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The Farnese Blue - Royal History at Sotheby's

Three-hundred years of Royal History all in one 6.16-carat blue diamond.

Three-hundred years of Royal History in one 6.16-carat blue diamond.

 

 

The Farnese Blue is a treasure, in the real sense of the word.

Coming from the legendary Golconda Mines of India, the Farnese Blue was given by the Philippines Islands to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766). A wedding gift on the occasion of Elisabeth’s wedding to King Phillip V of Spain in Parma, in 1714.

 

Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766)
Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766)

 

The Farnese Blue was, in fact, part of the dowry assembled for the new Queen. However, after ten days of sailing, a hurricane destroyed most of the fleet carrying a fortune in gold and emeralds in the Gulf of Florida.

Only one ship managed to survive and, legend has it, it was the ship carrying the Farnese Blue itself.

 

The Farnese Blue
The Farnese Blue mounted as a tie-pin.
The note reads as follows:
“Remarkable blue diamond.
This historical gemstone was offered by the Philippines to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, wife of Philippe V of Spain great-great-grandfather of Monsieur le Comte of Villafranca, to whom this gem belongs.”

 

The Farnese Blue always remained within Royal Families for three-hundred years, passing down by descent to different owners until Charles II (1799-1883), Duke of Lucca, set it as a tie-pin.

The last documented record sees the Farnese Blue among Elias of Bourbon, Duke of Parma’s jewels (1880-1959). Thanks to his wife, Maria Anna von Habsburg (1882-1940), Archduchess of Austria, a written record exists today, testifying for the fascinating history of such an extraordinary gem.

Commenting the Farnese Blue coming to auction next May 15th at Sotheby’s in Geneva, David Bennet, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Geneva said:

It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India. This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in colour is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope diamond.

 

The Farnese Blue will be one of the major highlights of the upcoming Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at Sotheby’s Geneva next May 15th, with a pre-sale estimate of US$ 3.7-5.3 million.

The moment couldn’t be more favourable to unveil this gem to the world of connoisseurs and collectors, given the surge of interest in jewels of royal and aristocratic provenance.

 

More Highlights from the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction.

 

Among superlative jewels, two of the largest, purest white diamonds ever to come to an auction will take the stage next May at Sotheby’s in Geneva.

Both diamonds weigh over 50 carats and are perfect by all criteria, and each diamond ranks as the second largest of its kind ever to appear on the auction market.

The first one between these two remarkable gems is a 51.71-carat round brilliant-cut diamond, mounted as a ring. The pre-sale estimate is of US$7,870,000-9,100,000.

 

Round brilliant-cut D-Flawless diamond - 50.39 carats - Sotheby's Geneva - May 2018
Exceptional diamond ring
The round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 51.71 carats, size 52.
Accompanied by GIA report no. 2185745311, stating that the diamond is D Colour, Flawless, Excellent Cut, Polish and Symmetry; together with a type IIa classification letter.

 

The second diamond is a superb 50.39-carat oval diamond, mounted as a ring, too. The pre-sale estimate is of US$6,960,000-7,680,000.

This round diamond ranks as second largest D Flawless brilliant-cut diamond ever to have appeared at auction.

 

Oval D-Flawless diamond ring - 51.71 carats - Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels 15 May 2018
Magnificent diamond ring
The oval diamond weighing 50.39 carats, size 52.
Accompanied by GIA report no. 2195126527, stating that the diamond is D Colour, Flawless, Excellent Polish and Symmetry; together with a type IIa classification letter.

 

These are two exceptional gems that speak for a surge of interest into large and perfect white diamonds.

Together, these two marvels are estimated more than US$ 15 million – something quite extraordinary.

Both of the diamonds to be offered in Geneva in May are D-Colour (the most coveted hue for white diamonds), have Flawless clarity and belong to the highly rarefied sub-category of Type IIa diamonds, which make up just 2% of gem diamonds and boast the highest optical transparency. The two diamonds were discovered and purchased at tender in Botswana.

Commenting on these gems, David Bennet, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division recognises their quality and the captivating power they have:

[…] we are now thrilled to bring to the market two more truly exceptional stones, both of which are among the largest, highest quality white diamonds ever to come to auction. Diamonds like these have always captivated collectors and connoisseurs alike and continue to do so today.

 

These are two diamonds that impose themselves to the eye by their ancient origin, their rarity of and by their fire and brilliance.

These two shapes are most highly sought-after: an oval-cut diamond holds the record price per carat for any white diamond, and round brilliant-cut diamonds – which have the greatest fire and brilliance – are the rarest of all for stones of this size.

