Early 20th century diamond and sapphire set owl – £19,000 at Mallams.

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Top-performing lot at the Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) Jewellery, Watches and Silver sale in Oxford on July 27 was an early 20th century diamond and sapphire-set owl.

Housed in a case by C&A Giuliano (although unmarked), it came for sale from the estate of Edward Baldwin, 4th Earl of Bewdley. He was the grandson of Stanley Baldwin, who thrice served as prime minister in the 1920s-30s, and included Rudyard Kipling, Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Poynter among his extended family.

Estimated at £2500-3500, it raised considerable pre-sale interest and a battle between several phone lines and online bidders. The hammer eventually fell at £19,000 to a UK bidder.

“The transformative effect of interesting provenance coupled with the high standards of craftsmanship and design elevated the sale of this collection,” said Mallams specialist Louise Dennis.