2. Lot 366 Antique Gold, Rock Crystal, and Garnet Insect Pendant
This week, Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers hosts a gorgeous collection of gems for preview and sale as part of their spring fine jewelry auction.
There is a strong focus on deco gems, totally having a moment right now, important pieces from designers past and the usual flawless diamonds and pearls from the like of Tiffany and Cartier.
What stood out to me? Why the insect gems, naturally. I must have flowers and spring on the brain with such a gorgeous day.
There seem to be a swarm of insect broaches, earrings and accessories this sale and I have spent the morning dreaming up a dramatic life story about the woman who amassed this collection. She most certainly marched to the beat of her own drummer. Threw caution and trend to the wind, deciding, bugs, beetles, set in diamonds and rubies, now that is my thing. An over the top Auntie Mame grand dame, who is now offering her well edited collection of insect gems to the general public....well at least in my imagination (disclaimer, this is a total figment of my over caffeinated imagination!). That folks, is why I love these sales. You aren't buying jewelry from a chain store because the media has told us we need things to come in a blue box. You are buying something with history, a story, things you can't put a valuation on, in my opinion.
While my general buying focus is currently on all things new home, decor, and home furnishings (I am eagerly waiting the next European Furniture and Decorative Arts sale, though) I never miss a jewelry sale, even if to just peruse the online catalogue or head in for a preview....to try some fantastic gems for the afternoon. Where else will helpful staffers encourage you to try on a 20 carat gemstone ring?
You never know what may come of a quick stop to a fine jewelry preview, as I found out myself when I stopped into one with my husband, then boyfriend, a few, well maybe more than a few years ago. Yesterday's Boston Globe magazine featured a fantastic piece on Skinner, titled Anatomy of an Auction (by Tina Sutton). The article includes a few soundbites from me and more detail on what exactly did happen when Mr. MpChouChou and I stopped by a preview. Sutton deftly discusses the cornerstones of the sale, but also does a fantastic job relaying the je ne sai quoi of the overall experience. It is just good fun, whether you are buying or not.
Before you attend the preview or bid at the sale (tomorrow!), give this helpful guide from the article a look, 5 Tips for Buying Jewelry at Auction:
ATTEND THE PREVIEW > Come to learn, even if you’re not ready to bid. “We’re happy to answer all questions,” says Victoria Bratberg, director of the fine jewelry department at Boston auction house Skinner.
ASK THE EXPERTS > If you are considering bidding on a piece, ask the knowledgeable staff about the quality, condition, design, and materials. Auction houses will also allow you to try on jewelry during the preview — important, because there are no returns if you have the winning bid.
PLAN YOUR BID > Whether you’re bidding live, via the Internet, or on the phone, come up with the amount you want to spend ahead of time. “It goes very quickly,” says Bratberg.
ACCOUNT FOR FEES > The winning bid is not the total price you pay. You’ll also owe sales tax, plus a buyer’s premium (22.5 percent if you bid online and 18.5 percent on the phone or live on amounts up to $200,000, dropping to 15 percent or 10 percent, respectively, over that amount).
“DISCOVER” A DEAL > If you want some real bargains, check out the lower-priced offerings that pop up in Skinner’s “Discovery” series of auctions throughout the year. Check the skinnerinc.com website for more information.