A signature on a Victorian brooch, meaning it could be by one of the best known cameo engravers, saw it sell for £17,200 at an online auction yesterday, greatly exceeding its auction estimate of £200.
Bill Nelson from 1818 Auctioneers says bidders were confident that the quality work of the head of a Greek emperor on the agate brooch must be that of Giuseppe Cerbara although it was simply signed Cerbara.
There was strong interest in lot 91, offered up in 1818 Auctioneers online timed auction, particularly from bidders in Hong Kong. The brooch was eventually bought by a specialist antique jewellery shop in the UK when the auction closed yesterday (Sunday 7 June).
“It’s a record for us for a single item of jewellery and, topping £58,000, it was record jewellery sale for us too,” said saleroom manager Bill Nelson.
“It shows the new virtual format is not putting buyers off, with viewings being limited to appointment only if people can make it in person.
“The brooch, which measures about 33mm wide by 42mm high, was entered into the sale by a local person who wishes to remain anonymous,” added Bill.
The brooch, in a plain yellow metal mount marked CERBARA, tested as 15ct gold. Cameo refers to a style where a raised profile is set on a background of hard or precious gemstone.
Bill Nelson says cameo brooches have been popular through the centuries, and particularly with Victorians, and cameo jewellery is back in fashion today. Actresses Cate Blanchett and Sarah Jessica Parker have been photographed wearing cameo earrings and a necklace.