Fine jewelry, fashions, decorative arts go up for bid Feb. 11

From iconic Bulgari jewelry to Georg Jensen silver, rare Versace designs and more, a Jasper52 online auction of Jewelry & Decorative Arts Inspired by Miami Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 11, features the best in jewelry, decorative art and fashion.

Signed David Webb diamond and enamel bracelet, Animal Kingdom Collection, 1990s, 18K gold, platinum, enamel, diamonds, rubies. Estimate: $42,000-$50,000. Jasper52 image

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Couture fashion online auction Feb. 4 covers head to toe

A Jasper52 auction of couture fashion – gowns, dresses, boots and bags – will be conducted online on Tuesday, Feb. 4, beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Blass, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Hermes are a few of the fashion designers represented in this carefully curated auction.

Prada jacquard hobo-style bag with red trim, early 2000s, excellent condition, 14½in long.
Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

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Cuff links: personality you wear on your sleeve

NEW YORK – If clothes make the man, then cuff links make a statement. Whether bold or understated, cuff links are alive with personality just by being worn.

Fashions change. Prior to the Middle Ages, men’s fashion depended on the skill of textile weaving and availability of clothing, particularly open tunics, that were comfortable, able to be kept clean and affordable. Special adornment was left to those with much more disposable income.

An example of an enamel double-panel cuff links where usually only one side of a cuff link is shown, here both sides are noticeable connected by a short chain. This is the style of cuff link most prized by collectors. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

After the Middle Ages, that special adornment around the neck and wrists was usually colored ribbon, frills or buttons. This is the precursor to neckties and cuff links. As the 19th century progressed, more formal wear included starched collars and sleeves, particularly around the wrists. Buttons were no longer able to secure them effectively. Enter cuff links.

It’s not clear what the first cuff links were made of, but it seems that those with means produced these “sleeve buttons” from gold, silver and even jewels, according to The History of Cuff Links by The Industrial Revolution democratized the use of cuff links, so more of the middle class were able to afford them using quartz and rhinestones in place of jewels and polished metals like steel or brass instead of silver and gold.

As time progressed, cuff links took on many forms, styles and design. During the Art Deco period of the 1920s, for example, enameled cuff links took hold in that unique style. “…[E]arly craftsmen such as Faberge, Tiffany and Cartier began to use enamel to create unique cuff link styles,” according to a online article. These early enamel cuff links are highly valued by collectors today, especially if signed by an artist such as Jean Schlumberger, who designed jewelry exclusively for Tiffany & Co. from 1956 until the late 1970s.

Vintage Tiffany & Co. blue enamel and 18K gold double panel cuff links with chains that are signed ‘SCHLUMBERGER TIFFANY,’ stamped and numbered, that sold for $3,200 inclusive of buyer’s premium in 2018. Image courtesy of Fortuna Auction and LiveAuctioners

Designing cuff links is a challenge, particularly double panel versions where each cuff link has a special design on both sides. Each design, while different, must complement each other in a very small space, fit directly against the sleeve, and be able to be held together perfectly. It must also appeal to the wearer as fanciful and fashionable at the same time. It’s difficult making something uniquely fashionable to be functional as well.

For cuff links to be functional, there needs to be a way to connect it through a starched sleeve and tighten it enough to close the sleeves together snugly. As it happens, there are 21 different ways to do just that, according to the website Collectors are most familiar with the type that is the fixed back where the post (the raised piece of metal that slides into the sleeve’s button hole) is attached to the reverse and does not move. To fasten the cuff link, a stationary toggle is attached at the end of the post which keeps the cuff link from slipping out of the sleeve.

While the post doesn’t move, sometimes the toggle at the end does. There are different shapes designed to keep the cuff link secure such as a cylinder shape called a bullet back, a whale back that looks like the flukes of a whale’s tail, or a torpedo shaped toggle that is fixed to the post. Sometimes the post is angled at a 45-degree angle with a moveable toggle at the end.

Pair of cobalt blue lapis lazuli cuff links from Bulgari showing the swivel-style post that sold for $913 inclusive of buyer’s premium in 2016. Image courtesy of Fellows and LiveAuctioneers

There are also cuff links that use a chain to connect them, others with the shape of a barbell, and the most collectible are the double panel cuff links where each front and back of a cuff link is a unique enamel design connected by a chain. And there are other posts used to secure cuff links, more unique then the next.

It is also the design of the cuff link that provides a palette for uniqueness in style. Hardly any two cuff links are alike, much like snowflakes it seems. Many manufacturers like Krementz and Swank produce reasonably priced cuff links available to those with a fashion statement, but without the need for the detailed designer touch. Geometric, figural, whimsical and unique shapes are just as fashionable. Personality need not be costly.

