One of the most versatile and universal of accessories, arm adornments have been worn by both men and women since the prehistoric era. Bracelets are often steeped in cultural significance, with symbolism that can vary depending on where you are in the world. And often, their only requisite function is to be beautiful.

Of course, bracelets can also be practical – from telling time to alerting others of a medical condition. They can denote relationships, such as the friendship bracelets worn in childhood, as well as meaningful heirlooms, like a cherished charm bracelet, a wedding bangle or something special inherited from a beloved grandmother.

Why we wear bracelets – history and symbolism of arm candy

Bracelets, arm bands and anklets have historically carried special meaning in various cultures. Ancient Egyptians were considered the first to wear bracelets solely for fashion, whereas Greek soldiers wore leather bracelets for the pragmatic reason of protecting their wrists during battle. Vikings and Celts wore arm rings as a rite of passage into adulthood, an oath of allegiance to the gods, and even as currency. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages onward that bracelets became more commonly associated with women.

Lot 196: An Antique Natural Pearl Convertible Bangle Bracelet/Brooch, circa 1860, Lot 199: A Retro Ruby, Diamond and Gold Bracelet, circa 1945

For instance, in the South Asian diaspora, it’s traditional for a bride to wear multiple bangles on her wedding day, gifts from the family, and in China, baby girls were often given a bangle skillfully cut from a single piece of jade as protection from evil and to promote good health. In Western culture, bracelets can still carry sentimental or spiritual meaning, but are most often worn as stylish accessories to be removed at day’s end.

Bracelet basics – styles, types and materials

Early bracelets were crafted with organic materials, such as grass, wood, shells, hair and bone. Folk jewellery could be made from horn, teeth or beads. Later, metals like copper and brass were most often used, as well as gold and silver and platinum for fine jewellery. Bracelets have also incorporated man-made materials like glass, enamel and ceramic.

Lot 121 (Fall 2019): A Multi-Coloured Sapphire, Diamond, Enamel, Silver and Gold Bracelet, by Moira

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular and enduring bracelet styles:

Bangles

Bangles are generally rigid, formed of a complete hoop of round or oval shape, or covering the wrist only partially and known as penannular, sometimes hinged or spring-mounted for easy wearing and also of simple pull-on style.  They can be made of plain gold or platinum or be adorned with diamonds, coloured gemstones, or engravings.

Slender versions may be worn singly, or enjoyed as multiples for their stackable wearability; chunkier bangles, especially those featuring a prominent raised design can be worn solo as more of a statement piece.

Lot 9: A Diamond and White Gold Bangle, Lot 40: A Sapphire, Diamond, Ruby and White Gold Bangle Bracelet, Lot 266: A Diamond and Two-Tone Gold Bangle Bracelet, by Sabbadini

Strap and Link Bracelets

The most all-encompassing bracelet types range from symmetrical, asymmetrical, tapering, straight, undulating, foldable, plain or elaborately decorated with allover motifs. Typically, bracelets can be composed of articulated bombé or flat links and often have a convenient clasp closure.

Lot 340: An Impressive Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1950

Lot 247: A Ruby, Sapphire and Gold Bracelet, circa 1970

Lot 338: A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1950

Tennis bracelet

Another most-coveted item to adorn the wrist is the classic line bracelet, designed entirely with a flowing row of diamonds or alternating with a series of coloured gemstones. Although this particular style dates back to the 1920s, the name “tennis bracelet” wasn’t dubbed as such until the 1970s, thanks to American tennis player Chris Evert. She famously wore bracelets during her matches, a novelty on the tennis court at that time. During the U.S. open in 1978, Evert noticed the bracelet she had been wearing had fallen off and play was stopped until it was found.

Lot 38: A Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet

Lot 45: A Sapphire, Diamond and Gold Bracelet

Lot 302: A Diamond and Gold Line Bracelet

Lot 96: A Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet, Birks

Lot 120: A Ruby and White Gold Bracelet

Lot 190: A Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet, circa 1930

Charm bracelet

The original charm is thought to be the beneficent Egyptian “evil eye” bead worn to ward off the glare of evil, protecting the wearer by “charming” or deflecting malevolent spirits. It was adopted by many neighbouring cultures and is still prevalent today.

In the West, charms gained popularity during World War II with the return of soldiers from their time abroad, bringing home tiny, easy to carry gifts for wives and sweethearts. Post-war, charms were a popular memento used to represent travel experiences for tourists, later expanding to encompass other memorable occasions in life such as weddings, births and anniversaries. Delightful animal and good luck whimsies showcased the wearer’s personality, with endless options available.

Lot 24 (Fall 2018) A Gem-Set, Platinum and White Gold Charm Bracelet, circa 1930

Is it a watch or a bracelet?

Intriguingly, sometimes it manages to be both a practical timepiece AND a gem studded bracelet: a diamond-set hinged cover pops open to reveal a watch dial; a detachable diamond-set dial cover converts to a petite clip brooch; a case smoothly reverses to impress with diamonds; a strap can be entirely composed of multi-coloured gemstones.

