Two exceptionally rare and fine cushion-cut Kashmir sapphires, lead Bonhams New York Jewel sale on Tuesday 28 July. Weighing 6.95ct and 9.23ct they are estimated at US$250,000 – $450,000 and US$475,000 – $775,000, respectively.
The gems have been in the same family for over 100 years. Originally purchased in the late 19th century and early 20th century as engagement rings by two brothers, they have been passed down through the generations of one family. Recently discovered in Australia, each sapphire is accompanied by two gemmological certificates stating that they are both of Kashmir origin.
Brett O’Connor, Bonhams Senior International Jewelry Director said, “Sapphires from Kashmir display a vivid velvety blue hue that is unique to the region. They are among the most highly prized gems in the world due to their rarity and their scarcity; no mining activity has taken place in Kashmir for many decades and the mine that yielded the finest specimens was largely exhausted by 1887. These two wonderful examples are sought after additions for anyone’s collection.”
This sale also features two iconic ballerina brooches by John Rubel, circa 1950. They are each estimated at $40,000-70,000. Born in Hungary in the late 1800s, John (Jean) and Robert Rubel were already experienced jewelers when they moved to Paris in 1915 and opened the Rubel Frères workshop at 22 rue Vivienne. The brothers manufactured for a handful of French makers, but their meticulous and beautiful craftsmanship quickly made them a favorite partner for Van Cleef & Arpels. One Rubel dancer is an unusual find. Two presents Rubel aficionados the rare opportunity to acquire a pair. Created with the iconic rose-cut diamond faces topped by a precious headdress, the dancers extend expressive ribbon-like arms to hold up skirts studded with sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. Rubel made clever use of the materials available. Due to wartime shortages, large stones and platinum were difficult to obtain, but the dancers made perfect use of the gold and smaller stones in a whimsical design. The overall effect is one of movement and delight.