Diamond and turquoise suite - an auction for jewellery lovers

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 27th March, 2014

A striking diamond and turquoise suite by ground-breaking American jewellery designer David Webb (1925-1975) will be a major attraction at Sotheby’s Australia jewellery auction from 6pm Tuesday at the company’s new premises Level 9, 41 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.

David Webb, who made the suite (catalogue estimate $230,000-$280,000) about 1970, was renowned for his bold, powerful and colourful designs and paved the way for contemporary designers by creating jewellery as art.

The designer custom-made jewellery for an enviable list of high society women and Hollywood stars, including Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis once referred to him as a “modern day Cellini” – while the Duchess of Windsor likened him to Faberge.

Webb’s designs reflected the cultural revolution of the time, instilling confidence in women of the 1960s and 1970s with his one-of-a-kind bold-shaped and exuberant-coloured pieces.

The suite to be auctioned is of similar design to the one worn by actress Lana Turner in the film Madame X (1966). It comprises a necklace able to be detached into four pieces, the turquoise and diamonds respectively weighing 259.60 and 21.42 carats.

The auction, which features a magnificent collection of designer pieces and gemstones estimated to bring between $1.9 million and $2.6 million, also has an alluring 1930s Tiffany & Co sapphire and diamond bracelet with an articulated band designed as a series of geometric panels containing rectangular cut sapphires. The sapphires weight five carats and the diamonds 8.7 carats.

Rings feature strongly in the sale and include items that are particularly rare. One is a fancy blue and pink diamond ring (catalogue estimate $130,000-$180,000) of cluster design with a 1.63-carat light blue diamond bordered by intense pink specimens.

A garnet and diamond ring by Tiffany & Co designer Jean Schlumberger features his trademark classic “two bees” diamond design flanking a magnificent five-carat oval garnet.

Jewellery designer Donald Claflin is responsible for a 65-carat amethyst, emerald and diamond brooch that is bound to fascinate many auction goers as his works are rarely seen on the Australian market.

Claflin worked for Tiffany & Co from 1965 to 1977 alongside Schlumberger as one of the company’s top designers and was known for his whimsical creations, depth of design and work skills.

After leaving Tiffany & Co, he became a Bulgari designer and was responsible for driving the latter’s new design direction – revamping the company’s style with clean lines and more abstract pieces.




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