Lot 168: A Lady’s Multi-Coloured Gem, Diamond and Stainless Steel ‘Potpourri’ Wristwatch, Corum

Bracelets in June 2021 Important Jewels Auction


  • A Ruby, Sapphire and Gold Bracelet, circa 1970
    Est: $5,000 - 6,000

  • A Diamond, Onyx and Gold Bangle Bracelet, by J.P Bellin
    Est: $5,000 - 7,000

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1940
    Est: $6,000 - 8,000

  • A Gold Bracelet
    Est: $2,600 - 3,600

  • A Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet
    Est: $5,000 - 7,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and Gold Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Diamond and Gold Bangle Bracelet
    Est: $2,600 - 3,600

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet, circa 1920
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • A Diamond and Two-Tone Gold Bangle Bracelet, by Sabbadini
    Est: $4,000 - 6,000

  • A Peridot, Sapphire and White Gold Bracelet, Zancan
    Est: $1,400 - 1,800

  • A Diamond and White Gold Line Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Diamond and White Gold Line Bracelet
    Est: $1,500 - 1,800

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $4,000 - 6,000

  • A Multi-Coloured Sapphire and Gold Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Diamond and Gold Line Bracelet
    Est: $1,200 - 1,600

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet, Birks
    Est: $3,000 - 5,000

  • A Gold Bracelet
    Est: $5,000 - 6,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond, Ruby and White Gold Bangle Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • An Antique Natural Pearl, Diamond and Enamel Convertible Bangle Bracelet/Brooch, circa 1860
    Est: $3,000 - 3,600

  • A Diamond and Gold Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Natural Pearl, Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1960
    Est: $8,000 - 10,000

  • An Impressive Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1950
    Est: $30,000 - 40,000

  • A Ruby, Sapphire and Gold Bracelet, circa 1970
    Est: $5,000 - 6,000

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1950
    Est: $14,000 - 18,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • An Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1920
    Est: $6,000 - 8,000

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $5,000 - 6,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet, circa 1930
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • An Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1920
    Est: $6,000 - 10,000

  • An Antique Diamond and Platinum Line Bracelet, circa 1915
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • An Onyx, Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $800 - 1,000

  • A Diamond and White Gold Line Bracelet
    Est: $1,000 - 1,400

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $5,000 - 7,000

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1965
    Est: $7,000 - 9,000

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $1,400 - 1,800

  • A Red Jadeite, Diamond and White Gold Bangle Bracelet
    Est: $1,000 - 1,200

  • A Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and Gold Bracelet
    Est: $2,600 - 3,600

  • A Coloured Diamond and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet Watch, Longines
    Est: $4,000 - 6,000

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and Silver Bracelet
    Est: $14,000 - 18,000

  • A Ruby, Diamond and Two-Tone Gold Bracelet
    Est: $4,000 - 5,000

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Retro Ruby, Diamond and Gold Bracelet, circa 1945
    Est: $4,000 - 6,000

  • A Ruby and White Gold Bracelet
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • A Citrine and Gold Bracelet
    Est: $3,000 - 4,500

  • A Diamond and Platinum Bracelet, circa 1960
    Est: $14,000 - 18,000

  • An Amethyst, Diamond and Pink Gold Bracelet
    Est: $6,000 - 8,000

Enamel and Gold Brooch by Birks

As the sun’s warmth and spring colours begin to brighten our landscape, we often feel inspired to liven up our wardrobes as well. This is a time of year synonymous with rebirth, blooms and of course, animals frolicking.

Perhaps there is no better time of year to add some playful animal jewellery pieces to your rotation, effortlessly adding a touch of whimsy and delight to any outfit.

Animal motifs are accessible for anyone and can work with nearly any occasion, as there is a wide spectrum of animal jewellery, ranging from dramatic to subtle to simply adorable.

Each animal imparts its own unique symbolism as well, allowing the wearer to embody a deeper meaning behind the piece. Some common interpretations for popular animal motifs include:

Butterfly: a symbol of transformation, rebirth and the soul

Antique Diamond Butterfly Brooch, circa 1880


Dolphin: harmony and playfulness

Diamond, Emerald and Gold Dolphin Brooch, Cartier


Elephant: often associated with good luck

Yellow Sapphire and Gold Elephant Brooch, Cartier


Lion: represents bravery, strength and justice

Coloured Diamond Tiger Brooch, Rene Boivin


Peacock: beauty, confidence, compassion and prosperity

Antique Demantoid Garnet and Gold Peacock Brooch, circa 1900

From bone to bejeweled – animal jewellery throughout the ages

Antique Enamel and Gold Serpent Pendant

Designers and artists have long found Mother Nature and her creatures to be a muse, and animal themes have been a staple in jewellery for centuries. In fact, actual animal matter in the way of shells, bones, teeth and feathers have all been used to create jewellery.

During the Stone Age, it was often customary to bury the dead with animal figurines as amulets, a practice that continued into Ancient Egyptian times where a scarab beetle trinket was often placed on the chest of a mummy, representing their heart.

The serpent motif was first prominent in Ancient Rome; Ancient Greece and the Etruscans had fantastical fire-breathing chimeras, part lion, part goat, part snake; medieval Europe wove mythological creatures into their jewellery design, beauty in the eye of the beholder. The Victorian age saw a revival of romantic, nature-inspired pieces, namely intricately designed brooches of dogs, birds, and butterflies. Real beetles, too, captured their love of the natural world.

Insects were a source of inspiration into the Art Nouveau period, as their bright and colourful bodies lent themselves perfectly to enamel work. The Egyptian scarab reigned once more during the Art Deco era, a time when the fascination with the discovery of the tombs of the Pharaohs was still at its zenith.

Egyptian Revival Turquoise, Diamond, Platinum and Gold Bar Brooch, Cartier, circa 1925

Snakes and bees and panthers – oh, my!

Among the many themes that have emerged throughout each design era, a number of standout animal pieces or motifs have become signatures for several top jewellery houses.

