All that shimmers: Adam’s sale offers much to delight

Important bangle by Schlumberger one of the highlights of Fine Jewellery and Watches auction

An enamel and diamond bangle designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany €30,000–€40,000

An enamel and diamond bangle designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany €30,000–€40,000

 

An important bangle by jeweller Jean Schlumberger (1907-1987) is part of Adam’s forthcoming Fine Jewellery and Watches auction, which takes place this Tuesday, May 17th, at its St Stephen’s Green showroom.

The self-taught designer, born into a wealthy French family, began designing packaging for the famous French couturier Lelong. Doing so was against the wishes of his family, who had instructed him to pursue a career in banking.

Lelong subsequently fired Schlumberger, on the grounds that he had little or no potential. Legend has it he rambled through a flea market and picked up porcelain flowers, which he fashioned into brooches. These caught the attention of designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who hired him to collaborate with her fashion house.

He later ended up being headhunted by Tiffany, where he was one of only four designers allowed to sign his work. He had his own studio above the shop – which still exists today – and here, he had some of the world’s most precious jewels at his fingertips, where he became renowned for his fantastical creations infused with wit and curiosity.

Among his fans were Elizabeth Taylor, whose “Dolphin” brooch – a gift from Richard Burton to mark the end of filming Night of the Iguana – achieved $1.2 million (€1.13m) at auction in 2001 through Christie’s.

A peridot and diamond cocktail ring by Marchak 1965, €12,000–€18,000
A peridot and diamond cocktail ring by Marchak 1965, €12,000–€18,000
Aquamarine, sapphire and diamond dress ring by Carlo Illario for Fasano €15,000–€20,000
Aquamarine, sapphire and diamond dress ring by Carlo Illario for Fasano €15,000–€20,000

The Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn were also collectors as was Jackie Kennedy, who developed a fondness for his enamel bangles – so much so that they became dubbed ‘Jackie Bracelets’.

“The shimmering colours of the bracelet were achieved through an unusual technique wherein translucent enamel and foil were layered,” explains the catalogue of lot 136, an enamel and diamond bangle with five carats of diamonds (€30,000–€40,000).

Schlumberger died in 1987 and more than 100 of his designs continue to be made by Tiffany artisans today. He became only the third ever jeweller to be honoured with a retrospective work, ‘Un Diamant dans la Ville’, in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, where many of his original design sketches are housed.

Of further interest is lot 127, an important Chanel ultra diamond and ceramic cuff bracelet from 2010. It is listed at €40,000–€50,000, whereas its retail price will set you back €95,000.

A private collection of 26 lots includes pieces by the famous Italian jewellery house Fasano. Some of these were made by the renowned workshop Illario, who also produced the Serpenti watch bracelets for Bulgari in the 1960s. Lot 72, a beautiful and rare aquamarine cocktail ring is unique, as according to Illario, only one was ever made (€15,000–€20,000).

The sale introduces two new jewellers to the Irish market. Dinh Van graduated from École des Beaux-Arts and later worked for Cartier, where the Duchess of Windsor became one of his noted clients.

Chanel ‘Ultra’ diamond and ceramic cuff €40,000–€50,000
Chanel ‘Ultra’ diamond and ceramic cuff €40,000–€50,000
A gem set and enamel bracelet designed as a horse by Frascarolo €10,000–€15,000
A gem set and enamel bracelet designed as a horse by Frascarolo €10,000–€15,000

Describing his work as “against the grain”, the rings are square and buckles and clasps, rather than being hidden, are in fact the centre piece, and all made by hand.

The second designer is Joseph Marchak (1854-1918), whose work earned him the title the ‘Cartier of Kiev’. His legacy continues to this day, as his great grandson revived this brand. Its works, according to catalogue notes, “are hot items at auction”. adams.ie