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Word of the Day: Sautoir

5 Apr

My new favorite word these days is sautoir – pronounced [soh-twahr].  The sound of this French word is just so elegant that it makes me feel the tiniest bit of elegant too.

A sautoir is a long necklace (longer than opera-length), often with an ornament (a tassel or pendant) at the end.  It could also be a ribbon, chain, scarf, or the like, tied around the neck in such a manner that the ends cross over each other.

Sautoirs were common during the Edwardian era – King Edward VII reigned 1901-1910 – and were originally developed in imitation of military braids or chains.  They are frequently looped around the neck and worn scarflike over one shoulder or down the back.  Sautoirs continued in popularity through the 1920s, as fashionable flappers often wore pieces to accentuate their low-cut evening gowns.

In the upcoming Fine Jewelry auction on April 30 in New York, Heritage has a lovely Edwardian sautoir for sale.  The long necklace with a  beautiful platinum and diamond pendant and seed pearl tassel would be a stunning addition to any little black dress.

Edwardian Diamond, Seed Pearl, Enamel, Platinum, Gold Sautoir, French
The woven seed pearl necklace features openwork platinum sections, enhanced by European and rose-cut diamonds, suspending a detachable pendant, accented by European and rose-cut diamonds, completed by a seed pearl tassel having a rose-cut diamond and enameled platinum cap. Total diamond weight is approximately 4.20 carats. French hallmarks. Gross weight is 62.50 grams.

Property of a Beverly Hills Collector
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000

UPDATE:  Sold for $15,000, including buyer’s premium.


Best News Ever

7 Mar


Weekly Internet Luxury Accessories Auction

Luxury Auctions are now coming weekly!

The weekly Luxury auctions are geared towards vintage dealers and savvy collectors (i.e. me and you!), and will feature authentic, vintage and current pieces by Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta and other major designers all starting at $1 with no reserve. See I told you it was the Best News Ever!  Matt Rubinger is starting small….only 15-20 bags per week.  And Matt says there will be at least one Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag available in the weekly sales. Let the bidding begin!!  

The items will be presented only online and bidding is only taken through our website. The auctions close every Tuesday at 10:00 PM Central Time, and a new one begins shortly thereafter. Each auction will have photographs, condition reports, and short descriptions.

The first auction launches Tuesday, March 13th – with the bidding ending the following Tuesday night, March 20th.

I know I’m excited!

I need these now

17 Feb

I don’t think I can wait until the Fine Jewelry auction to have these earrings by Marco Bicego.  April 30 is just too far away.

Briolette cut aquamarines…my favorite cut of stone.  Spun white gold beads…stunningly delicate.  Freshwater pearls…my birthstone.  I think these were made to be mine.

Sure, I could go to Neiman’s, Bloomingdale’s, or Nordstrom and buy these right now.  But what fun is that?  The fun is that ever possibility of “getting a deal” at auction.  Could these be mine at half of the retail value?  Possibly, potentially, hopefully!

The department store mark-up on jewelry can be extreme.  That’s why insurance appraisals for jewelry use retail replacement.  If you lost your diamond ring, how much would it take to go buy a new one tomorrow?  $$$$$.  Fair market value at auction seems a little more reasonable to me for a pretty bauble.  And then I have extra money to buy more!

Some women prefer their jewelry new in the box.  They want to be the only one who has worn it.  I respect that.  Yet, there are many women, like me, who prefer a little history with their jewelry…..even if it’s not their own history.  I would love to wear a piece with a little bit of a scandal to it.  Sometimes it’s fun to live a little vicariously.

Auction is a great place to buy jewelry.  New pieces, antique pieces, diamonds, semi-precious stones, the possibilities are endless.  And you might just be bidding on a great love story or a little bit of scandal, too. 

Check out the Fine Jewelry auction as it builds, and start saving your pennies.  Jill’s putting together another fantastic sale.