Cartier’s Panthère pieces: Perhaps one of the best-known animal mascots of a jewellery house is Cartier’s panther, a central motif spanning multiple collections. This symbol of feline femininity was first brought to life by designer Jeanne Toussaint in the early 20th century and famously worn by the Duchess of Windsor in stunning brooch and bracelet forms.

Diamond and Gold Ring, Cartier and Sapphire, Enamel and Gold Panther Brooch, Cartier, Gold and Pearl Ring by Cartier

Bulgari’s Serpenti collection: Arguably the most notable collection of snake motif jewels, these intricate pieces were crafted using the Tubogas technique to replicate the flexible coiling of a snake. Bulgari also designed bespoke serpent pieces for the legendary Elizabeth Taylor and fashion editor Diana Vreeland.

Diamond and Pink Gold ‘Serpenti’ Ring, Bulgari

Van Cleef & Arpels: The multi-sized series of Lion Ebouriffé brooches was beloved by sophisticated women including Princess Grace of Monaco.

Various brooches by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Chaumet’s (& Napoleon’s) bees: French Emperor Napoleon donned gold bee jewels to represent and assert his imperial power. His official royal jeweller was the founder of Parisian jewellery maison, Chaumet. Today, modern interpretations of the symbolism can be found in their Bee My Love collection. Birks ‘Bee Chic’ design collection references the hexagonal form of a honeycomb.

Whether you need a reminder of your inner strength or simply want to add a touch of charm to your accessory collection, there will always be a place for the power of the wild in the jewellery world.

Derived from the Latin words for water and sea, Aquamarine is aptly named for its serene blue-green colour. It is a variety of the mineral beryl (like emerald), forming sizeable crystals that make it an excellent stone for jewellery.

Pair of Belle Époque Aquamarine, Diamond and Platinum Ear Pendants

Pair of Belle Époque Aquamarine, Diamond and Platinum Ear Pendants, circa 1910. Sold at Dupuis Fall 2013 Important Jewels auction for $12,000.

Aquamarine stone history and meaning

March’s birthstone has many ties to the sea, aside from its colour. Aquamarine is associated with the astrological water sign Scorpio and its soothing energy was said to calm sea waves, becoming known as the sailor’s gem. Ancient Greeks and Romans turned to the stone for safe passage on journeys across stormy seas.

Aquamarine was thought to bring a soldier victory during ancient battles, making the wearer of the stone invincible and in medieval times was said to reignite youthful love and passion in a marriage. Some modern day gift lists include the gem as a traditional 19th wedding anniversary present.

It is also considered an ideal gift for a groom to give his bride on their wedding day, along the lines of something blue, beyond something borrowed – Prince Harry gifted Meghan Markle a 30-carat emerald-cut pale blue aquamarine cocktail ring surrounded by diamonds which he inherited from his late mother, Princess Diana.

Folklore also describes aquamarine as an effective oracle stone, often used like a crystal ball for divination practices. Today, it is still a popular stone used in meditation, believed to enhance one’s intuition.

Aquamarine gemstone characteristics

Aquamarine is formed in six-sided prismatic crystals, with the top quality historically mined in Brazil, as well as Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. The crystals tend to grow quite big, and a very large specimen weighing nearly 250 pounds, was found in Brazil in 1910.

Aquamarine Crystals

Aquamarine Crystals

A sky blue hue to a slightly greenish blue is the preferred colour for the gemstone in jewellery today, but in the past a greenish aquamarine was considered to be more valuable. The colour naturally comes from the iron content in the stone, which can appear blue, green or colourless depending on the light and angle. This is called a pleochroic effect. The deepest blue stones are called Santa Maria, named after the notable Brazilian mine.

Aquamarine gems used in jewellery today are commonly heat-treated to achieve the more sought-after deep blue colour. The colour and brilliance can also be enhanced by the cut of the stone.

Shopping for aquamarine jewellery

On the Mohs hardness scale, aquamarine comes in at 7.5 to 8.0, making it fairly resistant to scratches and therefore suitable for more than just special occasions, being much more durable than its dainty appearance makes it seem.

As for clarity, faceted aquamarine is more valuable if transparent and free of visible inclusions; however, it is currently a trend to fashion “milky” or translucent aquamarine into unique frosted jewellery pieces, especially attractive in tumbled bead necklaces. Jewellery designers also take more imaginative liberties with one-off specialty cuts, although aquamarine is most often fashioned as emerald-cuts or ovals.

Aquamarine, Diamond and Platinum Ring by Cartier

Aquamarine, Diamond and Platinum Ring by Cartier. Sold at Dupuis Fall 2017 Important Jewels auction for $11,000.

Aquamarine and Diamond Ring

Aquamarine and Diamond Ring. Sold at Dupuis June 2017 Important Jewels auction for $12,000.

A ring, simply set with perhaps a few diamond side-stones flanking a single aquamarine weighing 15 to 20 carats, makes for a stunning bold display.

Two-Tone Gold Brooch

It seems fine jewellery has always been synonymous with romance: love and belonging have been an enduring theme in personal adornment for centuries, typically embodied in more feminine pieces that may feature personalized engravings, symbolic images, lockets or hearts. 

Romantic jewellery is most often given as a gift, to woo a new love or show commitment in a relationship, and for this reason, finely crafted bespoke pieces are more likely to get a message of devotion across.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner – the ideal occasion to flaunt your passion and make the object of your affection swoon – consider the dazzling array of one-of-a-kind romantic jewellery pieces available for bidding at Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers.

