Spring 2014 Fine Jewellery Auction

By: Donald McLean


What’s In Demand at auction

For several years, the demand for pearls has been diminished by the large quantities of inexpensive freshwater pearls available on the market. That may now be slowly reversing as there appears to be renewed interest in the more traditional varieties of pearls, many of which are featured in this auction.

Natural pearls are typically found in older pieces of jewellery. These are pearls which formed naturally in the oyster without any human intervention. In the recent marketplace, they have been the exception and have seen several years of escalating prices in auctions worldwide. We are lucky to have a fine six strand necklace of natural pearls featured in this auction, complete with a GIA certificate of natural origin, and in lot #72 we have a great example of the use of small natural pearls to accent a 19th century brooch.

The smallest pearls are seed pearls, those under 2mm in diameter, which are often used to decorate gold jewellery. When you string them as a necklace their lustre and small size gives a dramatic shimmer, and groups of these strings can make wonderful twist necklaces. Lot #62 is a Secrett’s creation using thousands of seed pearls arranged in 80 separate strands, and an 18k gold clasp, to form a stunning collar necklace.

If larger pearls are your preferred style, our auction has two cultured pearl double strand necklaces both composed of fine quality cultured pearls, with one of the necklaces featuring a unique split clasp allowing them to be worn as either a single or a double strand. Lot #77 is a similar necklace created with baroque, or off-round pearls, which gives the necklace a less formal look. For buyers who are looking for pearls of substantial size, we are offering lot #44, a single graduated strand of South Sea pearls with exceptional lustre and nacre. Large South Sea pearls are also featured in other jewellery in the auction including a pair of gold, diamond and pearl drop earrings, and a wide platinum and diamond band.

Good pearls have a nice thick nacre to give them that wonderful lustre and glow, and they take a long time to create. A good cultured pearl can need as long as ten years in the water to form. Unfortunately, the economic pressures of needing to make them cheaper and quicker has resulted in a dramatic shortening of the time spent forming the pearl, and there are cultured pearls on the market today that are of a quality that would have been unacceptable 25 years ago. We are pleased to be able to offer this selection of quality pearls and we hope you enjoy viewing the range of pearl sizes, ages and varieties found in this auction.

— Donald McLean
Senior Specialist, Jewellery, Watches and Numismatics

View the Auction Catalogue

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