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  • Harry Fane

Astute Observer

An astute observer asked why I had not included this brooch in my analysis of recent sales and prices. I mean, he's absolutely right. This amazing flower (is it an iris?) fetched, at Christie's HK, a stunning US $ 516,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $ 48-75,000. To be quite honest, I had totally missed it. It was tucked away in a November Hong Kong jewellery sale and the pre-sale estimate indicates that Christie's themselves were not overly enamoured by it.

This brings me to the issue of the overwhelming number of lots going online at present.

There is a literal tsunami of lots which threatens to drown us all. This is why lots are missed. More on this mounting problem another day.

Back to this brooch. I am not sure I would describe it as truly beautiful. It's a bit of what we British would describe as a 'gobstopper' although I am sure in real life it probably is rather beautiful. The sapphires look very well matched and I love the 'green' stalk. Certainly, this is a brooch intended to make a statement. According to the catalogue, this brooch was made in Cartier London in the 1940s and it originally

belonged to the extraordinary Daisy Fellowes. Daisy was one of the greatest characters of early 20th Century 'cafe society'. A huge client of Cartier's..the most famous 'bijou hindou' necklace of all time belonged to her. No social history of the 20th Century can be told without mention of her.

(The drawing is by Sargent). This brooch is included in Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes, Famous Jewellery Collectors, London (1999, p. 163 and 165).

So, here we have an amazing Cartier jewel, associated with an amazing woman and these two elements created the magic required for the price to reach eight times it's pre-sale estimate.

Thank you astute know who you are

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