Romantic jewellery for the ages

Antique Amethyst and Gold Pendant

Arguably, vintage and antique jewels are the epitome of romantic jewellery. Take for instance the early Victorian era, which according to some historic timelines was also still considered the Romantic Period, especially in the United Kingdom. The jewellery of this time was usually quite sentimental, perhaps reflective of the young royal couple on the throne at the time: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. 

Other cultures had their own take on romantic jewels:

Celtic symbolism in jewellery often depicted interconnectedness and relationships, such as the weaving loops of the Celtic Knot that give the illusion of no beginning and no end – eternity. The three-pointed Trinity Knot is said to represent love and honour, making it an ideal choice for engagement jewellery.

And then there is the iconic Claddagh ring, with two hands holding a heart to symbolize love, friendship and family. How the ring is worn tells the wearer’s relationship status.

Gold Brooch by Tiffany & Co., and Diamond and Gold Brooch.

Knots and hearts and locks – oh my! 

Of course, no symbol could be clearer when it comes to gifts from the heart then, well, the heart. 

The first reported use of the heart shape to depict love was in the Middle Ages, and it remains an ever-popular symbol for romance today. 

Similar to the Claddagh, the fede gimmel ring features two hands clasped together that open to reveal a heart, and it is traditionally given as a betrothal ring. Another style is the “witch’s heart,” which is curved toward one side and implies one is “bewitched” with their love.  

Other classic standards for romantic jewellery include three stone rings to represent the past, present and future – typically bestowed as an engagement ring – and the eternity band, which is most often given as a traditional first anniversary gift to symbolize everlasting love. 

Perhaps the most personal of all romantic jewellery gifts is the locket. What could be more nostalgic and significant than a photo of your loved one, held close to your heart? Lockets have been a classic statement piece since the Victorian ages, when it was popular to adorn these pieces with a lock of hair. They still remain a meaningful way to showcase your love story.

Heart-shaped locket pendant

A more recent trend sees brides fastening lockets to their bouquets, sometimes to honour the memory of a loved one, or they can be engraved with the wedding date, initials of the couple, or anything else significant to the bride and groom.  

There are countless ways to turn nearly any piece of fine jewellery into a love story; after all, it is the meaning and intention behind the gift that truly makes it romantic!

Romantic Motifs – Boutique Jewels February 3–10, 2021


  • A Ruby, Diamond, Platinum Ring
    Est: $950 - 1,400

  • A Sapphire, Diamond and White Gold Ring
    Est: $400 - 600

  • A Diamond and Gold Ring
    Est: $1,400 - 1,800

  • A Diamond and White Gold Locket Pendant/Enhancer
    Est: $600 - 800

  • An Antique Turquoise, Pearl and Gold Pendant/Brooch, circa 1900
    Est: $900 - 1,300

  • A Charming Gilt Birdcage with Singing Birds Automaton, by Reuge
    Est: $1,000 - 2,000

  • Two Diamond and Gold Jewels
    Est: $700 - 900

  • An Emerald and Gold Pendant
    Est: $300 - 400

  • An Emerald, Diamond and Gold Ring
    Est: $800 - 1,200

  • A Pair of Pietra Dura and Gold Ear Pendants
    Est: $400 - 600

  • A Diamond, Ruby and White Gold Eternity Ring
    Est: $300 - 400

  • An Unmounted Blue Spinel
    Est: $300 - 400

  • An Enamel, Cultured Pearl and Gold Brooch
    Est: $500 - 700

  • A Mabe Pearl, Diamond and Gold Pendant/Enhancer
    Est: $700 - 900

  • A Diamond and White Gold Eternity Ring
    Est: $1,000 - 1,400

  • An Emerald and White Gold Necklace
    Est: $400 - 500

  • A Pearl, Turquoise, Silver and Pink Gold Locket Pendant
    Est: $400 - 600

  • A Gold Bracelet
    Est: $400 - 600

  • A Diamond, Ruby, Platinum and Gold Bar Brooch
    Est: $500 - 700

  • An Antique Amethyst, Seed Pearl and Gold Pendant, circa 1880
    Est: $300 - 400

  • A Set of Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire and Platinum Eternity Rings
    Est: $800 - 1,200

  • A Gold Locket Pendant
    Est: $600 - 800

  • A Pearl, Split-Pearl, Garnet and Gold Bangle Bracelet
    Est: $500 - 700

  • A Two-Tone Gold Brooch
    Est: $800 - 1,200

  • A Diamond and Gold Eternity Ring
    Est: $700 - 1,000

  • A Pair of Two-Tone Gold Ear Clips
    Est: $300 - 400

  • A Gold Charm Bracelet
    Est: $2,200 - 2,600

  • Two Cultured Pearl and Gold Brooches
    Est: $300 - 400

  • A Diamond and White Gold Eternity Ring
    Est: $300 - 400

With colder weather fast approaching, we’ve swapped sandals for sweaters – which also means it’s time for an accessory adjustment as well. A change of season is a good reminder to switch up both our wardrobe and our go-to jewellery items.

Of course there is always a place for our most meaningful, timeless pieces. And there are plenty of sustainable and economical ways to update your collection without going overboard.

Yet, winter is our longest season and can also be the dreariest, so there is no better time to add bright new bling than when we have to bundle up! Especially with the holidays on the horizon.