Bulgari, Tiffany & Co. and Cartier are jewelers extraordinaire with personal lines of cuff links unique to their style and sophistication. Gucci, Hermes, Burberry and other fashion lines feature cuff links as part of their overall fashion sense, too. It is possible for a collector to feature their entire collection on one fashion house or jeweler.

Every U.S. president since John F. Kennedy in 1961 has provided a visitor with a set of cuff links featuring the presidential seal similar to this gold-tone set provided by President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s that recently sold for $636 inclusive of buyer’s premium. Image courtesy of RR Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Cuff links are also a badge of office. It is no wonder that the president of the United States has given a set of cuff links featuring the seal of office since the administration of John F. Kennedy in 1961. Each president has had a unique version of cuff link featuring a swivel and fixed posts with enamel, die cast and cobalt blue. At times, sterling silver and different karats of gold have been featured in a pair of presidential cuff links. Kings, queens and all manner of government officials and organizations also offer unique sets of cuff links to visitors as a memento.

There are many ways to create a cuff link collection. Design, color, presentation, element, era, and uniqueness all play a part in what a pair of cuff links represent – you.

“It’s my passion,” says Gene Klompus, a cuff link collector. “I wear cuff links at every opportunity. I look for excuses to wear them. They’re great for business too. They’re great conversation starters.”

Jasper52 plans exclusive Hermes auction Dec. 4

Jasper52 will host an auction of Hermes Holiday Fashion on Wednesday, Dec. 4. This all-Hermes auction offers beautiful and affordable accessories for everyone.

The 254-lot auction opens with a rare Hermes Picotin Lock 22cm Bleu Blue Indigo handbag featured in matte Porosus crocodile (below). New or never worn, this versatile bag comes with its lock and keys, sleeper and signature Hermes box (estimate $36,000-$43,000).

Hermes Picotin Lock 22cm Bleu Blue Indigo handbag in matte Porosus crocodile. Estimate: $36,000-$43,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Scores of Hermes bags offered in Jasper52 auction Oct. 30

Jasper52 will host a Rare and Coveted Designer Accessories auction on Wednesday, Oct. 30. This online auction offers some of the world’s rarest and most coveted designer accessories. From one-of-a-kind Birkin bags to limited edition jewelry designs, these lots cannot be found anywhere else.

Gold Hermes 40cm Bolide Monster Shark bag, comes with lock, key, clochette, sleeper and signature Hermes box. Estimate: $30,000-$36,000. Jasper52 image

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Luxury fashions & accessories on Jasper52 runway Sept. 16

Jasper52 will present 100 lots of luxury fashions and accessories by such esteemed houses as Christian Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Hermes in an online auction on Monday, Sept. 16. Most of these coveted designer finds – handbags, clothing and shoes – are in never-worn or like-new condition.

Hermes Birkin 35 in chartreuse, Togo leather lush with gold hardware, clean with light wear noted, 14in. long x 11in. high x 7in. deep with 5in. handles. Estimate: $14,000-$17,000. Jasper52 image

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Whiting & Davis mesh bags always in vogue

NEW YORK – Paired with the quintessential little black dress for an evening function, Whiting & Davis metallic mesh bags are so striking they can become the jewelry in one’s outfit all by themselves. Having clean lines and a shimmering metallic surface, these small silk-lined purses have been favorite accessories by fashionistas for decades. The bags, usually featuring sterling silver chain mesh or golden vermeil, had hand-engraved frames and were often decorated with colorful gemstones.

A 14K Whiting & Davis mesh purse made $750 in June 2019. Photo courtesy of Kamelot Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

These diminutive bags can’t hold much – maybe a pair of keys and a modern cell phone – but they pack a big style punch. At the height of their popularity, the company was selling a million bags a year, which have been embraced by women from all walks of life. While popular for decades, Whiting Davis mesh bags were especially fashionable during the disco era of the 1970s especially apropos when worn with a Halston lamé jumpsuit.

William H. Wade, Edward P. Davis and Louis Heckman founded the Wade Davis & Co. in 1876 in Plainville, Mass. Whiting came up with the design for their first mesh bag in 1892, with all rings formed and joined by hand. Four years later, he and Davis launched a partnership and renamed the firm as it the Whiting & Davis Co. For two decades, groups of women in the factory would work, linking chain rings together by hand, reportedly doing about 1,000 rings a day. The turning point in the company’s history came in 1912 with the advent of a machine that automated the mesh-making process. The company is America’s oldest handbag manufacturer and in the mid-1920s was said to also be one of the country’s biggest manufacturing firms. It had offices in New York, Chicago and Canada at the time and today is still selling American-made products from its headquarters in Massachusetts.

