Penzance Auction House has completed a hat-trick of world-record prices in just over a year with the sale of a Newlyn silver and enamelled necklace for £2.6k.
The record-beating item of jewellery purchased by an anonymous buyer was a hand-crafted chain hung with a central stylized seashell, enamelled in royal blue and graduating to pale turquoise.
It was further hung with a pair of smaller, blue-enamelled shells, with each shell featuring applied scrolling wire-work and bead-work.
The necklace was auctioned by Barbara Kirk, who explained: “The Newlyn enamel, from the late 19th Century, falls in between the well-known Newlyn copper genre and the less well-known Newlyn needlework.
“This goes back to the William Morris work ethic of hand craftsmanship as a rebellion against the mass production of Victorian times. He was regarded as the father of the arts and crafts movement. He passionately believed that the person who made something should be the person who had designed it.”
The enamel record-beater follows two earlier world records clocked up by Penzance Auction House owner and principal auctioneer David Lay, with a Bryan Pearce painting (£40k) and an enamelled champage label (£1.8k).
And Lay is anticipating that the Newlyn necklace record could quickly be broken at his next sale, on December 2 and 3.
“We have a similar one which appears to be even more impressive,” he said. “This one is set with moonstones as well as the enamel. It also has an arrangement of shell-shaped panels interspersed with moonstones.”
Other highlights for the December 2/3 sale include five pieces of fine emerald and diamond jewellery from Wartski, a leading London jewellery firm who have supplied to the Royal Family.
Lay, who is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of his auctioneering business, expects individual prices for the pieces to approach £5k.