison Avenue auction block of Bonhams New York.

vintage-jewelry.jpgEncompassing all time periods, the collection is of great interest due to the many unusual designs it includes and most particularly for an exceptionally uncommon piece by the famed Dreicer.

Throughout the first quarter of the 19th Century, Dreicer was at the forefront of jewelry design. With their original premises at located at 560 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the firm actually established their trend-setting reputation in St. Louis by representing Parisian jeweler A. Eknayan at the city’s 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The firm’s name quickly became synonymous with Parisian Style as they were the first American firm to introduce new diamond cuts from Paris in the 1920s. During their growing popularity, Dreicer opened a second location at the luxurious Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, however shortly afterwards- in 1923- the firm was liquidated, with Cartier ultimately buying their stock for $2.5 million the following year.

A favorite amongst collectors of rare jewelry, Dreicer is always certain to cause a stir. The piece to be offered is a fine belle époque diamond and natural pearl necklace, circa 1905. With an estimated total diamond weight of 22.50 carats it is designed as a delicate openwork cascade of old European-cut diamonds and is accented with sixteen round gray natural pearls. Signed Dreicer & Co; the necklace is estimated at $100,000-200,000.

Also from the same estate are several outstanding pieces of vintage jewelry.

Collectors will have the opportunity to bid on an excellent retro ruby diamond and platinum bangle bracelet by Cartier, circa 1935. Estimated at $50,000-70,000, the hinged bangle centering terminals of pavé-set round brilliant-cut diamonds and channel-set rubies has an estimated total diamond weight of 7.00 carats and an estimated total ruby weight of 11.50 carats.

Of interest to Art Deco followers will be a Tutti Frutti diamond and gem-set clip brooch by Cartier, Paris circa 1925. Designed in the form of a shield, pavé-set with old European-cut diamonds and accented with cabochon ruby and emerald flower detail, the lot carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.

Enticing vintage jewelry collectors will also be an Oscar Heyman Green Tourmaline Brooch (est. $5,000-7,000); a Sapphire and Diamond Line Bracelet (est. $5,000-7,000); and a Diamond Line Bracelet (est. $7,000-9,000).

Further attracting attention are several pieces from a private Los Angeles collection. Highlighting this group is an eye-catching five row diamond bracelet with over 33.00 carats set in platinum (est. $50,000-25,000) and a set of Van Cleef & Arpels “Bombe” style sapphire earrings (est. $15,000-25,000) and matching ring (est. $10,000-15,000). Created in the jeweler’s highly coveted “Mystery Setting”, the prongs are concealed, showing nothing but row upon row of sapphires.

“We’re excited to offer such diverse lots this spring,” states Virginia Salem, Director of Jewelry for Bonhams New York. “In this economic climate, the number of well-priced, fresh to the market consignments is a step in a positive direction. This is an excellent time for collecting.”

The illustrated auction catalog for the sale will be online at in the weeks preceding the public preview and auction. For more information about this department’s annual sale, please visit

Category: Auction News

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