The Beauty of Kashmir Sapphires

Kashmir is a region of Northern India known for producing some of the most beautiful sapphires at market. The sapphire trade in Kashmir is relatively recent, beginning in the 19th century, while other places have centuries of history. 

Sapphires possess a rich history of being much sought after as beautiful additions to jewelry or standalone jewels. Yet, the desirability of Kashmir sapphires stand apart from sapphires originating from other regions, due to their rarity and appearance. 

Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, achieved $21,250 at FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels auction.

What Sets Kashmir Sapphires Apart From Other Sapphires?

The importance of the Kashmir origin among sapphires can be likened to Burma for rubies. Gem-quality Kashmir sapphires are unmatched for their gorgeous blue color, a blue that is often described as a “corn-flower” blue or having a “velvety” appearance—as pictured above in the Edwardian 1.62-Carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Platinum Pin, a highlight of FORTUNA®’s 2018 June Fine Jewels sale in the past. When compared to most other blue sapphires, the richness and quality of color in fine Kashmir sapphires are truly in a league of their own.

The velvety softness of Kashmir sapphires can be attributed to minute liquid filled cavities within the stone that can only be seen with a high-power microscope. Under magnification, Kashmir sapphires also exhibit a unique phenomenon known as “zoning,” where the blue hue seems to be concentrated in parallel bands. Unlike most other sapphires, Kashmir sapphires lose none of their vibrancy or strength of color under artificial light.  

Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring - Fortuna NYC
Victorian 4.30ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring, achieved $187,500 at FORTUNA’s 2018 September Important Jewels auction.

How Rare Are Kashmir Sapphires?

Kashmir sapphires are rare, and their presence at auctions are scarce compared to most other colored gemstones.

The unrest in the Kashmir region, where India and Pakistan have a longstanding dispute, makes further mining more difficult, contributing to the scarcity of the stone. Very little has been taken from the Kashmir mines since the early part of the last century. With no new gems coming out, the ones already in circulation are even more in demand. 

Kashmir sapphires remain the crown jewel in many collections. They have become more sought after as their scarcity increases, and finding a quality one at auction is considered a major achievement for those who appreciate their deep color, and velvety, soft smoothness.

Find Kashmir Sapphires With FORTUNA®

While origin is very important to a sapphire’s value, it is also critical to note that a Kashmir origin is not an automatic indicator of the gemstone’s quality. FORTUNA’s jewelry specialists have years of experience evaluating rare gemstones, including Kashmir sapphires, and are available to consult whether you are seeking a Kashmir sapphire to add to your collection or are looking to sell. Browse our upcoming auctions or contact us for more information. 

Foster Family Heirloom Comes to Auction

The Foster family built a great legacy as founders of one of the most successful retail lumber enterprises in the United States, and we are thrilled to share part of that legacy with you in our November Jewels & Watches auction. John McCullough Foster established his first retail lumberyard in Randolph, Kansas in 1879, the first of what blossomed into an empire of over 70 lumber yards across 5 Midwestern states.

John McCullough Foster and one of his sons, Benjamin, who succeeded him as President of Foster Lumber Company.

In 1880, the Kansas Central Railway was extending its line, in an area formerly known as Clinesburg, Texas. The Fosters established a mill there, and what began as tenant housing quickly grew into a flourishing town known as Fostoria. The Fosters brought a progressive, idyllic existence, making sure to give back to the community. Schools, churches, a store, a hotel, and more were all run by the family. The only thing not run by the mill was the post office. Today, the Fosters are remembered as progressive employers creating a fulfilling living experience for all lucky enough to live in a Foster-held community.

The Fosters learned to enjoy their vast wealth, investing in fine jewelry as well. In 1945, one of Foster’s grandsons, also named John, spotted this luminous Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring at William Schmidt & Sons, right here by Rockefeller Center half a century ago. This exquisite piece has remained with his family as an heirloom ever since.

Original 1940s advertisement material from Wm. V. Schmidt Co., Inc. about Cat’s Eye gemstones.

What are Cat’s Eye Gemstones?

Art Deco Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Diamond Ring, an exquisite Foster family heirloom (Lot 2250, November Jewels & Watches)

Cat’s eye, or chatoyancy, occurs in gemstones when a band of light is reflected from a series of thin crystals in a stone that are parallel to each other. The eye of a chrysoberyl is the sharpest of any cat’s eye gemstone, but the optical effect can be found in moonstones, aquamarines, and tourmalines. In chrysoberyl gems, fine silk crystal inclusions create this effect. When light obliquely strikes such a stone, it usually creates a shadow effect within the gem. The side opposite the light is a rich brown, while the side facing the light is yellowish-white. This so-called “milk and honey” look is characteristic of the finest cat’s eyes and makes them so desired.

