Diamonds, pearls and Georgian silver tankards were amongst the auction highlights

Jul 01, 2020

Wessex Auction Rooms Spring Jewellery, Silver, Watches and Coins auction saw some exciting auction results.The highlight was a gents Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Submariner stainless steel wristwatch, which sold for £5,800. Ref 1680, serial number 2936384, bi-rotational bezel, the black dial with luminous markers, Mercedes style hands with sweep centre seconds hand. As the most watched item of the auction online there was plenty of pre-auction interest, with the watch selling for top estimate.

A Victorian diamond and pearl brooch modelled as a shamrock, saw a huge amount of interest. The shamrock was used regularly in jewellery design during the mid to late 19th century. As a symbol it was associated with the Holy Trinity in Christianity, each leaf representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They also represented faith, hope and love and their popularity in jewellery was as a token of affection and devotion. At the end of the 19th century Kokichi Mikimoto successfully created the first cultured pearl. Semi-spherical in shape, the next stage for Mikimoto was to grow a perfectly spherical pearl. With the introduction of cultured pearls to the market, pearls became affordable to not only the elite but the middle classes also. “We believe the three baroque pearls in the brooch to be natural pearls given the age of the piece” explains Izzie Balmer FGA DGA, “Although for this to be determined they would need to x rayed at a gemmological laboratory”. Bidders evidently believed the pearls to be natural pearls also with the bids flying and the gavel falling at £2,000.

Another piece to shine also containing pearls was a pearl and diamond single strand necklace. Sixty-seven graduated spherical cream pearls formed the necklace but it was the diamond clasp that took centre stage. Rather than a discreet clasp designed to be hidden under hair at the back of the neck, this clasp was designed to draw attention. Set with two round old brilliant cut diamonds, each weighing approximately 0.75 carat and 0.65 carat, the claw settings enabled as much light as possible to entre these stones. Old cut diamonds have a certain charm not found in their younger sibling, the round brilliant cut diamond. Old cut diamonds, developed during the 19th century, were designed to sparkle and look their best under candlelight. They have an allure and subtlety only seen in diamonds of this age, cut by hand with tools that were unable to create the precision demanded by the modern round brilliant commonly seen today. The necklace sold for £1,700.

A Breitling B1 Chronograph stainless steel Gents wristwatch, ref A68362, proved that it is all in a name. Despite containing a quartz movement, the watch sold for £1,500. Breitling is a Swiss luxury watchmaker, established by Léon Breitling in 1884 and remaining family-owned until 1979. Known for precision-made chronometers designed for aviators and divers, their watches are bought for both use and fashion and are a real collectors’ item.

Pocket watches continue to remain popular at auction. An Edwardian Thomas Russell & Son 18ct yellow gold half hunter pocket watch sold for £1,400. In lovely condition it was hallmarked for Chester 1901. In 1811, the founding Thomas Russell set up as an independent watchmaker in Lancaster. During the mid 19th century, Russell’s son (also a Thomas) moved the business to Liverpool from where it expanded over the next 50 years and opened shops in London, Manchester and Llandudno. The business remained family run until both the shops and factory closed in the mid 1990s.

It is always a delight to see for sale a Georgian large silver tankard. To be called a tankard, rather than a mug, the vestibule must include a hinged lid. The tankard originated in Germany, known as a stein. Georgian silver tankards are a true collector’s item. The larger examples are the rarer and the most desired. The George II tankard at Wessex Auction Rooms stood at 23cm high and was in lovely condition with no evidence of repair. The engraved crest to the body featured the Latin motto “Be Careful Whom You Trust”, with an additional engraved armorial to the lid. Makers Richard Gurney & Co, the tankard was hallmark London 1740 and sold for £1,200

A John Pinches commemorative set of fifty silver ingots, celebrating 1000 years of British Monarchy complete with presentation case sold for £810. The Obverse side of each of the fifty ingots depicted a different monarch’s head and a famous scene from their reign. The Reverse side of each ingot provides the information in raised lettering of the monarch, the scene and the date.

Wessex Auction Rooms are open for business and consigning now for there next Jewellery, Silver, Watches and Coins auction on Friday 24th October. For more information please call the office on 01249 720888 or email