A selection of rare and important Louis Comfort Tiffany jewels shines in the Bonhams California Jewels sale on Monday, September 13. The sale contains an assortment of Tiffany from different periods in the 200-year-old companys history, including a rare enamel flower by Paulding Farnham, a set of hardstone necklaces by Angela Cummings, earrings by Elsa Peretti, and rings by Schlumberger. Other highlights include important diamonds: a ruby and diamond bracelet, a Marcus & Company platinum, ruby and diamond ring, diamond drop earrings, a diamond riviere, and a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond clover brooch, circa 1945. A series of whimsical animal jewelry by Elizabeth Gage includes a cat, a lioness, and a parrot. Gage, a British goldsmith, has made jewelry for more than 50 years and is known for her elaborate craftsmanship, use of high-karat gold, and historical references. Estimates for individual pieces within the 301-lot sale range from $300 to $75,000.
Head of Jewelry, Bonhams Los Angeles, Emily Waterfall said, Louis Comfort Tiffany spent years perfecting his eye in the stained-glass studio before bringing a similar aesthetic into his jewelry construction, favoring shimmering luminous stones such as opal, moonstones, and Montana sapphires recommended by Tiffanys Chief Gemmologist, George Frederick Kunz. Tiffanys delicate, colorful Arts & Crafts creations were astonishing. His jewels were inspired by nature and featured berries and flowers on vines that expressed the celebratory movement and color of the Art Nouveau period, or they were based on ancient cultures like Egypt, as you can see in the scarab-like filigree on the opal necklace. He often paid as much attention to the chain and the clasp as to the central stone element. These pieces are treasured and when they come to the market they often exceed the estimates. Bonhams has a strong record with Louis Comfort Tiffany pieces, in 2017 a similar black opal and sapphire necklace sold for $44,000.