Belperron Blue Cambodian Chalcedony Cuff

Suzanne Belperron

With her unapologetically bold style and sensually carved designs, Suzanne Belperron would distinguish herself among the first female master jewelers of the early 20th century, and as a designer whose aesthetic was so unique, it would serve as her signature.

 

Belperron’s creative genius quickly drew the attention of esteemed clientele including: the Duchess of Windsor, Josephine Baker, Diana Vreeland, and countless more high-profile figures; yet, she never sought public recognition. When asked why she never signed her pieces, as was customary of all haute joaillerie maisons, Belperron famously said, “my style is my signature.”

Writing in the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle in 1961, journalist Cécile Sandoz, expressed that the creations of Belperron possessed an instantly recognizable “abstract fluidity of form, a Pharaonic or Aztec sheen that gives a centuries-old patina and a highly personal technique of setting precious gems in larger semiprecious stones.”

 

“My style is my signature.” – Suzanne Belperron

 

From humble beginning, Suzanne Vuillerme Belperron grew up in a small town in eastern France. In 1916, she enrolled at the Écoles Municipales de Musique et des Beaux-Arts, located in Besançon, a city that would be known as the birthplace of France’s watch industry. It was here that she began her formal study of jewelry design. Knowing that versatility would give her the competitive advantage she sought, Belperron immersed herself and excelled in a variety of studies. Her early productions revealed an intuition of style and form, as well as a wealth of talent.

 

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Belperron Chalcedony Diamond Clip

Belperron Chalcedony Diamond Clip

 Suzanne Belperron Three Diamond Chalcedony Ring

Belperron Three Diamond Chalcedony Ring

 

She began her career in Paris in 1919 as a draftswoman for one of the leading firms at the time, Maison Boivin. Her talent was recognized quickly, and within four years she was the lead designer. While she created countless designs in the popular Art Deco style, she quickly grew tired of the rigid aesthetic and began experimenting in a more organic style, assimilating natural forms and motifs. In 1932 she left Boivin to join Bernard Herz, a prominent dealer in gemstones and pearl. Herz recognized her virtuosity and skill, and Belperron was given full artistic freedom to design in his name.

 

“There’s no one else like her.” – Karl Lagerfeld, Avid Belperron Collector

 

This partnership put forth a daring new look for jewelry that was stunningly modern. Finding inspiration in a wide range of cultures—African, Cambodian, Celtic, Egyptian and Indian—her designs incorporated an unconventional use of materials and techniques including carved gemstones displaying bold and sensual silhouettes, now an unmistakable mark of her production.   

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Belperron Cambodian Chalcedony Cuff

Belperron “Cambodian” Chalcedony Cuff

Suzanne Belperron Sapphire and Chalcedony Ring

Belperron Sapphire Chalcedony Ring

Close friend and fellow jewelry designer, Christopher Walling, holds fond memories of the time he spent with Belperron. As a woman of extreme aesthetic sensitivity, everything from her home décor to her hair color was impeccably thought out. Her house was filled with an elegant mélange, from contemporary French furniture to pre-Columbian art and Tang Dynasty horses. When commenting on her personal style, Walling recalls that the same care was taken, “It was always white with pearls, or white with diamonds. Green with emeralds; blue with sapphires. And it may not sound like it would work, but it did. And it was extraordinary […] It wasn’t frivolous; it was a continuation of her art.”

 

While Belperron’s designs caught the eye of countless European nobility and jewelry connoisseurs alike, their relative scarcity due to their unique nature and limited production has led many of her works to remain hidden from the public. It is estimated that Belperron only made between 3,000 and 5,000 jewels in her lifetime. On the rare occasions when her jewels surface publicly, collectors around the world clamor with excitement.

As the highlight of the magnificent private jewelry collection from The Estate of Bo Legendre, Fortuna was honored to have sold some of the rarest treasures designed by the hand of Suzanne Belperron.

 

 

 

Belperron Blue Cambodian Chalcedony Cuff

Forbes: Signed Jewels From The Estate of Bo Legendre Will be Sold At Auction

By Anthony DeMarco, Forbes

An eclectic collection of signed modern jewels owned by Bokara “Bo” Legendre, the late heiress to the Sanford family fortune, will be sold by Fortuna Auction on April 25.

Belperron "Cambodian" Chalcedony Cuff

Blue chalcedony “Cambodian” cuff accented by bezel-set sapphires by Suzanne Belperron. Its estimate is $100,000 – $150,000

 

Legendre, who died in December 2017, lived a multifaceted life as an actor, painter, spiritual explorer, world traveler and philanthropist, while spending time at homes in New York, Northern California and the family estate in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Her jewels reflected her artistic and eclectic tastes, pursuing pieces from some of the greatest designers and artists in the mid-20th Century. Legendre’s collection shows she favored yellow gold, colorful gems and intricate designs.

