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Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond and Near Colorless Diamond Ring, Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., 1972. Photo Sotheby's

The cushion-shaped diamond of fancy vivid yellow color weighing 11.13 carats., framed by bees set with small round and marquise-shaped near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 2.05 carats, size 6¼, signed Tiffany, Schlumberger. With box signed Tiffany & Co. designed by Schlumberger. Estimate 500,000—700,000 USD. Lot Sold 1,082,500 USD

NOTE: Accompanied by GIA report no. 2135024128 stating Fancy Vivid Yellow, Natural Color, VS2 clarity.

For a ring of similar design, see The Jewels of Jean Schlumberger, Chantal Bizot, pp. 54-55, 140.

French-born jeweler Jean Schlumberger began designing in the mid-1930s, catering to a well-heeled clientele that included the Princess de Faucigny, the Duchess of Kent and, legendary within the jewelry collecting world, socialite Daisy Fellowes. His career was already well-established when he opened his New York store in 1947, but it was his collaboration with Tiffany & Co. starting in 1956 that sealed his reputation as one of the great designers of the 20th century.

Schlumberger's whimsical creations flourished in the non-conformist spirit of the 1960s and 70s, his designs embraced by well-bred women who wished to wear something unorthodox and eccentric while remaining comfortably within the realm of good taste. He frequently took inspiration from nature, with flora and fauna figuring prominently into his more iconic works: peridot seahorses, moonstone jellyfish, sapphire thistles and, in the present example, diamond bees. The color of the ring's 11.13-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond—sweetly evocative of a drop of honey—is so vibrant that it is hard to conceive it was created by nature alone.

Prince Napoleon, Pretender to the Imperial Crown of France and descendant of Jerome, Napoleon I's youngest brother, commissioned the first "bee ring." Lifted from the Napoleonic coat of arms and a symbol of the Empire, the bee was an apt motif for mounting a diamond once owned by his great-great-aunt Josephine. Prince Napoleon was reportedly so delighted with the design that he gave Schlumberger permission to reproduce it. Another notable bee ring, supporting a white diamond weighing 8.23 carats, was in the collection of Betsey Cushing Whitney and offered for sale by Sotheby's in 1998. All known bee rings feature a generously-sized center stone upheld by dainty diamond-set bees, reflecting the balance of profusion and restraint that is emblematic of Schlumberger's work. The design also encapsulates Schlumberger's wonderful ability to lend a touch of levity to serious jewelry, transforming what would otherwise be a straightforward display of wealth into something infinitely more fun and wearable.

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Platinum, Fancy Intense Yellow and Near Colorless Diamond Ring. Photo Sotheby's

The cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond of fancy intense yellow color weighing 17.28 carats, framed and flanked by small round near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 1.20 carats, size 6. Estimate 380,000—420,000 USD. Lot Sold 458,500 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 1122134697 stating that the diamond is Fancy Intense Yellow, Natural Color, VVS2 clarity.

N08732_341_lr_1

Pair of Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Colored Diamond and Near Colorless Diamond Pendant-Earrings. Photo Sotheby's

Set with cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut diamonds of fancy intense yellow color each weighing 5.05 carats, surmounted by trapeze-shaped diamonds of yellow hue weighing approximately 1.30 carats, accented by small round near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 1.00 carat. Estimate 175,000—225,000 USD. Lot Sold 212,500 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 5121013516 stating that the first 5.05 carat diamond is Fancy Intense Yellow, Natural Color, VS2 clarity; and GIA report no. 2115965234 stating that the second 5.05 carat diamond is Fancy Intense Yellow, Natural Color, VS1 clarity.

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Platinum and Fancy Yellow Diamond Ring, Graff. Photo Sotheby's

The cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut diamond of fancy yellow color weighing 10.94 carats, flanked by small round near colorless diamonds weighing .97 carat, size 4, signed Graff. With signed box. Estimate 125,000—175,000 USD. Lot Sold 122,500 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 11183753 stating that the diamond is Fancy Yellow, Natural Color, SI1 clarity.

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Platinum, Fancy Greenish Yellow Diamond and Near Colorless Diamond Ring. Photo Sotheby's

The pear-shaped diamond of fancy greenish yellow color weighing 11.59 carats, the mounting set throughout with small round near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 1.50 carats, size 5½. Estimate 65,000—85,000 USD. Lot Sold 110,500 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 1132134097 stating that the diamond is Fancy Greenish Yellow, Natural Color, SI2 clarity.

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Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Yellow Diamond and Near Colorless Diamond Ring. Photo Sotheby's

The round modified brilliant-cut diamond of fancy yellow color weighing 7.04 carats, flanked by heart-shaped near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 1.55 carats, size 6¾. Estimate 80,000—120,000 USD. Lot Sold 98,500 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 16198764 stating that the diamond is Fancy Yellow, Natural Color, VS1 clarity.

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Platinum, 18 Karat Gold and Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Ring. Photo Sotheby's

The heart-shaped diamond of fancy intense yellow color weighing 3.13 carats, framed and flanked by small round near colorless diamonds weighing approximately .40 carat, size 6. Estimate 45,000—55,000 USD. Lot Sold  59,375 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 2115742594 stating that the diamond is Fancy Intense Yellow, Natural Color, VVS2 clarity.

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Gold, Fancy Deep Yellow-Brown Diamond and Colored Diamond Ring. Photo Sotheby's

The heart-shaped diamond of fancy deep yellow-brown color weighing 3.65 carats, the mounting set throughout with small round diamonds of yellow hue weighing approximately .95 carat, size 6. Estimate 30,000—40,000 USD. Lot Sold 33,750 USD

Accompanied by GIA report no. 16395832 stating that the diamond is Fancy Deep Yellow-Brown, Natural Color.

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Pair of 18 Karat Gold and Colored Diamond Earstuds. Photo Sotheby's

Set with round diamonds of light yellow hue weighing 4.78 carats, framed by small round diamonds of yellow hue weighing approximately .85 carat. Estimate 15,000—20,000 USD. Lot Sold 22,500 USD

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels. 14 Apr 11. New York www.sothebys.com