On 12 November 2019, Christies
Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction will present the finest and most sought-after gemstones, including D flawless diamonds, coloured diamonds, pearls, Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies and Colombian emeralds, alongside important signed jewels and historic pieces. The jewels will be on view at Christies London from 22 to 23 October and at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva from 7 to 12 November during Christies Luxury Sales.
Transformable jewels will star in the sale with innovative Art Deco designs from Cartier, including three exceptional brooches, formerly in the collection of Countess Béatrice of Granard OBE (1883-1972) (estimate: CHF 180,000-220,000). Born Beatrice Mills, daughter of the great American financier and banker Ogden Mills, Beatrice became known as a famous hostess and racehorse owner and breeder. She married in 1909 the 8th Earl of Granard, living between Paris and Castle Forbes in Ireland.
Further outstanding pieces in the sale include a superb Art Deco diamond Bandeau by Cartier, which can also be worn as a choker, two bracelets and as a brooch (estimate: CHF 300,000-500,000). The bandeau is the most timeless head ornament, having been in fashion during the early 20th century and enjoying a resurgence today. It transcended the Art Nouveau, Belle Époque and into the Art Déco period where the bandeau was the most fashionable accessory. Further examples of transformable jewels from the leading jewellery houses include an iconic diamond zip necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate: CHF170,000-270,000).
The auction will also present an unusual turquoise and diamond Belle Époque brooch, circa 1910, acquired by Dame Nellie Melba at the peak of her career (estimate: CHF 250,000-350,000). In a long list of famous jewellery collectors, Dame Nellie Melba was one of the era's most prominent icons and a well-established client of Cartier. Helen Porter Mitchell, born in 1861 in Melbourne, decided from an early age that she would become a singer. After immigrating to Europe and studying in Paris under Mathilde Marchesi, who suggested that Nellie take the surname Melba after her hometown, Dame Nellie Melba became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century. She achieved international recognition as a classical musician and was honoured in the late 19th century by the Savoy Hotels French chef Auguste Escoffier with the creation of the Peach Melba .
Leading the auction is a sensational Fancy Deep Blue Diamond ring of 7.03 carats mounted by Moussaieff (estimate: CHF10,000,000-14,000,000) and a superb diamond ring of 46.93 carats of the highest quality, D colour, Internally Flawless clarity (estimate: CHF3,800,000-4,500,000). The very best gemstones will be offered including a sensational Burmese sapphire pendant of 42.97 carats (estimate: CHF 2,000,000-3,000,000), an important pair of untreated Colombian emerald earrings of over 7.5 carats each (estimate: CHF 1,000,000-1,500,000) and a Burmese pigeon blood red ruby ring of 3.88 carats (estimate: CHF 400,000-600,000). An important pearl and diamond necklace of one hundred nineteen saltwater natural pearls will also be offered (estimate: CHF500,000-700,000).
Highlighting the auction are jewels by renowned jewellery designer Pierre Sterlé, considered to be emblematic of 1950s and 1960s jewellery. In 1934 Sterlé set up his own atelier, in the Place Vendôme, and was considered somewhat of a revolutionary: atypical, audacious and talented, receiving the prestigious De Beers' International Diamond Award three years in a row. Sterlé reinvented the art of manipulating precious metal, setting the gemstones in an elevated fashion reminiscent of the Baroque period; creating a sense of movement in supple and articulated mounts. He created mobile settings which enhanced the scintillation of the stones, varying their colour according to the light. His overruling ambition was to challenge the technical constraints of jewellery design, permitting him to translate the visions from his vivid imagination into jewels. He adored the effect of different colours of gold combined in one object and of varying textured surfaces. Leading pieces from the collection include a beautiful citrine and diamond necklace and ring set, (estimate: CHF40,000-60,000).