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John Moran jewelry auction achieves 95% sell-through rate

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 04 January 2013 16:59

This delicate necklace of rose-cut diamonds, made circa 1830, confirmed the ongoing desirability of finely crafted 19th century jewels when it realized $54,000. John Moran image.

PASADENA, Calif. – John Moran Auctioneers triumphantly concluded 2012 by starting something new for the Southern California house: a series of sales dubbed "HQ Auctions" conducted at the company headquarters in Altadena, Calif., rather than at their usual venue of the Pasadena Convention Center. Held on Dec. 6, the inaugural HQ sale focused exclusively on jewelry, timepieces and luxury accessories. provided Internet live bidding.

Over 330 lots were offered to a large audience of floor bidders gathered at Moran’s home base, festively decorated for the season, as well as telephone and internet bidders connecting from around the world. Whether fueled by the more intimate atmosphere of the location, holiday cheer, or the quality of the merchandise gathered exclusively from private collections and estates, the sale achieved stellar prices and an aggregate sell-through rate of 95 percent. Part of this success was no doubt due to intense competition from the unusually large number of online bidders.

Diamond pieces took center stage at the HQ auction, the most outstanding of which was perhaps an antique rose-cut diamond necklace. Made circa 1830, and featuring 349 diamonds total, the dazzling ornament shot past preauction estimates of $20,000 to $30,000, selling for $54,000. Hailing from a private Pasadena estate and originally estimated to hammer between $25,000 and $35,000, an Edwardian twin diamond necklace set with a total 5.9 carats of diamonds was the object of intense competition, finally won for $33,000. A pair of diamond domed ear clips by famed jeweler Harry Winston, featuring 114 full-cut round diamonds, brought out the floor bidders and sold at $7,800 (estimate: $4,000 to $6,000).

A number of highlights were whimsical items appealing to the lighthearted spirit of the season: jeweled insects and animals both real and imagined. The second lot in the auction, and one of the most flamboyant pieces, was an 18K gold bangle superbly modeled as a fierce dragon, set with cabochon jadeite. Made circa 1900 by the firm of Arthur & Bond of Yokohama, Japan, it fired up the crowd and easily exceeded its estimate of $1,500 to $2,000, bringing an impressive $5,700. A ruby, emerald and diamond turtle pendant / brooch stole more than a few hearts. Decidedly adorable, the turtle realized $1,920, and went home with a floor bidder who outbid half a dozen would-be absentee buyers (estimate: $700 to $900). One of a number of Judith Leiber minaudieres, a crystal penguin-form handbag was also a crowd favorite, bringing $1,470 (estimate: $1,000 to $1,500). The desirability of insect-themed pieces has been sticking firmly on-trend for an extended run. Flying to $1,800 at the block was a pair of gemstone and diamond bee earrings with wings of carved garnets (estimate: $600 to $800), while a striking Egyptian-themed scarab bracelet, crafted in 18K gold and set with chalcedony and synthetic ruby, and estimated to bring $1,500 to $2,000, realized $2,280. A Rosenthal gold wasp brooch, set with two opals and accented with a dozen full-cut diamonds, went for $510 (estimate: $400 to $600).

Continuing in the category of accessories, an Italian evening bag crafted nearly entirely of 18K gold and embellished with 19 full-cut round diamonds on the push piece found a buyer at $24,000 (estimate: $12,000 to $18,000). Realizing $1,715, a group of six silk scarves by Hermes and Christian Dior went to a delighted absentee bidder who had fallen in love with them at the preview (estimate: $500 to $800).

Additional highlights include:

  • A Victorian turquoise and diamond hinged bangle, circa 1850, estimated to sell between $2,000 and $2,500, realized $2,700.
  • A Chinese medal denoting the Order of the Double Dragon found an online international buyer for well above the initially estimated at $2,000 to $3,000, bringing $9,600.
  • A skeletonized 18K gold and diamond inset watch by Swiss maker Vacheron Constantin realized a final price of $24,000 – above the estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Offered from a Florida collection, a diamond Avenue C wristwatch by Harry Winston found a new owner at $10,200 (estimate: $6000 to $8000).

John Moran is currently seeking quality consignments of jewelry, luxury accessories, antiques and fine art for all 2013 auctions. Contact the John Moran offices at 626-793-1833 or by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


This delicate necklace of rose-cut diamonds, made circa 1830, confirmed the ongoing desirability of finely crafted 19th century jewels when it realized $54,000. John Moran image.

An Edwardian platinum necklace sporting twin European-cut diamonds fetched $33,000 at Moran’s HQ Jewelry Auction. John Moran image.

Realizing $5,700 was this stunning dragon-form 18K gold and jadeite by the Meiji-era firm of Arthur and Bond of Yokohama. It had an estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

Popular animal-themed jewels included this ruby, emerald and diamond turtle, which raced to a final selling price of $1,920. It had been estimated at $700-$900.


Moran’s sold this Chinese medal denoting the Order of the Double Dragon to an online bidder for $9,600. It had an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. John Moran image.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 March 2013 15:55

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