These two antique Whiting & Davis mesh purses brought $1,300 in August 2013. Photo courtesy of Gulfcoast Coin & Jewelry and LiveAuctioneers

Vintage fashion dealer Elaine Klausman of Vintage With a Twist in Bedford, N.Y., said people love the squishy feel of these bags and their style is so universal, they look great with jeans or an evening dress. “They have a very high fashion look that has lasted through the years,” she said.

Styles and sizes have varied for these mesh bags over the years, but most had a flat or a V-shaped bottom, sometimes adorned with a row of fringe hanging off the bottom. They were often set with a sapphire in the clasp. While gold and silver bags were the company’s bread and butter early on, colorful bags were also offered in later decades. A vintage ad from 1939-40 offered such items as “a graceful Whiting and Davis Beadlite pouch bag with chain,” silk-lined and in red, blue or green for $1.75 or a “new style mesh bag … choice of Armor or Beadlite mesh in gold or silver” in non-tarnishing mesh for $2.25. These bags today routinely sell for several hundred dollars each, while rare examples sometimes bring several thousand dollars.

This rare Whiting & Davis mesh purse with a colorful portrait advertising Moxie sold for $4,000 in October 2013. Photo courtesy Dan Morphy Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

“In the teens and early ’20s, Whiting & Davis bags are made of small precious metal rings and are unpainted for the most part, their striking designs coming from a mixture of metal colors, artfully joined rings and metal fringe,” according to a company history on its website. “By the end of the ’20s, flat Armor mesh painted in bold Deco designs and Dresden mesh, with its tiny rings silkscreened by hand in dreamy Impressionistic shades, take center stage.”

A flapper-era 14K gold mesh handbag by Whiting & Davis having a sapphire cabochon earned $850 in September 2018. Photo courtesy of Ashcroft & Moore and LiveAuctioneers

Successful partnerships in the 1930s with renowned designers Paul Poiret and Elsa Schiaparelli, further cemented the company’s reputation for quality purses, carried by flappers, movie stars and regular women. Poiret’s designs added “Parisian allure” to the bags while Schiaparelli debuted new and modern shaping.

This Whiting & Davis advertisement in the 1940s with actress Grace Kelly shows some of their mesh bags for sale. Photo courtesy of Whiting & Davis

After a production hiatus in the 1940s to support the war effort, the company returned to creating its iconic mesh handbags and soon embraced midcentury modern styling that was all the rage.

“Both Poiret and Schiaparelli were influential in changing the look of the purse,” said Lélia  Teixeira, sales manager of Whiting & Davis in Attleboro Falls, Mass. “Their designs turned the purses from ornamental delicate shapes to a more functional design that could be used to carry more than a key and handkerchief.”

‘Whiting & Davis Purses: The Perfect Mesh’ by Leslie Pena and Donald-Brian Johnson (available now from Schiffer Publishing, 610-593-1777,

Keeping current with fashion trends while providing timeless styling lies at the heart of the appeal of these mesh bags, which are still made in Massachusetts today.

“We believe that the Whiting & Davis appeal throughout the decades has been the quality, craftsmanship and the classical styles,” says Teixeira. “Whiting & Davis has always had the motto that our styles should be ‘hand in hand with fashion.’”

All things Hermès starring in Jasper52 auction July 31

“It’s not a bag, it’s a Birkin!” And Jasper52 will offer nearly 90 of these coveted items in an exclusive Hermès auction July 31. These iconic bags, rare accessories and home furnishings embody the rich history, expert craftsmanship and attention to detail the house of Hermès is celebrated for.

Hermès Birkin 35 Himalaya Blanc crocodile Palladium bag, new or never worn
Estimate $294,000-$353,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Luxury fashions auction packed with designer handbags July 2

Dozens of designer handbags are offered in a Jasper52 auction of luxury fashion accessories that will be conducted Tuesday, July 2. Chanel, Gucci, Spartina, Michael Kors, Judith Leiber, Louis Vuitton and Valentino are all represented in this 100-lot online auction.

Louis Vuitton Lockme leather shoulder bag in excellent condition. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

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Individual style key to luxury fashion online auction June 2

Fashion fades, style is eternal,” declared French designer Yves Saint Laurent, as evidenced by an online auction of vintage haute couture and luxury accessories to be conducted by Jasper52 Sunday, June 2. Few collections mirror the top-tier quality and breadth of this sale.

2003 Christian Dior haute-couture red beaded silk evening gown in excellent condition; no stains. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.