NEW YORK, NY. - Sotheby’s upcoming auction of Magnificent Jewels will be held on 11 December 2013 in New York, with a public exhibition beginning 7 December in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries.
Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, said: “Sotheby’s has broken world auction record after world auction record in our jewelry sales this fall in both Hong Kong and Geneva, establishing new benchmark prices for any diamond, any jewel and any jewelry auction. Our December sale in New York is distinguished by a number of true masterpieces, including five extremely rare Art Deco Egyptian-revival jewels designed by Cartier, and an iconic Boucheron bracelet of African inspiration that was first exhibited at the 1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale in Paris. We also are offering two important private collections: one from the family of an American heiress, whose jewels have spent most of the last 60 years secreted in a bank vault and testify to a glamorous lifestyle in the first half of the 20th century, and the other a contemporary collection of sensational emerald jewels and fancy vivid yellow diamonds.
MAGNIFICENT JEWELS FROM A DISTINGUISHED FAMILY COLLECTION
More than 30 jewels from a Distinguished Family Collection provide a fascinating look at the taste of an American heiress who lived in Europe in the 1930s–50s. She favored Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels for her own jewels, and refashioned others inherited from her mother. The group offered in December represents only a portion of the original collection, as Sotheby’s previously sold jewels from the collection in 2009 and 2011.
The group is led by a Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Ring, set with a 24.48 carat D-color, VS1 clarity emerald-cut diamond (est. $1.5/2.5 million), as well as an Indian inspired Important 18 Karat Gold, Emerald and Diamond Necklace, Cartier, London, special ordered in 1947 and set with more than 100 carats of Colombian emeralds (est. $600/800,000).
Also from Cartier, London is a Pair of 18 Karat Gold, Emerald, Ruby and Diamond Earclips, circa 1940 (est. $75/100,000), inspired by the lush flora and fauna of India. Complementing the Cartier jewels is a Gold, Emerald, Diamond and Ruby Brooch, circa 1945, encasing a 41.20 carat Colombian emerald in an ornate diamond frame (est. $200/300,000). A selection of Art Deco evening bags, fine gemstone rings and decorative jewels complete the collection.
MAGNIFICENT JEWELS FROM A DISTINGUISHED LADY
The December auction is led by a Magnificent Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond, Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring (est. $2.5/3.5 million) that is the property of a Distinguished Lady, centering a cut-cornered square modified brilliant-cut 51.75 carat fancy vivid yellow diamond, VS1 clarity.
The collection also features a suite of impressive emerald jewels, highlighted by a Magnificent Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Emerald and Diamond Bracelet (est. $1.2/1.5 million) set with eight cushion-cut Colombian emeralds together weighing almost 80 carats, as well as a Magnificent Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Emerald and Diamond Ring (est. $1/1.5 million) centering a square emerald-cut Colombian emerald of 61.35 carats.
RARE EGYPTIAN-REVIVAL JEWELS
The discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 ignited a blaze of Egypt-mania and the instantaneous introduction of decorative elements from Egyptian culture into fine arts, interior design, fashion and jewelry. At this time, Louis Cartier, a collector of Egyptian antiquities, had the novel idea of reincarnating some of his ancient Egyptian faience fragments by mounting them into modern settings using platinum, diamonds and colored stones.
It is believed that Cartier produced only 150 such Egyptian-revival jewels in the mid-to-late 1920s, and several very rare examples are featured in the December auction. The Magnificent and Rare Egyptian-revival Faience and Jeweled Brooch, Cartier, London, circa 1923 (est. $300/500,000) is designed as an Egyptian fan centering an ancient green glazed bust of the goddess Sekhmet, set against the lapis lazuli sky twinkling with diamond stars – one of only two fan-shaped brooches ever made by Cartier, London. This particular brooch was exhibited in 1924 at the French Industrial Exposition, Grand Central Palace, New York.
Sotheby’s also will offer property formerly from the Estate of Iya, Lady Abdy, which includes four Egyptian-Revival jewels – two signed by Cartier. Lady Abdy was a leading light of Parisian society in the 1920s-30s, a friend of Coco Chanel and Jean Cocteau, and a style icon in her own right. She was much photographed by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, and for Vogue by George Hoyningen Huene. Her remarkable collection at Sotheby’s includes the Rare and Important 18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Faience, Diamond, Colored Stone and Enamel ‘Sekhmet’ Brooch, Cartier, Paris, circa 1925 (est. $200/300,000) and the Platinum, Gold, Diamond, Faience and Colored Stone ‘Pylon’ Brooch, Cartier, London, circa 1923 (est. $50/70,000). Lady Abdy was photographed wearing the latter jewel for American Vogue in 1928.
THE COLLECTION OF MARIA MONET MARKOWITZ
The Collection of Maria Monet Markowitz comprises 40 elegant pieces dating from the 19th to mid-20th centuries. Markowitz is actively involved in the acclaimed Jewelry Arts Institute in New York, which teaches the ancient technique of granulation and more modern approaches to jewelry-making. Her curated collection focuses on period timepieces and the chronological progression of jewelry design. Highlights on offer include the Platinum, Colored Stone and Diamond Lapel Watch, Udall & Ballou, circa 1930 (est. $20/30,000), and a Pair of Platinum, Colored Stone and Diamond Clips by Tiffany & Co., late 1920s (est. $30/50,000) – purported to be the only known example of Tiffany & Co. working in the ‘Tutti Frutti’ style.
CUSTOM BULGARI EARRINGS BENEFITTING THE ELIZABETH TAYLOR AIDS FOUNDATION
Bulgari will offer a custom-designed exclusive Pair of 18 Karat Gold, Spinel, Turquoise and Diamond Earrings (est. $18/22,000) inspired by Elizabeth Taylor and her film CLEOPATRA, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In tribute to Ms. Taylor, Bulgari will donate 100% of the proceeds of the sale of the earrings to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in support of her courageous life’s work in raising awareness and providing care for those affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. Separate release available
ADDITIONAL AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
Seminal designs by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. from a Distinguished American Collector include the 18 Karat Gold, Platinum, Sapphire and Diamond ‘Morning Glory’ Necklace (est. $100/150,000), an example of which was most recently presented in Vivienne Becker’s book The Impossible Collection: The 100 Most Important Jewels of the Twentieth Century.
Also featured in Becker’s book is the 18 Karat Gold, Malachite, Purpurine and Ivory Bracelet, Boucheron, Paris, circa 1931 (est. $150/250,000). An iconic modernist jewel which exemplifies the influence of African art and artifacts on jewelry design, this bracelet was exhibited by Boucheron at the 1931 Exposition Coloniale Internationale in Paris.