Erté Art Deco Designer


Lot 336 June 2018

Erté designed Egyptian inspired wing earrings and necklace, offered at auction June 2018

Erté is a name central to the world of design and closely associated with the height of Art Deco style. This long lived artist became prominent in the 1920s, and held influence over the world of fashion for most of the 20th Century.

Born In Russia

Born in Russia in 1892, a quarter century before the Russian revolution, Romain de Tirtoff was an internationally renowned designer who moved to France in 1912. He adopted a name based on his initials “R T” creating the world famous moniker Erté.

Art Deco

He quickly established himself as a fashion designer and illustrator. Erté was in the perfect place and time and had the sense of style, design, and flair to perfectly fit with the Art Deco movement that shook the world in 1925, and for the following decades.

His fashion designs were central in the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 1930s. The entire world of fashion was enraptured by the inspired designs of the flamboyant Erté.

Erté signature

The famous Erté signature from lot 336 Egyptian inspired necklace and earrings offered in June 2018

World Recognition

Erté designed for magazines, and fashion houses, he created posters and created theatre sets and costumes. His work was everywhere. His designs are absolutely identifiable. He had a flair for the highest of style, his designs flowing with eye-catching forms and colours.

He never stopped designing. Thus generation after generation was drawn to his unique style. Art deco has never gone out of fashion, and this period was his strongest influence. The distinctive geometry of Art Deco brings a beauty to his designs, and his flair for the dramatic adds a unique element to his forms.

Thus his magazine covers and posters are instantly identifiable. Fashion designers set out to copy and reproduce the unique style.

Ornaments in our houses were designed by, or at least influenced by Erté. His designs, sculptures and posters remain highly collectible.

He was a design style unto himself. However, like all designers, he was, in turn, influenced by what was going on in the world around him.

After he moved to Paris, the tomb of the ancient Egyptian child-king Tutenkhamun was uncovered in 1922, and in the couple of years following, the extraordinary treasures of King Tutenkhamun came to light. The timing was perfect. Thus, the amazing ancient Egyptian treasures were in the public consciousness. Art Deco designers were heavily influenced by the geometry of ancient Egyptian design. back in the 1920s Art Deco jewels features images of pyramids and the Sphinx in Egypt.

Lot 336, June 2018

Erté Egyptian theme earrings offered as part of Lot 336, June 2018

Erté Jewels

His influence extended to the worlds of fashion, printing, theatre, and jewellery. Living for 98 years, Erté passed away in 1990, yet he remained active in design to the end of his long life. He created this this Egyptian inspired jewel set in the 1980s.


Lot 336, June 2018

Erté Egyptian theme earrings offered as part of lot 336 in June 2018

Posted in design, Jewellery | Tagged | Comments Off on Erté Art Deco Designer

Burma: What Does It Mean for Gems?


(Also Known as Myanmar)

No heat antique Burma ruby ring

Burma Ruby and Diamond Ring Sold, November 2017, $22,000

Burma, it’s a name that evokes images of great treasures to anyone who knows about gemstones.

Now known as Myanmar, the country is still referred to as Burma by many people.

The country of Burma is in Southeast Asia, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. Several of these countries are known for their gem wealth. However, this one country stands out as a shining light among the great gem sources.

The Most Famous Rubies in the World

Burma is historically known as the source of the finest rubies in the world.  These remarkable red gems are found in several sources, but no rubies are as eagerly sought-after as those from Burma, the most famous of gem sources.

The finest Rubies from Burma have an intense to vivid tone of slightly pinkish red colour, and it can be a colour that is remarkably eye-catching. Of course, variations in colour can come from any source, but Burmese rubies are very fine, on average, and are reminiscent of a hot coal.

Other countries in Asia are noted sources of ruby. Neighbouring countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and nearby Vietnam have all produced many beautiful rubies. However, these nearby sources don’t have the same fame and history. Also, none of the other sources produces rubies of quite the same vivid colours.

Additionally, a number of countries in Africa have been producing rubies, but still Burma rings on the lips of gem lovers.


