250 YEARS ANNIVERSARY SELECTION
CHRISTIE’S: THE JEWELLERY ARCHIVES REVEALED
INTRODUCING THE FIRST CREATIONS BY BOEHMER ET BASSENGE
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction on 15 November in Geneva will be led by exceptional jewels designed by Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Harry Winston, as well as Boehmer et Bassenge, the newly launched boutique Maison de Haute Joaillerie. Christie’s is supporting this launch by offering at auction the first jewels ever designed by this house – a pair of stunning diamond earrings Miroir de l’Amour, featuring the world’s largest pair of pear-shaped, D/Flawless diamonds. Weighing 52.55 and 50.47 carats, such perfection is rarely seen (estimate: US$/CHF 20 to 30 million). The second jewel is a beautiful diamond necklace, Le Jardin d’Isabelle weighing a total of 140 carats with the three central diamonds accounting for 51.56 carats – two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 31.38 and 12.11 carats and one brilliant-cut diamond weighing 8.07 carats. All diamonds are D/Flawless, perfectly complementing the intense pink diamond-accents with a total of 3.92 carats (estimate: US$/CHF 8 to 12 million). Both of these lots will be offered without a reserve price, something unseen in the auction world for jewels of such importance (see separate press release).
Christie’s is proud to be offering a Fancy Vivid Pink pear-shaped diamond of 9.14 carats, continuing the firm’s long tradition of presenting extraordinary jewels to the global market. The 9.14 carat diamond is estimated at US$/CHF 16 to 18 million.
In the realm of natural coloured diamonds, those of a distinct pink hue are the most sought-after among gem connoisseurs. While most pink diamonds exhibit a colour modifier like purple, orange, or brown, the 9.14 carat diamond to be offered at Christie’s shows no trace of a secondary colour, making it exceedingly rare and attractive. The stone’s even colour distribution, combined with a balanced saturated tone, and straight pink hue, qualify the 9.14 carat pink for the coveted ‘Fancy Vivid’ colour grading from the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). That only one in one hundred thousand diamonds possesses a colour deep enough to qualify as ‘Fancy’ underscores its absolute rarity. In the Fancy Vivid pink range, diamonds of even five or six carats are rarely encountered in the saleroom, making this stone even more special.
Two incredible diamond suites, including a spectacular necklace by Harry Winston, featuring 128.24 carats of exceptional diamonds with the suspended pear-shapes weighing from 3.05 to 19.11 carats. All stones are GIA certified, D/potentially flawless. Also featuring a Cartier diamond parure, including necklace, earrings and ring (sold separately)
Natural pearls have formed part of every royal and state collection for centuries and continue to remain in high demand. The Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva has many examples, including a superb two strand natural pearl necklace, a pair of fine natural pearl drops with Harry Winston surmounts, and an antique pearl brooch with Russian provenance.
Christie’s is delighted to offer an impressive selection of sapphires, emeralds and rubies, all originating from renowned sources of the world. Highlights include a beautiful Kashmir sapphire and diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels and a superb ‘Pigeon Blood’ red Burmese ruby of 7.08 carats.
Christie’s continues its reputation for offering the most important historical and rare diamonds available on the market today by presenting for sale the perfect brilliant-cut diamond of 45.46 carats, with its exceptional size and perfect colour and clarity, alongside the famous Star of Sierra Leone VI diamond.
The Star of Sierra Leone was discovered on Valentine’s Day 1972, 320 km east of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. At 968.9 carats, it is the fourth largest gem quality diamond ever found and ranks behind the Cullinan, the Excelsior and the Lesedi La Rona. At the time De Beers handled the sale of the Sierra Leone rough and it became the property of Harry Winston on 3 October 1972 – reported to have been sold for just under US $2.5 million. In total, the rough Star of Sierra Leone produced 17 gems, with a total of 238.48 carats and of which thirteen gems are flawless.
On 26 December 1973, the family of the current owner acquired one of these gems, the 22.27 carat Star of Sierra Leone VI, from Harry Winston, set as a ring. Between 1973 and 1981, the stone was re-cut by Harry Winston, in order to remove a feather inclusion and the new recorded weight became 21.69 carats. The Star of Sierra Leone VI is an exceptional D-colour, VVS2 clarity, pear-shaped diamond and is estimated to realise between US$/CHF 1.4 to 1.8 million.
JEWELS WITH PROVENANCE
With the provenance of Countess Mona von Bismarck comes a very beautiful diamond bracelet centering a marquise-cut diamond, weighing approximately 7.13 carats, within an old-cut collet-set diamond frame, made by Cartier (estimated: US$/CHF 500,000-700,000).
Mona von Bismarck was born in 1899 in Louisville and was considered one of the most fashionable woman of the early 1930s. After several marriages, she married Count Edward von Bismarck, the grandson of Germany’s Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1953. Throughout her life, Mona von Bismarck was passionate about jewels and constantly added to her important collection, which includes many pieces made by Cartier. She also had a talent for re-designing her jewels and would often work closely on new designs with the most renowned houses. As a close friend of Cecil Beaton, she posed many times for him, a way of showcasing her unparalleled taste for fashion as well as her evolving jewels collection.
250 YEARS OF CHRISTIES
This special section celebrates the story of Christie’s and its 250 years as the world’s leading auction house, written in jewels, the most fascinating language of all.
Jewels play numerous and diverse roles in our lives: they serve as measurements of wealth, icons of power, mementoes of love, spoils of war, objects of desire and, even, emergency cash. But, above all, jewels are the embodiment of beauty. They have been coveted by the most memorable names in history, heroes and villains, famous lovers, glamorous stars, distinguished families, commanding dynasties. They have been passed from owner to owner, across time and distance, connecting people, accumulating history, creating legends. They have been tenderly preserved, surviving wars, disasters and the ravages of time. Their allure has endured through the centuries, sought after by successive generations of connoisseurs.
The jewels that Christie’s has been privileged to auction over the past 250 years help us to archive and narrate the stories of royals, stars and tycoons — Madame du Barry, Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor, the Romanovs, the Rothschilds — and their realm of beauty, grandeur and provenance.
We are honoured to present a spectacular selection of jewels, the magnificence of which once shone at our auctions, yet never diminishing in the memory. Each piece gives us a glimpse of the wonders of once upon a time.