Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
Donald Claflin was an American jewelry designer known for his colorful and whimsical designs. Born in Massachusetts in 1935, Claflin studied at Parsons School of Design before joining the textile industry and later the jewelry industry where he briefly worked for David Webb. From 1965-1977, Claflin designed for Tiffany & Co. His combination of amusing motifs and exceptional craftsmanship allowed him to create truly original three-dimensional pieces of jewelry.
Claflin’s penchant for the natural world drew him to subjects including animals, flora, and fauna. Examples of Claflin’s work with animal figures include the two brooches seen in Lots 109 and 110. The playfulness of a kingfisher fishing is a classic example of Claflin’s wit personified into wearable art. Additionally, his use of finely carved coral and lapis lazuli displays his mastery of combining striking and bold materials. Fruits were certainly a recurring theme for Claflin. This bracelet, Lot 111, which uses coral and enamel to create an undulating strawberry vine, is one of, if not the most, iconic piece of Claflin’s jewelry. Illustrated in Assouline’s The Impossible Collection of Jewelry, this bracelet certainly belongs amongst the most coveted pieces of jewelry. His attention to detail is evident in the tiny gold seeds placed on each strawberry. Lots 109-111 demonstrate the fanciful and imaginative jewelry Claflin created by taking everyday subjects and elevating them to the extraordinary through his own bold and amusing style.