Jadeite jade ring

Burma (Myanmar) jadeite jade and diamond ring, Lot 354, offered in the Important Jewels Auction, June 2018

Jade is a gem that is famous for its luminescent green colour. The word “Imperial” is often given to the richest, strongest green found in the gem known as jadeite jade.

Two types of gem that are called jade: Jadeite jade and nephrite jade. The rich and vibrant green of the finest jadeite from Burma is unmatched. There really is no other source for this most precious jadeite jade. While the other type of jade, nephrite, is found in many countries around the world, Canada is a major exporter of this other type of jade. Nephrite jade has a lower intensity of colour and often has a greyish green colour. Historically, for centuries, jadeite jade of a bright green colour and a high degree of translucency has been a gem most highly prized in China. and other countries.


Lot 402 June 2018

6.44 carat Burma (Myanmar) sapphire offered in June 2018 Important Jewels Auction

Burma is a source of very beautiful sapphires, and has been for a very long time. The only sapphire more desired is one from Kashmir, but Kashmir hasn’t been mined for decades, making sapphires from Kashmir extremely rare. So, these days, Burma produces some of the finest sapphires in the world. The colour of a Burma sapphire is often a rich and very attractive blue.

Burma is a key gem source, and remains that way after centuries of production, it is highly important to this day. The country is a most highly desired source for the most important gems in the world. Being from Burma adds to the value of a gem when compared to similar gems from other countries.

We are very fortunate to have the consignments that allow you to purchase Burmese gems at Dupuis auctions on a regular basis.


Posted in Antique Jewellery, Auctions, Gemmology, Jewellery | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Burma: What Does It Mean for Gems?

Selling your Jewels at Auction

Selling at Auction is a Simple Affair

Are you thinking of selling your jewels? Is it time to find a new home for your precious things?

A ruby and diamond ring

There are lots of reasons for looking for ways of selling:

“I’m selling my beautiful jewels because I’m downsizing, and I hope someone will love them as much as I have.”

“I just don’t wear them any more.”

“No one in the family wants them.”

“My lifestyle doesn’t really go with these jewels anymore.”

“We’ve inherited something that no one will ever wear.”

“I’ve worn them and enjoyed them, but want to change it up.”

What are your options?

Consigning to auction provides you with an international audience of potential bidders. An auction house has the job of finding buyers for your precious items. Therefore, auctioneers are as eager to get strong bids as you. Because we don’t buy, our task is to put word out about your jewels and timepieces, and create an eager and well-informed bidder base. The commission is a fee based on a percentage of the selling price. Thus, we aim to see you realize the highest selling price for your jewels or timepieces.

Fine Harlequin Opal selling for beyond its estimate

A Fine Black Opal sold for $13,000 at Auction

Make An Appointment

We are happy to consult with you, examine your jewels, and provide you with a professional opinion about the jewels you show us.

We meet potential consignors throughout the year. You can make an appointment to meet at our offices in Toronto. We also make regular visits to cities around Canada. Contact us or check our website to see when we might be visiting a city near you.

Call toll-free: 1-800-879-8975

If it’s not convenient to meet with us, we are happy to provide preliminary estimates by email. So, if you are able to send photos and/or appraisals to us, we are pleased to consult electronically or by telephone.

Here is the online estimate request form:

Estimate Request Form


10 Loupe

We will examine your jewels and timepieces, and provide you with an estimate for any jewel that would be a good candidate for auction. The recommendations will include which  auction would be appropriate for the items.

We have two different types of auction: Live “Important Jewels” auctions, and online “Boutique Jewels” auctions. On average, the Important Jewels Auctions will feature items with a pre-auction estimate over $2,000. Boutique auctions will average items with an estimate between approximately $500-$2,000

We can provide you with clear instructions for safely packing, shipping and insuring items if you choose to send them to us.


Selling for $50,000 this watch generated widespread interest

Cartier limited edition wristwatch, “le Cirque Des Animaux”, Lot 384, offered in Spring 2017, selling for $50,000

The estimates we provide are based on our experience and research of similar items that have been offered and sold at auction in recent times, around the world.

The pre-auction estimate for an item is stated as a range: As an example: $8,000-$12,000. This serves as a guideline for you to know roughly what to expect, and for the bidders to know where the need to start to bid (and up from there).


