Strauss & Co began selling jewellery in November 2010. The inaugural auction was assembled by Joanna Hardy and me. Joanna is an independent fine-jewellery specialist, conducting masterclasses and lectures worldwide, and is a well-known personality on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.
1. 2010: Cartier brooch
The auction included ravishing jewels from the 19th and 20th centuries, some with perfect provenance. A Cartier pearl-and-diamond brooch, formerly the property of Lady Enid Kenmare and her daughter, the author and animal lover, the late Honourable Patricia Cavendish, sold for R150,000.
2. 2012: Vivienne Linder jewellery collection
In October 2012 we auctioned the sensational Vivienne Linder collection of jewellery. The starlet had not only a sparkling voice and personality but also an eye for gorgeous jewellery. Highlights included a pair of diamond dress clips from the 1930s that realised R85,000. The quality of workmanship is probably the most important thing when looking at a piece of jewellery, and this collection did not disappoint the collector.
3. 2013: Erich Frey necklace
A sense of craftsmanship was the hallmark of the Erich Frey collection. In February 2013, Strauss & Co offered 40 pieces of jewellery from his estate. Made in the 1960s and 1970s, this fine group of contemporary jewellery influenced by African design found its mark with collectors who appreciated this German jeweller’s fine work and use of local gemstones. Of significant note was a silver gilt-and-moonstone necklace which realised R28,000.
4. 2015: Van Cleef & Arpels brooch
In October 2015 we sold various important pieces of Art-Deco jewellery, including a diamond-and-emerald brooch by the renowned jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, which fetched R350,000. This splendid brooch was offset by four cabochon-cut emeralds weighing approximately 3.5-4 carats.
5. 2017: Diamond ring
There is a sustained demand for coloured diamonds and semi-precious stones. In 2017, a diamond ring set with a natural yellow fancy emerald-cut diamond weighing 3.2 carats set between two emerald-cut diamonds weighing 1 and 1.03 carats respectively realised R310,000. Each stone was accompanied by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certificates, an industry standard when purchasing diamonds.
6. 2020: Green tourmalines
In May 2020 we offered a fine collection of Namibian green tourmalines enhanced with brilliant-cut diamonds. These handmade pieces had been produced on the bench by superb German goldsmiths. Coloured gemstones of exceptional quality are now highly collectable and we anticipate that the market is moving in this direction.
THE EXPERT EYE: VANESSA PHILLIPS
The joint managing director of Strauss & Co, Phillips heads up the decorative arts department, which includes furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, and jewellery. She works with senior gemmologists who assist her in procuring fine jewels. She has overseen the disposal of numerous important domestic collections, among them furniture from the historic Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West, and Keerweder, an 18th-century home in the Franschhoek Valley. The group is now working on its October auction and accepting consignments of jewellery. To make an appointment to have an item valued email email@example.com.
• Prices shown do not include buyer’s premium.
• From the June issue of Wanted 2020.