Italian Grand Ducal jewel case achieves 414% increase on estimate

An Italian Grand Ducal jewel casket has beaten its estimate by 414% at a Bonhams San Francisco auction.

The 18th century casket sold for $617,000 against an $80,000-120,000 valuation on October 28.

It was created in the Grand Ducal workshops of Florence, which were owned by the House of Medici - the immensely powerful political and banking dynasty that ushered in the Renaissance.

Grand Ducal workshops jewel casket
The work is very typical of others from the Grand Ducal workshops at the time

It features elaborately designed panels inlaid with polished semi-precious stones - a technique referred to as pietra dura.  

The previously unrecorded box was probably created under the supervision of Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1755), the director of the workshops at the time and an enthusiastic proponent of the pietra dura technique.

Other lots at the sale that performed well included a pair of Regency giltwood mirrors dating to the early 19th century, which realised $26,250.

The willow branch frames feature knotting to the sides along with a depiction of a seahorse in a scallop shell.

A 19th century Louis XVI style gilt-bronze commode a vauntax achieved $25,000.

It is built after a model prominent French cabinetmaker Guillame Beneman (1750-1811) produced for Marie Antoinette. The commode features elaborate marquetry along with gilt panels depicting fauns playing among scrolling vines.

We have a number of antiques for sale, including these oak library steps made for Gonville Caius College, Oxford, circa 1840.

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