This exquisite example of a cat’s eye chrysoberyl was offered in FORTUNA®’s November Jewels & Watches auction for an estimated $6,000–$8,000, and achieved a final price of $11,250. For more details on this lot, click here.

The Era of Retro Jewels

Shaped by sweeping cultural changes and the World Wars era, bold, Retro jewelry embodied the history of its time. Today, this period’s jewelry still offers timeless elegance, value and rich heritage from when the world was swiftly changing.

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Amethyst Necklace from 2021 November Jewels & Watches auction.

The Rich History of Retro Jewelry

Retro jewelry spans the period of the late 1930s through the mid-1950s. As it moved through early modernism and World War II, the time’s signature designs reflected the nuanced changes of history.

Its distinctive style began in France, with the first designs by Van Cleef & Arpels appearing at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Over the next decade, the iconic designs became popular throughout the United States. As World War II ravaged Europe, the United States carried on the European-inspired design. American designs took much inspiration from the new style, adapting past designs to fresh looks with bright colors and dramatic aesthetics.

As the world moved into the 1950s, retro jewelry played a leading role in developing art and design toward modernism, representing the post-World War II era’s futuristic vision. It became a popular image of a new larger-than-life design motif that reflected real-world objects with glamour and excitement.

This Boucheron Retro Gold and Diamond Clip (FORTUNA®’s April 2017 Spring Jewels auction).

Major Influences on Retro Jewelry Pieces

The World Wars had a profound impact on Retro jewelry. In the midst of the wartime era, patriotic and industrial themes appeared on many retro pieces. Accessories such as tank tread bracelets and red, white and blue stones became increasingly common, as did jewelry with military emblems and motifs.

One of the biggest influences on jewels of the period was the impact of the war on the supply of precious metal and gemstones. Platinum, which had been increasingly popular during the Art Deco era, was rare and often forbidden for sale, and many precious metals had to be rationed for the war effort. Palladium was substituted for platinum and low carat gold alloys, gold mixed heavily with copper, were used to make the most of the gold that was available. The innovative usage of gold alloys was widespread and jewelry of the period often had a reddish tinge to the gold, due to the copper, or incorporated tri-color gold designs. Similarly, precious gems became rarer because of shortages in the supply chain.

Retro Diamond Necklace from FORTUNA®’s recent November Jewels & Watches auction.

Signature Pieces of the Retro Jewelry Era

Glamorous and dramatic, Retro jewelry reflected new vivacity as the world moved forward from a tumultuous beginning of the century.

Brooches were a popular accessory of this period, added to a scarf, handbag or dress for accentuated elegance. Retro pins were often an elegant touch to soften the hard lines and somber colors of wartime fashion, and designs such as scrolls, fans and jeweled fruit became quite common. The fabric-like and ribbon designs seen in the Retro Sapphire and Ruby Brooch and Retro Tri-color Gold Ruby and Diamond Brooch, pictured below, are quintessentially Retro.

Retro Sapphire and Ruby Brooch (2021 January Jewels & Watches auction).
Retro Tri-color Gold Ruby and Diamond Brooch (2021 January Jewels & Watches auction).

Among the rings of the time, cocktail rings were highly fashionable. Exquisitely complex, they were statement pieces made to draw attention. Typically gold with minimal diamond accents and chunky, brightly colored center-gemstones, they combined brilliant colors and shapes into a bold statement piece.

Retro Large Aquamarine Ruby and Diamond Ring (2019 February Fine Jewels auction).
Retro Sculptural Large Citrine Ring from FORTUNA® ‘s recent November Jewels & Watches.

Necklaces of the era were popularly chokers or collar-length, to accommodate the fashion of dresses with high-necked collars. Gaspipe or Tubogas chains were the familiar chain of the time—their thick weave made them look heavy, but they were lightweight and easy to wear.

Cartier Retro Bracelet (2020 August Jewels & Watches auction).
Tiffany & Co. Ruby and Diamond Necklace (2017 September Fine Jewels auction).

An innovation by Van Cleef & Arpels, gold ludo bracelets became all of the rage during the 1930s. These were flexible gold strap bracelets composed of brick-like or hexagonal plaques. The style caught fire and many of the major jewelry houses adopted the design, as seen in the above Cartier Retro Bracelet and Tiffany & Co. Ruby and Diamond Necklace from prior sales.

Another particularly fashionable style of bracelet was to decorate wide gold cuffs by adding recycled pins or charms, particularly from the preceding Art Deco years. Shortages due to the war often meant that clients had to work creatively with their jewelers to remodel or repurpose existing jewels. An excellent example of the trend is this Very Fine Retro Bangle Bracelet with Art Deco Diamond Charms. Oversized woven and braided gold strap bracelets of the time were often also the ideal place to conceal a watch for a touch of functionality.

