Jewel Citizen picks 4 opulent brooches
Summer is here – the air is warm, the sky is blue, and here at Jewel Citizen I’m getting all of a flutter about a number of jewellery auctions that’ll soon be taking place in the UK.
This coming week, on the 11th of July, it’s Sworder’s ‘Jewellery and Silver’ sale, shortly followed by Lawrences ‘Jewellery’ sale on the 13th of July, so no doubt I’ll have a busy viewing schedule. And a quick trip up to Knightsbridge, London is a must to see the jewellery being offered at Bonham’s on the 19th.
An event I really can’t wait to view and attend is Woolley and Wallis’s ‘Jewellery and Watches’ sale, which is happening on the 20th of July. It’s always a treat to receive one of their beautifully-illustrated catalogues, and I was delighted there was one waiting for me at home when I got back from a recent trip abroad. The jewellery to be offered is predominately antique, estate, and vintage, and at the more affordable end of the market than many of the pieces to be found in their ‘Fine Jewellery’ sales. Having said that I’m seeing many exquisite things in this catalogue and am sure the event will be a great success.
Confession time – I’ve got a bit of a ‘thing’ about brooches at the moment! A few years ago they were something you’d only really see on older women; I’d even go as far as to say that a lot of top quality inherited pieces found themselves unloved, unworn, and gathering dust. A friend of mine inherited her grandma’s jewels and left them in a bank vault for years. With tastes changing I’m sure a lot of you now feel very differently about the ultimate item of versatile jewellery.
So naturally I’m drawn to some of the vintage brooches in Woolley and Wallis’s upcoming sale. I’ve picked out just 4 of my favourites because it’d be hard to do justice to all the jewellery in such a short article.
The first one is a 19th century Egyptian-influenced scarab brooch pendant, shown above, comprising of a deer-headed mythical creature clutching two feathers, its wings with enamel decoration, and suspending three articulated scarabs. Estimate GBP 2,500 – 3,500. Such a dramatic piece, I’d feel like Cleopatra if I wore it.
A less spectacular but equally beautiful piece is the Regency gold and turquoise dove brooch shown below. Since ancient times doves have symbolised love and peace, and appear in the symbolism of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity. Turquoise is a stone often worn for luck. The bird carries in its beak a forget-me-not flower, and to the reverse is a glazed compartment containing hair. Estimate GBP 400 – 600. I’d attach this brooch to my hat, or perhaps to a sash – anywhere but the classic lapel! The possibilities are endless…
Lizards and salamanders were popular motifs in late Victorian jewellery and this particular example is a 10cm long multi-gem brooch, pavé-set all over in silver and gold with opals and diamonds, the head set with a circular-cut demantoid garnet, and ruby eyes.
Dating to the reign of George III is my final choice – an amethyst and diamond pendant brooch in gold and silver. With an estimate of GBP 600 – 800 it’d look fantastic securing a silk scarf, attached to an evening purse, or even against a hat.
To view these brooches and many other pieces of jewellery visit www.woolleyandwallis.co.uk
(photos courtesy of Woolley and Wallis)