Fall jewellery trends for 2020

Here are the top trends for the current fall and upcoming winter season. Consider it inspiration as you start to think about what you might like to add to your holiday wish list!

Tubular, Fringe and Bib Necklaces

Scarves aren’t the only accessory to wear around your neck this season. This is a more substantial take on the choker trend that can pair just as nicely with a chunky knit sweater as a long dress. These heavy metal necklaces rest right on the collarbone and make enough of a statement to be worn on their own.

Lot 397: A Topaz, Diamond and Gold Necklace

Lot 260: A Ruby, Diamond, Silver and Gold Necklace

Lot 389: A Diamond and White Gold Necklace


Reimagined pearls

Pearls continue to endure this year as designers keep coming out with inventive new ways to wear them. This is your chance to get creative with a classic, layering strings of pearls in varying lengths or even pairing different shapes and sizes together, as seen on many high fashion runways throughout 2020.

Lot 296: A South Sea Cultured Pearl, Diamond and White Gold Bangle Bracelet

Lot 404: A Cultured Pearl, Diamond and Pink Gold Necklace

Lot 198: A South Sea Cultured Pearl, Gem-set and Gold Ring


Statement gemstones

Bigger is certainly better this season when it comes to gems. If you have a vintage cocktail ring that stays in your jewellery box, this is the time to pull it out and show it off. Or, have fun with colourful stones that are sure to add dazzle to your holiday looks this season. If it sparkles, it’s in style!

Lot 63: A Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Ring

Lot 157: An Emerald, Diamond and Platinum Ring

Lot 213: A Purple-Pink Sapphire, Diamond and Gold Ring


Retro punk

There is something about the coziness and colours of fall that can make us feel wistful, which might explain the throwback trends we are seeing this season. From artsy geometric pieces reminiscent of the funky 70s to more edgier pieces indicative of the punky 80s, express yourself with the look of the decade that speaks to you!

Lot 34: A Gem-Set and Gold Bangle Bracelet, Karl Stittgen

Lot 189: A Gold ‘Trouble’ Pendant, Boucheron

Lot 202: An Opal, Diamond and Gold Pendant/Brooch, Cavelti


Chain links and charms

Another nostalgic nod to classic pieces of the past, chain link jewellery complete with a designer take on the sentimental charm continues to be on trend this year. From shells to pearls to branded logo charms, mixed metals and bright colours, there is a charm for every style to adorn necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Chain belts have even made a comeback on the runway!

Lot 6: A Gold Charm Bracelet

Lot 203: A Gold Necklace

Lot 131: A Lapis Lazuli and Gold Bracelet


Oversized earrings

Perfect for winter, statement earrings can be the one accessory that lets you stand out while you’re covered up! Even if you’re bundled from head to toe, these standout earrings show off your style, from sculptural shapes to shoulder-grazing danglers.

Lot 160: A Pair of Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond and White Gold Ear Clips

Lot 264: A Pair of Diamond and White Gold Ear Clips

Lot 57: A Pair of Citrine, White Sapphire, Diamond and Gold Ear Pendants

How many luxury jewellery brands can boast a long list of truly regal clients, from the Maharajas of India to the British royal family, and even Hollywood royalty like Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly? Well one renowned house can for certain: Cartier.

Gem-Set, Diamond And Enamel ‘Tutti Frutti’ Bracelet, Cartier. Sotheby’s April 2020 Auction.

From French Revolution to style evolution 

The maison was founded in 1847 when Louis-François Cartier took over his master’s workshop, but it was his three grandsons who elevated the brand to the highest heights of the high jewellery world. Their father had put Cartier on the map with the move to Rue de La Paix in Paris. Yet, it was the forward thinking and exacting craftsmanship standards of Louis Cartier and his brothers Pierre and Jacques that ushered in the golden age of Cartier. 

From creating the first wristwatch to producing the iconic Tutti Frutti pieces during the Art Deco era – not to mention ties to the most famous diamonds in the world – Cartier was on its way to creating a lasting legacy that would endure the ages.

Diamond and Gold Bracelet by Cartier. Dupuis November 2020 Important Jewels auction, lot 210.

The business is no longer family-run but has since become a globally recognized design house synonymous with luxury.

The Taj Mahal An Indian Diamond And Jade Pendant Necklace Ruby And Gold Chain, By Cartier. Christie’s December 2011 auction.

Diamonds are a brand’s best friend 

Cartier’s storied history is as fascinating as the gems it involves. 

Cartier briefly owned the infamous Hope Diamond, believed to be cursed. Pierre Cartier set the 45-carat royal blue diamond with a halo of white diamonds at the request of buyer Evalyn Walsh McLean, a prominent socialite who brought notoriety to the Cartier brand with her purchase. 

There was also the famous 69-carat Cartier diamond, the largest to ever be privately owned, that was bought by Richard Burton as a gift for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. He would later gift another renowned Cartier diamond to his wife: the heart-shaped Taj Mahal Diamond. 

With links to India since well before that, Cartier was often commissioned to create lavish jewellery for Indian royalty, including the famous Patiala necklace, set with nearly 1,000 carats of diamonds.

An opulent nod to Mother Earth

Perhaps the best known Cartier offering is their signature panther, first depicted on a wristwatch in 1914. Thanks to the creative vision of Jeanne Toussaint, the first designer credited with exploring femininity through the panther, the motif soon became an intrinsic aspect of many Cartier creations, from cigarette boxes to brooches.

Coloured Diamond and Onyx Bangle Bracelet by Cartier. Sold for $160,000 at Dupuis Fall 2009 Important Jewels auction.

