Auctions can bring out the best in sentimental memories

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 20th November, 2018

 Leonard Joel’s national jewellery head John D’Agata recently took a sentimental trip down memory lane when he saw a Tiffany & Co ruby and diamond double clip pin earmarked for sale (lot 85) in the company’s forthcoming Fine Jewels auction from 6.30pm Monday November 26 at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

The piece reminded him a similar item – a retro Tiffany & Co ruby and aquamarine brooch that sold in November 2007 – D’Agata’s first auction after joining the staff of Leonard Joel.

“I remember being elated about it because I am so fond of this style of vintage cocktail jewellery,” he said.

The Tiffany & Co double clip pin is not the only vintage piece on offer – a Victorian garnet and drop necklace (lot 30) is a must have piece for any jewellery connoisseur, according to D’Agata.

“There is a wonderful selection of designer items in the auction including the quirky yet very collectable ‘Chat Mallicieux gem set brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels (lot 100),” he said.

“For simplistic elegance, the 4.70-carat round brilliant cut diamond (lot 150 - $16,000-$20,000 estimate) is certainly beautiful, though not for the faint of heart.”

Other interesting antiques include a circa 1899 enamel brooch depicting a woman in profile (lot 1) featured on the catalogue cover and a platinum and diamond crown brooch (lot 5) set with old European cut diamonds totalling one carat.

Muriel Ballard commissioned the brooch during World War II in the United Kingdom to commemorate her son Charles Dargaville Ballard (1921-1941) killed in action aboard HMS Manchester on July 23, 1941.

At the time, jewellery resources were very limited and of little significance to the war effort.

Apparently, Muriel Ballard, whose husband George also was member of the Royal Navy, never overcame the loss of her only child and died in 1947.

The brooch was passed to Annie Shirley Barrett as the eldest female of her generation within the extended Dargaville family who came from the rural town of the same name  of the northwest cost of New Zealand’s north island.

When she died in 2012, the brooch was left to her daughter.  

Another interesting item is the antique suffragette gold brooch (lot 20) set with a 76.40-carat oval amethyst surrounded by demantoid garnets, seed pearls and enamelled scrolls.

A blackamoor gold dress ring (lot 26 ) is intriguing – depicting a carved figure, the headdress set with a ruby and sapphire and the bust with a diamond.

Some of the more expensive items include a Colombian emerald dress ring (lot 46 - $40,000-$50,000 estimate), a pair of emerald and diamond drop earrings (lot 47 – same estimate) and an emerald and diamond cluster ring (lot 48 - $12,000-$15,000).

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