On 13 May 2014, Sothebys
Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels will present an impressive selection of signed and period jewels from private collections, some with noble provenance. The array of important diamonds in the sale includes the Graff Vivid Yellow, an exceptional 100.09 carat daffodil yellow diamond ring and the Victory Diamond, named in honour of the Allied victory in World War II. Coloured stones include an important 121.00 carat Burmese sapphire and an exquisite 12.46 carat Burmese ruby. Collectors of jewels from the 20th century will be captivated by the Belperron jewels from the collection of Mme Picha-Eisenstein, a close friend of the celebrated designer Suzanne Belperron.
David Bennett, Chairman of Sothebys Switzerland and Chairman of the Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East commented: It is a very interesting and varied sale featuring fine coloured gemstones, magnificent white diamonds, and a wide choice among many private collections of fine jewellery, some of them with noble provenance. Of particular interest to the collector will be the fascinating group of jewels by Suzanne Belperron which was formed by one of her close friends, Madame Mary Picha-Eisenstein; and a small but exquisite private collection of art nouveau jewels by René Lalique.
Jewels from the Collection of Flora Sassoon
Sothebys will present a selection of jewels from the collection of Flora Sassoon. A pioneering and influential figure of the late 19th and early 20th century, Flora Sassoon excelled in business, successfully running her husbands Bombay business after he died, and went on to shine in social and philanthropic circles in turn-of-the-century London. Outstanding pieces from her collection include a ravishing diamond necklace, (lot 459, est. CHF 360,000 625,000 / $400,000 700,000).
The auction will also feature an impressive selection of pieces from other important private collections, some of noble and royal provenance.
Diamonds of exception
The Magnificent Jewels section features an exceptional offering of important diamonds, led by the spectacular Graff Vivid Yellow, a sensational daffodil yellow diamond weighing 100.09 carats, mounted as a ring. Of exceptional beauty and extraordinary fire and brilliance, this gem is among the largest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds in the world, appearing on the list of the Worlds Largest Cut Diamonds in Ian Balfours Famous Diamonds (2008) (lot 507, est. CHF 13,400,000 22,300,000 / $15,000,000 25,000,000).
The selection will also include a stunning cushion brilliant-cut diamond weighing 70.33 carats. This D Colour flawless gem was found to be part of the rare Type IIa subgroup chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often with extraordinary optical transparency (lot 500, est. CHF 10,700,000 14,300,000 / $12,000,000 16,000,000).
Of fascinating historical significance is the Victory Diamond (illustrated right), named in honour of the Allied victory in World War II. A step-cut diamond weighing 31.34 carats, it was also graded by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) as D Colour and Potentially Flawless, and is also Type IIa. The Victory Diamond formerly belonged to Florence Gould, celebrated as one of the truly great collectors of jewellery in the 20th century (lot 504, est. CHF 4,460,000 7,100,000 / $5,000,000 8,000,000).
Among the other white diamonds on offer is a spectacular diamond ring by Graff, set with a round brilliant-cut diamond which, at 103.46 carats, is one of the largest known round diamonds. The gem, like the Graff Vivid Yellow, appears on Famous Diamonds list of the Worlds Largest Cut Diamonds (lot 506, est. CHF 3,200,000 4,460,000 / $3,500,000 5,000,000).
The section will also feature an impressive array of step-cut, potentially flawless diamonds, including a D Colour 17.25 carat diamond (lot 493, est. CHF 1,520,000 2,200,000 / $1,700,000 2,400,000). Also worthy of note is a 30.01 carat diamond (lot 496, est. CHF 1,340,000 2,230,000 / $1,500,000 2,500,000).
The selection of coloured diamonds comprises a delightful ring of toi et moi design, set with two diamonds: one a Fancy Vivid Blue of 3.08 carats and the other a Fancy Intense Blue weighing 2.83 carats. Both diamonds are potentially flawless (lot 526, est. CHF 3,570,000 6,200,000 / $4,000,000 7,000,000).
The allure of pink diamonds is exemplified this Spring in a Fancy Pink diamond ring, claw-set with a marquise-shaped stone weighing 12.07 carats (lot 522, est. CHF 3,570,000 6,200,000 / $4,000,000 7,000,000) along with a round brilliant Fancy Light Pink diamond ring weighing 10.11 carats (lot 525, est. CHF 450,000 715,000 / $500,000 800,000).
