Diamond Hourglass 18 Karat Gold Necklace by Sydney MobellMay 7th, 2016 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Now showing at Mardon, this charming necklace is from the celebrated American jeweler, Sydney Mobell. Mobell is considered a modern master of the jewelers art. His shop in the Fairmont Hotel of San Francisco was famous for transforming everyday items into irreverant jeweled art, producing such items as a diamond studded Frisbee, an jewel encrusted toilet seat, and a gold and diamond monopoly set.
Mobell pieces on display at the Smithsonian National Museum include a mouse trap, a baby pacifier, a sardine can, and a cell phone, all of solid gold and diamonds! The whimsical Hourglass in one of his signature pieces–You can buy a new necklace of the same Hourglass design shown here from the Smithsonian Store for $3800.
Mobell made several versions of the diamond filled Hourglass, starting with a larger 2 carat size with twisted rope standards, finally perfecting the design in the form you see here. The trick was to get the shape of the glass just right so it would look like an hourglass and the diamonds would flow easily from top to bottom (see photos).
We think ours is early because while Mobell’s signature is correct, it’s not marked with the copyright mark or 18K mark of later pieces. Key pieces of evidence support the provenance of the piece. First, the style of the signature is correct—it uses his signature font and was engraved using a pantograph type engraver. It’s unlikely that anyone but Mobell would have the custom font templates required for a pantograph engraver.
Second, the chain is by Herco, a well known long established high end chain supplier located in– you guessed it — San Francisco.
Finally, you’ll notice the top and bottom gold discs are not perfectly parallel to each other– this indicates the piece was handmade, probably before they had all the bugs worked out of the design.
You’ll find fabulous collectible American art jewelry by Mobell, Angela Cummings at Tiffany, Gucci and others featured in our Estate Department, along with filigree engagement rings, fine Emeralds, Rubies, and Sapphires, famous name vintage watches like Rolex, Omega, Waltham, and all sorts of unusual fun items.
And please remember, Mardon is always interested in buying fine jewelry of all types and conditions. If you have items you are looking to sell, our gemologists will examine your pieces, give our expert opinion as to value and make a fair offer. We also handle high value items for auction. Give us a call, we’ll set up an appointment for you.
We hope you’ll remember to vote in the Press Enterprise 2016 Reader’s Choice. Vote for your favorite jeweler (Mardon!) and other hard working small independent businesses here in the Inland Empire– it really helps us little guys!
Reader’s Choice voting is early the year, ends June 3, 2016. Voting online is so easy– just go to pe.com/go/voteIE Your vote matters!