Mary Tudor ‘Hair’loom for Bonhams Jewellery Sale

Bonhams forthcoming jewellery sale promises an array of treasures, including a unique piece of history – a ring containing a lock of Mary Tudor’s hair. The ring will be one of the exceptional pieces of fine jewellery auctioned at Bonhams New Bond Street on 23rd September.

Mary TudorPassed down the generations by the youngest daughter of the 7th Duke of Rutland, the late 18th century memorial ring has a navette-shaped plaque with glazed locket compartment encasing a ‘wheat-sheaf’ of hair, the underside engraved ‘Mary Tudor Queen of France Died 1533’. An inscription reads: ‘This ring was given by me to the Lady Katherine Manners, eld’t dau’t to John, 7th Duke of Rutland, on Xmas Day 1897. It contains a lock of the hair of her ancestress the Lady Mary Tudor, dau’t of King Henry VII, who mar’d 1stly Louis XII, King of France and 2dly Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.” The lot is expected to reach between £2,000-£3,000.

Other significant pieces in the Fine Jewellery Sale include three extraordinary art deco jewels by Cartier which have never been on the open market before. They were created at a time when the work of the French jewellery house was unequalled in skill and craftsmanship, and these are three shining examples. According to family tradition they were executed by Cartier as a private commission.

The Cartier pieces include an aquamarine and diamond brooch, circa 1925, expected to fetch £10,000-15,000, in addition to an emerald and diamond ring, circa 1925, estimate £30,000-£40,000 and an aquamarine, sapphire and diamond sautoir, circa 1920, estimated to reach £15,000-20,000. The stunning emerald and the aquamarines were purchased by the vendor’s relatives in South America early on in the 20th century then brought back to Europe and given to Cartier who designed and mounted them in these jewels.

For those in search of a new best friend, there are a number of exceptional diamond pieces in the sale including an impressive pair of diamond earrings, circa 1960, each set with a 10.55 and 10.42 carat brilliant-cut diamond. The estimate is £60,000-80,000.

Amongst other diamond pieces there is a step-cut diamond ring, weighing 6.30cts, G colour, VS1 clarity, estimated at £50,000-70,000. Another major diamond piece is a brilliant-cut diamond ring, weighing 8.23cts, I colour, VVS1 clarity, estimated at £40,000-45,000

Other elite jewellers featured in the sale include stunning signed pieces by William Asprey, Boucheron, Buccellati, Bulgari and Van Cleef and Arpels.

Jean Ghika, Director of UK and Europe at Bonhams Jewellery department comments that: “the sale incorporates pieces to suit all tastes, from antique items of historical interest, impressive diamonds and coloured stones to quintessential art deco and modern jewels”.