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Bonhams West Coast Salon Jewelry Auction brings $1.45 million
A fire opal and colored diamond ring modified rectangular cushion-cut fire opal measuring approximately: 24.3 x 19.4 x 15.1mm; estimated total diamond weight: 1.00 carat; mounted in eighteen karat gold; size: 7 1/2. Sold for $18,750 (est. $5,000-7,000). Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The $1.45 million Salon Jewelry auction, September 30 at Bonhams in San Francisco and simulcast in Los Angeles, was a great success, with rings, bracelets and necklaces achieving prices well above their estimates.

The leading highlight of the auction was a fire opal and colored diamond ring that brought $18,750, exceeding an estimate of $5,000-7,000. Additional rings of note in the sale included a yellow sapphire and diamond ring that sold for $11,875 (est. $2,500-3,500); a diamond solitaire ring that took in $11,250 (est. $8,000-10,000); and an opal and diamond ring that brought $10,625 (est. $6,000-8,000).

Bracelets generated quite a bit of excitement in the sale; the leading of which was an antique ruby, diamond and enamel bracelet, circa 1880, composed of oval and circular-shaped star and cat's eye ruby cabochons, accented by single-cut diamonds and rubies, that achieved $12,500, past an estimate of $4,000-6,000. Strong-selling bracelets also included a multicolor sapphire and diamond bracelet, pavé-set with various-shaped multi-color sapphires, and interspersed with rose-cut diamonds, that sold for $12,500 (est. $6,500-8,500) and a diamond and enamel star motif bangle bracelet, circa 1890, that took in $11,875 (est. $1,800-2,500).

Bracelet highlights also included examples from the estate of Margaret Nielsen Stiegele (1922-2013). Ms. Stiegele was the daughter of Arthur C. Nielsen, the creator of the television ratings system that became the industry standard. She was a noted jewelry collector whose passion for stylish pieces with beautiful craftsmanship was informed by her extensive world travels. Among the sale’s highlights from her estate was a turquoise, lapis lazuli, sapphire and diamond bracelet that brought $10,625 (est. $4,000-6,000); a pink tourmaline, pink and blue sapphire and diamond multi-strand bracelet, featuring nine strands of faceted pink tourmaline beads and oval-shaped blue sapphire cabochon, that sold for $9,375 (est. $2,500-3,500); and a diamond and 18 karat gold wide bangle bracelet of openwork design; signed Esha, that achieved $9,375 (est. $5,000-7,000).

Necklaces also sold well in the sale, with the top three including an 18 karat gold 14 strand bib necklace that took in $12,500 (est. $5,000-7,000); a fancy yellow diamond and diamond necklace that sold for $11,250 (est. $5,500-7,500); and a colored cultured pearl, cultured pearl, opal, paste and diamond necklace, from the estate of Margaret Nielsen Stiegele, that achieved $11,250 (est. $10,000-15,000).

Also notable in the sale was an 18 karat gold rose petal necklace together with a pair of matching ear clips by Angela Cummings at Tiffany & Co., 1979, signed Tiffany & Co., that realized $10,625 (est. $3,000-4,000) and a pair of retro jadeite jade and diamond ear clips, circa 1945, that sold for $9,375 (est. $1,000-1,500).

Lynne Arkin, Fine Jewelry Specialist at Bonhams in San Francisco, says of the auction: “This was a very interesting and rich collection, and buyers responded enthusiastically to the quality and variety of the jewelry items for sale.”

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