Retro Diamond Charm Hinged Bangle Bracelet, offered in FORTUNA®’s recent November Jewels & Watches auction.

Many changes toward bolder designs and patterns also reflected the changing times. As the world moved into a new period of history, this jewelry’s futuristic touches represented modernism and innovation in a fast-changing world.

How to Identify Genuine Period Jewelry

There are a few key signifiers that can help you identify Retro jewelry. First, look for the bold color schemes and designs that were a trademark of the period. Another indicator is historical motifs such as military designs that might point you toward the World War II era.

Because many types of metals and gemstones were scarce during the time, pay attention to the jewelry piece’s metals. Finally, look for clip-on earrings, brooch clasps, and similar designs that match the styles of this period.

Relive the Elegance of Retro Jewelry From Our Collections

At FORTUNA®, we value transparency and help each of our clients understand their jewelry’s true value. We are pleased to offer an elegant selection of genuine retro jewelry pieces. To explore our exquisite collections, browse our upcoming auctions today.

Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring

One of the many highlights in FORTUNA®’s November Jewels & Watches sale, this striking Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring is a must-have for those looking for the perfect engagement ring. The whopping center stone shown here glitters with E color and VS2 clarity and is flanked by two glamorous baguettes when set in its beautifully crafted platinum Harry Winston band. Collectors will be pleased to know that this ring comes complete with its original Harry Winston box and a GIA certificate. FORTUNA is excited to present a closer look at this impressive diamond from all angles.

Harry Winston 6.01-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring, GIA Certified from our upcoming November Jewels & Watches auction

In 1947, Harry Winston was dubbed the “King of Diamonds” by “Cosmopolitan” magazine, a legacy that lives with the jewelry house to this very day. The intuitive jeweler and master gemologist traveled the far corners of the earth on his quest for the world’s finest stones, and this fantastic ring is as great an example of excellence as Harry Winston always strived for.

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Types of Fancy Color Diamonds

Colored diamonds make headlines. These gemological marvels break records at auction houses and can be found in practically every color.

The chance of a diamond displaying unique color is roughly one in 25,000. While orange, purple, green and red are the rarest, yellows and browns are the most common fancy colors.

What Causes the Different Colors?

Each diamond possesses a unique structure of chemical elements that dictate its color, desirability, value and rarity. Most fancy color diamonds derive their color from impurities such as boron and nitrogen. 

Some of the rarest—and most expensive—diamond colors include:

  • Yellow: Trace amounts of nitrogen cause diamonds to appear yellow, with the color’s intensity depending on how much of the element is present in the gemstone. The stronger and more vivid the hue of yellow, the more valuable the yellow diamond. For more on Fancy Yellow diamonds, click here.
GIA-Certified 16.07-Carat Fancy Yellow Rectangular Brilliant-Cut Diamond Ring, Lot 3001 in Fortuna’s upcoming December Jewels & Watches auction.
  • Pink: The color centers of naturally pink diamonds can selectively absorb light in the visible region of the spectrum. Color centers result from anomalies in a crystal’s atom arrangement; a change in the crystal lattice due to intense heat exposure during the stone’s formation can sometimes cause pink graining. Because the pink color comes from atomic-level distortions to the diamond’s crystal structure, pink diamonds cannot be replicated through laboratory treatment in the same way, making these gemstones all the more spectacular. For more on pink diamonds, click here.
  • Red: The origin of a red diamond’s color is believed to be the same as that of pink diamonds, but in a more concentrated form. This theory of red diamonds being dark pink diamonds is supported by the fact that red diamonds can be only found in a single color intensity. Red is the rarest diamond color. Less than 30 genuine red diamonds have been found and cut, and they can cost up to $1 million per carat.
  • Blue: Natural blue diamonds derive their color from the presence of boron. Their hue can also be associated with hydrogen or caused by radiation exposure. 
  • Green: Naturally colored green diamonds are scarce. The displacement of carbon atoms from their normal positions causes these diamonds to develop their signature color. This phenomenon can happen artificially due to treatment by radiation or naturally when diamond deposits lie near radioactive rocks.  
  • Black: Black diamonds have many fractures that yield the stone’s distinct dark hue due to graphitization. Most get their color from large quantities of minute mineral inclusions such as hematite, pyrite or graphite that extend throughout the stone.
  • Brown: A natural brown diamond develops its color due to parallel brown grain lines arising due to molecular arrangement distortion. 
1.01-Carat Fancy Deep Pink Diamond Ring (Lot 2099, November Jewels & Watches).
Fancy Green-Blue and Fancy Greenish Blue Diamond Drop Earrings (Lot 2100, November Jewels & Watches).

