By Brecken Branstrator
This Van Cleef & Arpels late Art Deco ruby and diamond bracelet sold for $504,000 at the Bonhams New York Fine Jewelry sale last week, just topping its highest pre-sale estimate of $500,000.
New York—Diamonds and Art Deco shone brightly during the recent auction of an Olympic champion’s expansive jewelry collection.

On Sept. 21, Bonhams New York offered jewelry from the estate of Katherine Domyan, two-time gold medalist, as part of its Fine Jewelry sale.

Domyan was born in Budapest, Hungary, the daughter of two-time Olympic champion water polo player Marton Homonnai and Hungarian swimming champion Katalin Szoke.

She competed in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics at the age of 17, winning two gold medals and setting world records, and won gold again at the 1954 European Aquatics Championships in Turin, Italy.

Domyan and the man who would become her husband, Arpad, also an accomplished athlete, both competed in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

After the ‘56 Games ended, Domyan and dozens of other Hungarian athletes defected, declining to return home to Soviet rule. They were stranded in Australia until Sports Illustrated magazine stepped in to help, and were granted political asylum in the United States in late 1956.

She moved to the United States in 1957 and married Arpad four years later. In the U.S., the couple built a successful real estate business, building offices and apartment complexes nationwide.

Domyan died in October 2017 at the age of 82.

When her jewelry went up on the block last week in New York, her Art Deco and diamond pieces proved to be the most popular.

Her jewelry lots were led by an Art Deco-era ruby and diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. The piece featured a geometric openwork design centered on three rectangular-shaped emerald-cut rubies, flanked by half-moon-shaped diamonds and set throughout with baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds accented by calibré-cut rubies.

It went for $504,500, just topping its pre-sale high estimate of $500,000.

Following that was Domyan’s Harry Winston necklace circa 1984, pictured below, featuring 86.30 carats of diamonds, which went for $492,500, falling within its pre-sale estimate of $350,000- $550,000.

20180925 Winston necklace

This was followed by the Harry Winston ring seen below.

The ring, circa 1985, centered on an emerald-cut diamond weighing 23.13 carats flanked by trillion-shaped diamonds and set in platinum. It sold for $444,500, topping a pre-sale estimate of $250,000 -$350,000.

20180925 Winston ring

Another of the top lots was a second Harry Winston fringe necklace, this one with a total diamond weight of 66.20 carats, which sold for $ 324,500.

Domyan’s David Webb jewelry also was in high demand at the sale, according to Bonhams.

Top lots included a rock crystal, diamond and ruby bangle that sold for $70,000; an emerald and diamond necklace that garnered $75,000; and a pair of enamel and diamond cuffs, which sold for $56,250, exceeding their pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.

The collection ended up selling 59 lots for a total of $2.9 million.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.