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Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby's New York April 14, 2011
March 28, 2011  | 
Following the highest-ever total for a day of jewelry sales at Sotheby’s New York in December 2010, Sotheby’s auction of Magnificent Jewels on 14 April 2011 offers an impressive depth and breadth of pieces that provide an education in top-quality gemstones and great jewelry style. The 380 lots are valued at $26 million in total, and are highlighted by a Distinguished Family Collection that features romantic diamonds and fabulous Cartier designs from the firm’s creative peak. and Hong Kong galleries

The April auction is led by an exceptional family collection composed of 47 lots ranging from luxurious gold tabletop accessories to wonderful diamonds and pieces by top designers. The pieces were made from the 1920s-50s and have descended over three generations, remaining in a vault for the last 40 years.

The diamonds in the Collection offer connoisseurs a rare window into a time when stones were cut to sparkle in candlelight, exuding old-world beauty, charm and character. An elegant Platinum and Diamond Pendant, circa 1915, is set with a D color, VS2 clarity, type IIa pear-shaped diamond of 20.74 carats (pictured below) while an exquisite Diamond Jabot Pin, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., circa 1920, features a pear-shaped D color, type IIa diamond of 15.31 carats and VVS2 clarity (est. $600/800,000).

The great designers represented in the Distinguished Family Collection are highlighted by a significant selection of jewels by Cartier, for whom Sotheby’s set a new auction record in London last November in the sale of Exceptional Jewels Formerly in the Collection of the Duchess of Windsor. The Collection features exquisite works from Cartier’s creative peak, when they produced few, if any, multiples and created some of the most unique and inspired works in the firm’s history. This creativity is embodied by pieces such as the exotic Emerald Bead, Ruby and Diamond Bird Brooch, Cartier, France, circa 1950 (est.$30/50,000).

Major gemstones of every color are well-represented in the sale. A magnificent Emerald-Cut Diamond, 30.52 carats, D color, VVS1 clarity with Excellent Polish and Excellent Symmetry, holds wide appeal for collectors seeking a classic, top-quality stone of generous size (est. $3/4 million). Among the rarest diamonds on offer is the Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond Ring, featuring an Internally Flawless marquise-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond of 3.18 carats, set within a contemporary openwork diamond mounting (see below).

A whimsical “bee” motif mounting is a fitting design for the Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring, Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co, 1972 (see below). The ring comes from a private collection, and is set with a spectacular cushion-shaped diamond of fancy vivid yellow color weighing 11.13 carats, VS2 clarity. Collectors will also find a selection of pink diamonds on offer, as well as a beautiful “Golconda” Diamond Ring set with a cushion-shaped type IIa Internally Flawless D-color diamond weighing 5.20 carats (est. $600/800,000).

The April auction is highlighted by three colored stones of exceptional quality: a Ruby and Diamond Brooch, Chaumet, France, circa 1920, centering a cushionshaped Burma ruby of 10 carats set within an Art Deco diamond plaque (est. $800/1.2 million); an important Emerald and Diamond Ring, Harry Winston, circa 1955, set with a Colombian emerald of 16.93 carats that has remained in the same family for decades (est. $800,000/1 million); and the Sapphire and Diamond Ring featuring a certified “royal blue” cushion-shaped Burma sapphire of 24.60 carats (est. $700,000/1 million). This spectacular velvety-colored sapphire displays an unusual degree of liveliness that creates a visible sparkle for the beholder.

One of the most beautiful Art Nouveau jewels ever to be offered at auction is the 18 Karat Gold and Plique-à-Jour Enamel Pendant-Brooch and Chain, Marcus & Co., circa 1900, designed as an articulated cascade of spring morning glories (est.$40/60,000). This remarkable naturalistic brooch can be viewed from all sides, just as one would admire a cluster of flowers in a garden, and was originally worn by Ada Rehan, a prominent American actress at the turn of the 20th century. The delicate masterpiece has remained in the same family to which Miss Rehan bequeathed it almost 100 years ago.

Raymond Templier’s Platinum, 18 Karat White Gold and Diamond Bangle-Bracelet/Brooch Combination, France, circa 1935, is a stunning Modernist jewel that is emblematic of its time (est. $90 /110,000). The hinged sculptural bangle, with detachable clip brooch, was inspired by modern technology and is a seminal example of Templier’s innovative work. While unsigned, a Platinum and Diamond Feather Brooch, circa 1940, was likely designed by Fulco di Verdura for PaulFlato (est. $30/50,000). The highly-articulated brooch, set with 32 carats of diamonds, is from the collection of Ann Boyer Warner, wife of Warner Brothers Studio chief Jack L. Warner. Mrs. Warner was a friend of Verdura and a legendary hostess in Los Angeles, whose style dominated Hollywood for years. She formed a truly fabulous jewelry collection, most of which was sold by Sotheby’s in 1990.

Featured as the cover lot of the Magnificent Jewels sale is the Pair of 18 Karat Gold, Silver, Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald Earclips, JAR, Paris, 1998 (est.$100/200,000). JAR’s designs are coveted around the world by collectors who admire his innovative use of materials and lightness of hand. These earrings, designed as geometric discs, contrast bold color within a periphery of colorless marquise-shaped diamonds, creating a look that is nothing short of couture style.

For more information:
Lauren Gioia
Darrell Rocha