Auctions

Bonhams New York Jewels Auction Is a White Glove Sale

AuctionsMay 26, 2022

Bonhams New York Jewels Auction Is a White Glove Sale

Jewelry and objects belonging to Bette Midler, heiress Hélène Irwin Crocker Fagan, and Lady Sylvia Ashley were among the highlights.

The top lot at the Bonhams New York Jewels sale was this Cartier emerald and diamond bracelet circa 1926, which fetched $3.2 million, far above its pre-sale estimate.
New York—Bonhams is celebrating a successful spring jewelry auction.

Taking place May 24, the New York Jewels auction was a white glove sale, meaning every lot sold.

The top lot was a Cartier emerald and diamond bracelet circa 1926, which fetched $3.2 million, blowing its pre-sale estimate out of the water.

Seen at the top of the article, the bracelet features 101 carats of emeralds. It was estimated to earn between $750,000 and $1.25 million.

It belonged to Hélène Irwin Crocker Fagan (1887-1966), an American heiress who was the daughter of sugar baron William G. Irwin. She was one of the world’s richest women in the Belle Epoque and Art Deco periods.

“We are exceptionally pleased with the success of the Cartier emerald bracelet and the New York Jewels sale overall,” Director of Jewelry for Bonhams New York Caroline Morrissey said.

“The bracelet is adorned with extremely rare Colombian emeralds, the finest of its kind, with impeccable provenance. That was a consistent theme across the sale—exceptional pieces straight from the collections of iconic women.”


The heiress’ Cartier diamond and natural pearl aigrette (seen above), circa 1914 and featuring an 8.25-carat old European-cut diamond and two natural pearls with an additional 5.5 carats of diamonds mounted in platinum and steel, sold for $586,000, above its $450,000 high-end estimate.

Items belonging to actress and singer Bette Midler (born 1945) were another draw at the Bonhams sale.


Midler’s Tiffany & Co. yellow sapphire and diamond feather brooch, seen above, was the top lot belonging to the entertainer, though it only sold at the low end of its pre-sale estimate for about $41,000.


Her 18-karat gold and ruby Demner bracelets (above) sold for about $44,000, at the high end of their $20,000-$40,000 pre-sale estimate.


With the secondhand watch market on fire, it comes as no surprise that Midler’s Cartier La Dona watch (above) sold for roughly $20,000, though it was expected to earn only as much as $12,000.

There were also jewels from Lady Sylvia Ashley (1904–1977), who led a fascinating life. She was married five times, including to Hollywood stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Clark Gable.

The most expensive lot sold from the 60 pieces that belonged to her was a Bulgari ruby ring that earned $290,000.

Other highlights included two Van Cleef & Arpels desk clocks.


The VCA clock seen above, circa 1940 with emeralds, diamonds, and rubies mounted in 18-karat gold, was only expected to earn between $7,000 and $9,000. It ultimately went for nearly $85,000.

A VCA sapphire and diamond clock, meanwhile, earned more than $121,000.

The New York Jewels sale earned nearly $8.4 million in total. Full results are available online.

 Related stories will be right here … 
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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