Fashioned with a central Sri Lankan stone weighing approximately 17.41ct encircled by surrounds of diamonds and pearls, the piece is set with a gold mount inscribed on the reverse The gift of David Wilson to his daughter Mary, on the occasion of her marriage December 27th 1865.
Wilson was a hotelier and businessman who was the founder of the Auckland Hotel in Calcutta. It came by descent.
Accompanied by a report from The Gem & Pearl Laboratory stating the sapphire to be untreated, it had a guide of £10,000-20,000 in Dorchester on June 16 but sold at £33,000.
A Victorian diamond bird brooch set with cushion and old-cut diamonds suspending a single pear-cut ruby from its beak came in a fitted box for Barton Son & Co, Bangalore.
The firm (which continues today) was established in 1861 by London-born Thomas Barton (1834-1920). He was married in Bangalore the following year to Grace Caroline Bartels Edwards (1842- 1922) by whom he had several children, including Alfred Percy Barton (1868-1958) who succeeded to the business.
The motif of a dove is often associated with the Holy Spirit but also was a symbol of faith and fidelity. Here the ruby eyes symbolise passion while the ‘heart’ the dove holds in its beak symbolises love. It sold at £9500, well above the guide of £1000-2000.
Look of love
The Victorian ‘language of love’ appears regularly in jewellery of the period.
When Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria, he gave her a ring shaped like a serpent, the head set with small rubies, diamonds, and an emerald, her birthstone. In mythology, the snake is an emblem of goodness, wisdom and love and the serpent swallowing its tail the sign of eternal love. Soon, serpent jewellery was all the rage.
Recalling this fashion, a 19th century gold and turquoise articulated necklace designed as a snake devouring a heart set with a small keepsake window sold for £2600 against an estimate of £500-700 at Canterbury Auction Galleries (22.5% buyer’s premium) on June 11-12.