Aquamarine, Freshwater Cultured Pearl, White Gold Earrings, Marco Bicego
The earrings feature freshwater cultured pearls measuring 11.40 x 9.30 mm and 11.10 x 9.40 mm, enhanced by briolette-cut aquamarines weighing a total of approximately 5.40 carats, accented by engraved 18k white gold beads, suspended by 18k white gold chains, completed by posts with friction backs, marked Bicego. Gross weight 8.70 grams.
Dimensions: 2-1/2 inches x 3/8 inch

Estimate: $1,000-1,500

UPDATE:  Sold for $625.00 including buyer’s premium.


26 Jan

I like jewelry.  There are very few girls who don’t!  But I’m not a jewelry-a-holic, and I can often take it or leave it…..unless it’s JAR.

[big happy sigh]

JAR – the initials of Joel Arthur Rosenthal, jewelry designer extraordinaire.  He moved from New York to Paris decades ago and designs the most fabulous jewelry on Earth….in my opinion and alot of other people’s opinion too.  Diane von Furstenberg is often quoted as saying that JAR is the Fabergé of our time.

What’s so special about his works?  They are beautiful, one-of-a-kind, and very, very expensive.  He is known for his pavé work – a technique for setting small stones so close together that they form a veritable pavement of jewels.  His settings are so finely wrought as to be virtually invisible, and gradations of color progress from subtle to vivid. 

JAR produces relatively very few pieces – said to be 70 to 80 pieces a year, each with a specific buyer in mind.  In Paris’s Place Vendôme, the store has no display window and no regular hours.  He doesn’t advertise.  But then again, he doesn’t have to, with clients including the late Elizabeth Taylor, Elle Macpherson, Barbara Walters, Ann Getty, Mary Pinault, and Jo Carole Lauder (and reportedly Marie-Josée Kravis, Marella Agnelli and Princess Firyal of Jordan) per Forbes magazine.

“He also reserves the right to refuse to sell an item if he doesn’t think it would look good on the intended wearer.”  Say what?  Yup, if he doesn’t like you, then you can’t buy his jewelry….no matter who you are or how much money you have. 

A few, maybe 100 pieces at most, JAR pieces have ended up at auctions over the last 10 years, and the bidding tends to skyrocket.  Ordinary jewels that come onto the auction/secondary market bring maybe a fraction of their original price. JAR pieces routinely sell for much more than what the first buyer paid.  Why?  Because public auction is one of the only times that anyone can bid on items in the sale, as long as you have the money to keep bidding. 

I’m super excited to see these small earrings in Heritage’s upcoming Fine Jewelry sale to be held on April 30th in New York.  I’m sure to be caught trying them on.

Titanium, Gold Earrings, JAR
The earrings, designed as flowers, are crafted in tinted titanium, completed by 18k gold omega clips on the reverse, signed JAR. Gross weight 6.95 grams.
Dimensions: 1-1/4 inch x 1 inch 
Estimate likely to be in the couple thousand range, but bidding will certainly surpass my meager budget quickly.

UPDATE:  Sold for $6,250 including buyer’s premium.

The Legendary Jewels

14 Dec

The Legendary Jewels – that was the title of Christie’s Evening sale of the finest offerings from Elizabeth Taylor’s vast collection of jewelry.  With pre-sale expectations in the $16-23 million range, the sale soared to a record-breaking final total of $115,932,000 with 100% of lots sold.


The top lot of the night was La Peregrina (see image).  This Cartier necklace was designed by Elizabeth Taylor with Al Durante of Cartier  La Peregrina is the name given to the magnificent natural salt water pearl that dates to the late 16th century and was purchased by Taylor at auction in 1969.  The necklace is composed of the pearl; a diamond bail from the early 19th century; and a natural pearl, diamond, ruby and cultured pearl necklace by Cartier 1972.  But the best part is the provenance of La Peregrina Pearl:  the Spanish kings (1582-1808); Joseph Bonaparte, of France (1808-circa 1844); Prince Louis Napoleon, of France (circa 1844-circa 1848); Duke and Duchess of Abercorn (circa 1848-1914); and Elizabeth Taylor (1969-2011).

