Odescalchi Necklace 3
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Noble Jewels star at Sotheby’s Geneva

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at Sotheby's Geneva. In a night where the big sale highlights failed, jewels with noble provenance and Art Deco treasures confirmed their charm.

In a night where the big sale highlights failed, jewels with noble provenance and Art Deco treasures confirmed their charm.


The Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Geneva on 15 November: quite a fun event.


Following the excitement after the results obtained by Christie’s Magnificent Jewels the day before, with both de Grisogono Creation I (sold for $33,705,994) and Le Grand Mazarin diamond (sold for “only” $14,463,393, to my disappointment), I was personally expecting this auction’s highlights to excel.

Well, that was not the case. Sadly, three significant lots did not make it. The Raj Pink (estimated to fetch between $20 and $30 million) and the historical and fascinating Donnersmarck Diamonds (estimated at $9-14 million) did not take off.

It is quite difficult to understand what happened to the collectors who gathered from 50 Countries, and why these lots remained unsold. Commenting on the Raj Pink, Eden Rachminov, founder of the Fancy Color Research Foundation, who attended the auction, said: “The stone has a strong blue fluorescence, meaning it gives a glowing effect under ultraviolet light that reduces its popularity among some Chinese buyers.”

Out of the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels’ highlights, however, one star shone brightly.


It was a light pink diamond, full of grace, to set the world auction record.


The Superb Fancy Light Pink Diamond Ring by Harry Winston, circa 1970, weighing 33.63 carats and of Type IIa, went for $12,818,240 ($381,154 per carat). An exquisite gemstone, treasured by the same European noble family for over 45 years – which adds an aura of a fairy tale.


Lot 356 - Superb fancy light pink diamond ring, Harry Winston, circa 197...
Sotheby’s Geneva – Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels
Superb fancy light pink diamond ring, Harry Winston, circa 1970
Set with a step-cut fancy light pink diamond weighing 33.63 carats, between tapered baguette diamond shoulders, size 51, signed Winston.
This magnificent and exquisite pink diamond has been treasured in the same European noble family for over forty-five years.


Among the highlights, another remarkable coloured diamond was this oval-modified Fancy Vivid Blue Internally Flawless diamond mounted as a ring by Moussaieff which, although not sold during the auction, was sold privately immediately after the session.


Moussaieff exceptional fancy vivid blue diamond ring
Superb and exceptional fancy vivid blue diamond ring, Moussaieff
Set with an oval modified brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 7.41 carats, within a frame of marquise-shaped diamonds of pink tint, the mount further accented with brilliant-cut diamonds of similar tint, size 48, signed Moussaieff, case signed Moussaieff.
Accompanied by GIA report no. 2175090161, stating that the diamond is Fancy Vivid Blue, Natural Colour, Internally Flawless.
Sale pre-estimate $13,9-17,9 million


Jewels fit for a princess shining as the absolute sale protagonists


As Sotheby’s celebrates ten years of dedicated sales of jewels with royal and aristocratic provenance, the sale saw strong results for Noble Jewels.

Among notable highlights, two majestic jewels stood out. The first was a striking emerald and diamond necklace and earrings from the first half of the 19th century, formerly in the collection of the Duchess de Berry (1798-1870). It went for $1,657,138.


Duchess de Barry Necklace
Emerald and diamond necklace and a pair of earrings, first half of the 19th century
The necklace set with rose diamonds, highlighted with cushion-shaped stones supporting detachable pendants set with rose diamonds and pear-shaped emeralds, the central emerald weighing 14.03 carats, the clasp and the center further accented with step-cut emeralds, length approximately 385mm; each earring surmount set with a step-cut emerald surrounded with cushion-shaped diamonds, supporting a detachable pendant set with a cushion-shaped emerald, similarly shaped and rose diamonds, post and hinged back fittings, fitted case.
From the Collection of Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1798–1870), Duchess of Berry (1816), then Duchess della Grazia (1831), thence by descent.
Sold for $1,657,138


A second royal jewel was the magnificent emerald and diamond necklace from the collection of the Italian princely family Odescalchi, which totalled $1,085,501.


Odescalchi Necklace 3
Impressive emerald and diamond necklace
Composed of a line of cabochon emeralds alternating with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds, the clasp highlighted with a cabochon emerald framed with circular-cut diamonds, length approximately 385mm, detaches into twenty-five motifs.
The Jewellery Museum Vicenza, Symbol Room, 1st Edition 2015-16.



Art Deco keeps its glorious momentum


It is a moment of glory for Art Déco jewels, adored and sought after by collectors and connoisseurs worldwide.

To prove this, they featured strongly at Sotheby’s last Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels. Special mention goes to this beautiful ruby and diamond bracelet of geometric design by Cartier, circa 1935, which doubled the pre-sale estimate for $927,389.


Ruby and diamond bracelet, Cartier, circa 1935
Composed of three rows of oval, cushion-shaped and circular-cut rubies, decorated with geometric motifs set with calibré-cut rubies, circular-cut and baguette diamonds, length approximately 175mm, signed Cartier, numbered.
Accompanied by Gübelin report no. 17119004, stating that a majority of the rubies is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating.
This bracelet has remained in the same family since it was purchased at Cartier in the 1930s. It is also mentioned in an insurance valuation by Chaumet, dated 14 July 1943.


A second superlative jewel was a stunning necklace created by Cartier around 1930, composed of a line of geometric motifs and supporting two richly coloured emerald briolettes. The necklace soared above estimate to $878,739.


Cartier necklace circa 1930
Important emerald and diamond necklace, Cartier, circa 1930
Composed of a line of geometric motifs set with circular-, square-, single-cut and baguette diamonds, the front accented with circular-, single-cut, marquise- and bullet-shaped diamonds, supporting two emerald briolettes, length approximately 410mm, signed Cartier, numbered, French assay and partial maker’s marks, one small diamond deficient.


Following the sale, David Bennet, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said:

“Today’s results show the strong and continued appetite from international collectors for jewels with aristocratic provenance, a category we launched ten years ago and which has gone from strength to strength since then. I am delighted to have set a new auction record this evening for a Fancy Light Pink diamond, exactly one year after the previous record, set here at Sotheby’s in Geneva. This is an exceptionally elegant stone, whose noble provenance also enhanced its value.”


Images courtesy of Sotheby’s




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