in The Business of Jewelry on September 22, 2014
At the Bonhams white glove sale in London this past Wednesday, the Ceres Collection, (read about it here in case you missed my first post) a collection of 101 rare and historic cameos and intaglios dating back to the 4th century B.C., sold for more than $490,000. The initial estimate was $171,568. Bonhams said that the majority of the rings doubled their estimates, while a number of pieces went for 10 and even 20 times higher than expected.
A white glove sale means all of the lots in the auction were sold. After this happens at an auction, the champagne usually flows.
An American family assembled the collection over a 60 year period, from the 1930s to the 1990s, with the pieces ranging in date from the 4th century B.C. to the 19th century.
The engraved gems depict a broad range of subjects in miniature, including gods and goddesses of the ancient world and portraits of historical figures. All have been mounted into rings to make them wearable pieces of jewelry.The top lot in the collection was an 18th to 19th century octagonal gold intaglio ring with a bust of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius carved in a deep red garnet, which sold for $51,205.
This was followed closely by an 18th to 19th century intaglio showing the snake haired Medusa in a gray banded agate, which sold for $45,086.
Another of the top lots was an ancient Roman sardonyx cameo fragment from the 1st to 2nd century A.D. showing a Roman lady of high rank carved in profile that sold for $40,994.
Here is a group view of the collection. This was an extraordinary offering of cameos and intaglios, all were one of a kind pieces, the entire collection now broken up and scattered throughout the world.