100 Years of Jewels

I often marvel at the variety of jewels offered in every Leonard Joel auction, particularly with this being our 100th year of business.

In our recent November 2019 auction, we had a selection of jewels from the Edwardian era, including Lot 6, an exquisite Australian aquamarine and seed pearl necklace, which featured all the hallmarks of that opulent decade. Whilst Lot 87, a classic emerald and diamond plaque brooch, circa 1920, reflected the more modern time of sophisticated Art Deco styling in Jewellery and modernist decorative arts. The beautifully balanced geometric forms of the Art Deco period were also seen in Lot 83, another diamond and emerald brooch.

The 1940s ushered in a bolder Deco style that is sometimes referred to as ‘Retro’. At Lot 140, the diamond, sapphire and ruby dress ring was a fine example of this style.

One of the more radical decades of the 20th century, the 60s and 70s saw a return of a more brash style of jewellery, and in the 70s in particular, more abstract and organic forms, often with figures, became popular. The Stuart Devlin silver gilded brooch at Lot 459 was a great examples of this movement in design.

Opulence was back in the 1980s and 90s with an emphasis on gold. Lot 217, the diamond, ruby and gold horse motif lariat is a fabulous example of the strong style of these decades. The 21st century saw a return of the luxury jewellers and the mass-marketing of new and existing designs, with Lot 325, a ruby and diamond ring by Bvlgari as a lovely example.

Leonard Joel has proudly sourced and auctioned tens of thousands of pieces of jewellery over the last one hundred years and will continue looking forward to what jewellery may bring in 2020.

John D’Agata
Associate Head of Jewellery