‘Cathedral Window’ opal fires up $86,500

LOS ANGELES – Bonhams $1.9 million spring auction of Gems, Minerals & Lapidary Works of Art, May 21 in Los Angeles, was highlighted by “Lost Love,” a carved gem aquamarine, diamond, platinum and gold sculpture by award-winning, American goldsmith and jewelry designer Henry Dunay that brought $170,500. The object of art, handcrafted between 2005 and 2006, features a female figure entirely of 18-karat gold, embracing the 1288_webaquamarine. Another lapidary work of art by Dunay, a rock crystal quartz and yellow gold mounted presentation bowl of a boat-shaped outline, carved from a single piece of flawless rock crystal quartz, also sold well in the sale, bringing $68,500.

Also of importance in the sale was the Greer-Black-Prudhomme Dragster model, the first carved ruby scale-model of a dragster to ever be featured at public auction, that brought $146,500. It was modeled after the famed Greer-Black-Prudhomme Dragster, raced by Don “The Snake” Prudhomme; the model was carved by designer Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio from solid panels of ruby, and is detailed with Obsidian tires, a gold vermeil engine and a polished rock crystal wind screen.

The portion of the sale featuring Unmounted Gemstones & Exotic Gemstone Jewelry, including the “100 Carats Club,” held many of the sale’s star lots. They included a nearly-400 carat yellow beryl – of the “100 Carats Club” – from the Ukraine, featured in a Gemological Institute of America exhibition for more than three years, that brought $68,500; a large 25.8 carat spessartite garnet of a deep orange hue from Burma, that sold for $62,500; and a 382.28 carat spessartite garnet and gold necklace, featuring 90 cabochon spessartite garnets from Tanzania, originally purveyed by the Idar-Oberstein house of Wild & Petsch, and mounted by Dallas society jeweler Carter Malouf, that realized $62,500.

1398webFurther highlights included a large gold nugget from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, featuring a warm buttery patina with rugged texture over the majority of its surface and worn smooth along one edge, that brought $116,500; and a rare natural saltwater pearl from the Turban snail of the Sea of Cortez, with a strong pink and green orient and fine luster, that sold for $62,500.

For more information on Bonhams’ natural history sales, visit www.bonhams.com or call 323-436-5437.

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About Antoinette Rahn

Antoinette Rahn is the former online editor and content manager for Antique Trader. She has a penchant for collecting petroliana, vintage advertising items, Irish collectibles and general Americana. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Tom.