The Rarity of Colored Diamonds

Most diamonds mined throughout the world, even if they contain traces of yellow, are considered colorless. Brown and yellow diamonds make up the majority of colored diamonds available today, with most naturally colored diamonds being lighter in saturation or tone. 

A Pair of Heart-Shape Fancy Colored Diamond Ear Studs, in Fancy Deep Yellowish Orange and Fancy Intense Purplish Pink (Lot 2098, November Jewels & Watches auction).

Yet the rarity of Fancy Color diamonds cannot be overstated; only one true colored diamond is found for every 10,000 carats mined. And mining diamonds with medium to dark tones is an extremely rare occurrence, a phenomenon that drives its market value higher. Furthermore, when especially large Fancy Color diamonds are found, their value reaches an almost legendary status at market. Tiffany’s famous 128-carat Yellow Diamond is considered to be priceless, as it enjoys an unshared status of being unlike any other diamond in the world.

Bid on a Fancy Colored Diamond of Your Own at FORTUNA®

Ready to start shopping for your own colored diamonds? Savvy buyers rely on the expertise of FORTUNA® when searching for the finest property available, and consignors consistently turn to us to realize the highest prices for their exceptional jewelry. 

We have a host of fancy colored diamonds in our December sale, and invite you to register to bid at auction for a chance to purchase one of these captivating pieces. 

What Are Opals?

One of the oldest and most colorful gems on record, the opal is a beautiful stone for any skin tone, age and style. The gem comes in a range of colors and looks stunning in many different types of jewelry, though it is a favorite in necklaces and earrings. Found in areas within Australia and Ethiopia, the opal makes for a striking centerpiece with color and intensity that even surpass the beauty of a diamond.

Precious opals are known for their play of color or iridescence, as they can flash many different hues within the same stone.  

What Is the Origin of Opals?

Antique Opal and Diamond Brooch, achieved $4,063 at FORTUNA’s 2020 August Jewels & Watches auction.

Opals are a combination of silica and water. Their formation process began millions of years ago, when rainwater seeped down into areas of the earth filled with silica-rich sandstone. The water mixed with and carried silica particles with it as it traveled down further into the ground, becoming trapped in cracks and crevices. Eventually, the water evaporated, leaving a silica deposit behind. 

As rainwater continued to flow down into these crevices, the deposits gradually built up to form beautiful gems. Australia is the world’s leading source of opals, although Ethiopia is a strong competitor. 

Do Opals Mean Anything?

Opals have a range of meanings because they come in a range of colors, shapes and sizes. In Greek mythology, opals were thought to be the result of Zeus’s tears falling to the earth. Other cultures believed the rainbow’s virgin goddess turned herself into an opal to escape suitors’ pursuits. As a result, the gem became associated with offering protection. 

The colors of the opal itself have symbolized passion, love and spontaneity. Other ideas of happiness, loyalty and confidence are also attached to these vibrant stones, as is the belief that opal can attract money.

How are Opals Valued?

Some famous pieces of opal jewelry have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The price is determined by a few factors, with the origin being perhaps one of the most important. Australian opals are highly desired because Australia has been history’s longest opal source, creating a reliable and well-respected reputation for the nation. Ethiopia is still new to the market, making their opals a little more affordable.

Once the origin is confirmed, the class and body tone are the next two determining factors in value. The class identifies whether the opal is entirely authentic or is a doublet or triplet. In the latter, the piece is composed of a slice of genuine opal and one or two pieces of another material to give the opal a darker or more full appearance. Body tone is the background or foundational color of the opal, typically ranging from black to light. The darker the background, the more valuable the opal, as a black background displays refracted light more vividly. Genuine solid black opals are quite rare and can command extremely high prices at market. An example can be seen below in a spectacular ring from our September 2018 Important Jewels auction. The ring, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Art Nouveau design with a stunning black opal, achieved $12,5000 at auction. The strong play-of-color and mystique innate to precious opals made them a very popular choice for jewels during the Art Nouveau era.

Buccellati Black Opal and Enamel Earrings, FORTUNA’s 2021 July Jewels & Watches.
Louis Comfort Tiffany Art Nouveau Black Opal Diamond and Enamel Ring, FORTUNA’s 2018 September Important Jewels.

Visit FORTUNA® to Buy or Sell Opal Jewelry at Auction

If you are looking for opal jewels that can bring life and joy to your favorite looks or if you have opal jewelry to sell, trust FORTUNA for the best possible quality and deal. We host monthly auctions to showcase some of the most beautiful and collectible watches and jewelry in existence. A team of specialists with decades of experience in the jewelry industry carefully inspects each piece for value and authenticity.

