Antiques - Halls' Jewellery

PUBLISHED: 13:36 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 18:18 20 February 2013

An early 20th century Cartier blue enamelled and gem-set photograph frame inset with rubies that sold for £11,800. Pendant: This stunning two stone diamond pendant sold for £118,000

An early 20th century Cartier blue enamelled and gem-set photograph frame inset with rubies that sold for £11,800. Pendant: This stunning two stone diamond pendant sold for £118,000

The days of London auctioneers having a monopoly on selling high value items are going, going, gone says Christina Trevanion

A sparkling year


The days of London auctioneers having a monopoly on selling high value items are going, going, gone says Christina Trevanion


I am the head of Halls Jewellery, Silver and Objts Dart department in Shrewsbury and last year was a record-breaking year for my department thanks to high gold prices and the seemingly constant demand for high quality pieces for private collectors to invest in.


We were the first auction house in Shropshire to implement live internet bidding and this platform has enabled us to compete with the international auction houses and, in some cases, exceed some of their prices. You only have to look at the recent result that the provincial auctioneers Bainbridges achieved for the Chinese vase that they sold for 43 million (the highest price achieved by the London salerooms is 18 million for a single Oriental artefact) to see that high value items are no longer the dominion of the London Big Three.


For almost every auction we can now count bidders from Market Drayton to Monaco, Bridgnorth to Beijing, Attingham to Athens as our regular clients.


In our first fine silver, jewellery and objts dart auction of 2010, which was held in March, we sold an early 20th century Cartier blue enamelled and gem-set photograph frame inset with rubies for 11,800. At only 8.8cm tall it was a surprisingly high price for this diminutive yet beautiful work of art and perfectly evoked the era that made it. A Prince of Wales once hailed Cartier as Joaillier des Rois, Roi des Joailliers (Jeweller to Kings, King of Jewellers) and this was reflected in this exquisite little piece.


This auction also saw a beautiful diamond-set Victorian necklace sell for 7,000. Made in the late 1800s, the necklace would originally have had an accompanying framework enabling the owner to wear it as a necklace or a tiara, depending on what the occasion required.


These results set a good tone for the rest of the year. Junes sale saw excellent results such as 2,500 for a turquoise and diamond- set bangle and 2,600 for a similar peridot and diamond-set example and 3,000 each for a beautiful 1.60ct diamond solitaire and a 1.75ct diamond solitaire.


But it was our October Fine Jewellery auction which was the most exciting of the year, as a private consignment of jewellery from a local vendor brought the international jewellery trade to Shrewsbury. Among the prices achieved in the auction was 118,000 for the stunning two stone diamond pendant (pictured top right). Rarely does the market see such well-matched stones as the two that were set in this necklace. Other notable prices in the auction were 32,000 for a pair of diamond-set drop earrings, 32,000 for an emerald and diamond necklace and 17,000 for a three stone diamond ring.


The atmosphere in the saleroom was electric as all phone lines were allocated to international buyers, as well as busy bidders in the saleroom who had driven hundreds of miles especially to view the auction.As the auctioneer it was an adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed day that I will remember for a long time to come.


2010 also brought with it many new challenges and experiences for the fine art team at Halls. I have been recruited by the BBC as one of their specialists on the BBC programme Flog It! and my colleague, fine art director Jeremy Lamond, has started working as a specialist on Bargain Hunt with Tim Wonnacott.We have both just completed our busy filming schedules for the final programmes and look forward to hitting your screens early in 2011.


Christina Trevanion is Head of Jewellery, Silver and Objts Dart at Halls, Welsh Bridge, Shrewsbury. Contact: 01743 284777 or christina@halls.to

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