A rare Art Deco Boucheron brooch sold at Cheffins Fine Art sale for £22,000 against an estimate of £4,000 - £7,000 (pictured).
Angela Marshall, Valuer and Gemmologist, Cheffins, comments:
“Art Deco jewellery is holding its value. Prices can hit highs of tens of thousands for the best pieces, whilst other items can sell for around £1,500. Much of this is based on designer, with the likes of Boucheron, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels or Chanel always hitting top level prices. The rarity of the finest items from the 1920s – 1940s from the top names also adds to a piece’s cachet and often there will only be around 50 – 100 items hitting the market in a year. Representative of a time when air travel, postwar freedom and experimentation were in their infancy, Art Deco jewellery is from the era of flapper dresses, strands of pearls, sparkly bangles and complex hairstyles. The best items are necklaces, brooches and rings which are linear with geometric designs or flowers, set with jade, rubies, diamonds or emeralds.
"One of the key drivers of this market is its limited availability. In the Art Deco period designers would only sell a handful of each piece, unlike today’s mass produced items. Sellers frequently are not aware of the value of the jewellery they bring to auction. Many of the fashion houses of the 1920s to 1940s only included very subtle initials or hallmarks which are not easy to spot. These can make an enormous difference to the selling price. True Art Deco items from the top fashion houses will never drop in value and there are a series of savvy collectors scouring markets and auction houses for the assets which represent a firm investment. Demand has been high for some time now and although it doesn’t show signs of slowing, strong prices can be achieved for the best items. Rings in particular, often featuring an older cut diamond but re-modelled with more contemporary baguette cut shoulders or used as highlights, are in high demand. Add in a beautiful coloured central stone, such as a natural sapphire, and the price can rocket again. However, either way, it’s the look and the style that wins and classic Deco forms, geometric patterns, angular styling and clean lines, especially those set in white metals such as gold and especially platinum, a relatively new material at the time which could be worked in to strong but flexible designs, are what buyers are queuing up for.
"Would-be collectors should not dismiss the costume jewellery of the Art Deco period either, often green glass was used in place of real emeralds or paste rubies and sapphires are used and whilst these do not generate the same prices as their counterparts, they can represent an entry into the market for new investors with prices starting from around £100 for a pair of Chanel faux pearl earrings and a couple of hundred pounds for long necklaces. Costume jewellery by good names such as Trifari, Coro, Miriam Haskell, Dior and Chanel can represent a good investment. Fashion does change quite quickly but as we all know, all those things we loved, and then hated, do come back round again. Mademoiselle Coco herself wasn’t shy of wearing costume jewellery and liked to mix real and costume jewellery at the same time. “A woman should mix fake and real,” she once declared. “The point of jewellery isn’t to make a woman look rich but to adorn her—not the same thing.”
When buying Art Deco jewellery always look for named pieces in good condition. Detail such as nice clasp will also give you an indication of quality and any original boxes or packaging adds authenticity. After years in the doldrums people are appreciating how fabulous some of these pieces are."
The following Art Deco items have recently sold through Cheffins Auctions:
An Art Deco Asscher cut diamond and onyx ring, sold for £18,000.
An Art Deco diamond bracelet, sold for £2,600.
An Art Deco aquamarine and diamond ring, sold for £1,600.
An Art Deco odeonesque diamond and platinum brooch, sold for £1,800.
If you wish to speak to Angela Marshall, Gemmologist, please call 01223 213343.