A Closer Look at Our Highlights | March 2020 Fine Jewels
Fortuna is excited to share some of our favorite highlights from our upcoming March Fine Jewels sale! The sale goes live March 19, 2020, at 1:00 PM EDT
Antique Diamond and Sapphire Compact, Provenance of Anna Thompson Dodge
This Antique Diamond and Sapphire Compact is one of the most special pieces in our March Fine Jewels sale. The antique compact is crafted in a combination of gold and platinum with an exquisite floral design: indicative of the late Victorian era. Hours were likely spent on the intricate carvings of the mountainside, cherubs, and floral motifs. The compact is made more glamorous by the setting of pear- and old European-cut diamonds enhanced by oval cabochon and calibre-cut sapphires; the touch of color contrasts beautifully with the 14k gold. The precious compact has a compartment to store a photo, a mirror enclosed, as well as small compartments where one could hold rouge and some hairpins; the only essentials a lady of that time would need, especially one of as high a status as the original owner…
Anna Thompson Dodge was a fascinating socialite and one of the wealthiest women in the world, at the time of her death. She originally inherited her money from her late husband Horace Elgin Dodge, hence the inscription on the inside of the compact reading, “Mrs. H. E. Dodge Grosse Pointe Mich”. While Mrs. Dodge inherited her great fortune, it is to her credit that the family kept the spectacular estate at Grosse Point; after her husband passed, she wisely invested her money and was able to keep living a life of great luxury through the stock market crash of 1929.
Anna immigrated from Scotland and modeled herself after the great ladies of her native United Kingdom by filling her home with new European art and wondrous objets de vertu. Mrs. Dodge wanted only original work, which is evident from the stunningly unique compact. One would like to think the beautiful carvings on the compact of musical instruments, such as a lute, a tambourine, and a triangle with a book of music, were a testament to her love of music and time as a piano teacher. The elaborate carvings of foliage and natural motifs are also indicative of the period’s overly ornate, romantic style, which paints a perfect picture of the kind of lifestyle Anna enjoyed in her days.
Mauboussin Art Deco Rock Crystal & Diamond Brooch
Pieces by the French jewelry maison, Mauboussin, Successeur de Noury, are extremely coveted by collectors and undeniably beautiful. In our March sale, we are happy to be offering a Mauboussin Art Deco Diamond and Rock Crystal Brooch, which perfectly encapsulates the style of the Art Deco era. French jeweler M. Rocher and his cousin Baptiste Noury founded the jewelry house in 1827 in Paris. The success of the brand is much attributed to Rocher’s nephew Georges Mauboussin, who joined the house in 1877 as an apprentice. In 1925, Georges and the firm won a Grand Prize for jewelry at Paris’s Decorative Arts Exhibition. There’s no doubt that the Art Deco era was the peak of French jewelry, and Mauboussin was considered the greatest amongst the greats.
This piece incorporates iconic Art Deco characteristics by seamlessly uniting the trends of the time into one brooch, one that would have been considered tres chic. Art Deco saw a combination of seemingly clashing materials resulting in wonderful designs. Mauboussin was sure to make his designs pop out by using contrasting colors and materials; the black enamel ascents evoke a sharp contrast to the white of the rock crystal and sparkle of the diamonds. The diamonds on this brooch are of VS-SI clarity and are masterfully set in an oriental-inspired design. Although the piece is small and delicate, it makes a bold statement—like the fearless women who wore them in that era.
The period after World War I was a time of glamour and prosperity, the designs were less romantic and floral than those of Art Nouveau, with women opting for sleeker, geometric designs—which suited the lower hemlines and slimmer silhouettes that were en vogue. Diamonds had been in decline during the period of Art Nouveau, but the end of the war and the rise of Art Deco saw a revival of the heavy use of diamonds and precious gemstones in jewelry. This gorgeous piece also comes accompanied by a copy of the original drawing from the Mauboussin archives.
Cartier Egyptian Revival Horus Diamond Cuff
This Cartier Egyptian Revival Horus Falcon Diamond Cuff is very representative of the jewelry trend. The high-profile discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920s gave rise to the spread of Egyptian imagery and culture throughout the western world, leading to a high demand for Egyptian style designs in jewelry. Crafted in 18K gold and set with round brilliant-cut diamonds, this cuff was designed by the esteemed jewelry maison and is highly collectible.
Every decade or so since the 1920s has seen the return of the Egyptian Revival trend. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston talks of Egyptian Revival pieces as “the design of the ornament highlighting the tension between progress and the desire to engage with the past.” None were inspired by the Egyptians quite as much as the jewelry house of Cartier. Cartier was sure to include falcons amongst his Egyptian designs, as an homage to the major Egyptian deity, Horus. Horus was believed to be the god of the sky and of kingship and provided protection to the people and pharaohs. His right eye was said to be the sun and his left, the moon. On this cuff, in particular, the only eye that is visible is that of the left or the moon. This Cartier cuff encapsulates the essence of Egyptian revival and would make any wearer feel a deep sense of appreciation for the rich history of the Egyptian people and the creativity they inspired.