Eighties jewels beat estimates by 200% at Bonhams


Lots auctioned in 2010 failed to reach reserves.

Bright, bold and impactful Eighties jewellery is making a comeback according to auction house Bonhams, with pieces beating their sales estimates by up to 200% in some cases.

Despite being infamous for big hair and shoulder pads, the 1980s is proving particularly popular with jewellery collectors seeking out gold and diamond pieces from key designers.

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According to Bonhams, 1980s jewellery pieces are achieving an average price 70% higher than estimated at auction, with some final sales prices beating estimates by 200%.

Recent sales include £11,000 for an amethyst and ametrine choker, and £17,000 for a moonstone and gem-set necklace, both by US designer Tony Duquette. Other sought after designers, whose pieces have tripled or quadrupled in value over recent months, include Paloma Picasso, Schlumberger, VCA, Cartier, Marina B, Bulgari, Aldo Chipulo for Cartier and Angela Cummings for Tiffany.

An 18ct gold and diamond necklace by Cartier estimated at around £5,000 sold for £11,600 earlier this month at Bonhams New York – up 103% on the guide price – while a diamond and coloured diamond, gem-set pendant from 1980 sold for £19,400 in the same auction, up 216% on the estimate.

In London, a gem-set bangle by Angela Cummings for Tiffany & Co, circa 1980, sold for £7,000, up 40% on its guide price.

By comparison, some lots of signed 1980s jewellery on sale in 2010 failed to reach their reserves.

Designs garnering the highest bids include oversized hoop and drop earrings, torque bangles and sprung-collar necklaces with abstract designs. Yellow gold pieces with colourful precious stones are the most popular at auction.

In a report by Bonhams, patrons about picking-up 1980s pieces to be worn rather than packed-away for investment purposes. However, the auction house admits that the value of signed pieces by leading designers of the period is likely to continue rising, therefore creating a positive investment opportunity.

Bonhams head of jewellery for the UK and Europe, Jean Ghika, commented: “There is definitely a feeling that these designs have been unappreciated, even as recently as four or five years ago.

“But many aspects of Eighties fashion are already making a serious comeback and so we’re seeing pieces that may have been gathering dust for the past 25 years on sale again. Now is definitely the moment to dig out any Eighties jewellery you might have hidden away in a box and have a look. It could be worth trying on again or selling if you’re still not convinced.”


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