Highlights from Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels Sale – December 9th, 2014

Sotheby's Cover

Next week wraps up the final magnificent jewelry sales of the 2014 auction season beginning with Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale on Tuesday. With a total of 411 lots, the sale is full of fabulous jewels from rare and important stones to those made by the great jewelry firms. However, the real stars of the sale are the jewels of distinguished American provenance.

Whitney - Platinum-topped gold and diamond necklace

Helen Hay Whitney’s Magnificent Platinum-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace – The delicate chain set at the front with a marquise-shaped diamond weighing 8.91 carats, supporting three fringes, the central fringe anchored by a pear-shaped diamond weighing 27.48 carats, the side fringes anchored by pear-shaped diamonds weighing 15.53 and 13.08 carats, further set with old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately 6.65 carats, length 17 inches; circa 1902.

Serving as the sale’s grand finale, jewels from the estate of Helen Hay Whitney are the star lots of the auction. As the catalogue note unveils, the marriage of Helen Hay and Payne Whitney in February 1902 caused a media sensation with news articles describing every last detail of the notable event. Most interestingly, the New York Times confirms a report that lists the superfluous number of near priceless gifts the couple received, many of which were dazzling jewels – the most important of which also serves as the catalogue’s cover lot.

Helen Hay (center) and her bridesmaids on her wedding day, 1902. According to family tradition, lot 414 - the diamond necklace - was one of Helen Hay Whitney's wedding presents.

Helen Hay (center) and her bridesmaids on her wedding day, 1902. According to family tradition, lot 414 – the diamond necklace – was one of Helen Hay Whitney’s wedding presents.

A stunning diamond necklace set in platinum-topped gold is likely one of the diamond necklace noted by the New York Time as one of Helen Hay Whitney’s wedding gifts. Estimated at $2.5 to $3.5 million, the magnificent jewel is comprised of a 8.91-carat marquise-shaped diamond at its center, from which suspends three diamond fringes – the central fringe anchored by a 27.48-carat pear-shaped diamond and the side fringes anchored by pear-shaped diamonds weighing 15.53 and 13.08 carats.

A close-up of the impressive diamonds of Helen Hay Whitney's necklace

A close-up of the impressive diamonds of Helen Hay Whitney’s necklace

Other notable jewels from Helen Hay Whitney’s estate include an elegant Art Deco diamond bracelet (est. $25,000 – $35,000); a natural pearl, diamond and colored diamond crossover ring (est. $40,000 – $60,000); an intricately designed diamond, jadeite, lapis lazuli, pearl and enamel ‘Stalactite’ lapel-watch, by Cartier, circa 1925 (est. $30,000 – $50,000; and a two exquisite emerald and diamond rings – one unsigned circa 1920 (est. $125,000 – $175,000) and the other by Tiffany & Co. circa 1925 (est. $250,000 – $350,000).

Also of note are the jewelry collections of Estée Lauder and Evelyn H. Lauder, which are being sold to benefit The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can see the highlights from their collections here.

9234 Emerald and Diamond Necklace, Emerald and Diamond Cartier Ring

Two emerald jewels from the collection of Matilda Dodge Wilson: A Platinum, Carved Emerald and Diamond Necklace, circa 1930 (est. $80,000 – $100,000), and A Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Ring, Cartier, New York, circa 1933 (est. $250,000 – $350,000)

Other jewels with notable provenance include the emerald jewels from the collection of Matilda Dodge Wilson; a tri-color gold and lapis lazuli bracelet, by Cartier, formerly owned by silver screen legend Marlene Dietrich (est. $20,000 – $30,000); a 16.79-carat Fancy Light yellow diamond ring (est. $140,000 – $180,000) from the collection of “The Queen of Swing” Keely Smith; and a pair of emerald and diamond earrings (est. $600,000 – $800,000), whose verdant stones were once part of the extraordinary jewelry collection of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich.

In addition to jewels of important provenance, the sale also offers a number of pieces of historical significance. Those items include three pieces by Marcus & Co. that quintessentially represent the American firm’s distinct aesthetic, a substantial gold and carved jade ‘Ru-yi’ necklace by David Webb (est. $50,000 – $70,000) representative of the American designer’s grandiose designs from the 1970s, an exceptional Art Deco case by Cartier, Paris (est. $80,000 – $120,000), featuring fabulously detailed hardstone inlays by the renowned Vladamir Makowsky for Linzeler Marchak, and a rare and important Art Deco Egyptian-Revival bracelet by Lacloche Frères, circa 1925 (est. $300,000 – $500,000).

Of course, one cannot forget the magnificent gemstones inherent of a magnificent jewels sale – and this one has plenty. Starting with the diamonds, the highlights include: a 25.44-carat emerald-cut diamond ring of D-color and VVS1 clarity (est. $2.5 – $3.5 million), a 30.48-carat Fancy Vivid yellow diamond, of VS2 clarity, and diamond ring (est. $1.75 – $2 million), a 3.07-carat Fancy Intense purplish-pink diamond and diamond ring (est. $1.1 – $1.3 million), and a 3.02-carat Fancy grayish blue diamond and diamond ring (est. $650,000 – $850,000).

For rare and important gemstones, emeralds and sapphires are the predominant stones in the sale. Noteworthy lots include: a 19th century Austro-Hungarian brooch featuring a 13.04-carat Kashmir sapphire surrounded by old European-cut diamonds (est. $600,000 – $800,000), a 23.49-carat Burmese sapphire and diamond brooch, by Tiffany & Co., circa 1910 (est. $300,000 – $500,000), an emerald and diamond ring, by Cartier, New York, circa 1933, featuring a 4.06-carat Classic Colombian emerald (est. $250,000 – $350,000), and an Art Deco sapphire, diamond and emerald ring, by Charlton & Co., centering upon a fluted cabochon Kashmir sapphire (est. $200,000 – $300,000).

Other highlights and favorites include:


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    December 10, 2014 at 9:34 am

    These are all so gorgeous, I have a soft spot for emerald cuts so I must say the Fancy Grayish Blue diamond has to be one of my favourites, just such a great, unique colour as well!

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