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Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain's Cartier bracelet to lead Sotheby's Geneva sale of Magnificent Jewels
Of unique design, this sumptuous jewel comes for sale from a member of the Spanish royal family, where it has remained since it was commissioned in the late 1920s. Photo: Sotheby's.

GENEVA.- Six months after the sale of the legendary Beau Sancy – one of the most important royal diamonds ever come to auction, Sotheby’s Geneva will present – in its 14 November 2012 sale of Magnificent Jewels – another jewel of impeccable royal provenance: a sumptuous conch pearl Cartier bracelet which once belonged to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain (1887-1969). Comprising over 590 lots, the sale will also be highlighted by an important selection of royal and noble jewels, as well as exceptional gemstones, diamonds and period jewels.

Commenting on the November Magnificent Jewels sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Department in Europe and the Middle East said: “Set with charming and rare conch pearls, this unique, sumptuous, and truly royal bracelet – unquestionably one of the greatest jewels designed by Cartier during the 1920s – is offered alongside exceptional gemstones and period jewels, many of them from noble and aristocratic collections. A feast for all lovers of fine jewellery”.

Jewels of Royal & Noble Provenance
Continuing Sotheby’s long tradition of offering jewels with royal and noble provenance, this autumn sale will be spearheaded by an astonishingly beautiful and unique conch pearl, enamel and diamond bracelet made by Cartier, Paris in the late 1920s. Formerly in the personal collection of Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain (1887-1969), the grandmother of Juan Carlos, the present King, this bracelet comes for sale from a member of the Spanish royal family where it has remained since it was commissioned.

Born at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland in 1887, Victoria Eugenia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Considered a great beauty of her time, Ena, as she was known to her family and the British public, married King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1906. When she passed away in 1969, the Queen left behind an impressive collection of jewels.

The illustrious provenance of this bracelet combined with its exceptional design and the distinctive nature of the materials employed, makes it one of the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war period. Although the fruiting vine central motif is shared with other ‘tutti frutti’ bracelets introduced by Cartier in 1925, the use of conch pearls in the jeweller’s creations of this period is unique. One can only assume that such an element was requested or provided by the client. Estimated at CHF 750,000-1,300,000 ($800,000-1,400,000), this stunning piece was singled out amongst the extraordinary jewels of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and illustrated in the recently released book, Celebrating Jewellery, by David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti .

The sale features an important selection of jewels with noble provenance, including a pair of ruby and diamond pendent earrings suspending sensational, perfectly matched Burmese rubies of 11 carats each. Dating from 1921, these splendid earrings were formerly in the collection of HSH Princess Max Egon zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1892–1990). They were given as a gift on the occasion of her wedding, by her parents Trinidad von Scholtz Hermennsdorff, Duchess of Parcent, and Ambassador Manuel de Yturbe of Mexico. These earrings have since passed down through the family (est. CHF 1,400,000-2,330,000/ $1,500,000-2,500,000).

Also from aristocratic provenance, a group of jewels from the late 19th century come from the collection of the late Princess Frances Alice Poniatowska (1901-1989), née Willing Lawrance. Highlights include a diamond rivière, designed as a graduated row of fifty-five circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds (est. CHF 250,000-350,000/ $270,000-375,000), a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendent earrings from circa 1900, each suspending a drop-shaped natural pearl (est. CHF 180,000-280,000/ $190,000-300,000) and two natural pearl and diamond hat pins (est. CHF 70,000–120,000/ $75,000 – 130,000 and CHF 100,000-200,000/ $110,000-215,000).

Exceptional gemstones and diamonds
The sale also features a group of exceptional gemstones and diamonds, led by a rich assortment of sapphires. Fine examples of Kashmir sapphires are found in a splendid sapphire and diamond ring, set with a 16.99 carat cushion sapphire (est. CHF 750,000-1,300,000/ $800,000-1,400,000) and a pair of sapphire and diamond ear clips by Cusi, set with cushion-shaped sapphires weighing 12.29 and 13.09 carats (est. CHF 400,000-600,000/ $430,000-640,000).

