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Sotheby's in Geneva to auction over 700 magnificent jewels from important private collections
The Murat Tiara. Est. CHF 1,375,000 ‐ 2,285,000/ $1,500,000 – 2,500,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

GENEVA.- On 14 and 15 May 2012, Sotheby’s Geneva will present over 700 lots in its sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels. The two‐day sale will be spearheaded by one of the most important historic diamonds ever to come to auction: The Beau Sancy.

Commenting on the forthcoming sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Department in Europe and the Middle East and Co‐Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland said: “With fascinating Noble Jewels led by the legendary Beau Sancy diamond, several important private collections including the personal jewels of Suzanne Belperron, and many exceptional gemstones and period creations, the May auction should be a delight for all lovers of fine Jewellery”.

The Beau Sancy
At the heart of the sale will be The Beau Sancy, a diamond which has been the privileged witness of 400 years of European history. Passed down through the Royal Families of France, England, Prussia, and the House of Orange, the celebrated stone was worn by Marie de Medici in 1610 at her coronation as Queen Consort of Henri IV. The 34.98 carat modified pear double rose cut diamond was almost certainly discovered in the area of Golconda in India, the sole source of diamonds until the discoveries in Brazil in the 1720s (est. CHF 1,850,000‐3,650,000/ $2‐4 million).

Noble Jewels
Continuing Sotheby’s long tradition of offering jewels with aristocratic provenance, Sotheby’s Geneva 6th annual sale of Noble Jewels will bring together gems of great historical significance having belonged to prestigious European families.

Following the record for a tiara established by Sotheby’s Geneva last May1, the forthcoming auction will include The Murat Tiara, an impressive pearl and diamond jewel created in 1920 by Joseph Chaumet for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat (1889 – 1926) to Yvonne Gillois (1894 – 1961) (est. CHF 1,375,000 ‐ 2,285,000/ $1,500,000 – 2,500,000).

Prince Alexandre Murat, through his ancestry with Joachim Murat (1767 – 1815) who married Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, was associated with one of the most glorious periods of French history. The heroic cavalry charges of Joachim Murat, an inn‐keeper’s son from Gascony, contributed to the victories of Ina, Eylau and Austerlitz and from 1808‐1814 he and Caroline were popular rulers of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily. The diadem boasts one of the largest natural pearls ever recorded, at 303.37 grains. As stated by the SSEF laboratory, “the main pearl in the center is outstanding in its size and one of the most important pearls certified so far at the SSEF” and “natural pearls of this size, quality and with a documented historic provenance are very rare and thus the described tiara with three large pearls represents a very exceptional treasure”.

In addition to the Beau Sancy, the sale will feature several jewels with royal provenance. Among them is a necklace suspending a detachable pear‐shaped D colour diamond weighing 41.40 carats and coming from the collection of a member of a royal family (est. CHF 2,750,000‐4,550,000 / $3,000,000‐5,000,000). Also from a royal family, a magnificent emerald and diamond necklace designed by Bulgari circa 1970 carries an estimate CHF 1,400,000‐2,800,000 ($1,500,000‐3,000,000).

Another highlight is a step‐cut sapphire and diamond ring dating from the 1930s which once belonged to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain (1887‐1969). Estimated at CHF 23,000‐33,000 ($25,000 – 35,000), this ring was passed down through the Spanish Royal Family and inherited by the present owner.

Another piece of historical importance is to be found in a diamond brooch set with a 7.33 carat Fancy deep yellow diamond coming from the collection of Prince Filippo Corsini, a descendant of the illustrious Florentine family whose history dates back to the 12th century and whose lineage includes many popes (est. CHF 280,000‐480,000/$300,000‐500,000).

The central diamond was offered to the Corsini family by Charles Edward Stuart (1720 – 1788) in the 1770s, most certainly in gratitude for their support during his years of exile. Most commonly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie", Charles Edward Stuart was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of Great Britain and Ireland. His attempt to make the Stuarts regain the crown ended with the Battle of Culloden in 1745 which precipitated his exile to France and Italy. It is possible that the diamond was inherited by Prince Charles from his mother Marie‐Clementina Sobieski, Granddaughter of King John III of Poland and, therefore, was originally part of the Sobieski Jewellery Collection.