The highlights from the upcoming Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction at Sotheby’s Geneva also feature important jewellery – in line with a consolidated trend that sees the vast interest in vintage and antique jewels, together with creations featuring, once again, important stones.

The first highlight is an Important Diamond Necklace, featuring oval, pear-, and marquise-shaped diamonds. The jewel also supports a detachable pendant set with a pear-shaped diamond weighing 15.51 carats.

 

 

Important Diamond Necklace-Sothebys-Magnificent-Jewels-and-Noble-Jewels-15-May-2018
PROPERTY OF A LADY
Important diamond necklace
Set throughout with oval, pear-, and marquise-shaped diamonds supporting a detachable pendant set with a pear-shaped diamond weighing 15.51 carats, length approximately 390mm.
Accompanied by GIA report no. 11046160, dated 3 February 2000, stating that the diamond weighing 15.51 carats is D Colour, VS1 Clarity; together with forty-nine GIA reports, stating that the diamonds weighing from 0.53 to 2.04 carats, are all D Colour, Internally Flawless to VS2 Clarity.
Pre-sale estimate US$ 675,000-970,000

 

Period jewellery and jewellery with provenance confirm their prominence, and the highlights introduce an authentic masterpiece, an Impressive Emerald and Diamond Bracelet, 1930s.

 

Emerald and Diamond Bracelet Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels May 2018
FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, MOUNT STEWART
Impressive emerald and diamond bracelet, 1930s
Designed as a wide band of circular-cut and baguette diamonds, framing a central oval cabochon emerald, within a similarly set geometric surround, length approximately 180mm, detachable into three sections, brooch fittings for central emerald, French assay marks for platinum and gold and partial maker’s mark, fitted case.
Emerald, diamonds, platinum, gold, wood, leather, silk.
Pre-sale estimate US$ 340,000-475,000

 

Emerald and Diamond Bracelet centre Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels Geneva May 15 2018
FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, MOUNT STEWART
Impressive emerald and diamond bracelet, 1930s.
The central emerald cabochon.
Emerald and Diamond Bracelet centre Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels Geneva May 15 2018
FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, MOUNT STEWART
Impressive emerald and diamond bracelet, 1930s.

 

Note from Sotheby’s auction catalogue:

“The emerald Corrigan bracelet, so named in the Mount Stewart archives was noted for its central emerald of immense size that was understood to have been acquired by Cartier directly from an Indian Maharajah. Cartier’s association with India began as early as 1901 when they received a private commission from Queen Alexandra to reset Indian jewels in the Royal Collection for the Queen to wear with Indian gowns sent to her from Mary Curzon, the Vicereine of India. Jacques Cartier, the brother who ran the London branch visited India the year of the Delhi Durbar in 1911, in part as a buying trip, where he purchased many antique Indian jewels that they later sold both as antique jewels, as well as unmounting some items for the use of the principle stones.”

 

Last but not least, coloured gems always attract discerned collectors, and here we have two marvellous rings.

The first one is a Superb fancy vivid purplish pink diamond ring.

 

Superb fancy vivid purplish pink diamond ring
Superb fancy vivid purplish pink diamond ring
Set with a round modified brilliant-cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond weighing 2.63 carats, within a frame of heart-shaped diamonds, the shoulders pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds, size 51.

 

The ring is set with a round modified brilliant-cut, Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond, Natural Colour, SI1 Clarity, weighing 2.63 carats, within a frame of heart-shaped diamonds, the shoulders pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds. The pre-sale estimate is of US$ 1,996,493 – 2,994,739.

 

The second ring is another Superb sapphire and diamond ring, 1930s.

 

Superb sapphire and diamond ring, 1930s
Superb sapphire and diamond ring, 1930s
The cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 14.01 carats, set in a mount embellished with brilliant-, single-cut and baguette diamonds, size 54, French assay mark for platinum and French partial maker’s mark.

 

The cushion-shaped sapphire weighs 14.01 carats, set in a mount embellished with brilliant-, single-cut and baguette diamonds. It is accompanied by SSEF report and Gübelin report, each stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating, and of ‘royal blue’ colour. The pre-sale estimate is of US$ 987,848 – 1,486,971.

The upcoming Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction held in Geneva on 15 May will feature an array of signed jewels from prominent designers and jewellery makers, together with remarkable precious stones and antique jewellery. Not to be missed by connoisseurs and collectors.

 

 

All images are courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

 

 

 

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