SOTHEBY’S GENEVA TO AUCTION OVER 700 JEWELS
INCLUDING THE BEAU SANCY
A DIAMOND OF SUPREME HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE
JEWELS WITH ILLUSTRIOUS ARISTOCRATIC PROVENANCE
and IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
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, illustration above).
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, illustrated left).
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 Iéna, 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, illustrated left).
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, illustrated below).
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, illustrated).
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 rom early 1930, accompanied by a fitted case which was painted by Princess Margarete of Thurn und Taxis (est. CHF 75,000‐130,000/ $80,000‐ 140,000, illustrated above left).
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, illustrated below).
Sotheby’s Geneva, Hôtel Beau‐Rivage
13 Quai du Mont‐Blanc, 1205 Geneva
14 & 15 May 2012
Jewels from the personal Collection of Suzanne Belperron
Monday 14 May, 10am (lots 1‐60)
Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels
Monday 14 May
11am: Session 1 (lots 61‐186)
2pm: Session 2 (lots 187‐337)
5pm: Session 3 (lots 338‐479)
Tuesday 15 May
5pm: Noble Jewels (lots 480‐595)
7pm: A Superb Private Collection of Gems & Jewels (lots 596‐674)
Magnificent Jewels (lots 675‐734)
Hôtel Beau‐Rivage, Geneva
11‐13 May, 10am‐6pm
Monday 14 May, 10am‐7pm (selection of lots)
Tuesday 15 May, 10am‐5pm (selection of lots)
...more from this important sale, closer to the sale date!