Rare brooch found among costume jewellery sells for nearly £40k

Dawsons jewellery specialist valuer Nicky Houston and the brooch which sold for nearly £40k

Dawsons jewellery specialist valuer Nicky Houston and the brooch which sold for nearly £40k - Credit: Dawsons

A brooch found among costume jewellery has been sold by a Hampstead auction house for £39,500.

A client came to Dawsons Auctioneers and Valuers' Heath Street office with the item in the summer of 2021.

They had no idea how valuable the piece would be as it had sat in a costume jewellery box in Berkshire for years.

The  French Art Deco platinum and multi-gem Egyptian revival pendant featured an image of a kneeling deity, mostly likely Isis.

After extensive bidding, the piece went to a telephone bidder from the US.

The piece was found by jewellery specialist valuer Nicky Houston, who said: “I was delighted when I went through the so called ‘costume jewellery’ to discover some amazing antique pieces.

"Included within the pieces was a fabulous Art Deco French Egyptian revival pendant set with ruby, emerald and diamonds within a black onyx border”.

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In the same estate Nicky found an antique Art Deco diamond bow brooch which sold for £3,100 and a French evening bag sold for £6,700.

She said: “Whenever we find these items, especially if their history has been lost by subsequent generations, it is a great privilege."

Dawsons quite often finds itself with Art Deco pieces, and commercial director Pete Liggins said: “Antique jewellery is a large part of our jewellery, silver and watches sales. Private customers frequently come into the Hampstead or Berkshire office to consign items for sale and a lot of the time they are antique pieces.”

The auction house also deals with other items, from fine art to motor vehicles. It has a team of experts, some of whom have appeared on television shows such as Cash in the Attic and Antiques Roadshow.

Since March 2020 all items are auctioned online or via telephone.

Pete said: “Rather than sticking to the traditional methods, we have gone wholly online.

"We use digital marketing, and we have a wide client base all over the world. It’s been the right move for us – it’s worked very well."