We also establish a minimum selling price, called a “Reserve”. So, with this, you know that there is a bottom line for selling your jewels.


Once you have decided that a Dupuis Auction is the way to go, we prepare a contract and take responsibility for your jewels, photograph, and catalogue them. Then we get to work telling the world about your precious item available for bidding.


We display the timepieces and jewels at previews, with hundreds of viewers, both online, and in person. Also we’ll answer any questions bidders have and provide all the necessary details to make them eager to bid.


The auction is held, bids are taken until we the highest bidder wins. One of the big advantages at auction is that there is a set time for the auction, and you know your precious items will be offered at that time. When the auction is finished, you know right away how you did.

The exciting thing about an auction is that all it takes is two or more people who really want a beautiful item, and who knows where the bidding will stop? Every auction has hundreds of bidders, and some items can go well beyond expectations in bidding.


Once the successful bidder has paid for and collected their new precious item, we then send you a cheque.

It’s as simple as that

Posted in Antique Jewellery, Appraisals, Auctions, Jewellery | Tagged , | Comments Off on Selling your Jewels at Auction

ABC of Jewellers

ABC of Jewellers

Here we present an ABC of jewellers whose work has been offered at auction at Dupuis:

Around the world and around the alphabet, Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers has offered jewels to bidders from East to West, and from North to South.

We have bidders around the world, and our auctions also have offered jewels from jewellers and designers around the world, and covering nearly the whole alphabet.


Asprey, historic jeweller in London, England, holder of many Royal warrants and recipient of Royal commissions through most of the history of Asprey:

249 Spring 2013

Asprey: Rose brooch, lot 249, Spring 2013


Buccellati, Italian jeweller, famous for exquisite textures in precious metals. Unmatched in attention to surface finish on jewels:

Buccellati: Citrine and diamond ring, Lot 376, Spring 2017


Cartier, Paris based, and known around the world, jeweller to royalty, stars, and lovers of innovative design:

Cartier: Limited edition wristwatch, “le Cirque Animalier du Cartier Tigre”, Lot 384, Spring 2017

David Webb

David Webb is New York based, and is famous for natural forms including whimsical animals, and is a a favourite of the Stars:

Lot 51, Spring 2016

David Webb: Diamond earrings, Lot 51, Spring 2016

Elsa Peretti

Elsa Peretti, important Tiffany designer, famous for simple and voluptuous forms and textures:

Elsa Peretti: Delicate and supple chain mesh scarf, Lot 16, Spring 2017


Friedrich, based in Frankfurt Germany, is known for attention to detail, and precise work:

Friedrich: Fine ruby and diamond bracelet, Lot 301, Spring 2017


Garrard, based in London, England, is famous for centuries of service to the British Royal Family, and for the finest in design and gems for collectors around the world:

Garrard: Sapphire and diamond ring, Lot 21, Fall 2013

Harry Winston

Some of the most important jewels of the world have passed through the doors of New York Based Harry Winston, including the world Famous Hope Diamond:

Lot 326, Fall 2012

Harry Winston, emerald and diamond brooch, Lot 326, Fall 2012

International Watch Company

International Watch Company was established in 1868, the Swiss watch company has a great reputation for fine timepieces:

IWC Lot 632, Spring 2014

International Watch Company, Pocket watch, Lot 632, Spring 2014

JAR (Joel Rosenthal)

JAR is Paris based. The designer is famed for innovative and unusual use of colours, and is a favourite of the famous:

Lot 344, Fall 2015

JAR earrings, Lot 344, Fall 2015


Kutchinsky was established over a century ago in London, England, Famous for fine and delicate work.

Lot 155, Spring 2017

Kutchinsky, buckle bracelet, Lot 155, Spring 2017

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton, famed for luggage and accessories, is also known for jewels, particularly ones that may clip on to luggage.

Lot 7, Spring 2017

Louis Vuitton, Eiffel Tower charm, Lot 7, Spring 2017

Marina B

Marina B, known for creative use of colour and coloured gems, and collected by “A Listers” worldwide.