Lady’s Very Fine and Rare Enamel, Diamond and Gold ‘Le Cirque Animalier de Cartier Tigre’ Wristwatch by Cartier. Sold for $55,000 at Dupuis Spring 2017 Important Jewels Auction.

Diamond and Gold Ring by Cartier. Sold for $22,000 at Dupuis Spring 2008 Important Jewels auction

Cartier Panthere Tropicale wristwatch and Hemis necklace from the (Sur)Naturel 2020 high jewellery collection.

Cartier’s newest high jewellery offering is a showstopping and ever regal line that features its favourite emblematic animal, alongside other wild and organic elements. This nature-inspired collection couldn’t come at a better time, when life in lockdown has everyone craving a taste of the natural world.


The [Sur]Naturel collection celebrates Mother Nature with flora and fauna designs, such as the Panthère Tropical timepiece that encapsulates the vivid colour and beauty of a rainforest with coral, aquamarine and tourmaline. And of course, onyx and white diamonds to represent the spots of their mainstay mascot.

The panther motif is reimagined further in the Hemis necklace, with its irregularly shaped opals to represent a panther’s fur. Set atop in the centre is a richly hued cushion-shaped kunzite weighing nearly 72 carats.


CARTIER PEICES AT THE NOVEMBER 2020 IMPORTANT JEWELS AUCTON


  • A Diamond and White Gold 'Love' Bangle Bracelet, Cartier
    Est: $2,000 - 3,000

  • A White Gold Necklace, Cartier
    Est: $1,500 - 2,000

  • A Stainless Steel 'Pasha C' Wristwatch, Cartier
    Est: $1,300 - 1,600

  • An Emerald and White Gold Clip Brooch, Cartier, circa 2017
    Est: $3,600 - 4,200

  • A Stainless Steel 'Santos Galbée XL' Wristwatch, Cartier
    Est: $1,000 - 1,500

  • A Gold 'Love' Bangle Bracelet, Cartier
    Est: $2,400 - 3,400

  • An Emerald, Diamond and Gold 'Sonata' Ring, Cartier, circa 1984
    Est: $3,000 - 4,000

  • A Diamond and Gold Bracelet, Cartier
    Est: $8,000 - 12,000

  • A Gold Panther and 'Trinity' Brooch, Cartier
    Est: $2,600 - 3,200

  • A Gold Cigarette Holder, Cartier
    Est: $800 - 1,200

  • A Lady's Diamond and Pink Gold 'Tank Anglaise' Wristwatch, Cartier, circa 2016
    Est: $3,600 - 4,200

  • A Diamond and Tricoloured Gold Ring, Cartier
    Est: $1,500 - 2,000

  • An Elegant Diamond and White Gold 'Tank Française' Wristwatch, Cartier, circa 2007
    Est: $20,000 - 30,000

  • An Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Jabot Pin, Cartier, circa 1930
    Est: $5,000 - 7,000

Gone are the days when women wait for somebody else to “put a ring on it.” Ladies, single or not, are splurging on themselves and buying all types of gems, including diamonds – to wear on their right hand.

Lot 199: Diamond and White Gold Ring, Fall 2019.

As more and more women spend their own money on luxuries like jewellery, the newest version of right-hand rings is an important jewellery trend. Certainly, wearing a bright, dramatic cocktail or dinner ring has always been a way to express individual style and make a major fashion statement. The contemporary notion of a right-hand ring is a continuation of the idea of embracing one’s independence, celebrating major life moments and maybe even challenging societal norms.

What about the left hand

In the West, the left hand has traditionally been reserved for the wearing of rings that celebrate and indicate official commemorative events like an engagement, a wedding or an anniversary. We can give credit to the ancient Romans who believed that a vein of love directly connected the heart to the third finger on the left hand. A right hand jewel can be less fraught with any intentional meaning – they don’t necessarily always have to carry their own significance but can be customized to suit every individual and situation.

Diamond and Platinum Eternity Ring, by Graff. Sold for $18,000, Fall 2017.

Roots of the contemporary right-hand ring

An extremely successful DeBeers advertising campaign in the early 2000s was aimed at encouraging any woman, no matter her matrimonial status, to invest in diamond jewellery, on her own terms and at her own discretion. The ad promoted non-engagement, non-solitaire style designs, set with a multitude of small and tiny diamonds, and was summed up with this tagline: “Your left hand rocks the cradle. Your right hand rules the world.” Whether as a personal purchase or received as a gift, this inspired concept shows no signs of abating.

A right-hand ring can celebrate the birth of a child, the gem laden gift known as a “baby bauble”; an eternity band can denote a special anniversary or graduation. They can also be heirlooms, with no romantic connotation. passed down through generations. However, more commonly, they are rings that women have gifted to themselves: to mark a promotion, a milestone birthday, or even a change in matrimonial status such as a divorce. Stacked bands are a very popular look, set with either contrasting gems in white, yellow and pink gold or an allover monotone aesthetic in platinum.

Right hand jewels can still mean wedding bells

The right-hand ring is a way for women to truly express themselves, not simply advertise their marital status, however, this practice can change depending on where you are in the world.

