An antique diamond necklace, circa 1880. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
designed as elaborate graduated openwork sections of rose-cut diamonds in a floral motif, completed by a (later) gold backchain; sections can be converted to brooches and earrings with fittings provided; accompanied by an associated pair of earclips; with (later) fitted box; mounted in fourteen karat gold; length: 17 1/4in. (tiara and some brooch fittings deficient) - Estimate: $15,000 - 25,000
An antique diamond and pearl necklace and earclips, circa 1880. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
the necklace designed as a central baroque pearl, rose and old European-cut diamond pendant flanked by smaller pendants and rose-cut diamond swags, suspended from a woven gold necklace accentuated with pearl and rose-cut diamond clusters; central pendant detaches to be worn as a brooch; with (later) fitted box; mounted in eighteen karat gold; necklace length: 16 1/4in. (pearls untested) - Estimate: $15,000 - 20,000
A Renaissance revival pearl, enamel and gem-set pendant, circa 1880. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
the polychrome enameled gold three-dimensional pendant depicting a mythological scene with Triton and Athena, accentuated by pearls, rubies and diamonds; gross weight approximately: 180.4 grams; dimensions: 5 7/8 x 2 1/2in. (loss to enamel, pearls untested) - Estimate: $12,000 - 18,000
An antique green paste and polychrome enamel necklace and earclips, circa 1880. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
the necklace centering a rectangular-cut green paste within an openwork pendant of white, green and red enamel of floral motif, suspending a briolette green paste bead, completed by a backchain of openwork green, red, white and black floral panels; a pair of earclips en suite; with (later) fitted box; mounted in eighteen karat gold; necklace length: 19in. (loss to enamel) - Estimate: $4,500 - 6,500
An antique diamond, silver and fourteen gold necklace and earclips, circa 1860. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
the necklace designed as a series of delicate openwork wirework panels of floral motif each detailed with small table-cut diamonds, suspending a pendant of similar design; a pair of earclips en suite (fittings later); with (later) fitted box; necklace length: 17in. Estimate: $2,500 - 3,500
An antique tortoise shell and fourteen karat gold hair ornament, circa 1880. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
designed as a delicate scrolling gold panel with two-prong tortoise-shell comb. Estimate: $1,200 - 1,500
An antique eighteen karat gold and turquoise hair ornament, circa 1860. © 2002-2010 Bonhams 1793 Ltd
designed as a delicate spray of turquoise flowers and gold stems, attaches to the hair by a metal comb; with (later) fitted box; dimensions: 5 3/4 x 3 1/2in. Estimate: $1,000 - 1,500
Note: Ms. Blanche Thebom was one of the great operatic mezzos of the postwar era. Making her concert debut in 1941, she became the leading dramatic mezzo-soprano of the Metropolitan Opera for 22 years and created the American premiere performances of Baba the Turk in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, the Mother in Strauss' Arabella, and Mére Marie in Francisc Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.
In her impressive 22 seasons with the Met she appeared in 356 performances, 28 roles and 27 works. She performed in various opera houses in America and Europe with great success. Ms. Thebom was the first American artist to sing at the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, and had two command performances before the Queen of England.
Blanche Thebom is also remembered for her Dorabella in the historic production directed by Alfred Lunt of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, and for her Brangäne on Flagstad/Wilhelm Furtwängler recording of Tristan und Isolde.
In 1967, Ms. Thebom was appointed head of the Southern Regional Opera Company in Atlanta; then in 1968, she was appointed director of the opera workshop of San Francisco State University. She had an elegant presence that impressed everyone who met her.
Blanche Thebom was admired during her illustrious career for the rich maturity of her voice, her face and figure, her profound acting ability and innate musical intelligence, and even her beautiful tresses (which reached a length of 6 ½ ft.!). She left an indelible memory as one of the last great Divas.
Bonhams. Fine Jewelry, 19 Oct 2010. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco www.bonhams.com