How to lose a good portion of the day in a world of rings bursting with dazzling stones, otherworldly romantic brooches and gold necklaces worthy of a ’70s Bond girl? Do like I did and go through the catalogue of lots on Sunday and Monday’s Strauss & Co auction.
You clap eyes on a set of Art Deco earrings early on in the catalogue, thinking they’re rather lovely, and by the time you’ve been through the hundreds of lots on option, are in love with three sets of chairs, can’t fathom how you ever lived without a gold fob chain bracelet and have fallen down a rabbit hole of historical googling to find out more about the pieces on offer.
Right now, exploring a catalogue like this offers a rather lovely kind of respite. But there’s an endgame too. Get in there and bid! You’ve got time and smart tech makes it so easy. Plus, there are some real gems to be unearthed.
LOTS 158 AND 159
Tourmalines come in a ton of colours but the blue-green beauties in these lots of the jewellery section caught my eye. I believe that more is more, so would obviously rock these two together.
The tourmaline and diamond brooch/pendant is centrally claw-set with a round, mixed-cut bluish-green tourmaline weighing approximately 24 carats surrounded by round brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamonds weighing approximately 7.4 carats. Width approximately 40mm. R 185,000 – R200,000.
A pair of green tourmaline and diamond earrings each claw-set with a round mixed-cut green tourmaline weighing approximately 11.6 carats, the stepped bezel pavé-set with single-cut diamonds to a diamond-set surmount, weighing approximately 1 carat. One fitting faulty, post and clip fittings, length approximately 23mm (2). R20,000 – R25,000.
I’m deeply sentimental about charm bracelets. My late aunt wore one so heavy and brimming with gold charms, collected from all over the world and on special occasions, that she eventually turned it into a necklace. It’s now a family heirloom. I thought of her when I saw this gorgeous version up for grabs on the auction.
The 9kt gold curb-link chain with heart-shaped padlock suspending various charms including a Scottish terrier, a Turkish coffee pot, a zodiac disc, a lion, a cow, a scarab beetle, a springbok, a dolphin, a hedgehog, a giraffe, an owl, an ostrich, a Turkish jewelled slipper, a lion’s claw, a pierced medallion and a rickshaw. Inner diameter 50mm. R10,000 – R12,000.
LOTS 186 AND 188
The pearl earrings and necklace in lots 186 and 188 epitomise 1970s style to me. Can’t you just imagine an uber-tanned aristocrat, in turban, kaftan and these numbers, stepping out for a summer night on the town? I think that pearls never go out of fashion and would adore to have these pieces in my own collection.
A pair of Italian pearl and gold earrings, Le-Gi. Each hoop is set with beaded pearls and spherical balls. Buckle fittings, applied designer plaque, length approximately 28mm (2). R5.000 – R7,000.
Pearl torsade necklace, attributed to David Thomas, London, 1970s. Designed as eleven strands of freshwater pearls in a gold and diamond-set clasp weighing approximately 1.4-1.5 carats. Length approximately 450mm. R8,000 – R10,000.
You need just glance at this total stunner to know why it’s made my list. Just look at it. Those stones! That Art Deco design! Calling all wealthy benefactors — I’d love this 1930s baby, pretty please.
An Art Deco five-stone diamond ring. 1930s claw-set to the centre with an emerald-cut diamond weighing 2.86 carats, between four tiered baguette-cut diamond shoulder.
Size O, accompanied by report number 6341848586 from Gemological Institute of America, stating that the diamond weighing 2.86 carat is D in colour and VVS2 in clarity. R315,000 – R320,000.
Our family loves a classic armoire. My folks have always used one in their house as an extremely elegant drinks cabinet. This fact might be subconsciously why I immediately noticed this beautifully crafted version.
A Cape stinkwood satinwood and beefwood armoire, late-18th/early-19th century, the moulded pediment centred by a three-feather cresting above a pair of panelled doors enclosing a later hanging rail, panelled sides, above three graduated linenfold drawers, on claw-and-ball feet. Lacking shelves, restorations, 250cm high, 170cm wide, 75cm deep. R250,000 – R300,000.
Can you imagine the stories this dish could tell? Centuries old, its diverting blue-and-white illustration is beautiful but this is also a wonderfully rich historical piece to have in your home.
A Chinese Export blue-and-white dish, Qing Dynasty, 18th/19th century octagonal, the centre painted with a mountainous riverscape with pagodas, dwellings and small sampans enclosed by a cell-diaper border, the rim with wave and cell-diaper border, 46cm wide. R6,000 – R8,000.
I didn’t know anything about Bakhtiari carpets until I saw this lot. Now I can tell you that the Bakhtiari are a nomadic tribe and their carpets are considered to be some of the most durable of Persian carpets. I’m rather captivated by this unusual, prettily abstract pattern.
A Bakhtiari carpet, West Persia, circa 1930. Condition: breaches, areas of loss, edges with moth damage, 464cm wide, 720cm long. R 60,000 – R80,000.
Strauss & Co’s19th century, Modern, Contemporary and Post-War Art, Decorative Arts, Jewellery and Wine auction will take place May 10 and 11, 2020. Done in partnership with Invaluable, the world’s leading international platform for buying art, antiques, and collectibles online, the auction will replicate a physical saleroom scenario, with Strauss & Co’s auctioneers conducting the sale live, in isolation.