Jewellery, Watches, Antiquities and Objects of Vertu (15 September 2020)

Date of Auction: 15th September 2020

Sold for £9,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000

A green dioptase rough crystal and diamond suite, circa 1970s, commissioned from Charles de Temple, comprising brooch/pendant, ring and earrings, each with a central rough crystal mass of dioptase, within an abstract textured tendril mount, accented with small claw set brilliant-cut diamonds, all mounted in yellow precious metal, the brooch and ring unsigned, the earrings with later clip and post fittings, hallmarked and bearing maker’s mark ‘CdeT’, with signed grey suede pouch, brooch width 42mm, ring size L-M, earring length 51.5mm. £4,000-£6,000


By family repute, the suite was commissioned from Charles de Temple by the vendor’s mother-in-law in the 1970s.

Born In America in 1929, Charles de Temple was the son of an American film actor, Tom Mix. With no formal artistic training, Charles was self taught, working first as a sculptor in America before deciding to concentrate on jewellery design. He moved to England in 1957, soon becoming part of the swinging London scene.

In Post war Britain, the Modernist jewellery movement took longer to develop than the modernist art movement, not helped by a heavy tax on luxury goods and limited access to raw materials which meant that during the 1950s, production still focused on traditional pieces for the export market. Therefore, it was not until the early 1960s that a prominent British Modernist style started to emerge from the jewellery studios of London lead by designers such as Andrew Grima, Charles De Temple, John Donald and David Thomas, with their pioneered methods of melting and transforming gold and other precious metals into abstract forms which embraced both shape and texture.

Charles De Temple rose to fame after designing several pieces that featured in the 1965 Bond movie Goldfinger, including the actual gold finger used in the film.

From circa 1969-1975, he created his series of ‘nervous jewels’, prickly cultural designs in two-coloured gold wire.