Perfectly timed for the holidays, Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale will offer splendid treasures on December 9th, 2015. More than 500 lots will be auctioned, with estimates starting at $5,000. Between the highly important and naturally beautiful, the sale has something for every collector.
Lisa Hubbard, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division, North & South America, commented: “If these jewels could talk, what a tale they would tell: an iconic Art Deco diamond necklace made in 1939 by Van Cleef & Arpels for Queen Nazli of Egypt, and an avant-garde creation made by designer Suzanne Belperron circa 1935 for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne. The rare combination of superb original design with romantic provenance is irresistible to lovers of fine jewels, and we are thrilled to present them to collectors this December.”
Leading the sale is the truly Magnificent and Historic Platinum and Diamond Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate $3.6-4.6 million), created by the Parisian jeweler in 1939 for Queen Nazli of Egypt. Set with 217 carats of diamonds in a sunburst motif, the sensational bib-style necklace has been called ‘a perfect piece of jewelry’ by Vincent Meylan, author of Van Cleef & Arpels: Treasures and Legends. (To read more about the necklace and Queen Nazli, click here).
Of historic importance on a similar scale, two seminal jewels by Suzanne Belperron formerly in the collection of the Duchess of Windsor will also be offered in the auction: a Pair of White Gold, Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond ‘Couronne’ Cuff-Bracelets (estimate $400,000-600,000) and a Platinum, White Gold, Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond ‘Flower-Head’ Necklace (estimate $350,000-550,000). The significant jewels, made by Belperron in Paris in 1935, were first sold in the landmark 1987 auction of The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor. The cuffs alone sold for $146,000 in 1987 and more recently sold at Christie’s in 2004 for $117,110. Their appearance at auction coincides with the relaunch of the Belperron salon in New York this fall.
In the important diamonds arena, the sale includes a Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Ring (estimate $3.5-4.5 million), featuring a set 38.27-carat square emerald-cut diamond of D color, VVS2 clarity and type IIA – on offer from the Estate of an Italian Countess sold to benefit her charitable foundation – and a Very Fine Platinum, Fancy Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring (estimate $2.5-3.5 million), centering a pear-shape stone of 6.93 carats of VS1 clarity.
Ripe with holiday evergreen, a Pair of Emerald and Diamond Earrings (estimate $1.8-2.2 million) dazzle thanks to The Stars of Muzo drops, Classic Colombian emeralds weighing 22.97 and 21.37 carats. Another pair of important gemstone earrings is a Pair of Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire Earrings (estimate $1,650,000-1,850,000), designed with cushion-cut diamonds weighing 29.39 and 28.03 carats and set on the bias.
For colored stone lovers, sapphire reigns this season – particularly those hailing from the historic Kashmir region. The sale will offer two extraordinary Kashmir sapphires: a 25.87-carat cushion-cut sugarloaf cabochon sapphire and diamond ring (estimate $3.5-4.5 million) and a 9.11-carat cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring (estimate $750,000-$1,000,000).
Also of note in the sale is a large collection of Bulgari jewels from the estate of philanthropist and arts patron Adele G. Bergreen, which happens to coincide with the showcase of Bulgari’s heritage collection in New York going on now. Colorful and collectible designs of the 1960s and 70s from the Italian house include gold link chains, coin jewels, ‘Serpenti’ designs and elaborate evening pieces. The crown jewel of the the Bergreen estate is a Fancy Colored Diamond and Diamond Brooch, Bulgari, 1964, which features a Fancy Intense Blue diamond weighing 2.47 carats (estimate $500,000-700,000).
For those who missed out on last year’s historic sale of the jewelry collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, Sotheby’s December sale includes two pieces from her collection not part of the first sale. Two whimsical ‘Drape’ Bracelets by Schlumberger, one lapis lazuli, turquoise and colored diamond, the other coral and diamond (estimates $20,000-30,000 each) are very much among the sale highlights.
The breadth of signed jewels in the auction spans from late-19th century pieces to modern designs. One of the most elegant necklaces on the latter end of the spectrum is an Exquisite Silver-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace, René Lalique for Lacloche Frères, Paris, circa 1890 (estimate $750,000-850,000). Composed of 13 entwined ribbon-style links of graduated design and set with approximately 72 carats of diamonds, this necklace is notable as the only collaboration between Lalique and Lacloche known to still exist.
On the collectible contemporary front, a Pair of Topaz and Diamond ‘Feather’ Earclips (estimate $250,000-350,000) by JAR will have paddles flying for a rarefied piece of the 21st century designer’s masterpieces. These earclips were included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Jewels by JAR in 2013-2014.