‘Firsts’ for sale in Dublin include a Rolex ring watch, work by Hirst and Famine art

Top of the bill at O’Reillys is a sapphire and diamond necklace with an estimate of €24,000-€26,000

Along with iBangles, Fitbits and USB earrings, the latest craze from the world of gadget jewellery are smart rings that tell the time and monitor heart rate.

Finger or ring watches are not a new concept, and though these delicate timepieces are a rare sight in the world of horology, they have been worn on royal digits since the 1700s.

The 1940s and 1950s witnessed a resurgence in popularity of these tiny jewel-encrusted mechanical devices. Their purpose was decorative rather than practical – worn as adornments on fingers, to be admired while quaffing cocktails at social engagements rather than to tell the time of day.

For the first time since O'Reillys on Francis Street, Dublin, started auctioning jewellery, it has a Rolex Precision ring watch listed in its March sale.


Dating from the 1950s, the watch is encrusted with rubies in a 14ct white gold setting. The estimate for the ring watch is €800-€1,400. This rarity is sure to attract interest – just as an 18ct pink gold and diamond Rolex ring watch did when it sold at Christie’s in 2013 for $43,750 – multiples over its estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

Also listed for the first time is a charm necklace. Historically charms were carved of bone and shell, and worn as amulets to ward off evil spirits. Their bracelet form is ubiquitous, and though modern charm necklaces are now designed by companies such as Pandora and Links of London, to come across an old charm necklace is a rarity. The one on offer is diamond set – with 17 diamonds, amethyst and mother of pearl charms, with an estimate of €4,000-€5,000.

Top of the bill at O'Reillys is a sapphire and diamond necklace thought to have been repurposed from its original form as a tiara. With 45 carats of Burmese sapphires and ten carats of rose cut diamonds, it is listed with an estimate of €24,000-€26,000. See oreillysfineart.com

Another first in the world of art is the forthcoming Damien Hirst exhibition at Gormleys Fine Art gallery on South Frederick Street in Dublin. "It is the first time such a large exhibition of Damien Hirst's work will be on display in Ireland," says Gerard Gormley, who curated the sale of over 20 limited edition prints signed by the artist.

Hirst hit headlines recently with his design for the world’s most expensive hotel suite in Las Vegas at $200,000 a pop for a two-night stay.

Titles from the exhibition include his Spot prints – relating to the pharmaceutical industry, and are taken from originals created by his assistants, rather than Hirst himself, which begs the question whether the artist will be remembered more for his brass neck or his platinum skulls in the annals of art history.  Prices vary from €12,000 to €65,000. See gormleys.ie

Another first is the forthcoming exhibition of over 40 unseen works by Irish artist Daniel Macdonald (1821-1853). Macdonald is hailed as being the only Irish artist who painted the Famine in real time. His work, An Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of Their Store, is a vivid portrayal of the single worst catastrophe in 19th century Europe.

When he exhibited the work – portraying the plight of a family who discovered their potato store was rotten to the core – at the British Institution in London in 1847 it was greeted with a muted silence, with the exception of one critic noting that the female "was not in an Irish dress".

"What is important about Macdonald is he died so young [aged 32] yet achieved so much. But also significant is his subject matter. When Irish artists went to London at that time they wanted to shake off their Irishness – but his work insinuated political and social material into British institutions, which was unprecedented at the time," according to Niamh O'Sullivan, professor emerita of visual culture at the National College of Art and Design, who has written extensively on the artist.

The works – drawings and pencillings – have been in the possession of a Cork family for over a century, and will make their debut exhibit at the Gorry Gallery on Molesworth Street, Dublin, from March 28th to April 13th. Prices range from €650 to €3,000. See gorrygallery.ie

Finally, Belfast-born Martin Mooney will host his first solo exhibition in Dublin since 2007, when 73 of his 75 available paintings sold before the exhibition opened at Adams on St Stephen's Green, with the top lots achieving in excess of €23,000.

His work is held in private collections worldwide, including those of the Prince of Wales who has on two occasions invited Mooney to accompany him as an official artist on royal tours. See solart.ie