Lot 169, Spring 2017

Marina B earrings, carnelian and rutilated quartz, Lot 169, Spring 2017


Nardi, the Venice based jeweller, is famous for jewels honouring the renowned aristocratic general who helped to protect the city of Venice, and is immortalized in Shakespeare’s Othello.

Lot 2, Fall 2016

Nardi brooch featuring the famed general revered for preserving Venice at war. Lot 2, Fall 2016

Oscar Heyman

Oscar Heyman, the New York based jeweller produces jewels of delicate detail, and unstinting finish. Commonly using geometric forms to wonderful effect.

Lot 247, Spring 2013

Oscar Heyman bracelet with emeralds and diamonds. Lot 247, Spring 2013

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” The company slogan says it all, timepieces of enduring quality and reliability.

Lot 170, Spring 2017

Patek Philippe wristwatch with classic blue dial. Lot 170, Spring 2017

Q (Quartz)

As far as we recall, Dupuis has not offered any jewels made by a jeweller whose name starts with “Q”. We will look at quartz. Found in many colours and textures, amethyst is purple, citrine is yellow, and rock crystal is clear and colourless, sometimes frosted in texture.

Lot 62, Spring 2017

Quartz, rock crystal and amethyst orchid, Lot 62, Spring 2017


Rolex watches are among the best known and most widely recognized in the world. Very strong at auction, and always in demand, Rolex is preeminent in the watch world.

Lot 171, Spring 2017

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust with a “Thunderbird” bezel. Lot 171, Spring 2017


Sterlé was a Paris based jeweller, established in the 1930s, and boasting a client list of royalty and stars. Jewels by Sterlé are noted for their embracing of forms from nature.

Lot 157, Fall 2013

Sterlé brooch in a feather form with gold and diamonds. Lot 157, Spring 2017

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co was established in New York, in the year 1837. Continues to meet the needs of jewellery connoisseurs around the world.

Lot 389, Spring 2017

Tiffany & Co rubellite and diamond bracelet, Lot 389, Spring 2017

Universal Geneve

Universal Geneve, maker of fine timepieces, including the Golden Shadow, the thinnest automatic wristwatch of its time. Known for stylish precious jewel timepieces.

Lot 453, Spring 2014

Universal Geneve gold and diamond wristwatch, Lot 453, Spring 2014

Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels, one of the most sought-after names at auction, world-wide. Based in Paris, and represented around the world, their jewels are classic and timeless, and have adorned many royals.

Lot 400, Spring 2017

Van Cleef & Arpels ring, 6.47 carats, Lot 400, Spring 2017

Walton & Co

Walton & Co, United States based, their jewels represent the choice elements of the Arts and Crafts movement, and incorporate natural forms into delicate jewels.

Lot 189, Spring 2017

Walton & Co brooch with pink topaz, Lot 189, Spring 2017


We can state that as far as we recall, Dupuis has not offered jewels made by jewellers whose name starts with “X”. We have never offered Xylophones, and only occasionally use X-rays to test pearls.


David Yurman is famed for jewels that feature twist form wires, often in sterling silver,  decorated with coloured gemstones, often with gold accents.

Lot 52, Summer 2016

David Yurman silver and gold bracelet with black onyx, Lot 52, Summer 2016


Zolotas, based in Athens, Greece, and established in 1895, Zolotas embraces a combination of ancient influences with modern style.

Lot 191, Spring 2015

Zolotas, brooch with gem flowers, Lot 191, Spring 2015

Posted in Auctions, design, Jewellery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on ABC of Jewellers

Castellani and Giuliano

Castellani and Giuliano

Lot 323, Spring 2017

Giuliano Brooch (Carlo and Arthur Giuliano), Diamond, Sapphire, and Chrysoprase, Lot 323, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

The nineteenth Century is a time of change. Industry creates a growing middle class. Archaeology is invented, and all around the Mediterranean, sites reveal beautiful decorative items of the ancient world. Artifacts of ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Italian peninsula provide inspiration. Designers look fondly back on the ancient world. Castellani and Giuliano are two jewellers drawing on this inspiration, and become two of the most important names in jewellery history.