Estimated to sell in the $2-3 million range, the winning telephone bidder paid over $11.8 million with buyer’s premium.  It’s a world auction record for any pearl jewel. gives a great recap of the legendary auction here.

Lots of fabulous and famous jewels sold for big dollars, but I think the most interesting tidbit is the disclaimer added to every lot in the online catalogue:

By registering to bid, you hereby agree that the copyright, and any and all associated intellectual property and other rights for this item are exclusively retained by The Elizabeth Taylor Trust and/or Interplanet Productions, Ltd. Buyers of the Property will not receive the copyright or any related reproduction rights in the Property and all intellectual property rights are explicitly reserved by Seller and are freely exploitable by Seller in perpetuity. Furthermore, the use of Elizabeth Taylor’s name, photograph or likeness may not be used relating to this item without the express written permission of The Elizabeth Taylor Trust and/or Interplanet Productions Ltd.

You may be buying the jewelry, but you do not own the copyright for the pieces.  Thus, any and all knock-offs created from these pieces are in violation of copyrights and reproduction rights.  The Elizabeth Taylor Trust is fiercely protective of the star’s name and image, and I imagine that violators will be prosecuted.  I understand and agree with this policy almost completely.  Almost….because it seems kinda weird that I bought a diamond for ALOT of money, but need to ask permission if I’m wearing it and mention it in my family portrait Christmas card – otherwise, theoretically, I could be sued by the Trust.  I assume that this kind of private use would be granted permission from the Trust, so it’s a moot point, but it’s something to think about and consider….

Luxury Soars!

8 Dec

Heritage’s 2-day Luxury Handbags and Accessories sale was a smashing success at $1.6 million.  There is no lack of bidders for high-end luxury, whether handbags, scarves, luggage, or jewelry from the runway.  Congratulations to Matt Rubinger on his fabulous taste and a wonderful sale.

511 of 562 lots sold
91% by value
93% by lot

No surprise the top lot of the sale was the exceptional Hermes Shiny Rouge H Porosus Crocodile 30cm Birkin Bag with Solid 18K White Gold & Diamond Hardware.  Estimated to sell between $80,000 and $90,000, the gorgeous bag fetched a stunning $203,150 with buyer’s premium.  Some very lucky woman will be delighted to find this beautiful bag under the tree on Christmas morning! 

The Chanel camera bag sold for $956.  Lots of phone bidders, but the bidding stopped at $800.  Sometimes that happens at auction…  And just because I didn’t like, doesn’t mean that no one else did.  The Hermes 35cm Shiny Braise Red Porosus Crocodile Birkin Bag with Palladium Hardware sold for $95,600!

‘Tis the season…

7 Dec

For great big diamonds!  The Fine Jewelry sale sold just over $4.5 million after a two-day bidding extravaganza.  Congratulations to Jill, Jessica, Peggy, and Gail. 

1126 of 1559 lots sold
74% by value
72% by lot

The fancy intense yellow diamond, diamond, platinum, and gold ring from an Arkansas estate was the top lot in the sale, fetching a phenomenal $179,250 including buyer’s premium.  Multiple bidders wanted the 10.02 carat yellow diamond, but the last man standing is now the proud owner of this beautiful diamond.  In other news, the Angela Cummings bracelet sold for $11,054 – a good price, but I really thought it would do more.  It was certainly a popular item during the preview.  As I predicted, the back scratchers did not find a home on Monday. 

Overall the sale seemed like it was hit and miss.  Already aftersales are pouring in, as clients are still trying to find bargains for the fast-approaching holidays.  The numbers will certainly go up.  The estate jewelry did very well in the sale, as did the antique pieces.  I’m certainly glad to see the spirited bidding for Georgian and Victorian works – as they tend to be some of my favorites. 

Diamonds ruled the day, as an unmounted 5-carat cushion cut sold for $107,550; a 6.3-carat round brilliant cut ring sold for $98,588, and a 7.8-carat marquise cut ring sold for $89,625.