Antique Jewelry & Gemology
Photos courtesy Nye & Co.
A wide variety of jewelry was offered at the December 7 and 8 estate treasures auction held by Nye & Co., Bloomfield, New Jersey. I asked John Nye, president of Nye & Co., if the jewelry came from different estates, and he said, “There were three principal consignors who gave us their jewelry to sell. One was an executor handling a New York City estate. Another was a direct descendant of the A & P Supermarket founders. The third was a man who essentially lives in Ibiza, Spain.”
When I’d spoken with Nye in 2020 about that year’s December estate treasures auction, he said the company’s auctions had gone online only. When I asked if this sale was held online, and if so, how having online sales has affected business at Nye & Co., he said, “The sale was what we refer to as ‘live online,’ in that through the four Internet platforms, people can bid in real time buoyed by telephone and absentee bids as well. This strategy has served our company well, allowing vigorous international participation and solid results.” Bidding is available on the platform of the client’s choice: Bidsquare, LiveAuctioneers, or Invaluable, each of which charges a 28% buyer’s premium, or on the Nye bidding platform, where bidders save 5% and pay a 23% buyer’s premium. Absentee and phone bidders also pay 23%.
How are the company’s auctions faring now as compared to the first year of the pandemic? “There is a great deal of property still coming to market, such that we regularly turn away more than what we accept for sale. The demand for silver, gold, jewelry, and good paintings remains robust. The other categories are less reliable, but there are still people buying if the price is right.”
This platinum and marquise diamond engagement ring from the early 20th century sold together with a custom unmarked yellow gold cocktail jacket for $55,350 (est. $50,000/70,000) and was the top lot in the auction. It was accompanied by a GIA certificate stating that the marquise diamond weighs 6.10 carats and is K color with SI1 clarity.
An early 20th-century platinum and marquise diamond engagement ring that sold together with a custom yellow gold cocktail jacket achieved the top jewelry price, $55,350 (with buyer’s premium); it was estimated at $50,000/70,000.
This group of stick pins, all approximately 2½" long, includes two white gold pins with diamonds and sapphires; two yellow and white gold pins with small diamonds—one round, the other pear-shaped; one gold knot; an gold insect set with one small diamond and a turquoise bead; and two gold-filled stick pins—a knot and a lion ring mask. The lot realized $1152 (est. $300/500).
While the lots that bring the best prices are often the ones that get our attention, it’s also interesting to see what group lots achieve—multiple items with similar characteristics that sell as a lot for one price—such as a lot with six gold and two gold-filled stick pins that realized $1152 (est. $300/500). I wondered how Nye determines which items are grouped together. John Nye said that Kathy Nye, vice president, “catalogs the jewelry and silver and groups things together within the ‘confines’ of each consignment. There are times when it would be nice to put similar items into a lot, but if they come from different sources, they cannot be combined.”
I asked him if the group lots sell mostly to dealers or to private individuals. “The trade plays an important role in supporting the success of an auction, and they do bid on all types of items, but we have a deep stable of private buyers who aren’t as price sensitive, since they don’t have to resell the pieces and are able to drive the prices to the hammer.”
One of Kathy Nye’s favorites was this 2" long Art Deco platinum, diamond, and emerald jabot that sold for $4612.50 (est. $3000/5000).
There are always pieces that resonate with those who handle and sell them. John Nye said that “Kathy loved lots 29 and 32. Each had emeralds and diamonds (maybe I need to pay attention to her tastes), the pin and the bracelet.” He was speaking of an Art Deco platinum, diamond, and emerald jabot that brought $4612.50 (est. $3000/5000) and an Art Deco diamond, emerald, and platinum bracelet that exceeded expectations and sold for $12,300 (est. $2000/4000).
This Art Deco diamond, emerald, and platinum circle link 7" long bracelet was one of Kathy Nye’s favorites. It contains approximately 2 carats of diamonds and 2 carats of emeralds. John Nye said it “certainly exceeded our expectations” with a final price of $12,300 (est. $2000/4000).
