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TAJAN jewellery auction: interview with the Expert!

Broche haute joaillerie Hawaï 1940 en saphirs jaunes et bleu ciel de Van Cleef and Arpels - Lot 47 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

1940 Hawaii brooch, yellow and blue sapphires, Van Cleef and Arpels – Lot 47 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

The TAJAN auction sale for jewellery and watches will take place on 13 and 14 December at the Tajan’s in Paris.

The auction house TAJAN has launched the Paris Precious Week on December 8, 2016 with a series of events ending with a prestigious auction dedicated to jewellery and watches, there will be 3 sessions following several days of exhibition.

To know more about this auction, I met the in-house Expert, Mr. Jean-Norbert Salit in their private salons in Paris (37, rue des Mathurins).

Jean Norbert Salit, you are the jewellery expert for Tajan, a large French auction house, how did you become an expert?

Ever since I was a kid I knew that I wanted to work in Art! At the age of 18, I began spending time at Drouot Auction Sales and at age 23 I obtained my Diploma to the functions of Auctioneer. My life is made of encounters. I was lucky to meet Françoise Cailles, a great specialist of jeweller René Boivin, we were associates until the year 2000.

I then joined the Maison Pierre Bergé. In 2012, with great elegance, Françoise Cailles came to offer me to work with her at Tajan. She wanted someone to pass the job to and I was crazy enough to accept! Françoise Cailles eventually left the company not long ago and we have kept a great deal of mutual respect which probably explains why we are often associated to one another.

Can you explain what you do?

My role is to identify the material, the stones and the jewel. To give a “period identity” to the jewel. It starts with the magnifying glass, observing the the punches and refering to my knowledge of gemmology. Knowing how to date a jewel is very important to estimate its value: a jewel may have an Art Deco style but a contemporary manufacture and its price will not be the same at all.

The expert is much like an arbitrator, and an antique dealer, he gives an estimation but the real price is given in the auction room by the law of the market, of supply and demand as well as by the quality of the people present.

During a valuation, people may have high expectations but it is a profession for which one must always remain humble.

The expert’s work is carried out independently, individually, in the solitude of the expert facing the object. We sometimes have doubts about a valuation but nothing is left to chance. We do research, we take advice and often we have the stones evaluated in  laboratories in order to confirm its characteristics. This can change the valuation, even after the analysis of an expert eye!

My job also involves traveling to meet collectors. The advantage of being part of an organised team is to be able to spend time to meet major buyers. Some are ready to fight to acquire exceptional pieces!

Are there jewellery auctions all year round?

As in most auction houses, there are four jewellery sales per year, two of which are more important in June and December, attracting merchants and collectors from around the world.

Collier joaillerie Tajan draperie diadème1890 décor de muguet Lot 178 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

1890 diadem necklace with lily of the valley ornamentation – Lot 178 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

What brands and periods are most often presented?

We love the “noble period” of jewellery, the Art Deco period that ends in the early 1930s  according to purists. A prosperous period for jewellery with masters such as Fouquet, Lalique, Suzanne Belperron, René Boivin and Raymond Templier.

A creative and auspicious period for the great Maisons that have developed and spread world wide the French know-how of jewellery and high jewellery. A happy and festive period during which one could wear a jewel without fear. In Paris, the party was in full swing and it was expected not to adorn the same jewellery twice.

The contemporary jewel is also very interesting. Jewellery from the 40s to the 70s is back in fashion and some collectors travel the world in search of rare items.

Joaillerie Tajan Rare bague Tulipe Cartier - Dinh Van années 60 lapis-lazuli - Lot 48 ©BérengèreTreussard2016.JPG

Rare Tulip ring, lapis-lazuli, Cartier-Dinh Van, 1960s – Lot 48 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

In a few weeks will be held the “Paris Precious Week”, can you tell us more about this concept?

The Paris Precious Week is a concept created at the initiative of the Maison Tajan to highlight an important event such as the prestigious auction sales and in particular those for jewellery and watches. Like the Paris Fashion Week, it was important to highlight Art and especially Precious art. The event includes is a conference, a several day jewellery and watch exhibition and the possibility to have your jewellery valuated for free by an expert on Sunday, December 11. Here is the hashtag to follow us on social networks: #ParisPreciousWeek

What is the topic of the conference on December 8th, 2016?

This year we celebrate the Atelier Pery and its 138 years of history from its foundation in 1875 until the purchase in 2012 by Van Cleef and Arpels. The conference will be hosted by Parisian jeweller Brigitte Pery, who led the workshop for nearly 40 years and who will share her experience of collaborating with the great Maisons of the Place Vendôme.

Brigitte Pery, elegant and chic Parisienne, is also a business woman who managed the   jewellery studio all these years. She can tell us about everything we never see: a Parisian workshop supplier and partner of great jewellers, anecdotes about molds, instruments, models, drawings and a unique know-how.

I am very admiring of women who work in jewellery. At the time they couldn’t really express themselves, however they will be remembered for their audacity and creativity, such as Jeanne Toussaint, Director of Cartier in the 1930s, Jeanne Boivin, Suzanne Belperron, Renée Rachel Puissant, Artistic Director of VCA, Elsa Schiaparelli Brigitte Pery is one of these women who have made the history of jewellery. While she inherits a Maison founded by her great-grandfather at a time when “Pery & Daughters” was inconceivable, she did not cease to perpetuate the know-how of this great workshop known as Pery & Sons!

