Verdura Cuff, Burmese Sapphire Shine at Bonhams

AuctionsDec 06, 2023

Verdura Cuff, Burmese Sapphire Shine at Bonhams

Several other colored gemstones joined the pieces in the top 10 list.

A 1930s gem-set and enamel ‘Maltese cross’ cuff attributed to Verdura for Chanel (left) and a loose cushion-cut Burmese sapphire weighing 11.87 carats (right) were the top lots in Bonhams New York Jewels auction this week.
New York—A rare 1930s Verdura for Chanel cuff and a Burmese sapphire were the stars of the Bonhams New York Jewels sale on Monday, both selling above their pre-sale estimates.

The gem-set and enamel “Maltese Cross” cuff nearly doubled the high end of its pre-sale estimate, selling for $432,300.

The cuff bangle was designed in 1935 by Sicilian designer Fulco di Verdura, who had just returned to Paris after a year in the United States to resume work with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

Later in the decade, “First Lady of American Theater” actress and the first woman to achieve EGOT status, Helen Hayes MacArthur, received the piece as a gift from her husband.

The cuff had remained in the family for the entire time before selling at auction this week, still in the original box and in “pristine condition,” Bonhams said.

Maltese cross cuff by Verdura for Chanel
The rare gem-set and enamel ‘Maltese cross’ cuff by Verdura for Chanel, designed in 1935, sold for nearly double the high end of its pre-sale estimate.

The sapphire, an 11.87-carat loose cushion-cut from the estate of the late coin collector Stewart Blay, sold for $660,900, triple its pre-sale estimate. 

The 21-lot collection that belonged to Blay, in total, more than doubled its pre-sale estimate of $724,300, achieving $1.5 million.

In total, the 257-lot sale garnered $7.4 million with 88 percent sold by lot and 97 percent sold by value.
“The New York Jewelry sale saw impressive results for the fancy diamonds together with the exceptional collection of colored gemstones,” said Caroline Morrissey, Bonhams director and head of jewelry, New York.

“The rare 1930s Chanel gem-set and enamel ‘Maltese cross’ cuff attributed to Verdura for Chanel formerly owned by American actress Helen Hayes MacArthur achieved double its pre-sale estimate. It was an honor to bring such a rare piece with impeccable provenance to auction for the first time.”

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Other highlights of the sale include a 3.91-carat cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire, also from the Blay collection, which achieved $343,400, more than its pre-sale estimate.

Kashmir sapphire
A 3.91-carat loose Kashmir sapphire from the Stewart Blay estate

Several diamond and colored diamond pieces were also up for sale, including a three-stone fancy intense blue diamond ring, which sold for $381,500, within its estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.

blue diamond ring
A three-stone ring featuring a 1.22-carat fancy intense blue diamond center stone with VSI clarity, and on the sides, a 0.35-carat fancy blue diamond and a 0.53-carat fancy intense blue diamond, both with VS2 clarity

A ring featuring a 6.59-carat emerald-cut diamond accented with colorless and yellow-tinted diamonds sold above its high estimate of $180,000, garnering $203,700.

From the same collection, another ring, featuring a 2.03-carat cushion-cut fancy pink diamond accented with colorless and pink-tinted diamonds sold for $305,300, also achieving above its high estimate, which was $220,000.

Other notable colored diamonds include a 1.37-carat fancy intense purplish pink diamond, a ring featuring a 1.30-carat fancy brownish red diamond, and a necklace featuring a 17.04-carat fancy intense yellow diamond.

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