Important Jewellery at Christie’s

Emerald ring. 20,32 carats. Estimate £60,000–80,000

An Auction house Christie’s will hold Important Jewellery sales in London on June 15. The auction will feature precious decorations worn by many renowned nobles including a British Queen Alexandra, Portugal Queen Amelia, Russian Empress Catherine II and French Queen Eugenia.

The sales comprise more than 200 lots, which are expected to fetch around £4,000,000. According to the experts of the auction house, the rare and unique lots have reliable provenance.


The British Queen Alexandra (the wife of the King Edward VII and grandmother of Edward VIII who married a divorced American woman W. Simpson) was a true connoisseur of jewelry art. Masters of Cartier created many adornments after her orders. The Queen collected jewelry and various antique decorations. The sale will feature a precious casket where Alexandra used to keep jewelry pieces. The red leather box decorated with gold and pearls is estimated at £2,000–4,000.

A pair of brooches. Circa 1760. Platinum, diamonds. Length 4,1 cm. Estimate £30,000–50,000

Russian jewelry is represented by decorations of Catherine II. A pair of important XVIII century Russian diamond flower dress ornaments is expected to fetch from £30,000–50,000. Each is designed as an old-cut diamond flower head within the pear-shaped petals to the diamond ribbon-work stem and leaves, (circa 1760, each 4.1 cm. long, brooch fittings later).

These charming bodice ornaments once formed part of the magnificent collection of Russian Crown Jewels, some of which date back to Peter the Great (1672–1725), which glorified the wealth and power of the Romanov Dynasty.
After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Crown Jewels were confiscated having been stored in nine huge strong boxes, which came to light for the recesses of the Moscow Armoury Hall.
During 1922 the intensive job of listing and photographing everything took almost four months and was conducted by five of Russia’s leading jewellers, under the guidance of the well known mineralogist Prof. A E Fersman assisted by S N Troinitzky the director of the Hermitage Museum and A N Benois, a well known art critic and painter.

Their work formed part of an illustrated inventory published in 1925 titled «Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones». Some of the collection was sold to a consortium of British and American buyers, whose identity is unknown. One hundred and nineteen of the jewels sold to this syndicate were offered for sale by Christie’s in London on 16 March 1927 at a sale entitled «An Important Assemblage of Magnificent Jewellery, mostly dating from the XVIII century, which formed part of The Russian State Jewels».

Brooch (originally the central part of a bracelet). Mid XIX century. Gold, pearls, diamonds. Estimate £18,000–20,000

It is to be noted that the auctioned brooches are identical to brooches sold in 1927. Then, an anonymous buyer purchased lots 36 and 37: the description of lot 36 was «A Pair of Diamond Floral Sprays», and lot 37 «A Set of Three ditto». The disparity between the 1927 illustration and the two brooches now being offered for sale, is probably due to the purchase by the same buyer of all five brooches, of which only two were illustrated.

The sale also includes pearl decorations of the Empress Eugenia – the wife of Napoleon III. For example, a grey pearl and diamond cluster brooch (the central pearl within the old-cut diamond collet surround to the single diamond terminals, the brooch has been adapted from the original bracelet) is estimated at £18,000–20,000.

Bracelet. Art Deco. Lacloche. Circa 1925. Gold, diamonds, gems. Estimate £120,000–150,000. 18,2 cm

An exceptional ring with an emerald (20,32 carats), which belonged to Maria del Pilar Osorio, Duchess of Fernan Nunez (1829–1921) is estimated at £60,000–80,000.

Among the highlights of the sales are decorations belonged to Duchess of Manchester in the second half of XIX century: a diamond pendant (estimate £120,000–150,000), a diamond necklace (circa 1890, estimate £50,000–70,000), an emerald necklace with a diamond pendant (estimate £60,000–80,000). A diamond and pearl brooch (circa 1860) presented to the Queen Amelia (nee Duchess of Orleans) by Lisboan jewelers in order to commemorate her marriage is estimated at £25,000–35,000.

An exquisite Art Deco diamond and gem-set bracelet by Lacloche (circa 1925, 18,2cm) attracts attention of potential buyers as well. It is designed as a diamond-set articulated band depicting a Chinese pagoda and boat surrounded by an Oriental garden of trees in bloom and a sun setting over water, set with calibré-cut emeralds, rubies and onyx. Estimate £120,000–150,000.

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Published in: on June 14, 2006 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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