Explore FORTUNA’s calendar for upcoming monthly sales and contact us with any questions. Sign up for our mailing list to keep an eye on our offerings! 

rolex watch origin

Rolex Watch Origin: The Most Recognized Luxury Watch Brand

Rolex is a brand loved by collectors across the globe. It’s known for groundbreaking wristwatch movements, including watches that reached submarine depths of more than 3,000 meters and traveled long distances across the sky. Each watch is made of the best, high-quality materials, built to last a collector a lifetime.

Here, learn more about the origins of Rolex watches, as well as how you can buy or sell your own Rolex.

The Origins of Rolex Watches

Rolex is well-loved for its high-quality watches. Collectors are equally intrigued by the brand’s rich history:

  • 1902: Brother-in-laws Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis founded the Rolex brand in London, England. The duo specialized in making wristwatches from Hermann Aegler’s movements and high-quality watch cases from reputable companies, like those from Dennison.
  • 1908: Rolex officially became a registered trademark. Now the sole proprietor, Wilsdorf chose the name Rolex because he wanted something people of all origins could pronounce. Plus, he thought the name resembled the sound of a watch being wound.
  • 1910: Rolex becomes the first wristwatch brand to earn an independently ratified certificate of a chronometric performance — essentially a very high degree of excellence in timekeeping.
  • 1914: The Kew Observatory awarded the Rolex watch with a “Class A” precision certificate. This was a monumental award as it is usually given to marine chronometers, and it was the first time a London wristwatch won the award.
  • 1919: Wilsdorf moved his Rolex brand from London to Geneva because of newly imposed taxes that made metals too expensive. He chose Geneva so he could be closer to his Bienne-based suppliers.
  • 1926: The Rolex Oyster was released. This was an exciting release, as the watch was marketed as the world’s first waterproof watch.
  • 1927: A year after the Oyster release date, Wilsdorf gave famous swimmer Mercedes Gleitze the watch. Gleitze wore the watch around her neck as she swam across the English channel — and it performed perfectly afterward.
Mercedes Gleitze, circa 1930. As a professional endurance swimmer, her name was used to market Rolex’s new waterproof case, Oyster. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • 1931: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual model was released. Recognized as the first self-winding watch, the Oyster Perpetual combined the water-resistant power of the Oyster with a revolutionary automatic movement.
  • 1953: The Rolex Submariner was released. Designed for divers, the watch was guaranteed waterproof to 100 meters and featured a rotating bezel to help divers track their dive time.
  • 1955: In collaboration with Pan American Airways, the Rolex GMT-Master was released, introducing the now iconic blue and red “Pepsi” bezel. During this time in history, pilots began traveling longer and farther, now entering different time zones. The GMT-Master helped aviators tell times in different time zones. Now, it’s used by the Aviation Industry to calculate Coordinated Universal Time.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master “Pepsi” Watch, Ref. 1675. Achieved $21,250 at auction.
  • 1960: Rolex’s founder Wilsdorf passed away, leaving behind a hugely successful brand.
  • 1962: Rolex becomes the official timekeeper of the Daytona car races and launches the popular Daytona Dial a year later.
  • 1967: The Rolex Sea-Dweller was released. Rolex experienced huge success with the power of the Submariner — but Rolex wanted to triple the watch’s deep-sea abilities. The Sea-Dweller features a helium escape valve that made this goal possible.
  • 1971: The Rolex Explorer II was released. This watch model was specially crafted for spelunkers, people who explore caves. The watch features an AM and PM feature, as people underground can’t distinguish between day and night. People can also read the features in the dark.

After Wilsdorf’s death in 1960, Rolex continued producing sought-after models like the Yacht-Master, Pearlmaster, Datejust II and the Sky-Dweller. You can still shop modern Rolex watches today and find sought-after vintage designs.

famous rolex pieces

What Are the Most Famous Rolex Pieces?

Currently, Rolex offers many wristwatch styles. Some of their most famous and foundational pieces, however, are:

1. Oyster

Made in 1926, the Oyster revolutionized watchmaking. It’s recognized as the first waterproof case, strategically designed with 10 parts and sealed zones, protected against water and dust. The design enabled watch-wearers to wear their watches during various activities, including swimming.

Like other styles, the Oyster is currently available in many colors and sizes. It has two original dial colors, however — black with white gold and silver with gold accents. The watches are signed with “superlative chronometer official certified,” a tribute to Rolex’s 1910 recognition.

2. Daytona

Rolex introduced the Daytona in 1962. It’s named after the famous Florida city, home of the Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona allows racers to measure elapsed time and calculate their average speed using three subdials — small seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour counters.

The original Daytona has “Cosmograph” engraved in red under the Rolex logo. In the early 1960s, “Daytona” replaced Cosmograph, and the model continued to advance from there. Original Daytonas don’t have a date window nor engraving on the case backs. But, they do have two engravings on the sides, stating the model and serial numbers.

