Fine Jewelry remains as one of the strongest markets in the auction world. Skinner’s March 16th auction of Fine Jewelry grossed $2.6 million, just short of $1 million over the pre-auction high estimate. Two prominent collections – that of Hope Goddard Iselin and Elizabeth Colt – did especially well, with Cartier and Black, Starr and Frost pieces being hotly contested.
The sale’s top seller was an Art Deco Cartier platinum, diamond and onyx bracelet, which sold for $253,000, against an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. The piece came from the collection of Mrs. Hope Goddard Iselin of New York and Newport, the first woman to compete in the America’s Cup. Also from Iselin’s collection was a pair of Cartier Art Deco platinum jadeite and diamond earpendants, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000, but selling for more than 10 times that at $118,500.
Other highlights came from the collection of Elizabeth Colt, wife of Colt revolver inventor, Sam Colt. Especially noteworthy was an important antique diamond and enamel demi-parure. This wedding gift from Sam Colt in 1856 was estimated at $25,000 to $30,000, but went for an astounding $201,450.00 and was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Two other stellar pieces from the Colt collection, both coming from Elizabeth’s sister, included an antique double-strand pearl and diamond Black, Starr & Frost necklace, estimated at $25,000 to $35,000, which took in $88,875.00 and a Black, Star & Frost pearl and diamond necklace, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, which went for $71,100.
According to Gloria Lieberman, director of Fine Jewelry at Skinner, “Going into the sale we were very excited about such wonderful, fresh-to-the-market material from distinguished New England families. That excitement translated into a stellar auction with hotly contested bidding.” Lieberman continued, “Skinner’s strategy to be conservative with estimates worked well with buyers in this recovering economy. For me, the highlight of the sale was the purchase of the Colt necklace by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. A piece as beautiful as this coming from such an iconic American family needs to be available for all to enjoy.”