An ebony, pink and purple sapphire and diamond "Moretto" brooch, by Codognato. Photo courtesy Bonhams.
The carved ebony bust of a Moor wearing a turban pavé-set with circular-cut purple and pink sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds, wearing a similarly set waistcoat and a pair of brilliant-cut diamond earrings, the turban and waistcoat with additional engraved decoration, diamonds approximately 18.60 carats total, signed A Codognato, length 7.7cm. Estimate £10,000 - 15,000 (€12,000 - 18,000)
"We were in Venice with friends, and they wanted to meet Attilio Codognato, who runs his family's centuries-old jewellery and antiques shop. When we arrived I immediately zeroed in on a pair of rock-crystal and lapis table lamps which had been made by a Codognato for King Farouk's yacht. After the king was deposed, Codognato's bought them back and sold them to me that day. Meanwhile, Bob had asked to see some of the famous blackamoor brooches, made by the Codognato family for years. His eyes lighted on this beauty made in 1940. The carved ebony torso is encased in a hand-carved and embellished gold waistcoat, and the huge turban is made of diamonds and pink sapphires set in gold. The blackamoor even has earrings! I was happily surprised when Bob insisted on buying it for me. As my husband pinned it on my white jacket to see how it looked, I immediately thought of Shakespeare's Othello, and that's what I called him ever after. The blackamoor graced my coats, dresses and jackets for years. My unique Othello was always much admired, never failed to fascinate everyone. It's time for another person to show him off, and enjoy wearing him as much as I did."
Gift from Robert Bradford in 1995 to celebrate publication of "Dangerous to Know".
Bonhams. FINE JEWELLERY INCLUDING SELECTED JEWELS FROM THE COLLECTION OF BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD. London, New Bond Street. 5 Dec 2013 - www.bonhams.com