Burmese sapphires are represented by a highly important 39 carat step-cut sapphire of superb colour, mounted as a ring (est. CHF 300,000-400,000 / $320,000-430,000).

The offering of coloured gemstones includes a large number of fine rubies, mostly of Burmese origin. Among them is an 11.01 carat cushion-shaped Burmese ruby, claw-set to a mount composed of overlapping stylised leaves signed by Lenfant (est. CHF 1,225,000-1,690,000/ $1,300,000-1,800,000).

Burmese rubies also highlight two superb signed jewels: the first, a fine ruby and diamond ring by Harry Winston features a ‘pigeon blood’ ruby weighing 6.09 carats (est. CHF 430,000-715,000/ $460,000-765,000); the second, a pair of ruby and diamonds ear clips by M. Gérard, set with Burmese rubies of 6.03 and 7.11 carats is estimated at CHF 480,000-760,000 ($515,000-815,000).

Emeralds complete the selection of coloured gemstones. Discovered in the 16th century, Columbian emeralds exhibit the most vivid green, as exemplified in a superb emerald and diamond ring, set with a cushion-shaped emerald weighing 17.61 carats. The stone has been spared any enhancement (est. CHF 420,000-610,000/ $450,000-650,000).

The sale also comprises magnificent diamonds, spearheaded by an exceptionally rare fancy deep blue diamond weighing 10.48 carats. Cut as a superb drop-shaped briolette, its many facetted surface is designed to reflect and refract light. In addition, the stone has been certified flawless by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) – the highest grade in terms of polish and symmetry (est. CHF 3,280,000–4,200,000/ $3,500,000-4,500,000).

Among the white diamonds on offer is a step-cut diamond weighing 21.19 carats which carries an estimate of CHF 1-1.5 million ($1,070,000-1,600,000).

Fine Period and Signed Jewels
The sale also comprises a wide range of fine period jewels signed by the most famous and celebrated jewellers of the 20th century, including Cartier, Belperron, Boucheron, Buccellati, Bulgari, Chaumet, Graff, Harry Winston, M. Gérard, René Boivin, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and Webb.

Cartier is represented by several magnificent creations. From the 1930s: a diamond bracelet, set with a 8.82 carat D colour diamond (est. CHF 280,000-465,000/ $300,000-500,000) and a diamond double clip brooch, also set with fine pear-shaped stones (est. CHF 140,000-235,000/ $150,000-250,000).

Cartier’s 1920s production in art deco style was inspired by many Oriental subjects and designs. The strong influence of the Far East on the jeweller’s choice of chromatic combinations and materials is seen in a superb gem-set compact with a water-dragon motif (est. CHF 15,000-25,000/ $16,000-27,000).

Following Sotheby’s white glove sale of 60 Jewels from the personal collection of Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) in May 2012 , this autumn’s sale will present two important jewels by the most talented and influential female jeweller of the 20th century. Testament to the unprecedented combinations of stones and minerals that made Belperron’s style is an agate, coral and diamond brooch from circa 1935, designed as an articulated flower (est. CHF 140,000-235,000/ $150,000-250,000).

A fine example of the jeweller’s innovative aesthetic is to be found in a pair of gold and diamond cuffs in the form of small crowns, also dating from circa 1935 (est. CHF 280,000-375,000/ $300,000-400,000).

Transcending time, Van Cleef & Arpels’ unmistakable creativity is displayed in two spectacular pieces of jewellery coming from the collection of a European noble family. The first is a ruby and diamond bracelet, set with oval and circular-cut rubies (est. CHF 280,000-465,000/ $300,000-500,000); the second, a pair of ruby and diamond ear clips, each set at the centre with a cushion-shaped ruby weighing 3.79 and 3.94 carats respectively (est. CHF 70,000-115,000/ $75,000-125,000).

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