The preview of AstaGuru’sHeirloom Jewellery, Silver, and Timepieces Online Auction was akin to entering a candy-coloured world of gemstones.
Showcasing an extensive collection of 133 lots, in which there are 50 jewellery lots, the auction has vintage jewellery and old-mine gemstones, rare hallmark collectibles from iconic silver manufacturers from the 19th and 20th century.
The exquisite pieces in the jewellery section flaunt natural Basra pearls, fancy vivid yellow diamonds, Burmese rubies, Zambian emeralds and rare old-mine Colombian fluted emerald beads. These collector items highlight both traditional Indian and western jewellery aesthetics. Even old gold jadau pieces, temple jewellery, diamond polkis with detailed enamel work make an appearance.
In an exclusive exchange with LuxeBook, Jay Sagar, AstaGuru’s Jewellery Specialist, takes us through the bejewelled collection. Commenting on the auction he said, “The interest for vintage jewellery among collectors has seen exponential growth in recent times and the upcoming auction with lots dating back to the early 20th century is a fantastic opportunity to collect beautiful pieces that are a hallmark of Indian culture and aesthetics.” The lots took Sagar two months to put together, and include pieces from important old Indian families, and even from erstwhile royalty.
Talking about the vintage Burmese jewellery suite pictured above, Sagar says it is his favourite lot. The colourful, stately jewels have an interesting story behind them.During the revolution in Burma, Indians had to leave the region overnight. The lot’s co-signer‘s grand auntwas from Burma andcollected everything she could wear when fleeing the country. About 9-10 kg of Burmese rubies and gold, were put onto her, as they left Burma,without even suitcases to carry their possessions. The family then reached Calcutta, where the rubies were mounted and set into these beautiful pieces. The full suite of a necklace, a pair of bangles, and earrings will go under the hammer for an estimated INR 23,50,000-25,00,000.
The most expensive piece in the lot is the graceful three-row necklace presented above. Starting at INR 1,10,00,000 – 1,30,00,00, Sagar hopes the piece will auction for a whopping 1.5 crore, a price he feels represents its true worth. The 1930 necklace is composed of 192 Basra natural pearls interspaced with beautiful seed pearls. It features Art Deco terminals set with old cut diamonds and a platinum clasp set with old cut diamonds and diamond baguettes.
Another colourful offering in the jewellery segment, is Lot no. 16, an impressive four-row necklace created with rare old-mine Colombian fluted emerald beads. The emerald beads are interspaced with diamond faceted beads, aka diamond spacers. The necklace is affixed with a gold clasp and detailed enamel work. While the piece is estimated to be from the 1930s, the only thing that was changed was the back clasp. The stones are unheated, untreated, and have only been oiled to maintain them. “I would in fact date it to an even older period.Unfortunately,the documentation we have only dates back to1935,” said Sagar.It will be offered in the auction with an estimate of INR 71,00,000 – 90,00,000.
The oldest item in the jewellery auction is this Louis XV Gold Snuff box. Maker’s mark says the box dates back to Paris, 1769/1770. However, Sagar tells me the bigger mystery is how this lot came to India. While no one knows the answer to this question, as the piece is over a hundred years old, it cannot be transported out of the country, as per the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. The oval box is estimated to auction for INR 5,50,000-6,50,000.
Lot no. 7 is a vintage gold ‘nath‘ set with Burmese juicy ruby beads, shimmering rose-cut diamonds, natural pearls, and emeralds. Considering the quality of stones, Sagar acknowledges the fact that it could have been originally made for a very important family. It will be offered for an estimated INR 12,50,000 – 15,00,000.
Lot no. 30, this vintage Jadau Aadiya necklace is typical of Rajasthan. it is set with table cut diamonds, natural pearls, turquoise bead detailing, and inlaid with green, white, red and blue enamel aka meenakariwork. It is said to belong to circa 1900, and estimated at INR 55,00,000-75,00,000.
A traditional JadauGutta Pusal Gold necklace, this piece is set with diamond polkis, rubies and emeralds. Adorned with different symbols of Shiva, it’s a gorgeous piece of temple jewellery. Symbols of theDamru, Om, Trishul, which signifies the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas, Shivalinga and Tamasare all incorporated in this neckpiece.
Touted as the next big gem, spinel tumble beads have been a royal favourite since ages. Maharajas of India believed in a spinel’s healing properties and wanted to have the stones touching their skin. These three rows of graduating spinel tumble beads, strung together on a gold wire are to go on auction for INR 25,00,000-27,00,000.
While the auction house’s May jewellery auction raised INR 18 crore, Sagar hopes this collection will make a cool 25 crore, beating last time’s record.