The work of late French jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger, whose highly creative jewelry for Tiffany & Co. turned the brand into a household name in the 1950s and 1960s, certainly occupies the top tier of collectible fine jewelry.
And this morning in New York City, demand for Schlumberger’s oeuvre was in full flower: two classic pieces designed by Schlumberger fetched astronomical prices—busting their sales estimates by miles—at Sotheby’s auction of collected jewelry by the Wolf Family.
The Exceptional Jewels: The Wolf Family Collection auction also showcased iconic jewels from René Boivin, JAR, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, and Harry Winston, but few of those baubles inspired the high demand the Schlumberger pieces did.
The above circa-1960 Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. ruby and diamond strawberry clip was expected to sell for $30,000 to $50,000 but ended up fetching a whopping $228,600. The juicy-looking fruit is pavé-set with round rubies and the leaves are set with marquise-shaped diamonds. The piece is signed “Tiffany Schlumberger.”
The final price for the above Jean Schlumberger gold, turquoise, and diamond powder compact, which was estimated to sell for $15,000 to $20,000, was $82,550. Surprising, maybe, considering you can’t wear a compact. But because this isn’t a Tiffany & Co. piece, we’re guessing its uniqueness and rarity played a role in nudging its price up.
The circa-1950s hinged shell-shaped box is studded with round turquoise cabochons, its corner accented with square-cut “colorless stones” (not diamonds, but Sotheby’s doesn’t name the stone) and round diamonds. It’s fitted inside with a mirror and powder compartments and signed “Schlumberger.”
All images courtesy Sotheby’s