Melbourne jewellery auction to aid Perth charity

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 30th April, 2019

Ninety-two-year-old Perth widow Ruth Foreman has decided to auction more than 100 pieces of jewellery – most left by her jeweller father – and donate the proceeds to a women’s charity in Western Australia.

Her main reason for doing so is that she has no children to leave the pieces to and would like them to be of public benefit.

The jewellery collection will be sold through Philips Auctions jewellery auction from 6pm Monday May 6 at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.

Ruth’s father Mathew Cohen, who died in 1976, owned a jewellery store in Perth during the 1930s and often attended auctions to buy pieces he could resell in his shop – or purchased items directly from customers wishing to sell.

On finding a nice piece, he often would give it to his wife or Ruth rather than sell it.

She remembers being given a set of Victorian drop earrings (lot 102) originally worn by her grandmother Annie Feinberg who, with husband Michael, emigrated in 1904 to Australia from Russia.

“The earrings were originally designed for pierced ears but were converted to screw on because I had not had my ears pierced,” she said.

Ruth’s mother died several years before her father, so when he died as an only child she inherited the entire collection and have now been in her possession for the past 43 years, many carrying the original tags her Mathew attached.

One of the pieces, a gold fob chain (lot 209), was made from a gold nugget brought into the store by a miner and is 23.8 carats, or pure gold.

Philips Auctions resident gemmologist Tanya Philips says she has never seen jewellery made from a gold nugget before – nor have any of her fellow Melbourne experts.

Items in the collection bound to attract auction goers include an antique nine-carat gold padlock bracelet with charms (lot 120), a selection of six coin pendants and one medallion (lot 218) and an antique nine-carat horseshoe locket (lot 308).

The pendants comprise 22-carat yellow gold 1905 French 20 franc, 1910 Perth Mint sovereign, Arabic coin, 1908 gold half sovereign and 1852 American $1 piece. The sixth coin is a 21.6-carat 1882 United States of America $5 piece and the railway medallion is nine carats.

Other jewellery items include lots 181 and 182 – opal ring and opal earrings – by prominent Melbourne jeweller Gary Bradley famous for using wave gold to hold stone in place without claws.

An antique pearl set signet ring (lot 206) is another attraction along with an antique peridot, white enamel and seed pearl brooch (lot 295), an antique amethyst and seed pearl brooch and dress ring (lot 300) and two gold portrait brooches (lot 305).

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