This 18k yellow gold charm bracelet achieved the top result of the four charm bracelet lots on offer. With 25 assorted charms, the 7½" long bracelet brought $4160 (est. $1500/2500). When I asked John Nye if he had any favorites in the sale, he said, “I happened to like the chunky gold charm bracelets. I suppose they must have jarred some childhood memories of my mother and grandmother wearing similar bracelets.”
Nye said that he “happened to like the chunky gold charm bracelets. I suppose they must have jarred some childhood memories of my mother and grandmother wearing similar bracelets.” Nye noted four lots of charm bracelets. One (pictured in the captions) was an 18k yellow gold bracelet with 25 assorted charms that sold for $4160 (est. $1500/2500). The other three included a group of three 14k gold bracelets with whimsical charms that brought $4800 (est. $2000/3000); a group of two 14k yellow gold bracelets with whimsical charms that realized $2880 (est. $1500/2500); and a single 14k yellow gold bracelet with 25 assorted charms that sold for $2560 (est. $1500/2500).
When I asked him what the most exciting moment in the auction was, Nye said, “I love the anticipation of the sale actually beginning. The excitement in the office of organizing the final phone bids and other last-minute details gets my adrenaline pumping.”
Not every auction at Nye & Co. contains jewelry, but the upcoming March 8 and 9 estate treasures sale will. “We make a point of saving jewelry and holding it for a select few auctions each year, thus increasing the interest and demand for same.” Visit the website (www.nyeandcompany.com) for further information and to view the online catalog in the weeks before the sale.
Art Deco platinum and diamond bracelet, with multiple graduated bead-set diamonds and baguette diamonds, 7" long x 2½" wide, $10,455 (est. $6000/8000).
Art Deco platinum and diamond dress clip, 1¼" high, with a pair of diamond stud earrings, each diamond weighing approximately .50 carats, $3997.50 (est. $800/1200).
Vintage 1960s-70s brushed 18k yellow gold and diamond bracelet with approximately 5.20 carats of diamonds, 7" long x ¾" wide, $7040 (est. $6000/8000).
Early 20th-century Cartier 14k gold mesh buckle bracelet with rubies and diamonds, 7¾" long, $3690 (est. $3000/5000).
Tiffany & Co. 14k yellow gold, sapphire, and aquamarine spray brooch from the 1960s, 3" long, $1107 (est. $1500/2500).
Mid-20th-century blue lapis and 14k yellow gold jeweled hinged box, possibly Russian, with semiprecious gemstones, 1½" x 61/8", $4305 (est. $5000/10,000).
Victorian 14k gold and diamond hinged bangle bracelet with four diamond-centered flowers, $576 (est. $400/600).
Mid-20th-century 18k yellow gold, pearl, and diamond necklace, together with a pair of 14k gold and pearl earrings, $13,530 (est. $4000/6000).
This group of pearl objects includes a vintage Tiffany & Co. pearl and platinum 16" long necklace with a diamond clasp; a freshwater pearl and 14k yellow gold 14" long necklace; a tri-cluster pearl and 14k gold 16" long chain necklace; a pearl and 14k gold 18" long chain necklace; a pearl and 14k gold 6" long bracelet; and a pearl and 14k yellow gold 7" long chain bracelet. The lot brought $3840 (est. $300/500).
Rolex 18k yellow gold lantern charm watch from the 1950s-60s, 1¼" high, with an 18k gold and blue enamel bow-form pin, with a clasp (to hang the watch on), 2" long, $3840 (est. $4000/6000).
This group of late 19th-century pocket watches realized $2091 (est. $500/800). They include an ornate 14k gold American Waltham Watch Co. pocket watch, 3" high; an unmarked Elgin pocket watch, 2½" high; and a small ornate gold pocket watch with a white enamel dial, stamped “Vuille-Perret / Geneve / Remontoir, Ancre / Ligne Droite / 15 Rubis / K14” and “Souvenir.”
Originally published in the February 2023 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2023 Maine Antique Digest