In Conversation With – Jewellery Specialist Charlotte Peel talks Diamonds, Art Deco & what to look o


We were delighted to welcome Jewellery Specialist, Charlotte Peel, to Chiswick Auctions last month. Charlotte joined us from Christie’s South Kensington, where she was a Jewellery specialist for five years. Charlotte trained at Christie’s Education (B.A. Hons) and holds a Masters in 17th century Italian painting from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Working at a world renowned private art collection in Geneva for five years, she then gained a Gemological degree from the GIA in New York.

Ahead of the forthcoming Jewellery auction on 21 November, we talk to Charlotte about diamonds, designers to watch, jewellery that she can't live without and what to look out for when buying at auction.

What attracted you to the world of Jewellery?

I started out studying Art History, and knew I wanted to go into the auction world but couldn’t quite settle on a specialist subject. I was lucky enough to work for a private art collector for a few years who received every auction catalogue there is and it soon became obvious that Jewellery catalogues were the ones I looked forward to most. I could spend hours looking at every piece. I just really like sparkly things!

Is there a piece of jewellery that you could not live without?

That’s easy; it would have to be my engagement ring and wedding band. The engagement ring was left to my husband by his grandmother, which makes it even more special.

diamond single-stone ring

A diamond single-stone ring, 4.32 carats. Realised £14,760 (incl buyer's premium), September 2017.

What is your most memorable work moment to date?

It would have to be an Art Deco blue diamond ring I valued a few years ago. It came in on a general valuation day with some other smaller pieces, so my first thought was aquamarine. It wasn’t long before I realised what I was looking at and we sent it to New York for a GIA certificate to confirm the colour. The client had it ensured for around £2,000 and wore it almost every day. It ended up almost tripling its pre-sale estimate and selling for over £100,000 (inc. premium). To say the client was over the moon would be an understatement.

Do you have a favourite designer?

There are so many amazing jewellers right now it’s hard to choose one. I really admire a lot of the incredibly creative and highly skilled contemporary jewellers such as Wallace Chan, Viren Bhagat and Theodoros. They are creating some breathtaking works of art in jewellery. When it comes to antique jewellery, my favourite period would have to be Art Deco and no one did Art Deco better than Cartier.

Art Deco sapphire, enamel diamond brooch

Art Deco sapphire, enamel and diamond brooch, circa 1925. Realised £3,416 (incl buyer's premium), May 2017.

Why do you think auction houses have become such a popular place to buy jewellery?

I think there is always a market for antique jewellery and vintage pieces. It is also a fun and thrilling experience bidding in a sale. But most of all you get to draw on the specialists experience and get their objective and impartial advice on the jewellery on offer.

What should buyers look out for when bidding at auction?

Speak to a specialist and have them explain everything to you, from the condition of the piece to the charges and the process of the auction, so you know exactly what you are buying and how it all works. That’s what we are here for!

With Christmas on the horizon, what top tips would you give to those looking to buy the perfect piece of jewellery for that special someone?

Buy at Chiswick Auctions of course! And before you start shopping, find out your loved ones preferences, i.e. do they like white or yellow gold. Also make sure you know their sizes so that a necklace, bracelet or ring would fit perfectly.

Jewellery Department Page