3. GMT-Master

In the mid-1950s, pilots began traveling longer distances across different time zones. Pan Am requested Rolex to make an aviator watch that could keep track of these different time zones.

Rolex created the GMT-Master that displayed a fourth time — Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), hence the name GMT-Master. Now, the watch displays the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), following the 1972 transition established by the Aviation Industry.

4. Day-Date

In 1956, the luxurious Day-Date Rolex made its debut. This style is the first waterproof watch with a self-winding chronometer. The Day-Date displays the full calendar day along with the date.

The Day-Date is synonymous with luxury and prestige. The watch has been through many different styles and configurations over time—changing dial colors, size and design. This Rolex timepiece has been popularized by celebrities, politicians, CEOs and other high-profile individuals. Most famously, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, an avid watch enthusiast, often wore his Rolex Day-Date during his presidency and gifted them throughout his life, and now the watch is more widely referred to as the “Rolex Presidential.”

5. Submariner

Introduced in 1953, the Submariner is a watch built for divers and others venturing deep below the surface. This Rolex style is famous for its resistance to water and iconic unidirectional rotating bezel.

Both vintage and modern releases of the Submariner are highly sought after.

How Can You Sell or Buy Rolex Watches?

Are you interested in adding a Rolex to your collection or making space in your collection for another collectible? Learn how to do both by considering the following steps:

How to Sell Your Rolex Watch

All Rolex watches are sought-after, especially older collectible models. The best way to sell your Rolex watch is by getting it in front of the right audience. Fine jewelry and watch auctions, like FORTUNA®, have a wide audience reach of people searching for Rolex pieces.

Sell your Rolex watch at FORTUNA in three simple steps:

  1. Get a free valuation: Send pictures and fine details — such as serial and model numbers or original documentation — to FORTUNA with our web form or email, valuation@fortunaauction.com.
  2. Sign a consignment agreement: Once our professionals have looked over your piece, they’ll send you a consignment agreement that lists the high and low estimated selling price, as well as other important information regarding the auction process. If you agree to the terms listed, you will sign the agreement, and we will prepare your Rolex watch for auction.
  3. Collect your payment: Your Rolex watch will then go to auction. After it’s sold, FORTUNA will contact you regarding which of your pieces sold, at what price and how we will pay you.

Learn more about our selling process by visiting our selling page online.

How to Buy a Collectible Rolex Watch

You can participate in FORTUNA’s monthly auctions anywhere around the globe. Once registered, you’ll gain access to our auctions, hosted in-person, online, over the phone or via absentee.

We believe strongly in total transparency. FORTUNA holds a reliable reputation, and we want you to make a fully informed decision before adding a piece to your collection. We take great care when evaluating each piece and educating buyers on every detail, from its history to its craftsmanship.

Learn more about how you can buy a collectible Rolex watch from FORTUNA by visiting our buying page online.

building your rolex collection

Building Your Rolex Collection? Learn More About FORTUNA’s Luxury Auctions Today

Whether you’re ready to part with your Rolex watch or looking to add one to your collection, rely on FORTUNA. We’d love to walk you through our buying and selling processes in more detail. Learn more about FORTUNA by contacting us online or calling us directly at +1 (212)-389-9040.

Oscar Heyman & Bros.

Since its inception in 1912, Oscar Heyman & Brothers has remained unmatched in their stunning design, attention to detail, superb craftsmanship and quality of gemstones.

Now in its third generation, the haute joaillerie house remains devoted to developing exquisite designs that have been synonymous with impeccable taste for over 100 years. Heyman’s unmistakable flair can be spotted from time to time in FORTUNA®’s auction offerings, and they are always a delight.

In 1906, after gaining invaluable experience as apprentices in Faberge’ workshop in Latvia, brothers Oscar and Nathan Heyman, immigrated to New York City. Their skills working with platinum, the newest and most in demand metal in the jewelry industry, were in high demand. In 1912, the brothers were joined by their 4 other brothers and 3 sisters and opened a workshop of their own on Maiden Lane in Lower NYC . The firm quickly established itself as the “jeweler’s jeweler,” designing pieces for large jewelry houses such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. In 1939, the firm won a gold medal for Best in Show at the New York World’s Fair for its extraordinary collection of unique floral brooches. Indeed, as innovators of their time, the Heyman brothers also patented various jewelry manufacturing techniques.

Oscar Heyman Orchid Diamond and Ruby Brooch
Oscar Heyman Diamond and Ruby Orchid Brooch. Achieved $43,750 at auction.

Heyman’s craftsmen proudly devote their time to each component of the manufacturing process, including the creation of their own tools. Pieces signed by Oscar Heyman are kept under their keen eye from inception to completion—an attention to detail that makes them stand out amongst modern jewelry houses.

“Jewelry should never be a candidate for redesign but should transcend time like a fine painting, never losing its appeal.”

