Jewelry, Ceramics, and Silverware are Prized Antiques

Another famous piece of antique jewelry is the La Peregrina Necklace of Elizabeth Taylor made by Catier (Parisian jeweler of the rich and the famous). The latest edition of the La Peregrina was designed by Elizabeth Taylor, herself. Before the La Peregrina landed in the hands of Elizabeth Taylor, the jewelry was owned by eight Spanish Kings, Joseph Bonaparte of France, Prince Louis Napoleon of France, Duke and Duchess of Abercorn. The SSEF Swiss Gemological Institute certified the authenticity, rarity and exceptional historic provenance of La Peregrina in 2011. It set two auction records for Christie’s (a premier British auction house), historic pearl and pearl jewel amounting as high as $11, 842, 500 at an auction.

Clocks and timepieces usually become valuable because they are adorned with precious jewels and gems. Same is true with metal wares or metalworks. Patek Philippe’s Supercomplication Pocket watch made a record at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014. This 1932 rare pocket watch was sold at $24 million in a Sotheby’s auction in 2014. This “complicated” watch, as the name goes, was commissioned by Henry Graves Jr. as a product of his competition with the car manufacturer James Ward Packard.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s gold-encrusted sword was sold at an auction in France for $6.5 million dollars in June 2007. This was the sword he used in a battle at Merengo in Italy in June 1800 where the Austrians were forced out of Italy two hundred years ago. The Egyptian inspired designed sword achieved a world record for a weapon, a souvenir of the emperor and a sword sold at an auction.

The gold tripod vessel from the Xuande Period of the Ming Dynasty was sold for $15 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hongkong on April 11, 2008. This well-crafted and extremely rare embellished golden vessel is made up of masterfully-crafted, thinly-hammered gold body with intricate designs which are delicately done. It is one of the only eight of its kind still in existence. Its value came from the precious materials used in making this vessel and of course its age.

The Germain Royal Soup Tureen was sold at $10, 287, 500 in November 1996 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. Thomas Germain, a French silversmith of the Racoco, designed this antique piece for Louis XV in 1733. It weighs 30 lbs. and measures 25.4 cm. in height, 54.6 cm. wide and 41.3 cm. deep. It set a new record for the most expensive piece of silver sold at an auction.

Porcelain, ceramics and pottery pieces are also popular antiques sold at auctions. The Pink-enameled blue and white porcelain moon flask was sold for $15 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hongkong on November 24, 1987. Now its owned by J. J. Lally and Co., New York, not far from the BMP headquarters. It is said that the antique piece is traced from the 15th century Qianlong Dynasty period, between 1736 to 1795. Another porcelain antique piece is the nine hundred-year old Ru Guanyao brush washer bowl that dates back from the Northern Song Dynasty. It was sold for $37.68 at a Sotheby’s auction in Hongkong in 2017 where it set a new world record for Chinese ceramic. Although the antique ceramic looks very ordinary—it’s not ornate or fancy—it reveals attributes of that are often reflected in the Chinese values and philosophies. Another reason why it is deemed to be precious is that there are only very few productions of kilns in China’s central Henan’s province; it lasted for only around two decades and the Ru Guanyao brush washer bowl was only one of the six ceramics examples from the Ru ceramics that were auctioned since 1940.