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While this is nothing new, the dichotomy has arguably become exaggerated by the sensitive political and economic climate and the 299-lot sale only managed a 61 per cent take-up by lot. The small-stoned decorative entries fielded many of the casualties, while there was more interest for the entries with larger stones. The sale netted £562,500.

Although the sale did not have many five-figure gems, the highlight was a Belle Epoque single-stone diamond ring, c.1910. “The old stone had charm,” said Phillips’ specialist Keith Penton.

In addition to its “charm”, it had an accompanying laboratory report awarding it a desirably high D colour. This coupled with its period mount ensured the privately entered lot was contested to £24,000 by the trade.

Although tiaras have not been on buyers’ most wanted list in recent years, a Victorian diamond tiara, c.1880, convertible to a necklace, bucked the trend.

Consigned by relatives of the family who had purchased it in the late 19th century, it sold together with its original fitted case and additional fittings at £20,000.

The late 18th century was the high point for paste jewellery and a necklace and pair of earrings of this date – possibly Portuguese – produced one of the top lots. The necklace was composed of foliate and cluster links and had a suspended detachable openwork ribbon bow above a St Esprit drop. With its good condition and original fitted case, it fetched £8800.