Published: April 21, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Ripley Auctions
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Just over 400 lots of costume jewelry made its way through Ripley Auctions on April 6. The auction house runs a regular schedule of costume jewelry auctions and has been doing them in a timed online format though Invaluable for three years.
Even though the auction house had channeled its bidders into this format for some time, the firm saw a large increase in bidder activity in the run up to the sale due to the outbreak. They said bidder interest exceeded 300 percent of the norm.
The auction featured selections from two lifetime Boston-area and New Jersey collections in addition to a few other consignors.
“We really strive to get collector quality, fresh-to-the-market, single-owner collections,” said Andrea Hastings, vice president of inventory and client services at Ripley Auctions. Hastings has been involved in cataloging these auctions with auctioneer Dan Ripley since 2003.
“One of the collections came from a consignor that we have been working with over the past five auctions-she has a very large collection. The other collection was a new consignor,” she added.
Leading the sale at $1,625 was a Miriam Haskell gold gilt brass filigree necklace with 14 layered medallion cluster jewel links, decorated with tri-color and colorless diamante crystal jewels. Right behind at $1,500 was a 1930s-40s gilt brass layered leaf bib necklace with pink and red rhinestones and embossed texture. A Lawrence Vrba “The Archer” five-strand carved bead necklace with medallion pin pendant surrounded by black metal leaves, flowers and rhinestones sold for $1,000.
“Those necklaces are examples of the best you can do in that maker’s repertoire,” Hastings said. “They are really rare pieces, and when it comes to those, the sky is the limit. There are collectors looking for those specific high-end pieces.”
Brooches performed well. A 1930s trembler bouquet pin brooch with invisibly set domed emerald green jewel circle flowers, green channel set baguette stems and pave leaves took $1,000.
“That was a special piece,” Hastings said. “Invisibly set stones are desirable for collectors. When I saw that, I was pretty excited. In costume jewelry, its usually just one piece of carved glass, but they call it invisibly set because it mimics the fine jewelry. Many of these designers did work for fine jewelry houses, so they would also design a costume jewelry version of their creations.”
Other brooches that sold include a pair of Alfred Philippe for Trifari “Lily of the Valley” floral pin dress clips with green enamel, faux pearl and pave rhinestones. The duo sold for $813. An unsigned 1940s rhodium-plated flower bouquet pin brooch with a faceted blue jewel vase, blue jewel flowers, pearls and pave would sell for the same price.
“Sometimes we have more figural brooches,” Hastings said, “which seem to have the largest audience. But after that is floral, and these did well.”
Another notable brooch was a circa 1921 French Art Deco Egyptian Revival pendant with enameled winged scarab on silver surrounding a turquoise Peking/Czech glass pharaoh in relief and dangling faience scarab. It sold for $625.
Other jewelry designers in the top lots included a moon face necklace and matching earrings set by Joseff of Hollywood, $750; a Carmen Miranda for Coro Book “Camilia” jewel and enamel hinged cuff flower bracelet, $750; a signed Schreiner New York pink etched crystal brooch with aurora borealis jewels and earrings to match, $688; and a Stanley Hagler beaded flower basket cluster pin brooch and earrings with seed pearls, shoebutton pearls and clear crystal and gold tone accents, $688.
“The interest is worldwide,” Hastings said. “It’s important to offer this type of collection to a world audience because there are collectors in Russia and Asia that are very active. We always have international bidding.”
The firm’s next costume jewelry sale is scheduled for May 4.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For more information, 317-251-5635 or www.ripleyauctions.com.
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