Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

    The Farnese Blue

    After three centuries in the same family one of the foremost historic diamonds – The Farnese Blue – will come to market  for the first time in history this spring. Given to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766), worn on a diadem that formerly belonged to the last Queen of France, Marie-Antoinette (1755-1791), the legendary diamond has subsequently passed down through four of the most important royal families in Europe: Spain, France, Italy and Austria. Witness to 300 years of European history the diamond has travelled across the continent for centuries.  It was kept secretly in a royal casket.  Few knew of its existence. The 6.16-carat pear shaped blue diamond will be offered in Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva on May 15 2018 with an estimate of US$ 3.7 – 5.3 million.

    Blue has often been identified as the colour of the Kings and in the 17 and 18th centuries, blue diamonds were viewed as the ultimate royal gift. Like the famous Hope and Wittelsbach diamonds, the Farnese Blue was certainly found in the famed Golconda mines of India, which was the sole source of diamonds until the discoveries in Brazil in the 1720’s.

    David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland, said: “It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India. This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in colour is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope diamond.”.



    Saturday, February 10th, 2018
    Property from the life and career of music legend Prince will come up live and online at Julien’s Auctions, Hollywood on May 19. The seven-time, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter’s personal collection of signature wardrobe, guitars and memorabilia feature as part of Juliens two day auction on May 18 and 19, with Prince and historical items by other music legends to be announced later on May 19.  Highlights include a Schecter “White Cloud” electric guitar commissioned by Prince in 2002 and styled as the same guitar first made known in the film Purple Rain (Warner Bros., 1984) designed by Dave Rusan and gifted to a Paisley Park employee ($10,000-$20,000); a custom electric blue ensemble (pictured) worn on stage in a 1999 performance pay per view concert at Paisley Park with Lenny Kravitz ($40,000-$50,000); a custom two piece purple glitter outfit worn on the Jam of the Year and New Power Soultour (1997-1998); Prince’s two piece Devoré costume worn in his role as Christopher Tracy in the film Under the Cherry Moon($8,000-$10,000); a custom-made floor-length red tunic with high slits on each side with a pair of custom-made red satin booties with “Andre #1” label and zips with Prince‘s signature love symbol ($10,000-$20,000) and a black velvet sequined coat worn by Prince during his performance at Studio 54 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 2, 1999 ($10,000-$20,000).


    Thursday, January 25th, 2018

    The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life has made a collection of early travel and tourism posters, used to promote Ireland in the infancy of the tourism sector, available to view online for the first time.

    The posters form part of the National Folklife Collection and were previously on display at the museum in the exhibition Come Back to Erin: Irish Travel Posters of the 20th Century, which was curated by the late Dr Séamas Mac Philib.

    A number feature images that have become almost iconic representations of a romantic Ireland which marketers were keen to promote throughout the 1900s. The Museum collected the posters to help inform the story of Irish folk culture from 1850 to 1950, which is represented in the Country Life branch in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.


    Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

    THIS Colombian emerald pendant sold for 70,000.

    The jewellery of Hollywood film star Maureen O’Hara attracted competitive bidding at Sheppard’s sale in Durrow today. An 18 carat white gold brilliant cut 8.3 carat diamond ring with baguette diamond shoulders sold for 120,000 at hammer.  A solitaire 5.03 carat diamond ring made a hammer price of 46,000.

    A natural Colombian emerald pendant made 46,000 and a Colombian emerald and brilliant cut diamond bangle sold for 70,000.  Her full length Dior white mink coat made 2,800 at hammer.

    (See post on for November 26)


    Sunday, November 26th, 2017

    Maureen O’Hara’s Christian Dior full length white mink coat comes up at Sheppards sale in Durrow next Wednesday. Trimmed with Arctic fox fur and lined with silk it represents the pinnacle of Hollywood glamour and luxury.  The west Cork collection of the Hollywood actress, who died in 2015, includes diamond rings and  a Colombian emerald pendant and bangle.

    The two day sale next Tuesday and Wednesday also features the collection of former President Mary Robinson  who is downsizing from Massbrook Lodge in Mayo to Dublin.  Viewing in Durrow is from 10 am to 5 pm today, tomorrow and Monday.

