John Moran’s May 21st Fine Jewelry Auction Features Something For Everyone; Entices Heavy Participation Via Online Platforms


• Quirky pieces bring strong prices
• Art Deco design offers intriguing highlights
• Modern signed jewelry by Claire Falkenstein, Jean Stark and Noma Copley bring out collectors

MONROVIA, CA – John Moran Auctioneers’ May 21st Fine Jewelry Auction appealed to jewelry collectors across all categories, from those whose tastes run from the Victorian to the Contemporary ends of the spectrum. Approximately a quarter of sales were achieved online, via the Liveauctioneers and Invaluable platforms. The top lots for the evening were modern designs, while quirky selections and high-quality Art Deco examples also performed quite well at the block.

Signed Modern and Contemporary jewelry was very popular among those bidding in person and online, with a number of pieces achieving prices well above their pre-auction estimates. One of the first items to be brought to the block was an interesting abstract open-collar gold-plated brass necklace by maker Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997) (Falkenstein is well-known for her sculptural work “The New Gates of Paradise” commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim in 1960). The collar necklace brought $3473 at the block (including Moran’s Buyer’s Premium), going to an online bidder (estimate $600 to $800). Directly following the necklace, a gold and gem abstract ring by Falkenstein was brought to the block with a $600 to $800 estimate; the ring brought $3300 thanks to a determined floor bidder. A silver and amethyst necklace and pair of earrings by William Spratling was also brought to the block with a conservative $500 to $700 estimate, ultimately bringing $2318. Later in the sale, an emerald and diamond ring signed for Jean Stark was offered with a $5000 to $7000 estimate; the stately ring realized $8400, going to a floor buyer. One of the most highly anticipated lots of the evening hailed from the Estate of Carroll and Nancy O’Connor; estimated to bring $5000 to 7000, the coral, wood and gold pencil-form bangle was the object of desire for a number of those who previewed, inspiring a few left bids prior to the auction. In the end, the bracelet earned an astounding $17,080 at the block, going to a telephone bidder.

Ladies timepieces performed exceptionally well overall; a Vacheron Constantin 18K yellow gold woven circular-link wristwatch wooed bidders with its elegant, wearable design, and brought $3600 (estimate: $2000 to $3000). A handsome gold and coral pendant watch by Piaget inspired numerous absentee bidders to vie for ownership against online bidders; one of the absentee bidders proved successful, purchasing the Piaget for $16,800 (estimate: $3000 to $5000). Directly following, an Art Deco gold bangle with later-added diamond, sapphire and platinum covered dial was offered for $1500 to $2500; thanks to multiple absentee bidders, the bracelet earned just over the high estimate at $2700. Late in the sale, an 18K yellow gold open face pendant watch with diamond and turquoise-set case by London maker GP Wehlen & Co. elicited excited gasps from attendee bidders who saw it on the auction monitors; the pendant watch earned $4200 (estimate: $2000 to $3000).

The few gentlemen’s watches that were offered at Moran’s May jewelry sale were snapped up quickly by buyers. The last lot in the sale, a Rolex Datejust II two-tone wristwatch was brought to the block with a $5000 to $7000 estimate, and earned a selling price squarely within estimate (price realized: $6000).

Items by renowned design houses did not disappoint; a Tiffany & Co. bi-color curb-link collar turned a few heads at the pre-auction preview. Estimated to earn $2500 to $3500, the collar brought $4062. A very elegant mid-century Cartier lighter – the case of black enamel tipped with gold and sugarloaf-cut coral – was offered with its original box; the lighter realized an impressive $3125 (estimate: $2500 to $3500). Also by Cartier, a stunning 18K yellow gold textured-link bracelet set with full-cut diamonds was brought to the block with a $2500 to $3500 estimate; the bracelet incited a bidding war among online bidders, finally selling for $11,250 after heated completion.

Quirky additions to the catalog included a diamond and 14K gold spider and web-motif pendant-brooch. Though unsigned, the spider-motif pendant-brooch struck a chord with many, bringing the selling price to nearly twice the high estimate (price realized: $2160; estimate: $800 to $1200). A diamond and enamel parrot-form pendant-brooch, selling for $1320, should make an excellent addition to someone’s summer wardrobe (estimate: $800 to $1200).

Antique and antique-style jewelry provided a nice counterpoint to the heavily modern and contemporary offerings. A Group of sardonyx, diamond and gold cameo jewelry was offered very late in the sale; the pendant-enhancer featured a cameo depiction of Artemis reclining on a horse-drawn chariot. The group sold squarely within estimate, for $3900 (estimate: $3000 to $5000). Two pairs of Victorian Etruscan-revival earrings were brought to the block with a conservative $700 to $900 estimate. Gracefully designed, the earrings realized $1440 (estimate: $700 to $900).

As always, Art Deco jewelry was a hit online and on the auction floor. One elegant platinum diamond-set brooch centering a large oval star sapphire was offered for $6000 to $8000; an online bidder snapped the piece up for $6250. Shortly after, a platinum ring with a central square-shaped arrangement of diamonds and rectangular-cut sapphires was brought to the block with a $2000 to $3000 estimate, which was quickly outstripped after absentee and floor bidders brought the price up to $4500.

As a category, sapphires proved popular with the crowd at Moran’s May 21st auction event. A teardrop-shaped diamond-set platinum-topped gold brooch suspending a large (approximately 9.40 carats) oval sapphire drop of Ceylon origin was offered for $8000 to $10,000 and brought the high estimate. A star sapphire, diamond and platinum ring offered late in the auction inspired a number of bidders to leave absentee bids; the ring brought $1625 (estimate: $1200 to $1800).

John Moran Auctioneers’ next auction is their Saturday, June 18th Decorative Art Auction, which features additional works of Modern and Contemporary Western Art from the Estate of Phoebe Hearst Cooke. Asian and Native American objects, Continental and American fine art, and Modern and Contemporary design are also well represented in the catalogue. Comprising nearly 300 lots, the fully illustrated catalogue is now live online via: www.JohnMoran.com. Bidding for this auction will be available in person, by telephone, absentee or online through Liveauctioneers.com and Auctionzip.com.

Moran’s next Fine Jewelry auction is scheduled for early December; consignments are currently invited. For more information regarding any upcoming auctions or consignment, please contact John Moran Auctioneers directly via telephone: (626) 793-1833 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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