Thirteen jewels from the Estate of the late Prince Kinsky will also be presented, shedding light on the history of one of most illustrious and oldest dynasties originating from Bohemia. Tracing its roots back to the thirteen century, the House of Kinsky was part of the most powerful and influential families in the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its members served in high diplomatic or military positions of the Habsburg Monarchy and subsequently the Austrian Empire. An Important natural pearl and diamond necklace made circa 1880 evokes the splendour and lavish style of the imperial court (est. CHF 275,000–460,000 / $300,000–500,000).

Enjoying a similarly illustrious provenance is a selection of jewels coming from the collection of a member of the Princely Family of Thurn und Taxis. Among them is a very fine emerald and diamond demi‐parure, composed of a necklace and a pair of earrings, which was purchased by Albert, 8th Prince of Thurn und Taxis around 1890, most certainly as a wedding present for Austrian Archduchess Margarete whom he married on 15 July in that year (est. CHF 200,000 ‐ 300,000/ $220,000 – 330,000).

Another highlight from this group is an attractive sapphire and diamond bandeau dating from early 1930 which was gifted to Raphael Prince Thurn und Taxis and his wife, Princess Margarete, on the occasion of their wedding in Regensburg in 1932. The accompanying fitted case was painted by Prince Raphael's mother, Princess Margarethe of Thurn und Taxis (est. CHF 75,000‐130,000/ $80,000‐ 140,000).

Typical of the early twentieth century is a fine sapphire and diamond brooch/pendant dating from circa 1910 which belonged to the Italian Countess Adriana Guillichini della Gherardesca (est. CHF 185,000‐370,000/$200,000‐400'000).

Jewels from the personal collection of Suzanne Belperron
On 14 May 2012, Sotheby’s Geneva will present the jewellery collection of one of the most important jewellery designers of the 20th century: Suzanne Belperron (1900‐1983). Comprised of 60 lots, this unprecedented sale features the most significant collection of jewels by Suzanne Belperron in private hands. The jeweller’s personal collection includes some of her most celebrated designs and very intimate items which illustrate her unique style and creative virtuosity, while also shedding light on her life.

Magnificent Jewels
The Magnificent Jewels section features a rich offering of white diamonds which are D Colour ] the finest colour grading for white diamonds. Leading this group is an exceptional diamond ring by Harry Winston set with a 36.43 carat internally flawless diamond which has been found to be part of the rare Type IIa subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds. Diamonds of this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency (est. CHF
3,200,000]5,000,000/ $3,550,000]5,500,000).

Among the other D colour diamonds on offer are a very fine 21.88 carat Internally Flawless diamond mounted as a ring signed Van Cleef & Arpels (est. CHF 1,600,000 ] 2,600,000/ $1,750,000.2,850,000) and a 22.10 carat Potentially Flawless diamond set as a ring (est. CHF 1,465,000]2,380,000/ $1,600,000]2,600,000).

The coloured diamonds will be led by an oval step‐cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond weighing 4.25 carats and mounted as a ring between brilliant‐cut diamonds of pinkish tint and two button‐shaped natural pearls (est. CHF 2,200,000‐3,000,000/$2,400,000‐3,200,000).

Superb Jewels from a Private Collection
At the core of this section will also be a superb collection of gems and jewels. Comprising over 80 pieces, this exceptional collection has been assembled by two generations of a family, from the mid‐1960s until present day.

Reflecting the passion for gemstones that animated the family for 50 years are a pair of impressive Kashmir sapphire clips (est. CHF 825,000‐1,370,000/ $900,000 1,500,000), a ring set with a cabochon Burmese sapphire weighing 58.56 carats (est. CHF 730,000‐1,275,000/ $800,000‐1,400,000) and a 13.35 carat Colombian emerald mounted at the centre of a diamond brooch (est. CHF 185,000‐ 275,000/$200,000‐300,000).

The collection also comprises jewels signed by the greatest makers of the 20th century, including Cartier, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari which features prominently with quintessential creations of the years 1970‐2000. Among them is a magnificent gem‐set and diamond demi‐parure (est. CHF 140,000‐230,000/ $150,000‐250,000).

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