The second major sale of the season at Sotheby’s, the Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale in Hong Kong on October 7th is headlined by the historic Cowdray Pearls (est. $4.5-7 million). The legendary single strand of natural gray pearls, strung and mounted by Cartier, comprises 42 exceptionally rare natural gray saltwater pearls well-matched in lustre, shape and size. It was purchased by Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson (1860-1932) in 1937, a provenance that increases its value.
A Highly Important, Rare and Superb Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace, Cartier London; and Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Earclips, mounts by Cartier London – The necklace composed of forty-two graduated natural grey pearls measuring approximately 12.90 to 6.65mm, completed by a clasp set with a rectangular mixed-cut diamond, mounted in platinum, length approximately 435mm, with maker’s mark JC; and pair of earrings, each set with a button-shaped natural grey pearl measuring approximately 11.52 – 12.42mm and 11.92 -12.13 x 10.15mm respectively, to a stylised surround set with single- and brilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in silver-topped gold and 8 karat yellow gold, signed Cartier London and numbered W12152.(2) – Estimate: $4.5-7 million
Another jewel of notable provenance is a diamond necklace (est. $1,290,000-1,935,300) formerly in the collection of The Dowager Viscountess Harcourt. The 28 diamonds that compose the fringe of the necklace originated from the great comb à pampilles of the French Crown Jewels.
THE DOWAGER VISCOUNTESS HARCOURT DIAMOND NECKLACE Important Diamond Necklace, Circa 1900 – Made in part from diamonds from the great comb à pampilles of the French Crown Jewels, set with twenty-eight graduated old mine-cut diamonds together weighing approximately 65.00 carats, each surmounted by pair of small collet-set diamonds on a wire mounting, suspending from a necklace of scalloped links set with similarly-cut diamonds, mounted in silver-topped gold, length approximately 410mm and 480mm.
When the legendary collection of jewels was sold at auction from May 12th to 23rd in 1887, Tiffany purchased a large number of items from the sale – including the diamond-laden comb à pampilles. Taken from the diamond chains that hung from the comb, the 28 diamonds were then sold to Junius S. Morgan, patriarch of the famous banking family in England.
The great comb à pampilles of the French Crown Jewels, twenty-eight diamonds from which would later comprise the Dowager Viscountess Harcourt Diamond Necklace
They were bequeathed to Morgan’s granddaughter, Mary Ethel Burns, who would later marry Lewis, 1st Viscount Harcourt to become The Dowager Viscountess Harcourt. Shortly after their marriage in 1899, The Dowager Viscountess had the diamonds remounted into the present necklace, which was last sold by Sotheby’s in 1995.
THE JEWEL OF KASHMIR – Exceptional Sapphire and Diamond Ring – Centring on an emerald-cut sapphire weighing 27.68 carats, to a double surround set with pear-shaped diamonds together weighing approximately 5.70 carats, mounted in 18 karat white gold. Estimate: $6.2-7 million
Hong Kong jewelry auctions always offer an impressive number of exceptional gemstones and jadeite, and this sale is no exception. The most exciting highlight is The Jewel of Kashmir (est. $, a 27.68-carat Kashmir sapphire mounted in a diamond ring. The Gübelin Appendix Letter accompanying the stone states that this sapphire ‘possesses a rich saturated and homogenous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and a finely proportioned cut…Such a combination of characteristics are rare in natural Kashmir sapphires of this size.’
Rare Ruby, Diamond and Onyx ‘Panthère’ Ring, Monture Cartier – Designed as a panther with a head that swivels, the body pavé-set with numerous circular-cut diamonds together weighing approximately 2.00 carats, flecked by onyx, highlighted by a cushion-shaped ruby weighing 10.62 carats, accented by emerald-set eyes, mounted in platinum, signed MT Cartier and numbered AJE935, with French assay mark. Ring size: 6. Estimate: $2.3-3.2 million
Another covetable gem, a 10.62-carat Burmese ruby rests in the powerful clutches of a Cartier Panthère ring (est. $2.3-3.2 million). Also by Cartier are two exemplary Art Deco brooches featuring oriental elements.
Important Art Deco Jadeite, Enamel, Gem-Set and Diamond Brooch, Cartier, Circa 1927 – Estimate: $903,140-1,032,160
Enamel, Coloured Stones and Diamond ‘Bird’ Brooch, Cartier, Circa 1929 – Estimate: $258,040-309,648
Here are a few additional highlights from the sale:
Exquisite Fancy Intense Blue Diamond and Diamond Ring – Estimate: $877,336 — 1,032,160
Rare Fancy Intense Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring – Estimate: $3,290,010 — 3,870,600
Pair of Diamond Earrings – Estimate: $1,225,690 — 1,419,220
Diamond Necklace Combination, Cartier, Paris, circa 1930s – Estimate: $167,726 — 219,334
Fine Pair of Diamond Earrings – Estimate: $1,935,300 — 2,193,340
Impressive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring – Estimate: $1,935,300 — 2,322,360
Natural Pearl, Yellow Diamond and Diamond Jabot Pin, Cartier – Estimate: $25,804 — 32,255
Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond and Diamond Ring – Estimate: $709,610 — 838,630
Impressive and Rare Ruby, Diamond and Natural Pearl Bracelet – Estimate: $4,128,640 – 5,805,900
Pair of Ruby and Diamond Earclips – Estimate: $619,296 — 709,610
Ruby and Diamond Ring – Estimate: $748,316 — 877,336
Fine Jadeite Bangle – Estimate: $877,336 — 1,032,160
Very Fine Pair of Jadeite Earstuds – Estimate: $1,032,160 — 1,548,240
Pair of Emerald and Diamond Pendant Earclips – Estimate: $903,140 — 1,096,670
Fine Emerald and Diamond Ring – Estimate: $683,806 — 812,826
Unique Pair of Emerald and Diamond Earclips, Cartier – Estimate: $1,096,670 — 1,354,710
Pair of Sapphire and Diamond Earclips, Harry Winston – Estimate: $451,570 — 541,884
Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and Pair of Matching Earclips, Van Cleef & Arpels – Estimate: $258,040 — 361,256
Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and Pair of Matching Earclips, Van Cleef & Arpels