Fortunato Pio Castellani was a collector and dealer in artifacts of the ancient world. Founding a business in Rome in 1814, Castellani is one of the first dealers to bring ancient decorative items of beauty to 19th century customers.

Lot 327 Spring 2017

Castellani Caduceus Hairpin, Circa 1875, Lot 327 offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

Castellani’s believed the ancient world produced the most beautiful items. He also felt the forgotten styles and techniques of our ancestors should be resurrected. The delicacy of hand made and custom ornamented artifacts of the ancient world would benefit connoisseurs and collectors.

The house of Castellani, under Fortunato’s sons, Alessandro and Augusto, thrived in Rome. They began creating fine jewels inspired by jewels of the ancient world. The company gained a reputation for being the go-to place for interesting and beautiful interpretations of ancient design in a modern (nineteenth Century) world.

Symbols found in ancient art, mythological creatures, ancient wine jugs, (for example, a ram, and amphora, seen in the brooch, below), and religious images are among the forms commonly found in Castellani jewels. A caduceus, seen in the hairpin, above, was an ancient Greek and also ancient Egyptian symbol of messengers (bringers of good news), only more recently has the symbol come to represent the medical profession. The jewels often contain mixed images drawn from different places in ancient history.


Lot 326 Spring 2017

Castellani brooch, Circa 1880s, a mythical ram’s head with an amphora, Lot 326, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

The Castellani family often visited archaeological sites. They examined ancient jewels as they were excavated. With access to these jewels, the family became fascinated by metal-working techniques that had been lost in the mists of time.

Delicate filigree and texturing with tiny grains of gold (“granulation”) were decorative elements that the Castellani family really wanted to revive. After decades of work, they re-discovered these methods and produced incredible jewels. As a result, the elements of ancient design were incorporated into highly desirable jewels which appealed to Europe’s wealthiest classes.

Worldwide Reputation

By the late 1850s, travellers to Italy and Rome absolutely had to make a stop at Castellani’s to make a purchase of their famous “revival” jewels. These treasures were so popular that Castellani opened stores in Paris and London.


Lot 325, Spring 2017

Giuliano pendant on a Tiffany & Co chain, with Garnets, Circa 1890, Lot 325, offered in Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

The London office was opened by Castellani protege Carlo Giuliano. Giuliano became fascinated by the jewels of the Renaissance. Thus, he shifted his focus from ancient to Renaissance jewels of the 1500’s. The jewels of Giuliano rarely focused on expensive gemstones, the gems were seen as an integral part of the design. The pendant, above, is a perfect representation of this focus.

The jewels of the ancient world had very little enamel, but there was widespread use of enamel in the Renaissance. The Castellanis used stone inlay and mosaic in their ancient revival jewels. Giuliano, however, worked widely with delicate enamels.

Giuliano opened his own business in London, and immediately developed a reputation for extraordinary Renaissance revival jewels. A trademark of work by Giuliano was very delicate enamel work. Of great note is the unique combination of black detail on white enamel, or white on black. Below, the brooch shows the delicate enamel work of Giuliano.

Lot 322 Spring 2017

Giuliano Brooch (Carlo and Arthur Giuliano) garnets and enamel, Circa 1900, Lot 322, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

Giuliano and Castellani jewels are known for being decorated on the back. Most jewellers don’t bother with making the back of jewels pretty. Both Castellani and Giuliano looked at the complete beauty of the entire jewel. The pleasure of a beautiful reverse side of a jewel provides joy to the wearer each time they put it on and take it off.

While Castellani and Giuliano made what are called Archaeological and Renaissance Revival jewels, they were inspired by, but not direct copies of designs and styles from bygone eras. Cameos, similar to the one below, are often seen in ancient Roman jewels, but this cameo is framed by classic Giuliano black and white enamel.

Lot 324, Spring 2017

Giuliano Cameo Pendant, Lot 324, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

Castellani and Giuliano are two of the most important names in the history of jewellery. These two names generate real excitement among collectors. At Dupuis, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to offer six important jewels from these two houses in a single auction.

