By Ashley Davis
This Cartier Tutti Frutti carved gemstone bracelet smashed its pre-sale estimate high when it went for $1.34 million at auction, setting a record for an online jewelry auction.
New York—If one recent auction is any indication, the desire for luxury jewelry items is alive and well.

This week, in a single-lot online sale, Sotheby’s New York sold a Cartier “Tutti Frutti” bracelet to an undisclosed buyer for $1.34 million. The Art Deco piece was expected to earn between $600,000 and $800,000.

Its final price tag is the highest price for any jewel sold in an online auction, according to Sotheby’s, as well as highest price for any jewel sold at auction so far in 2020 by any house.

Cartier’s Tutti Frutti styles exemplify a western cultural fascination with Asia in the Art Deco period, Sotheby’s explained.

The first example of the work was Pierre Cartier’s necklace for Queen Alexandra in 1901. The wife of King Edward VII, she was the Empress Consort of India and desired an Indian-inspired style.

Pierre Cartier’s brother, Jacques Cartier, traveled to India in 1911. Inspired by the sights and cultures he encountered, he embarked on the Tutti Frutti collection in earnest, incorporating carved Mughal gemstones into geometric platinum, diamond and enamel patterns that exemplified Deco style.

Several jewels in this style were exhibited at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Fashionable women like Cole Porter and Daisy Fellowes became fans and collectors.

Each Tutti Frutti jewel is one-of-a-kind. This particular one boasts carved emeralds, rubies and sapphires set in platinum with diamonds, onyx and enamel.

“The result achieved for this bracelet is testament to the fact that, even under the most challenging of circumstances, the demand for great art endures,” Catharine Becket, Sotheby’s head of magnificent jewels auctions in New York, said in a statement.

The bracelet that sold this week hasn’t appeared at auction before. It was created circa 1930 and has been passed down through an American family for the last 30-plus years.

The family who sold it also sold the 35-carat Flagler Emerald at Sotheby’s in 2015, which shattered its $1 million to $1.5 million pre-sale estimate, selling for $2.8 million.

“Tutti Frutti jewels have always held a special allure for collectors, capturing the West’s fascination with the ‘exotic’ at a time when travel was relatively limited, much as it is today,” Becket added. “Now, of course, we can connect with the touch of a button, which allowed us to engage with bidders worldwide. We look forward to bringing more great jewels to the marketplace in the months ahead as we expand our calendar of online sales.”

Overall, Sotheby’s online jewelry sales in 2020 have sold 93 percent of lots for a total $7.4 million, above high-end sale estimates. Bidders hail from more than 30 countries and 30 percent of all bidders in 2020 were doing so for the first time with Sotheby’s.

TAGS:   Auctions
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