7 reasons to bid at Aguttes

Jun 23, 2024

On 3 July, Aguttes is holding its summer jewellery auction before the summer break. The 209 lots patiently assembled by the team in the jewellery department cover virtually every style from the early 19th to the 21st century. I had a great time discovering and choosing the pieces, and I’m delighted to be able to present them to you. There are a lot of favourites in this selection – in fact, that’s all there is! – because I want to wear and keep everything. This selection is also full of beautiful stories about maker’s marks and workshops. Because the hands that imagined, designed and created these pieces need to exist, I wanted this presentation to highlight their stories.

1- Lot 25 – A “Renaissance revival” bracelet

Enamelled bracelet with garnets on silver. Estimated at between €1,200 and €1,500. Photo: Aguttes

Jewellery in the 19th century was eclectic. Styles followed one another at the speed of the political movements trying to govern a country that was reinventing itself after the Revolution. Everything was tried and tested! And the neo-renaissance style made its appearance, of course. Inspired by, or even a complete copy of, Renaissance pieces, jewellers had a field day, producing pieces that were often charming and colourful. And if enamel speaks to you, you’ll inevitably think of Falize, for example, whose enamelled pieces are sumptuous.

But let’s come back to our bracelet, which is French, as its guarantee testifies. It mixes white and black enamels, typical of Renaissance jewellery. The garnets mounted on colored papers are reminiscent of Bohemian pieces, but at the same time the factories in Perpignan are producing using the same technique. In short, we happily mixed everything that came along. It has to make an impact, and this bracelet understands that. At the time, there were jewellers who specialised in “silver fantasy”, into which this piece of jewellery easily slipped. Eclecticism, I tell you, you delight me!

2- Lot 43 – A “Cabotage” bracelet

Gold, diamond, ruby and sapphire acrostic bracelet. Estimated at between €3,000 and €5,000. Photo: Aguttes

Isn’t it lovely to have an acrostic bracelet with an Austrian import from 1901 to 1921 featuring various ship flags in the maritime alphabet? A whole language of manoeuvres on the water that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve got your sea legs. The bracelet is even prettier because it hides the word “Dearest” in the little flags. It’s safe to assume that this bracelet was intended for an elegant woman who knew how to steer.

Charm bracelets are as sophisticated as the maritime alphabet. As jewellery with a message, we never tire of decoding them and placing them back in their time to understand their meaning and imagine why they were given as gifts. Boating began to flourish in Europe at the end of the 19th century, and became one of the common pleasures of upper middle-class and aristocratic families. This was known as yachting or pleasure sailing. The first nautical societies appeared in France in 1840 and became a fixture in the landscape. All over Europe, the sails were out!

Unsigned but numbered, this piece strongly reminds me of the pieces from the House of Benzie of Cowes based on the Isle of Wight. In 1862, Simpson Benzie became known for his jewelry inspired by maritime symbols. Quickly nicknamed “The Yachtsmen’s jeweler”, his flag bracelets made him successful. Impossible to attribute this bracelet with certainty but the resemblance is there!

3- Lot 60 – A Lacloche brooch

Gold and ruby Lacloche brooch. Estimated at between €4,000 and €6,000. Photo: Aguttes

While Lacloche jewellery is relatively common, pieces by Jacques Lacloche, the latest heir to the jewellery comet, are less common at auction. Jacques Lacloche took over the company in the 1930s and closed it in 1967 to devote himself to contemporary design. He did not manufacture, so it is always interesting to decipher the master hallmarks of the company’s jewellery, as the finest workshops worked for him.

But on this brooch, somewhere between retro and sputnik, there is nothing but a guarantee. So it’s impossible to tell you more. Personally, I love it! I find it opulent and airy with its charming gold bolduc. And then there’s the centre, with its ruby-set stems reaching skywards, reminiscent of a Russian satellite with a funny name meaning ‘fellow traveller’. A sure nod to a jewel we’d love to take on the road..

4- Lot 80 – Leaf brooch

Gold, diamond and sapphire foliage brooch. Estimated at between 3800 and 4500 euros. Photo: Aguttes

Because sometimes jewellery doesn’t say anything. That’s just the way it is. They’re beautiful, they have allure, we love adopting them but we don’t know anything about their history and they don’t always help us discover it… I’d like this brooch to speak and tell me its story.

For my part, I can tell you that it’s a cocarde brooch and it’s a model that we know well from the middle of the 20th century in the 50s and 60s. I can think of several leafy pieces by Henri Poincot or a Cartier model, and even pieces by Marchak that have a similar aesthetic. I’m also thinking of a high jewellery collection by Mellerio a few years ago, with ‘ foglio ‘ jewellery that I really liked.

I can add that the jeweller was gifted and that the volume of this brooch is mastered, making it beautiful and pleasant to wear. I can also add that I think it has a lot of character, and we love jewellery that has character, because it doesn’t leave us indifferent and because it opens up a conversation. And what better way than to talk about jewellery!

5- Lot 93 & 95 – Résilles et Collerette by Van Cleef & Arpels

Gold and diamond earrings and necklaces. Estimates 8500-10000 euros & 20000-25000 euros respectively. Photo: Aguttes

The rare lots 93 and 95 do not constitute a set, but they can be worn together without clashing. They bear the last hallmark of the Gay Frères workshop, which I will discuss at greater length with lot 124. This means that they are relatively recent pieces, probably from the 1990s.

I find these gold tulle pieces incredibly elegant. They’re bound to remind you of the company’s lace work, including the gold-beaded lace clip from 1943. But there are many others just as sublime. This tulle work appeared as early as 1942 in the rooms of the house, and was handmade in the early days, before being mechanised over the years.

If you have the opportunity to visit Aguttes, go and handle them to see for yourself the lightness of these jewels, but also the technical nature of the necklace. You won’t regret the diversions!

6- Lot 124 – Do you know Gay Frères?

Gold, ebony, diamond and chrysoprase bracelet. Estimated at between €4,000 and €4,500. Photo: Aguttes

If there is one emblematic Haute-Savoie house, it is Gay Frères. The story that began in the 19th century continues to this day, but the company has since become part of the Rolex group. Chains and fine jewellery, as well as jewellery and watches, form the core business of the company, whose pieces are regularly put up for sale, but often without being identified.

Hence the interest in this ebony and gold bracelet, typical of the 70s and 80s. Animal jewellery is a well-known part of the workshop’s heritage, as they all produced a bestiary between the 60s and 90s. These include horses, rams, cheetahs and lions. Aguttes is currently exhibiting dolphins, but has already sold a leopard on ivory that is just as fabulous as the piece that will be sold on 3 July.

7- Lot 127 – The unforgettable Bellin workshop

Gold, rhodonite and chrysoprase medal. Estimated at between €4,000 and €6,000. Photo: Aguttes

There are some unforgettable ateliers that have left their mark on the history of jewellery, yet remain completely unknown to the general public. The Bellin workshop is one of them. And yet the workshop at 62 rue Lafayette has been the scene of some amazing stories, and the anecdotes are legion… I could tell you about the sultan who came to spend hours there, leaving sumptuous orders that made the heyday of an important address in the world of fine jewellery.

Founded in 1900, it was relaunched by Jean and Pierre Bellin in January 1963. They worked for some of the biggest names in jewellery, including Chaumet, FRED and Mauboussin, of which they were one of the most prolific manufacturers.

This zodiac medal will certainly remind you of the fabulous medals made by Van Cleef & Arpels. Rhodonite and chrysoprase adorn this imposing 6-centimetre piece. This bull is both chic and striking, and I’m sure he’s not just playing the extras!

See you soon!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

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