Posted in Antique Jewellery, Auctions, Jewellery, Victorian | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Castellani and Giuliano

Diamond Carat Weight: Large is Rare

Diamonds By The Carat: Large Is Rare

Lot 400, Spring 2017

Van Cleef & Arpels ring, marquise 6.47 carat D colour, VS-1 clarity, Lot 400, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $240,000

We weigh diamonds in carats. A carat is a metric measurement of 200 milligrams. That means 5 carats equals a gram. Most people will never own a gram of diamonds. While a large diamond is rare, a really large one is extremely rare. Also, most diamonds mined in the world will not be of a quality to become gems, and may be used for industrial purposes. Thus, there aren’t many gem quality diamonds

One Carat

One carat is a good sized diamond, makes an impressive statement, and is larger than most people will ever own.

1.00ct Lot 113, Spring 2017

1.00 carat, Lot 113, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $4,400.

Two Carats

Two carats, that much rarer than one carat, has a value that is about twice the value, per carat, of an equivalent one carat gem, all other things being equal. Meaning that a two carat diamond is at least twice as rare as one carat, and a two carat diamond will be four times the price of an equivalent one carat (twice the price per carat, plus twice the carats).

Lot 330 Spring 2017

2.14 carat, lot 330, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $16,000

As each new carat weight is reached, there can be an increase in price per carat.

Three Carats

Lot 328 Spring 2017

3.00 carat, Lot 328, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

Looking at the diamonds as they increase in size, the diamond becomes rarer and rarer.

Four Carats

Lot 353, Spring 2017

4.15 carat, Lot 353, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $12,000

Most people will never even see a 5 carat diamond, let alone OWN one!

Five Carats

Lot 352, Spring 2017

5.01 carat cushion shaped, Lot 352, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction

There is no question of the obviously impressive visual impact of larger diamonds

Six Carats

Lot 397, Spring 2017

6.35 carat, Lot 397, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $90,000

A seven carat gem is a similar price per carat to five and six carat weights.

Seven Carats

Lot 334, Spring 2017

7.64 carat, Lot 334, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $55,000

Once we get to ten carats, it it enough to make people stop in their tracks. The price per carat really jumps, because ten carats is so rare.

In the Spring 2017 Important Jewels auction, there are six diamonds with a weight greater than 10 carats.

Ten Carats

Lot 336, Spring 2017

10.00 carat, Lot 336, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $60,000

What more is there to say? A pair of earrings: Two diamonds with a total of over 27 carats!

Thirteen Carats (Each)

Lot 404, Spring 2017

13.58 carat, and 13.62 carats, Lot 404, offered in the Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, sold for $320,000

Posted in Auctions, Jewellery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Diamond Carat Weight: Large is Rare

Antique Jewels: 19th Century




Late Victorian Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendant/Brooch, Lot 404 in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important jewels Auction

Antique jewels have a story. Sometimes we aren’t told what the story is. We can, however, discover the tale by reading the secrets of the jewel.

History is a moment in time. In antique jewels, these moments are revealed by examining gems, design styles, themes, and metals. Also, owners can help by providing anecdotes, reminiscences, pictures, or documents.

The years from 1800 to 1899 are an important period in history. Pivotally, the industrial revolution changes the way people live, work, travel, and build the things of daily life.


Antique Victorian Hardstone Cameo and 14K Gold Brooch, Lot 512 in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction

There is a growing middle class. People are upwardly mobile, with spare spending money. Concentrations of population and wealth in cities creates a growing artist class. Hence there are more decorative items produced and more people using them.


Lot 324 Spring 2017

Victorian brooch by Carlo Giuliano, offered in Dupuis Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, Lot 324

Britain’s Queen Victoria is the ruler of the British Empire. At the time, the British rule over a huge part of the world. Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901. We often call this the Victorian period. Her children marry into many other European royal families. World change in her time is huge.


Victoria is one of the first world leaders to be photographed. It’s the origin of the paparazzi. Every time Queen Victoria goes out, the cameras are also out. Cameras are large and unwieldy in their early days, but photography brings big change. Thus, we all see photos of Victoria and her jewels.

Once upon a time, antique jewels were the latest thing. Now antique jewels are unique wearable works of art. It’s rare to find two identical Victorian jewels. We’re all fascinated by these beautiful and unique works of art.

