Art&Antiques: Diamonds and sapphires good enough for Lady Gaga

Adam’s fine jewellery and watch sale includes picks by Irish designer Paula Rowan

It has been some month for Irish designer Paula Rowan, whose sumptuous gloves have received lots of press after featuring in the recent House of Gucci film. More than 20 pairs were commissioned by the Ridley Scott movie for the character of Patrizia Reggiani, played by one of the world's bestselling female artists, Stefani Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga. With fans who include actresses Helen Mirren and Julianne Moore it is not surprising that auction house Adam's asked Rowan to pick her favourite pieces from its latest fine jewellery and watches sale, and those are outlined in the catalogue, which is now online. The sale will take place on Tuesday in a live online sale with viewing this weekend until the morning of the auction at the saleroom on St Stephen's Green.

Many of the lots chosen by Rowan would work over a pair of the designer's gloves, as Gaga fashioned in the film, including some marvellous bracelets. Lot 109 is a super emerald, peridot and diamond piece in the shape of shamrocks (think chunky-funky rather than Darby O'Gill) at €8,000-€10,000 and lot 72; a fabulous line of gold, textured links by Georges Lenfant (€10,000-€15,000), who has been described as the unsung hero of 20th-century French jewellery. Having designed for houses Cartier, Hermès, Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef & Arpels, his work has, according to Claire-Laurence Mestrallet, who curated the sale, trebled in value over the past five years, especially when his mark features on pieces.

Another work by Lenfant for Van Cleef & Arpels is lot 65, which also caught Rowan’s eye. Designed as “a series of graduated textured gold curb links in 18k gold, and signed VCA and numbered, it also bears GL for the designer” of this rare necklace (€15,000-€20,000).


Mestrallet describes how the number of new clients has shot up over the past year as an increasing number of buyers “are particularly interested to purchase their jewellery at auction for sustainability concerns”. But value is also a selling point when buying at auction.


For men, or women who prefer to wear larger-sized watches, the sale has five Rolex timepieces including two Submariners – perfect for anyone wishing to dive to the depth of the Lusitania off the coast of Cork (€8,000-€12,000 apiece). Also in the watch section are two lovely pieces by Hermès; a gold-plated Heure H with a brown strap from 2021 (lot 1, €1,000-€1,500) and a stainless steel Cape Cod from 2020 with a black alligator strap (lot 5, €1,500-€1,800).

For more delicate wrists is a 1960s diamond cocktail watch by Jaeger-LeCoultre, from the great granddaughter of French actor Fernandel, who originally gave it to his wife for their 40th wedding anniversary. While more prominent in France, many may remember him from the Dubonnet ads from the 1960s imploring us to imbibe more of the fortified wine – said to be the preferred tipple of Queen Elizabeth (lot 66, €2,500-€3,500).

Top lots include some whopping diamonds, including a 5.41ct marquise-shaped stone whose colour and clarity is described as “exceptional” (lot 116, €180,000-€220,000), and an Asscher-cut diamond (5.20cts) flanked by baguette-cut diamond shoulders (lot 91, €45,000-€50,000).


Bulgari appears to be a brand consistently in demand at auction. At its September sale, a rare, retro sapphire-and-diamond Tubogas bracelet by the luxury Italian brand far exceeded its €10,000-€15,000 estimate, achieving €52,000 at Adam's. And a diamond brooch from the same period achieved €48,000 against its €18,000-€28,000 reserve. So lot 67, a pair of baguette-cut diamond earclips with 15 carats of sparklers estimated at €14,000-€18,000, may well draw international attention.

More fine jewels can be found through O’Reilly’s of Francis Street, which will host a timed online-only sale from Wednesday until Friday. Top lots include lot 474, a super, vintage solitaire diamond ring. With 4.81 carats it will certainly turn heads and is listed with an estimate of €38,500-€42,500.

With a whopping estimated 20 carats of diamonds, lot 456 is a diamond dress ring in bombe style with pave-set baguette-cut diamonds, mounted in yellow gold and listed at €18,000-€25,000. And lot 455, a Love bangle by Cartier may be just the ticket as a gift for the festive season (€3,200-€3,500).

This weekend, Hegarty’s of Bandon will host a timed online sale of 80 pieces of jewellery to suit all budgets. Along with an 18ct white gold Burmese ruby (2.29ct) and diamond cluster ring (lot 3, €4,000-€5,000); a gold peridot (2.8ct) and diamond hand-made ring and a white gold Burmese ruby (16.37ct) and diamond tennis bracelet (lot 54, €5,000-€6,000) is a graduated South Sea pearl necklace which was previously owned by the late actress Maureen O’Hara. The piece (lot 5), according to catalogue notes, comes with a certificate of authenticity and is listed at €5,200-€5,800.