The conference will take place on Thursday, December 8 at 7 pm, by reservation only.  A unique and long awaited moment (reservation: +33 1 53 30 30 24 or – limited places)

Which major pieces will be presented at the auction sales on December 13 and 14, 2016?

First and foremost, this important brooch, as rare as it its size is exceptional, made of yellow and blue sapphires, by the Maison Van Cleef and Arpels, inspired by the famous Hawaii brooch which was ordered by the Duchess of Windsor in 1938 and endowed with an ingenious system which allows you to wear the jewel as a necklace or bracelet on a gold chain.

Two rather exceptional stones:

  • An unheated Burmese ruby set on a ring dated 1910 of about 5.50 cts with a certificate  from the SSEF laboratory, valued between 50 000 euros and 80 000 euros (Lot 180)
  • An unheated Ceylan sapphire set on a 10.71 cts diamond paved ring with a LFG laboratory certificate (lot 418)
  • Unheated Ceylan sapphire ring of 10,71 cts - Lot 418 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

    Unheated Ceylan sapphire ring of 10,71 cts – Lot 418 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

Two beauty and/or cigar boxes made by the Maison Cartier with exquisite sceneries of Persian inspiration on gilded metal.

Cartier cigar box with Persian decoration- Lot 6 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

Cartier cigar box with Persian decoration- Lot 6 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

A necklace by Fouquet, a brooch by Lalique with a charming round peridot, a diamond bracelet by Lacloche, an amethyst necklace by Suzanne Belperr, a ring by Lorenz Baumer, as well as the famous Gekko bracelet.

More very beautiful jewels by Jean Vendome, this brooch by Raymond Templier and this rather sumptuous diadem necklace.

Brooch by Raymond Templier - Lot 181 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

Brooch by Raymond Templier – Lot 181 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

With the festive season approaching, do you have any Christmas gift suggestions for our readers ?

December sales always reach a large audience and are always important as the holiday season approaches, collectors and merchants-collectors never miss the event! For individuals and neophytes, there are very beautiful selections of signed jewellery, Buccellati bracelets and lace rings for example, we also have rings by Cartier, Dinh Van in its debuts or even pieces from Van Cleef and Arpels’ Alhambra collections, much sought-after as we speak!

Tourbillon ring dated 1930, diamond of 4.82 ct J SI1 - Lot 212 BérengèreTreussard2016

Tourbillon ring dated 1930, diamond of 4.82 ct J SI1 – Lot 212 ©BérengèreTreussard2016

Can you recall a memorable auction?

Without going too far back, I remember in 2013 the auction of a ruby 8.70 cts for more than one million one hundred thousand euros while everyone was betting on forty thousand euros, outstanding!

To mention another memorable event – indeed there were more than one in my career – there was also the auction of the world’s most expensive ruby that we sold in 1989 with my partner at the time Françoise Cailles, the equivalent of 2 million euros for 10.01 cts of unheated Burmese ruby! This sale has really impressed me, making me want to understand why ruby is so mysterious. I think I still have much to learn…

Finally, I still remember a necklace of natural black pearls that reached the equivalent of one million two hundred thousand euros in 2005 with Pierre Bergé.

Last question, what are your tips for making a “good deal” at an auction?

The word “bargain” is to be banished! The expression “purchase of heart” should be preferred when it comes to acquiring objects that have been sought-after for a long time. One must always keep in mind that a jewel that goes into an auction sale, contrary to what one may think, is available only once… If you have the chance to see your dream object, buy it! Even if it goes beyond the expert’s valuation – which is in all cases a reference to keep in mind – follow your instinct because the “bad deal of today could be the good deal of tomorrow”! In short, treat yourself without hesitation! I never mention the term investment, I like to think that one can be protector of heritage beyond the idea of added value … The auction sales will help you get an idea of the prices, for the rest you have to trust yourself!

Second-hand sales are no substitute for the market of new creations. It is necessary to respect the new market, the investments made there by high jewellery Maisons act as protectors of French know-how. I like to value French-made jewellery such as the beautiful objects made by Schlumberger for Tiffany, Belperron NYC, Piaget, Chopard and so many others that make our Parisian workshops live!

Thank you Jean-Norbert, for my part I already have a few favourites, the 1960s Night & Day earrings for instance, and I believe I’m not be the only one!

Auction sales at “Espace Tajan”: 

13 & 14 December 2016

Exhibition to the public:

Friday, December 9, 2016 from 10 am to 6 pm

Saturday 10 December and Sunday 11 December 2016 from 11 am to 7 pm

(window displays may be opened for trying on)

Monday 12 December 2016 from 10 am to 12.30 pm

Tuesday 13 and 14 December 2016 from 10 am to 12 noon

Expert Jean-Norbert Salit

+33 1 53 30 30 77

Portrait of Jean-Norbert Salit – Jewellery Expert

Portrait of Jean-Norbert Salit – Jewellery Expert

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