—Oscar Heyman

A prime example of the polished elegance created by the jeweler can be seen in Heyman’s classic “entourage” style. The “entourage” ring, pioneered by Heyman in the 1920’s, features an oval-cut center gemstone surrounded by oval-cut diamonds, and is truly a testament to the brand’s understated elegance.

Oscar Heyman Brothers 3.64-Carat Ruby and Diamond Ring, featuring a more elaborate version of the “entourage” style with extra yellow sapphire accents. Achieved $8,750 at auction.

It is this timeless design and unique stylishness that has lead their creations to be so coveted for over a century. The firm’s designs continue to reflect Oscar’s belief that “jewelry should never be a candidate for redesign but should transcend time like a fine painting, never losing its appeal.”


Cartier—Timeless Jeweler and Watchmaker

You’ve likely heard of Cartier before—especially their well-known pieces like the Cartier Love bracelet or Tank watch. Cartier is a French-based luxury goods company specializing in jewelry and watchmaking. Here, you’ll learn more about the history of Cartier, as well as how to sell and buy coveted Cartier collectibles.

The History Behind Cartier

Cartier’s origin began with Louis-François Cartier, the founder, born in Paris in 1819. He spent most of his early adulthood as an apprentice under a master watchmaker. In 1847, Cartier bought the store from his apprentice—the beginning of Cartier’s successful journey.

Soon, Cartier’s craft extended from watchmaking into jewelry. He bought what he could afford and made the best pieces he could, strengthening his craft with every piece made. Cartier would sell his pieces and invest the profits into buying bigger and better materials, his work building the Cartier business to new levels.

In the late 1800s, Louis-Francois Cartier’s son, Alfred Cartier, took over the business. Around this time, France’s elites were fleeing from France in the heat of a Socialist revolution. They were looking for any way out, including by selling their finest jewelry and watches at a desperately low price. Alfred bought these pieces, and from there, the Cartier business skyrocketed.

With a century of growth throughout the 1900s, Cartier grew to be a well-known jewelry and watchmaking brand. Although Cartier is no longer family-owned, it’s still widely successful, operating more than 200 stores in 125 countries, including London, New York and Paris.

sought after Cartier pieces

Some of Cartier’s Most Sought-After Pieces

All of Cartier’s pieces are highly sought after. Collectors enjoy the exclusivity of the brand, seeking both antique and new pieces to add to their collection. Some of the most sought-after Cartier pieces are:

1. Cartier Love Bracelet

Perhaps one of the most well-known Cartier jewelry is the Cartier Love bracelet. Aldo Cipullo, who is the only man allowed to have his signature on a Cartier piece, originally designed the unique bracelet.

The bracelet’s design is relatively simple, but its symbolism makes it so popular. The Cartier Love bracelet doesn’t slip onto the wrist like most bracelets. Rather, it’s fixed onto a wearer’s wrist by two screw heads, requiring a special screwdriver to apply and remove the bracelet. The idea is to give the tool to your lover so only they can access your bracelet.

The Cartier Love bracelet is available online in various styles and sizes, and it’s widely popular with collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike.

2. Cartier Tank Watch

The Cartier Tank watch’s design, crafted in the early 1900s, is inspired by the tracks of the French war tank Renault FT-17. The defining characteristics of the Tank watch are its rectangular face and bold hour markers. The original Tank Watch used silver metal and black leather. But, since its creation, you can find over 50 different models online currently.

3. Trinity De Cartier Ring

The Trinity collection contains many models of earrings, necklaces and bracelets, but the most sought-after Trinity style is the original ring. The ring has three intertwining pieces representing the three stages of romance—friendship, fidelity and love. To further symbolize those stages, each piece is its own metal, including pink, yellow and white gold.

4. Panthère De Cartier Ring

One of Cartier’s most recognized symbols is the panther. It began its association with the brand in 1914 when Louis-Francois Cartier commissioned an artist to paint a bejeweled lady posing with the wild cat. The piece was called “Dame a la Panthère” and was featured in one of Cartier’s most famous advertising campaigns. Admirers received the panther so well, it solidified the piece into the Cartier brand.

Over the century, you can find the Cartier panther integrated into many of the brand’s works, including the Panthère de Cartier ring. There are currently over 40 models of the panther ring, which you can find in different metals and with various adorned gemstones and unique interpretations.

5. Cartier Juste Un Clou Bracelet

The name of the Juste un Clou bracelet directly translates to “just a nail”—and that’s exactly what it is. The original design is a simple, long golden nail, wrapped to form the shape of a bracelet. The style is minimalist, proving Cartier can make anything beautiful. Now, you can find varying styles, including different metals and gemstone adornments. 