Lot 97, spring 2017

Victorian pocket watch, offered in the Dupuis Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, Lot 97

In the Victorian Age, our time is more effectively used. More people carry a watch, there are more people with more leisure time. We see more and more information about the world outside of our borders. These borders are both geographic and historic.

Historically, we look at ourselves in our own back yards. The Victorian middle class saw pictures of interesting far-away places. Archaeologists all over Europe, Egypt, and further afield bring ancient art of great beauty to light.

Collectors become obsessed with these artifacts. Therefore, artists begin to explore work of the ancient world. The result is remarkable jewels of jewellers such as Castellani and Giuliano.

The archaeological revival work of these jewellers creates a buzz at auction. These antique jewels are exceptional, inspired by the most beautiful and enduring art of the ancient world.

Lot 327 Spring 2017

Antique hair ornament by Castellani. (One is in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution, New York). Offered in the Dupuis Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction, Lot 327

The work of Castellani & Giuliano is explored in another post.

Posted in Antique Jewellery, Auctions, design, Jewellery, Uncategorized, Victorian | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Antique Jewels: 19th Century

Egyptian influences

 Egyptian Influences


Egyptian faience amulet built in to a Victorian brooch. Lot 110 in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction

Did you know that the world has been fascinated with the world of ancient Egypt since it was not ancient? Every time someone uncovers a tomb or grave in ancient Egypt, we see Egyptian influences flowing in to the art, architecture, and jewels of the modern world.

Pre Tutankhamun

Before the tomb of Tutankhamun was uncovered, tourists, archaeologists, and grave robbers visited the Valley of the Kings, and explored the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, the tomb of Ramses and all the important sites of ancient Egypt. Exploration uncovered tombs and artifacts regularly.

Sometimes whole tombs were discovered, and sometimes small decorative artifacts were found. Both architectural style and decorative elements found their way around the world.

Nineteenth century explorers and travellers returned to show what they had found in Egypt. Often collected or purchased artifacts were incorporated into decoration and jewellery.

After Tutankhamun

Sometimes there were blends of styles and influences. We see elements from many cultures, styles and geographies influencing each other, more and more as travel and communication became easier in the 19th century.

After the tomb of Tutankhamun was re-discovered in 1922, the world sat up and paid attention, and the Egyptian influences became even stronger.


Art Deco brooch, Circa 1930, with obvious Egyptian influences after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Lot 363, in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction



Posted in Auctions, design, Jewellery, Uncategorized, Victorian | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Egyptian influences

Did You Know? Tanzanite is a one source gem

Tanzanite: A One Source Gem



Tanzanite 23.5 carats, lot 323 in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction

Did you know, Tanzanite is a one source gem?  This remarkable blue to purple blue gem comes from one place in the world.

The gem is mined in Arusha, near Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. There are some tiny amounts found in a neighbouring Kenya. Geology doesn’t recognize political boundaries, I guess.

Tiffany & Co introduced the lively blue gem to the jewellery world in 1967. Before that, it was not known in the gem world.


Tiffany & Co Tanzanite and diamond bracelet, Lot 353 in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction

Tanzanite is most prized for bright blue colour and for being very free from visible inclusions.

Because it is a one source gem, we always wonder when the source will run out.

There are hardly any gems that are only found in only one place, making tanzanite genuinely remarkable.



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Did You Know? Tanzanite is a one source gem

Did You Know? Royal Provenance

Royal Provenance

This antique brooch, Circa 1850, is accompanied by a notarized letter indicating that it is from the estate of His Imperial Highness, Archduke of Austria, Luis Salvador of Habsburg-Lorraine and Borbon. Royal Provenance makes everything more interesting.


Lot 325, in the Dupuis Fall 2016 Important Jewels Auction

It is a beautiful emerald in a lovely brooch with an interesting story. We can’t verify it ourselves, but the background certainly makes this beautiful jewel even more interesting.

Who doesn’t want to be able to tell the story of an Imperial personage and imagine the lifestyle that would have accompanied such a jewel? What tales it could tell.

Posted in Antique Jewellery, Auctions, Jewellery, Uncategorized, Victorian | Comments Off on Did You Know? Royal Provenance