Founded in 1796 by Harry Phillips, a former senior clerk to James Christie (founder of auction house Christie’s), Phillips has served some of the most famous names including Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte since its inception.
With his acute business insight and elaborate evening soirees before the auctions, Phillips soon won over the British elite and remains the only company to have ever held an auction in Buckingham Palace.
On 27 May 2019, Phillips will be holding its Jewels and Jadeite auction at JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong, featuring some of the most exquisite pieces of jewellery in the world, including a pair of pendant ear-clips by Harry Winston, and a rare ‘Flower and Berries’ brooch by Suzanne Belperron, circa mid-20th century.
As part of its preview before the auction, the International Highlights Tour will kick off in April, with Singapore as its first stop. From 27 to 28 April, interested bidders can catch a sneak peek at some of the splendid pieces at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore. Here are some highlights.
While Suzanne Belperron’s name may not be familiar to many people, her stunning creations are widely sought after by royalty, fashion designers, bankers, writers and many others. In fact, the late Karl Lagerfeld described her work as having “a humble splendour” and even declared that he loved “the magic equilibrium in everything she designed.”
Widely regarded as one of the important female jewellery designers in the 20th century, Belperron was not afraid to introduce new forms and volumes to her designs.
This brooch, decorated with cultured pearls and diamonds (Lot 551, estimated value: HK$280,000 – HK$380,000), is one of her most iconic floral pieces, especially the succulent leaves decorated by “berries”, a style she revisited many times throughout her career.
The Italian Job
Loud, colourful and sensuous. Bulgari’s bold style is largely characterised by the audacious use of big gemstones coupled with striking and over-the-top designs. And the bevy of beauties who have adorned its exquisite designs include Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren, to name a few. In fact, Elizabeth Taylor’s co-star and lover Richard Burton once said during the production of Cleopatra in Italy (1963): “I introduced Liz to beer, she introduced me to Bulgari.”
Just like all its other extraordinary jewellery, this Bulgari brooch (Lot 622, estimated value: HK$350,000 – HK$430,000) from the 1960s exudes the same design ethos with paler tones of sapphires set against the shimmering brilliance of ruby cabochons and diamonds.
The Grand Sparkle
A familiar name among the Hollywood celebrities, Harry Winston was also known as the “King of Diamonds” and the “Jeweller to the Stars.” What set Harry Winston apart from the rest of the pack was his belief that gemstones should determine the design of a piece of jewellery, with minimal usage of metal settings, also commonly known as the Winston Cluster, a “unique way of setting diamonds of various shapes at different angles within an almost invisible amount of platinum.”
And this pair of stunning pendant ear-clips (Lot 630, estimate value: HK$7,500,000 – HK$8,500,000) illustrates the concept of Winston Cluster perfectly. The diamonds are all impeccably aligned to show off its brilliance. That’s not all. The earrings also feature two Kashmir sapphires, from the legendary mine of Kashmir, which was long depleted over a hundred years ago. The two unheated gemstones are perfectly assembled to show off the distinctive hue that make Kashmir sapphires highly covetable. Their velvety blue colour remains vibrantly saturated regardless of light source.
The Precious Pearl
While cultured pearls are now increasingly common, natural pearls – formed in the wild without any human intervention – are exceedingly rare. Even more so when two of them come in near-perfect shape, like this pair of natural pearl and diamond pendant ear-clips from Cartier (Lot 627, estimated value: HK$2,800,000 – HK$3,300,000). With its exquisite diamond setting and superb brilliance, these beauties are definitely a sight to behold.
Glitters and Flutters
A creature of beauty and transient grace, the butterfly is also seen as a symbol of freedom, life and hope, and has served as inspiration for artists such as Van Gogh, Salvador Dali and Damien Hirst.
In this carefully curated Glitters and Flutters jewellery collection, the butterfly is reimagined into a brooch featuring titanium, 18 karat white gold jadeite, 2.0 carats tanzanite and 2.5 carats diamond (Lot 603, estimated value: HK$65,000 – $90,000). Elsewhere, the insect features prominently on a pair of brooches by Mauboussin with 18 karat gold, enamel and emerald (Lot 515, estimated value: HK$38,000 – HK$48,000).
The Singapore preview of Jewels and Jadeite is happening on 27 and 28 April 2019, 11am – 6pm, at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Garden Pavilion. If you can’t be in Hong Kong for the auction, you can still bid via the Phillips app. For more information, please contact Christine Fernando at ChristineFernando@phillips.com, or check out the website here.