The sale in May will also feature a rich assortment of exceptional gemstones. The exemplary characteristics of Burmese rubies are represented by a very important ruby and diamond ring (left), set with a cushion-shaped ruby weighing 12.46 carats between triangular diamond shoulders (lot 461, est. CHF 2,500,000 4,250,000 / $2,800,000 4,800,000).
Meanwhile, a fine example of Kashmir sapphires is found in an important sapphire and diamond ring the cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 10.96 carats mounted as a ring between demi-lune diamond shoulders. The Swiss Gemmological Institute describes this exceptional sapphire: the velvety blue of this sapphire is due to very fine and subtle inclusions and a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone (lot 492, est. CHF 1,100,000 1,400,000 / $1,200,000 1,600,000).
Connoisseurs will also delight in a rare and magnificent unmounted Burmese sapphire an oval stone weighing 121.00 carats. The gem is accompanied by a Gübelin report stating that the stone is free from thermal treatment, and possessing a richly saturated and homogenous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency (lot 445, est. CHF 1,200,000 1,600,000 / $1,300,000 1,800,000).
The section will offer a variety of emerald jewels, including an emerald and diamond ring, featuring a step-cut Colombian emerald weighing 30.32 carats (lot 514, est. CHF 270,000 450,000 / $300,000 500,000). A further example of the dazzling green of Colombian emeralds can be found in an exquisite pair of emerald and diamond ear clips, each with a bow-shaped surmount set with triangular diamonds and a cabochon emerald, suspending a drop-shaped emerald (lot 520, est. CHF 180,000 270,000 / $200,000 300,000).
The sale will include a wide selection of fine natural pearl jewels - more than 60 pieces - among them necklaces and ear pendants and fine pearl drops. Highlights include a natural pearl and diamond necklace (lot 505, est. CHF 225,000 315,000 / $250,000 350,000) and a pair of natural pearl and diamond pendent earrings from a Noble Collection (lot 460, est. CHF 315,000 490,000 / $350,000 550,000).
Signed and Period Jewels
The sale this spring features a fascinating selection of jewels demonstrating exemplary craftsmanship and historical significance. A fragment of aviation history is brought to life through a gold and diamond necklace (illustrated left) from the collection of Jacqueline Auriol, celebrated as one of the most audacious test pilots of the 20th century. A gift to Mme Auriol from aircraft industrialist Marcel Dassault in honour of her achievements, the necklace is embellished to the side with a gold Mystère IV fighter jet and a line of graduating circular-cut diamonds (lot 432, est. CHF 20,000 30,000 / $22,000 33,000).
Connoisseurs of jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels will delight in wonderful examples of serti mystérieux craftsmanship: a selection of jewels designed as flowers, the petals composed of calibré-cut rubies, the pistils with brilliant-cut diamonds. The sale includes a ruby and diamond brooch, Deux Fleurs, 1996 (lot 501, est. CHF 135,000 - 225,000 / $150,000 250,000), along with a pair of ruby and diamond ear clips Pergola Royale, 1996 (lot 502, est. CHF 135,000 225,000 / $150,000 250,000) and a pair of ruby and diamond brooches (lot 517, est. CHF 65,000 90,000 / $70,000 100,000).
The Art Nouveau designer René Lalique is represented by a small but exquisite private collection of jewels, including a natural pearl, enamel and diamond devant le corsage set with glass berry clusters and circular-, single-cut and rose diamonds, suspending a baroque-shaped natural pearl (lot 391, est. CHF 105,000 135,000 / $118,000 150,000).
Sotheby's Geneva has led the market for Belperron jewels since the sale of Suzanne Belperron's personal collection in 2012. The woman widely recognised as the greatest female jewellery designer of the 20th century is well represented in this sale, with a selection showcasing her creativity and craft. The ensemble is from the Collection of Mme Picha-Eisenstein, a dear friend of Mme Belperron who regularly sought out Suzanne to make jewels for her personal collection. Admiring of her talent, she often recommended Mme Belperron to famous actors and actresses whom she knew through her husband, Boris Eisenstein, founder of the Société Parisienne de Sonorisation. She wore her Belperron jewels when attending the annual Cannes Film Festival where she met the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant and dear friends Walt and Roy Disney. Highlights from Mme Picha-Eistenstens collection include a pair of diamond clips by Suzanne Belperron, 1943, accompanied by a hinged torque necklace (above) (lot 233, est. CHF 37,000 50,000 / $40,000 53,000) and a diamond cuff bracelet, Mon Bracelet, Suzanne Belperron, 1942, composed of three tapered bands set with circular-cut diamonds (lot 249, est. CHF 37,000 50,000 / $40,000 53,000).