Coral, Vividly Coloured Treasure From The Sea

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Three Pieces Of Coral Jewelry…

Precious or noble coral, Corallium rubrum and several related species are used for jewelry-making, but coral is increasingly protected and there are moves to ban the harvesting of coral altogether. This beautiful organic material has been used in jewelry for thousands of years but it’s hard to look at these brilliant coral pieces below without feeling just a tad sad about the massive coral death occurring on the world’s most extensive reef – the Great Barrier Reef along the eastern coastline of northern Australia, and in other coral eco-systems around the world.

Nevertheless, we have older pieces to treasure, a few of which are featured below.

An Art Deco Coral, Diamond And Onyx Bracelet

Firstly, a c.1930 stunner by Cartier… An Art Deco coral, diamond and onyx bracelet. Designed as three rows of carved coral beads, the top row enhanced by collet-set circular-cut diamonds, joined by a circular and baguette-cut diamond set clasp, with onyx detail.

The bracelet is 7 1/2 ins. long, with French assay marks for platinum and signed Cartier, Paris. It was sold at auction on behalf of a Private Collector by Christie’s, Estimate: $80,000-120,000. Price realised USD 449,000

A Coral, Diamond, Turquoise And Green Tourmaline Brooch

Next up, we have a brooch sold as part of an estate by Doyle, way back in October 2002 at an auction of Important Estate Jewelry. It’s a scintillating piece, in coral, diamond, turquoise and green tourmaline. Designed as four sections of fluted coral, set in 18 kt. yellow gold with eighty assorted round diamonds, twelve assorted round emeralds and four small turquoise cabochons, with one large octagonal green tourmaline of approximately 20 kts set in the centre of the piece.
The estimate was $8,000 – $12,000 and it sold for $14,340. There were earrings too, smaller versions of the brooch and sold as a separate lot.

Platinum, Coral, Onyx, Pearl And Diamond Chandelier Earrings

Finally, a pair of chandelier earrings, sold at auction by Freeman’s at Fine Jewelry in June 2012. They’re Art Deco in style, but very likely Art Deco Revival rather than Art Deco era, in platinum, coral, onyx, pearl and diamond. A small Old European cut diamond is set in an onyx frame with pearl and coral bead chain finishing in a diamond accented onyx dome. Here’s where the coral really makes its entrance, in pear shaped chandelier fringe drops.

Length of the earrings is 3 1/2 in., 29.9 dwt. The price estimate was $18,000-20,000 but they were unsold.

Thanks to Christie’s, Doyle and Freeman’s for information and images.


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