Diamond Solitaire and White Gold Ring, Fall 2019

In Canada and the United States, engagement and wedding rings are traditionally worn on the left hand. Yet, it’s actually has been customary to wear those tokens of love on the right hand in many European countries, including Greece, Germany, Spain and Poland. German tradition has the engagement ring move from the left hand to the right after the wedding, while in Brazil and Turkey, the opposite is true. In some regions in China, woman wear their wedding band on the right hand. In the past, in a different attitudinal climate, some in the LGBTQ community, opted to wear wedding bands on the right hand to indicate a relationship.

Perhaps the best part about a right-hand ring is that there are no hard and fast rules about why or when to wear one: celebrate love for a partner (or yourself), honour an occasion, start a conversation with a statement piece. In fact, you don’t even need a reason to rock a right-hand ring, but there are certainly many great ones.

Selection of rings from upcoming auction.

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but what about rubies and sapphires? Coloured gemstones have long been favoured by royals and celebrities and only continue to increase in popularity. They can often be more affordable and a conversation-worthy alternative to diamond engagement rings.

How the demand for diamonds began

We know “diamonds are forever”, essentially unmatched when it comes to day-to-day durability, which is one reason why they are typically the stone of choice for engagement rings. The other reason we use diamonds to say “I do”? Clever marketing.

The historic players supplying the Western diamond market: India from the 1400s, during the 1700s major sources were found in Brazil and then huge deposits were found in 1800s South Africa. Due to their relative rarity and therefore extremely high cost, diamonds were initially only worn, in any form, by Royalty and the wealthiest of the wealthy. It wasn’t until the early 1950s when they solidified their spot at the top of the gemstone chain:De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. began positioning diamond engagement rings as a symbol of love and commitment – rather than just a symbol of wealth and luxury – in a brilliant ad campaign begun in 1947 that evolved from a reaction to the extreme slump in sales after the Great Depression and post-war malaise.

Canadian Diamond Line Bracelet

Suddenly diamonds became coveted for the emotional connection they evoked, and this resulted in creating a demand unaffected by status or the economy that has held strong for decades.

The charm of coloured gems

Ruby and Diamond Ring by Van Cleef & Arpels.

There is an ever-growing interest in alternative gems. Some buyers are simply enticed by the bold statement-making appeal of a colourful gem or are perhaps drawn to the traditional meaning behind a particular stone. Certain coloured gemstones can even be more valuable and rarer than diamonds.

The big three that often come to mind when we think of precious coloured gemstones are rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

Ruby

One of the most valuable and popular gemstones, the ruby is considered the “King of Gems” and its beauty was touted in both the Bible and ancient Sanskrit texts. With its intense red hue (caused by the trace element chromium) the ruby is associated with passion, desire, power and nobility. Composed of the mineral corundum, it also has one of the highest ranking scores on the Mohs scale measuring hardness, toughness and stability, making it nearly as durable as a diamond. As practical as it is precious!

Important Sapphire and Diamond Ring, by Carvin French

Sapphire

Also composed of corundum, sapphires are suitable for everyday wear and come in virtually every colour of the rainbow, except red, when the term ruby comes into play. They are, however, commonly best known for their striking vivid blues. Steeped in fables and lore, the sapphire was a holy stone to the ancient Persians who believed the earth rested atop a sapphire formed by the heavens. The stone stands for virtue, loyalty and wisdom – ideal traits for an engagement ring!

Emerald

Dating back to the days of Cleopatra, emeralds were thought to bring good fortune and youthfulness to the wearer, a symbol of rebirth with their vibrant green hue. The emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family, and although it’s considered generally not recommended for everyday wear due to the fact that it’s not as hard as many other gems, it’s certainly a very special choice for special occasions.

Emerald and Diamond Bracelet

Don’t forget about fancy colour diamonds

Diamonds are graded on the internationally respected GIA’s scale from D to Z, from colourless to a subtle, but still noticeable, very, very pale yellow. Separate from that scale, diamonds of colour are considered “fancy” and comprise naturally occurring shades of blue, red, yellow, green, orangey, pink, brown, champagne, etc.

Unlike diamonds falling on the D-to-Z chart that become less valuable the more apparent their colour, fancy coloured diamonds actually increase in value based on the depth of hue.  Colour saturation is described within a range from faint to light, to intense, to deep and ultimately, to the highly desirable, vivid.

Pair of Important Coloured Diamond Rings

Your choice, your desire

Whether you choose to opt for a more daring coloured gemstone for your engagement ring, or stick with a classic and traditional diamond, there are plenty of options to suit your budget, taste and style – the colourful or subtle choices that will flatter you are absolutely endless!

For many wearers, fine jewellery is intensely personal, a form of self-expression and individual style. Convertible jewellery pieces are a clever way to maximize this element and truly customize your collection.

Whether reconfiguring a piece completely, such as turning a tiara into a necklace, or simply connecting a pair of bracelets end-to-end, transformable jewellery allows you to create a number of different styles: take your look from day to night, from office to out on the town, from chic to glam.

An Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Necklace, circa 1930

Perhaps the most appealing part of convertible jewellery is the practical aspect. Not only do you get to enjoy wearing the same piece multiple ways, this idea speaks to the minimalism trend – Marie Kondo would have to agree a beautiful piece of fine jewellery that eliminates the need for several other pieces would definitely spark joy. Transformable pieces are also ideal for travelling, since you will only need to pack one or two pieces but will still able to enjoy several different looks.

You also get greater cost per wear value from your jewellery collection – without having to sacrifice and settle for lower quality. You still get fine craftsmanship without breaking the budget. The luxury version of two for the price of one!

Diamond ring with jacket of organic freeform design.

What exactly is convertible jewellery?