How to Buy or Sell Cartier Jewelry and Watches

Are you ready to part from your Cartier jewelry to make room for new pieces in your collection? Or are you a collector looking for antique and new Cartier styles to purchase? Consider selling or buying Cartier jewelry at FORTUNA® — a leading auction house serving sellers and buyers across the globe.

How to Buy Cartier Jewelry

Participate in FORTUNA’s monthly sales by registering with us first. Before the bid date, confirm your identity by providing a photo of your ID, as well as your credit card information for billing purposes. Once registered, you’ll be added to FORTUNA’s book of trusted bidders.

You can bid on Cartier jewelry online by downloading the FORTUNA app or using one of our affiliated third-party sites, Live Auctioneers or Invaluable. Or, you can join FORTUNA in-person in New York City. When bidding in-person, our auctioneers will distribute numbers and paddles, which you will use to place bids on items you want, like Cartier jewelry or watches.

How to Sell Cartier Jewelry

Before your piece goes to auction, contact FORTUNA for a free valuation. We can evaluate your Cartier piece online or in-person via appointment. Our experts will give you a reliable estimate based on a set of criteria, including the item’s:

  • Aesthetic
  • Materials
  • Craftsmanship
  • Condition
  • Alterations
  • Rarity

Once you receive your estimate, we request an in-person valuation. To complete this evaluation, FORTUNA will give you an insured shipping label. Using this label, send us your Cartier piece, which we will keep safe and secure in one of our state-of-the-art vaults. Once at our New York City location, we will give you a low and high auction estimate.

If you agree to sign the consignment agreement — stating everything you need to know about our consignment process — we will prepare your item for auction. After the auction, you’ll receive a settlers agreement outlining how much your piece sold for and what you’ll receive for its selling.

buy or sell Cartier

Buy or Sell Cartier Jewelry and Watches With FORTUNA

Do you have any questions about how to sell or buy Cartier pieces? Our experts at FORTUNA would love to answer them for you. Learn more about how our process works by contacting us online or giving us a call at 212-389-9040.

What Are Moonstones?

With its soft, mysterious milky glow, the moonstone has been a favorite of jewelry lovers for centuries. But what exactly are moonstones? 

Often believed to be a gem, the moonstone is actually a natural crystal mineral variety of the feldspar group. It’s made up of potassium aluminum silicate. The moonstone’s ghostly glow is caused by light moving across the stone — much like moonlight gliding through the clouds on a dark night. 

Where Did Moonstones Come About?

Moonstones have been a staple of jewelry collections for ages. Ancient Eastern cultures obsessed over the stone, believing that it was created by literal moonbeams. Moonstones are often still used in Sri Lanka and India for spiritual purposes. 

The moonstone has found an important place within modern jewelry as well. In the early 1900s, the stone became a focal point of design — often being used as a small accent stone in Art Nouveau-themed statues and art pieces. 

The popularity of the moonstone has ebbed and flowed with style and fashion trends. While the Art Nouveau period produced many famous pieces of moonstone jewelry, it was short-lived and was soon replaced by the Art Deco movement, which emphasized diamonds and gemstones. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the moonstone came back into fashion, popular in rings and necklaces of the counterculture movement. In the 1990s, the moonstone once again became a fashion trend with designers incorporating the stone into the New Age movement of design.

Because of their breathtaking appearance, moonstones will continue to remain popular among jewelry collectors for ages to come.

Tiffany & Co. Antique Moonstone and Sapphire Necklace, achieved $30,000 at FORTUNA® January Jewels & Watches auction.

Do Moonstones Mean Anything?

One of the main reasons that moonstones have remained so popular is the perceived meaning behind them. In spiritual traditions such as feng shui, the moon represents divine feminine energy. The moonstone is believed by some to balance hormonal and reproductive issues, as the waxing and waning of the moon is connected to fertility cycles.

Additionally, the moonstone is thought to represent compassion and empathy as well as the creative and intuitive power of feminine energy. 

Perhaps best known as one of the birthstones for June, moonstone’s connection to both Roman and Greek lunar deities is believed to harness the power of love, passion and great luck.

Are Moonstones Valuable?

The moonstone’s value is based almost entirely on its appearance. The clearer the stone, the more valuable it will be. 

One of the most common reasons for the moonstone to be less valuable is tiny tension cracks inside of the stone. These cracks are known as centipedes, and they interfere with the stone’s adularescence, or unique milky-blue luster.

Prices for moonstones can range anywhere from $10 to over $1000. Clear moonstones that are free of cracks and centipedes will command the highest prices on the market.

Where to Buy and Sell Moonstones

Are you interested in selling or purchasing moonstones? FORTUNA® is a no-risk fine jewelry auction house that allows you to buy and sell fine jewelry in a transparent, regulated method. Explore FORTUNA for upcoming monthly sales today!