x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rare jewellery pieces on display

Bonhams, the international auctioneers, is exhibiting 120 famous pieces of rare jewellery in Dubai.

A three-string pearl necklace reputed to have belonged to the Russian empress Catherine the Great is part of a collection of rare jewellery that is being displayed at the One & Only Royal Mirage hotel in Dubai until Sunday. The collection will be auctioned off by Bonhams in London on Dec 4.
A three-string pearl necklace reputed to have belonged to the Russian empress Catherine the Great is part of a collection of rare jewellery that is being displayed at the One & Only Royal Mirage hotel in Dubai until Sunday. The collection will be auctioned off by Bonhams in London on Dec 4.

DUBAI // Bonhams, the international auctioneers, is exhibiting 120 famous pieces of rare jewellery in Dubai to attract Middle Easterners to an auction in London where they will be sold next month. Pieces worth an estimated Dh11 million (US$3m) go on display for three days from today at the One and Only Royal Mirage hotel. Viewers will get to see the jewellery close up and try it on.

One of the most famous pieces is a three-string pearl necklace that belonged to Anne Thomson Dodge and may have belonged to Catherine the Great. "The necklace is special for two important reasons," said Jean Ghika, the head of Bonhams' jewellery department. "The first is that it is made up of natural pearls, which are extremely rare and hard to come by. The second is that of provenance." However, she said it was impossible to state categorically that the necklace belonged to the 18th century Russian empress because pearls could not be dated with the same precision as precious stones.

Horace E Dodge, the original owner of the US motor manufacturer that bears his name, bought the necklace in 1920 for his wife. It is said that she wore it only twice. Other pieces on display include an 18th century diamond, ruby and emerald ring and the triple-diamond engagement ring of the Hollywood actress Deborah Kerr from her first marriage in 1945 to a British RAF squadron leader. The entire jewellery collection of the actress, who died last year, will be for sale at the London auction on Dec 4.

The exhibition includes numerous pieces by Cartier, Bulgari and Dianoor. According to Ms Ghika there are pieces for collectors and for those who want to wear the jewellery. "The aim of this exhibition is to attract local clients from here to participate in the auction which will be held in London on Dec 4," Ms Ghika said. "It gives them the opportunity to have a look in person and try on the pieces rather than flip through a catalogue."

She said there was increased interest in the Arab world in the jewellery market and collecting. "They tend to go for more of the brand names like Cartier or Van Cleef and they are interested in diamonds," she said. "They also go after the coloured stones to some degree." The final day of the showing will be a ladies-only day. nsamaha@thenational.ae