Convertible jewellery is essentially an item that can shape-shift via an easy and somewhat temporary modification without the need to dash over to your local jewellery professional: it’s something you can do on your own, in the privacy of your own home, no special skillset or professional tools required, thus giving the illusion there’s more than one piece in play, rather than just a single jewellery item.

A Pair of Emerald and Diamond Ear Pendants, by Buccellati.

Transformable designs can be achieved in myriad ways: attaching or removing an elaborate drop pendant from a simpler surmount creates the style known as a Day/Night earring; four matching bracelets attach to form a long necklace, and vice versa, that same long necklace divides to be worn as a shorter version with a single bracelet. One of the most common examples would be a double-clip brooch that separates into a pair of brooches. For a special event, your simple diamond solitaire ring can take centre stage amidst a removable bejewelled “jacket” that slips over the main stone. Classic diamond studs can also benefit from the same type of embellishment. The possibilities are limitless and a true testament to a designer’s skill.

From necessity to luxury

Convertible jewellery first began trending after the stock market crash in 1929 and the early years of the Great Depression. Clever and creative jewellery houses acknowledged the tough times, but also saw an opportunity that allowed them to market to women with tighter purse strings: versatile, economical and very appealing.

Something born out of practicality soon became something coveted in its own right, inspiring remarkable feats of design that have earned prominent houses a place in history with their technical intricacy. The innovations of luxury brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels­, Cartier and Chaumet have made a mark that’s left a lasting impression on the world of jewellery design.

Iconic transformable jewellery

Convertible jewellery pieces are still very much haute couture, as revivals of this trend gain notice on Paris runways, with debuts from De Beers, Anna Hu and Piaget in recent years.

Then there are the absolutely iconic transformable pieces, either original to, or inspired by the Art Deco era, having earned their place in fine jewellery history.

ZIP necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. Photo credit: Van Cleef & Arpels, vancleefarpels.com

Arguably the most notable piece of transformable jewellery is the famous Zip necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, an idea inspired by the Duchess of Windsor in the 1930s, and the first zipper crafted from precious metal. The design can be worn as a bracelet or a necklace and took years to perfect.

Transformable jewels from the upcoming auction.

If you think of the high-spirited, high society Roaring Twenties, then fun, fashion and frolic might come to mind. It was the birth of the Art Deco era with its heightened predisposition to notorious and extravagant glamour. Daring designs emerged, most especially in jeweller that continues to be popular today.

Lot 74 An Art Deco Jadeite, Onyx, Diamond and Platinum Jabot Pin, by Lacloche Frères

Defining Art Deco

The Art Deco era occurred in the midst of a prosperous Post-war economy, Thriving industries, including those dealing in precious jewellery, were actively and enthusiastically supported by the gentry. Times and morés were changing and such strictures, particularly for women, were beginning to relax, leading to a new sense of freedom and the power to express their individuality through their accessories. Those so inclined were able to lavish money, or more likely their husband’s money, on luxuries like fine jewels. Advancements in materials and methods allowed designers to take new risks in design.

The period is mainly considered to span from the 1920s to the 1930s, and was popularized at the hugely important exhibit of designers and manufacturers invited to show the world their latest and greatest innovations in Paris in 1925. The scope of the new look was vast and influenced not just jewellery but everything from fine art, to household items and architecture: picture the silhouettes of New York’s landmark Chrysler and Empire State buildings. Subsequently, the term Art Deco was coined only in the 1960s to categorize the overall style and the name is credited to Art historian Bevis Hillier who derived it from that highly significant 1925 gathering, the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne.

Lot 296 An Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Brooch, circa 1930.

Lot 290 An Art Deco Diamond, Emerald and Platinum Ring, circa 1920

How to spot Art Deco

Geometric patterns

Signature design elements include precisely defined angles, regimented linear qualities and a more industrial feel via pleasingly repetitive and symmetrical patterns. Bold shapes and strong grid-like lines and tiered stepped edges are the calling cards of Art Deco. Look for rectangles, triangles, circles and squares. Mitre-shaped terminals are also indicative of popular motifs, whether singly or as part of convertible double-clip brooches.

Old-cut diamonds

Look for round old European-cuts which overlap in time and evolve into the scintillating transitional-cut. The elegant squared, Asscher-cuts are obviously evocative of the era and are still surprisingly modern looking. Commonly, smaller accent diamonds are baguette, bullet-cut and shield-shaped.

Platinum and white gold

Lot 222 An Art Deco Pair of Lapis Lazuli, Diamond and Platinum Ear Pendants, by Cartier

White metals were in vogue during the Art Deco era, especially platinum, while white gold was considered a popular substitute and a more affordable alternative with a similar look.

Colour in gemstones

Art Deco pieces often get their bright colours from rubies, emeralds and sapphires, sometimes seen in Tutti-Frutti carved leaves or what’s known as calibré-cut, rows of very small multiple gems that are customized to fit narrow specialty channels and uniformly spaced tightly together rather than individually amid visible claw settings. Jade, black onyx, coral, rock crystal and lapis lazuli effectively create harmonious combinations of striking contrast when paired with diamonds.

Drawn to Art Deco?

Art Deco retains its influence with a unique ability to channel vintage elegance while still evoking a contemporary feel. This universal modern appeal widens its desirability among fashion enthusiasts. If you’re craving a genuine statement piece to reflect your personal style, consider the timeless allure of Art Deco jewellery.

Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers offers several unique and hard-to-find pieces sure to speak to your inner flapper:

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