Filed under: Jewelry
As with art, provenance in jewelry can be important. But sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to know where a piece came from. The piece above, a gorgeous Art Nouveau-style gold necklace embellished with 45 carats of fine Australian fire opals, diamonds and freshwater pearls is an interesting case. It is said to have maybe been the property of interior designer Elsie de Wolfe, America's first famous interior decorator to the rich and famous. The Vanderbilts, the Fricks, the Morgans and the Duchess of Windsor were among her high-profile clients. The piece, which goes up for auction on April 18 at Austin Auction Gallery was purchased by the consignor in 1976, at an antiques show in Hillsborough, California. At that time it was sold as being de Wolfe's personal jewelry . De Wolfe, who later became Lady Mendl after marrying British diplomat Sir Charles Mendl did have an extensive and noted jewelry collection.
The necklace will be offered with an opening bid of $30,000. It appeared in an episode of Leigh and Leslie Keno's television show Find! The Keno brothers brought in jewelry expert Peter Shemonsky for a specialist appraisal. Shemonsky said the necklace of 23 opals, 52 diamonds and 19 freshwater pearls was unique and gave it an insurance value of $60,000-$80,000 on the necklace. A video of the TV show appraisal is after the jump.