Featuring nearly 350 Lots, John Moran’s December Fine Jewelry Auction Brings Some Sparkle to the Season


• The large catalogue featured antique, Art Deco, modern and designer pieces at competitive pre-auction estimates
• The evening’s most popular lots were Art Deco and antique Edwardian and Art Nouveau examples
• Less than an eighth of total sales went to buyers bidding via the Liveauctioneers, Invaluable or Auctionzip platforms, with many preferring to buy via telephone or in person

MONROVIA, CA - John Moran’s biannual Fine Jewelry Auction always offers a wide array of jewelry lots dating from the 19th century (or earlier) to the contemporary, in a range of styles and materials. The December 6th auction event was no different, though the catalog was larger than it has been in recent iterations, comprising approximately 350 auction lots. The sale started at noon with a standing-room-only audience who came out to view lots by makers such as Buccellati, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier in person before bidding. Online registration was strong, but in-person and telephone bidding seemed much-preferred among buyers, with less than an eighth of total sales due to online bidder participation.

Moran’s December 6th Fine Jewelry auction opened with a collection of handsome antique jewelry pieces that did quite well with collectors, bringing higher-than-expected prices realized and setting an energetic tone for the remainder of the evening. The opening lot, in fact, was a very hot-ticket item, inspiring five buyers to sign up to vie for the piece via telephone and three additional bidders to attempt to purchase it with absentee bids. An Edwardian heart-shaped pendant-brooch in 18K yellow gold and entirely set with mine-cut diamonds, the lot ultimately earned $4612 at the block (prices realized include Moran’s buyer’s premiums) (estimate: $1200/1800). Directly following, an intricately enameled and gem-set dragonfly brooch with en-tremblant wings was offered for $3000 to 5000, bringing the low estimate. Later in the sale, another Edwardian example, this one in the form of a pearl and diamond perfumer brooch, caught the eye of a handful of collectors, including one who paid $3382 to take the piece home (estimate: $3000 to $5000). An elegant Art Nouveau gold, diamond and opal bangle bracelet by Walton & Co. brought a very respectable $1045, just over the $600 to $800 pre-sale estimate.

Fine examples of Art Deco jewelry design proved to be ever-popular with Moran’s buyers. An openwork Art Deco diamond and platinum pendant-brooch offered early in the session went home with a floor bidder who beat out multiple absentee bids, getting the piece for $5842 (estimate: $5000 to $7000). An unusual marquise-shaped diamond and platinum ring set throughout with round diamonds was offered with a $2000 to $3000 estimate; the ring went to the absentee bidder at just a touch over the high end of the estimate (price realized: $3025). Taking design cues from traditional geometric Art Deco design, a mid-century sapphire, ruby and diamond-set platinum bracelet was brought to the block with a $2000 to $3000 estimate, going to an absentee bidder for $3075.

Buyers at Moran’s December 6th Jewelry auction were heavily swayed by pieces with unique or unusual design elements; whether signed or unsigned, interesting motifs and forms performed well at the block. An intriguing late 19th century French pocket watch with an automaton figural dial outstripped its original $3000 to $5000 estimate, earning $7380. A charming mid-century wide-link gold bracelet set with a center row of subtly automobile-form links was sold to an online buyer who outbid three hopeful absentee bidders (price realized: $2214; estimate: $1500 to 2000). A handsome Cartier-signed 18K yellow gold bracelet with wide links in the form of elongated seashells found purchase among buyers across the US, with phone lines nearly full for bidding on the lot; the winning phone buyer paid $10,455 in all for the bracelet (estimate: $4000 to $6000). Carrying a conservative $600 to $800 pre-sale estimate, a group of fun gem-set gold Sputnik-style jewelry items including a pendant, two rings and a pair of ear clips were offered late in the session; a dedicated online buyer beat out three absentee bids to purchase the lot for $2091. A platinum and diamond pendant of intricate intertwined design was brought to the block with a $1500 to $2000 estimate, which was quickly exceeded after a floor buyer got into a protracted bidding war with an online bidder (price realized: $5842).

Providing an excellent example of the popularity of unusual design motifs, insect-form jewelry did quite well throughout Moran’s December 6th sale; in addition to the aforementioned dragonfly brooch, a lot comprising two gem-set 14K gold bee brooches were popular with online and in-person bidders, topping out at a $2160 selling price (estimate: $1200 to $1800). Shortly after, a signed Van Cleef & Arpels bee brooch offered for $600 to $800 earned $738, thanks to its charismatic design.

Additional highlights include:
• A highly anticipated natural jadeite and diamond ring, expected to hammer between $15,000 and $25,000, achieved a very respectable $19,680 price realized thanks to competitive floor bidding.
• A striking Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond ring achieved a $6150 selling price, selling to a floor bidder who outbid a phone bank full of interested buyers (estimate: $3000 to $5000).
• Two modern silver and moonstone jewelry lots by Taxco, Mexico silversmith Antonio Pineda were offered at Moran’s December 6th sale, each bringing strong prices; the second of the two, a scrolling link necklace expected to earn $2000 to $4000, went home with a floor buyer for $3075.
• A timeless pair of diamond stud earrings, each diamond weighing in at approximately 3 carats, realized a healthy $18,450 via telephone (estimate: $15,000 to $20,000).
John Moran’s Fine Jewelry Auction was the first of three auction sessions to be offered at their December 6th event. Full auction catalogues for all three December 6th sales and prices realized are available via John Moran’s website: www.JohnMoran.com.

Moran’s next auction is their fine art-specific January 24th Studio Auction. The catalog for that auction event will be available online via John Moran’s website as well as the Liveauctioneers and Auctionzip/Invaluable platforms in early January 2017.

Moran’s is currently consigning Asian items and Continental decorative arts and paintings for their February 21st, 2017 Decorative Art Auction, 20th century design and western art and objects for their April 25th Decorative Art Auction, and jewelry and luxury goods for their May 9th Fine Jewelry Auction. To speak to a friendly and knowledgeable specialist regarding consignment, please contact John Moran Auctioneers directly via telephone (626) 793-1833 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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