Belperron Diamond Chalcedony Clip

A floral fan brooch enhanced by six marquise-cut diamonds by Suzanne Belperron with an estimate of $20,000 – $30,000

 

Among the highlights of the 68 lots are several pieces from French jewelry designer, Suzanne Belperron, whose unique style and sensually carved designs quickly drew the attention of esteemed clientele, including the Duchess of Windsor, Josephine Baker, Gary Cooper, Daisy Fellowes and Christian Dior. She is known for incorporating rare combinations of minerals and stones in her designs. Important items from Belperron featured in the auction include a sculptural blue chalcedony “Cambodian” cuff accented by bezel-set sapphires, a chalcedony floral fan brooch enhanced by six marquise-cut diamonds, and a ring carved from a single piece of chalcedony accented by three Old European diamonds.

Cartier Art Deco Emerald Diamond Bracelet

Cartier Art Deco Colombian emerald And diamond platinum bracelet with an estimate of $100,000 – $200,000

 

Another mid-20th Century jewelry designer who plays a prominent role in the auction is Fulco di Verdura, the famed Italian jeweler who created colorful sculptural pieces under the Verdura name. Several 18k yellow gold and diamond pieces by Verdura are included in the sale.

Other signed pieces being offered include David Webb, Jean Schlumberger, Bulgari, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and even David Yurman.

Bulgari Burmese ruby and diamond "Trombino" ring

Bulgari Burmese ruby and diamond “Trombino” ring with an estimate of $15,000 – $25,000

 

Legendre’s jewels represent “one of the most important private collections to come to market in recent times,” said Seth Holehouse, co-CEO of Fortuna, which specializes in jewelry, gemstones and timepieces. “Bo’s infamous sense of humor, fiery personality and extraordinary modernity explain her affinity for Suzanne Belperron, the ultimate modernist with lasting appeal, especially in today’s climate.”

The auction will be held at Fortuna’s New York showroom, 608 5th Avenue, Suite 507. Those interested in bidding can do so in the showroom, online through Fortuna’s website or buy phone. Bidders can also place an absentee bid, which is the highest hammer price one is willing to pay for a particular lot.

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Magnificent Jewels a Record-Breaking Auction for Fortuna

A Pair of Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Studs, 4.04ct Total. Achieved $87,500. All prices include buyer’s premiums.

Important White and Yellow Diamond Prices Soar in Magnificent Jewels Auction

In their first-ever Magnificent Jewels auction, Fortuna shattered their previous sale records, with the sale realizing a total of $2.3 million, selling 70% by value. With strong interest around the globe, registered bidders came from 41 countries across six continents. The top price achieved in the sale was $994,000 for a rare 10.33ct D Color Internally Flawless emerald cut diamond ring by Van Cleef & Arpels.

A 5.01ct D IF Emerald Cut Diamond Ring. Achieved $200,000.

 

Asian Private Collectors

Fortuna’s strength in the Asian market continued to shine, with three of the six highest grossing lots being sold to Asian private collectors. “There is a burning desire for important jewelry and gemstones in Asia that far surpasses what we see in the American and European markets. Many of our Asian clients are actively building large private collections, and are very proactive in acquiring large flawless diamonds, gem-quality untreated colored stones, and rare signed pieces. We consistently sell our cover lots and sale highlights to these collectors,” said Anna Lin, Fortuna’s Director of Fine Jewelry, Asia.

7.65ct Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring. Achieved $237,500.

Diamonds Soar

Important fancy yellow and colorless diamonds stole the show: a pair of Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ear studs weighing 2.02cts each achieved $81,250, a 7.65ct Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring achieved $237,500, a 5.01ct D Color Internally Flawless emerald cut diamond ring achieved $200,000, a 3.05ct D color Internally Flawless marquise cut diamond ring achieved $81,250, and a pair of diamond cluster earrings achieved $75,000.

Oscar Heyman Brothers Art Deco Bracelet. Achieved $27,500.

 

Intense bidding wars erupted for many of the lots including an Art Deco diamond bracelet by Oscar Heyman Brothers which sold for $27,500—nearly three times its low estimate, and a Retro charm bracelet that brought $11,875, triple its low estimate. “Excitement and energy filled the auction room. Many of the lots garnered very intense bidding, going far beyond the opening bid. It was a phenomenal sale for us to end the year with, and we look to 2018 with confidence and optimism,” said John Saxon, Fortuna’s President.

Van Cleef & Arpels 10.33ct D IF Diamond Ring. Achieved $994,000.

 

The cover lot and highlight of the sale was the 10.33ct D Color Internally Flawless emerald cut diamond ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels. The 10.33ct diamond ring was consigned by an affluent collector on the West Coast, and created a buzz of excitement among diamond collectors and connoisseurs. Not only was the diamond graded as the top color and clarity, but was also determined to be Type IIa. Often called “Golconda” diamonds, after the famous mine in India, Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure and are highly sought after by collectors. The chemical purity makes a D grade stone look even whiter than other D grade stones, and often gives them a transparent, watery appearance—making them a true treasure to collectors.

 

Cartier Coral Diamond and Emerald Brooch. Achieved $21,250.