    Maureen O’Hara’s Dior mink coat.  UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,800 AT HAMMER

    An 18 carat white gold brilliant cut diamond ring owned by Maureen O’Hara with a centre diamond of 8.3 carats (100,000-150,000)  UPDATE: THIS MADE 120,000 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

    The Art of de Grisogono

    A diamond necklace featuring a flawless 163-carat diamond – the largest of its kind to be auctioned – sold for $33.5 million at Christie’s in Geneva. The colourless diamond was taken from a 404-carat stone found in Angola. The finished piece, made from white gold, diamond and emeralds, was designed by Swiss jewellery maker de Grisogono. It took more than 1,700 hours to make.

    The necklace, named The Art of de Grisogono, sold for $29.5 million plus $4 million premium – exceeding pre-sale predictions of $30 million.  The auction followed a series of public viewings in Hong Kong, London, Dubai and New York.


    Thursday, November 9th, 2017

    Maria Cregan’s manuscript.

    An autograph letter journal by Maria Cregan, with an eyewitness account of the Easter Rising, comes up at Bonhams in London on November 15. Her day to day account opens as follows:  I went with Carrie Slacke and her son Randal to Sugarloaf Mountain for the Easter holiday… At Harcourt Street the first thing I noticed was a wrecked motor car opposite the station and rather many people about but also that there were no trams. I walked towards Stephen’s Green and asked had there been an accident and was told there had been a rising of Sinn Feiners. They had taken the College of Surgeons and the Green, had dug trenches in the green, barricaded the streets with all kinds of vehicles &c and had run up the Republican Flag on the College of Surgeons (this last I could see myself from the corner of Cuffe Street). I asked a man who was standing with a bicycle if I could get through, but he said it was too dangerous and even as he spoke a volley rang out…”

    There are entries made for each day from Tuesday April 25 to Friday May 6, 1916.  The ten pages on thin office style paper, signed and dated Maria J. Cregan, May 6, 1916 carry an estimate of £700-900.  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £1,875


    Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

    THE DONNERSMARCK DIAMONDS- image courtesy Sotheby’s

    The Donnersmarck Diamonds, a pair of extraordinary Fancy Intense Yellow diamonds with impeccable aristocratic provenance, will come up at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 15   Formerly in the collection of the princely family von Donnersmarck they consist of a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 102.54 carats, and a pear-shaped diamond weighing 82.47 carats to be offered as a single lot.  The pair is estimated at $9-14 million.

    David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said: “These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata. Ten years ago, they were the star of the show when we launched our very first sale dedicated to Noble Jewels here in Geneva. I am delighted to mark a decade of success by presenting these exceptional diamonds once again”.

    The Donnersmarck Diamonds were part of the collection of La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819-1884), arguably the most famous of 19th-century French courtesans, whose vertiginous trajectory from modest circumstances in her native Russia to the highest circles of European aristocracy was sensational. Her second husband was Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916), one of Europe’s richest men.  In 1855, shortly after they became a couple, La Païva purchased a building plot on the Champs Elysées. Hotel La Païva was to be one of the most lavish mansions ever built there.  La Païva’s lavish parties and literary gatherings soon became the most talked-about events in Paris, often attended by the likes of Gustave Flaubert, Émile Zola, the artist Eugène Delacroix and even the Emperor himself.  The diamonds remained in the family for more than a century until they came up at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2007.  They have been in a private collection for the past ten year.


    Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

    The Raj Pink

    The Raj Pink, the world’s largest known fancy intense pink diamond at 37.3 carats, comes up at Sotheby’s sale of mangificent and noble jewels in Geneva on November 15.

    The rough diamond which yielded the stone was studied for over a year after its discovery in 2015. A master cutter crafted it into a sparkling cushion modified brilliant cut stone.  The Raj Pink was named by the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. It is based on the Sanskrit word for King.  The estimate of $20-30 million.


    Sunday, August 27th, 2017

    The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland booth featuring seven Irish makers won the best curation award at the Accent on Design Awards at this years NYNOW.   The booth w0wed visitors from throughout the US and more than 80 countries.  The seven brands it featured are Arran Street East, Avoca Woollen Mills, Bunny and Clyde, Field Apothecary, J. Hill’s Standard, Stable of Ireland and Diem Pottery.  Each is featured on, the online platform developed by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

    Bunny and Clyde nursery and children furniture

    A selection of products form Arran Street East