On Sunday 24th March, Webb’s will auction “Worn at the Ritz, A Private Collection from a High Society Family”. A collection which has not only withstood the test of time from a taste perspective but has also narrowly escaped being lost, or worse, destroyed during the onset of World War II and then locked away in a bank vault for over half a century.
The collection of 77 pieces will be auctioned as part of the quarterly Webb’s Fine Jewels sale valued at over $600,000 and is the one of the largest and most important single owner jewellery collections to emerge onto the New Zealand market in recent years.
The collection contains the finest examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco craftsmanship combined with several significant and important pieces. It is unlikely we will see such an important collection in the New Zealand market again and fortunately with such a range of price points there truly is something for every collector.
This extensive collection is not only breath-taking in design but has the added intrigue of decades of history and culture associated with it. This collection has come to us from an immensely private individual, who now wishes to give her most beloved family treasures a new life, story and legacy in the hope that these unique and truly spectacular pieces can become heirlooms for other families such as hers – full of love, generosity and of course discerning taste. Park Lane, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge are listed amongst the family’s former residences. Living so conveniently close to the Ritz called for frequent high teas and dinner parties with distinguished, noble and when the occasion called for it, Royal guests, which in turn always calls for diamonds – lots of diamonds. Luckily, with a loving and devoted husband, the vendor’s mother was gifted numerous beautifully crafted one-of-a-kind pieces of fine jewellery. “Father would come home with a collection of half a dozen pieces from Alexander Clark in Regent Street and she was allowed to keep her favourites, in those days mother wore all the jewels, but that changed after the war”.
The family was holidaying in Switzerland when World War II was declared and managed to catch the last ship back to England. The family was then evacuated from London to the countryside and then relocated to the relative safety of Australia. The jewellery was then stored in safety deposit boxes and on occasion, her mother would go and carefully select which pieces she would wear for evenings “Times had changed, and you did not go out donned in all your jewellery in Australia – someone would hit you on the head!”
During the 1950s the vendor of this superb collection fell in love and moved to New Zealand. Over time she was given pieces from her mother and being the only child of a loving family, inherited the collection on her mother’s passing over fifty years ago. Since then this Ritz worthy collection has been stored in safe deposits boxes in the vaults below Queen Street, right here in Auckland.
This stunning collection will be on view at the Webb’s gallery from Wednesday 20th March with all 160 lots going under the hammer as part of the quarterly Fine Jewels live auction on Sunday the 24th March at 2pm.