Exceptional Growth

The successful Magnificent Jewels auction wrapped up a record-breaking year for Fortuna. Overall sale revenue was up over 300% from 2016, and the recent December auction grossed over 500% more than the December auction of 2016. Fortuna’s no-risk approach to selling, along with their base of private collectors in Asia, has attracted increasing numbers of affluent clients seeking assistance in selling their jewelry and gemstones. “This Magnificent Jewels sale is a major milestone for us. The performance of this sale and the caliber of jewelry and gemstones we sold has shown our strength in selling very important jewelry. We have already seen an increase in private clients contacting us to sell their higher value items,” said Seth Holehouse, Fortuna’s CEO.

 

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Entrepreneur Success: Interview with Fortuna Auction’s John Saxon

Fortuna Auction’s President John Saxon was interviewed on IdeaMensch, a site featuring entrepreneurs. Here’s his Q&A:

John is responsible for providing executive leadership, strategic vision, and high-level oversight of global operations and business development for the auction house. John has more than 15 years of experience in business development and growth strategy and holds a Master’s Degree in engineering.

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Antique Trader: Finding favor in the fine jewelry market Copy

By Antoinette (Toni) Rahn, Antique Trader

It’s a match made of gems and jewels for husband and wife business partners Seth Holehouse and Anna Lin, and John and Maria Saxon, owners of Fortuna.

The foursome work side-by-side to bring fine jewelry, from all corners of the world, to auction. Recently, Antique Trader caught up with Seth and John ahead of the company’s Spring Jewels Auction, slated for April 6. The two provide insight about their business operation, today’s secondary jewelry market, and three of the company’s principle strategies to good business.

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Business Success Stories: Interview with Fortuna Auction’s Seth Holehouse

Fortuna Auction’s CEO Seth Holehouse was interviewed on Delpino.net, a site featuring web-based entrepreneurs. Here’s his Q&A:

What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

Fortuna is an auction house that specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. We began in 2011 and are based in New York City. In the world of auctions, we are fairly young—and that’s a good thing. Having a narrow focus on jewelry gives us an edge over traditional houses, especially in the internet age where the buying landscape is so fragmented. Our auctions are hosted 4-6 times a year. We have bidders live in the sale room, over the phones, and through online platforms from all over the world.

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Fortuna Auction’s Spring Jewels Sale Excites at Waldorf Astoria

The May 17 Spring Jewels auction marked an important milestone for Fortuna Auction, one of the world’s few boutique jewelry auctions, and the only one headquartered in New York City.

Past auctions were always held in our showroom on 5th Avenue. It was a big step for us to hold our preview and sale in such a prestigious hotel, and we were overwhelmed (emotionally and logistically) with the turnout.

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Maine Antique Digest—A Small Town Approach in the Big City

By Mary Ann Brown

Maine Antique Digest

Fortuna Auctioneers and Appraisers, owned and operated by partners in business and marriage Seth Holehouse and Anna Lin, GG, is a relative newcomer to the jewelry auction scene in New York City. The company held its fine jewelry sale on January 19.

Lin and Holehouse started the venture about four years ago, and the auction house complements a separate business they created seven or eight years ago. Anna Lin Antique and Diamond Jewelry (www.annalin.net) “is mostly focused on searching for and finding investment quality gemstones and old jewelry for people in Asia,” according to Holehouse. They travel to Asia “a few times a year, finding buyers for important Art Deco, Cartier, Kashmir sapphires, and such.”

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THE RIDE: Competing With the Big Guys

By Mildred L. Culp

Knoxville News Sentinel

Rarely does a founding entrepreneur launch in a big way or a start-up become large overnight. Size, or lack of it, spells “obstacle” for many entrepreneurs.

Seth Holehouse, managing director (now CEO) of Fortuna Auction in New York, N.Y., works less than two blocks from Christie’s, the largest jewelry auction in the world (www.fortunaauction.com). “Our main … obstacle is gaining a name and building it with wholesalers and store owners,” he says. Interacting face-to-face with domestic and international buyers is essential for a fine jewelry auction to build trust. He does a lot of it, shaking hands and meeting gazes.

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Financial Times—Alternative auctions: Boutiques find niche in an underserved marketplace

By Syl Tang

Financial Times

For decades, the only reputable option for watch and jewellery aficionados looking for something vintage or collectable were the big name auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, where buyers were assured of authenticity and quality.

But, with global marketing of large auctions leading to record-setting hammer prices, deals have become increasingly difficult for collectors to find, never mind wholesalers hoping to acquire for resale.

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NY Observer—Get Your Rocks Off: Kissing the Ring at Fortuna Auction’s Fall Fine Jewels Preview

By Drew Grant

New York Observer

… Everywhere we looked was gold, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, diamonds, diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Mauboussin, Tiffany & Co., and David Webb all made appearance in wearable form, as well as several items from Ms. Yarmak’s personal collection. Michele Gerber Klein, Elena Moussa, Mickey Boardman, Cass Almendral, and R. Couri Hay mingled among the champagne and baubles, occasionally trying on an especially transfixing piece before circling its corresponding number in the catalog.

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