GENEVA.- Sotheby’s auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva this spring promises a breath-taking array of stunning and important jewels, whose breadth and variety represents a veritable treasure chest of exceptional jewels. The auction, to be held on 12 May, includes ‘The Historic Pink Diamond’, an extremely rare and highly important Fancy Vivid Pink diamond of 8.72 carats, alongside ‘The Sunrise Ruby’, a superb and extremely rare Burmese ruby weighing 25.59 carats with outstanding depth of colour. In addition to diamonds and gemstones of the very highest quality, the event will showcase signed jewels and historic pieces with exemplary provenance, including a stunning private collection of jewels by Cartier and no fewer than five exquisite tiaras – three of them formerly in the collection of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. 

Looking ahead to the sale, David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, commented: “I have remained in awe of the ‘Sunrise Ruby’ since the first moment I set eyes on it. In over 40 years, I cannot recall ever having seen another Burmese ruby of this exceptional size possessing such outstanding colour. We are also very excited to be offering a worldclass fancy vivid pink diamond, dubbed the ‘Historic Pink Diamond’ by the GIA*, along with a remarkable wealth of signed pieces, including a private collection of extraordinary jewels by Cartier. We’ve had a tremendous response from those who’ve viewed the wonderfully rich selection to be offered in our Geneva sale.” 

The Historic Pink Diamond – a 8

The Historic Pink Diamond – a 8.72-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamondLot 460, estimate: CHF 13,650,000 - 17,500,000 / US$ 14,000,000 – 18,000,000. Photo courtesy Sotheby's

Sotheby's will present in May 'The Historic Pink Diamond', an extremely rare and highly important Fancy Vivid Pink diamond which, according to the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), is believed to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I. This exquisite stone boasts VS2 clarity and mesmerising colour. 

The 8.72-carat stone is also remarkable for its classic non-modified cushion cut, unusual in a pink diamond and a highly sought-after shape for connoisseurs of the very finest precious jewels. 

The market for coloured diamonds and precious gemstones has never been stronger, and pink diamonds rank among the rarest of all. In October, Sotheby's set a new benchmark for pink diamonds, with the sale of a superb and highly important Fancy Vivid Purplish-pink diamond weighing 8.41 carats, which achieved $17.8 million. 

In its assessment of this diamond, the GIA declares that it "takes its place amongst fabled Vivid Pink gems" known in the world. 



The Sunrise Ruby – a 25

Sothebys_Most Valuable Ruby_Sunrise Ruby from the top

The Sunrise Ruby – a 25.59-carat Burmese RubyLot 502, estimate: CHF 11,700,000 – 17,500,000 / US$ 12,000,000 – 18,000,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's

Described as a ‘unique treasure of nature’ by the Swiss Gemmological Institute, the ‘Sunrise Ruby’ leads this exceptional collection of Cartier Jewels. 

This superb and extremely rare Burmese ruby weighing 25.59 carats is breathtaking in its extraordinary size and outstanding depth of colour. Untouched by heat treatment, the stone is of ‘pigeon’s blood’ red: the rarest and most soughtafter of hues.

Cartier Diamond Ivresse Necklace

Cartier Diamond Ivresse NecklaceLot 501, estimate: 5,850,000 – 9,750,000 / US$ 6,000,000 – 10,000,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's

The collection of exceptional Cartier jewels also features a magnificent diamond necklace, featuring diamonds totalling more than 190 carats. Custom-made for the owner, this captivating jewel is designed as a cascade of diamonds, the front accented with a floral motif and suspending a fringe of nine pear-shaped stones. 

A 30

A 30.23-carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, by CartierLot 499, estimate: CHF 3,410,000 – 5,850,000 / US$ 3,500,000 – 6,000,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's

Alongside it, the sale will offer a ravishing brooch set with a 30.23-carat sapphire from Kashmir – the most highly coveted origin for sapphires. The Swiss Gemmological Institute describes the sapphire’s colour as ‘velvety and saturated’, due in part to a ‘combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone, typical and characteristic for the very finest sapphires of Kashmir’.

A Pair of Burmese Sapphire and Diamond Earrings by Cartier

A Pair of Burmese Sapphire and Diamond Earrings by Cartier. Lot 500, estimate: CHF 780,000 – 1,170,000 / US$ 800,000 – 1,200,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's

Completing this stunning private collection is a pair of elegant sapphire and diamond earrings, made with two exceptionally well-matched Burmese Mogok sapphires of 15.77 and 16.90 carats respectively. The jewels stand out for the exquisite quality and symmetry of the gemstones and the design. 

Sotheby’s will offer exceptional jewels from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, granddaughter of Rothschild heiress Hannah and British Prime Minister the Earl of Rosebery, whose wedding to the Duke of Roxburghe brought together two of Britain’s great aristocratic families. The collection includes no fewer than three stunning tiaras, along with a strikingly varied and rich selection of the finest jewels. 

The tiaras are led by a stunning piece created by Cartier in the 1930s, of geometric design delightfully expressing this era of the designer’s creation. 

A Diamond Tiara, by Cartier, circa 1930s

The Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. A Diamond Tiara, by Cartier, circa 1930sLot 497, estimate: CHF 295,000 – 485,000 / US$ 300,000 – 500,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's

A 19th Century Diamond TiaraNecklace

The Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. A 19th Century Diamond Tiara-NecklaceLot 493, estimate CHF 295,000 – 485,000 / US$ 300,000 – 500,000Photo courtesy Sotheby's.

The second dating from the 19th century, is a wonderfully intricate tiara / necklace composed of fleurs de lys and confronting scroll motifs, delightfully swing-set with a graduated row of twenty superb pear-shaped diamonds. 

The third tiara in this collection is a delicate ruby and diamond creation (LOT 490, estimate: CHF 78,000 – 98,000 / US$ 80,000 – 100,000). 

Other pieces from this extraordinary ensemble of jewels include an important mid-19th-century diamond rivière necklace (LOT 492, estimate: CHF 245,000 – 340,000 / US$ 250,000 – 350,000); an exquisite natural pearl and diamond necklace dating to around 1920 (LOT 496, estimate: CHF 245,000 – 345,000 / US$250,000 – 350,000); and a perfectly-proportioned natural pearl and diamond double-clip brooch made by Cartier in the 1930s (LOT 495, estimate: CHF 49,000 - 69,000 / US$ 50,000 – 70,000). 

In addition to the three exquisite examples from the Roxburghe Estate, the Geneva auction will offer a further two stunning tiaras – a total of five very fine pieces in a single sale, which is extremely rare. 

From the Collection of the Earl of Mar and Kellie, a breath-taking diamond tiara / necklace, designed in the style of a ‘tiare russe’, dating back to the 1880s and drawing inspiration from the Russian kokoshniks - traditional fan- shaped head ornaments inspired by the cockscomb. This tiara was worn by the 12th Countess of Mar at the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 (LOT 477, estimate CHF 145,000 – 285,000 / US$ 150,000 – 295,000). 

The fifth tiara to be offered in May is a very elegant emerald and diamond tiara dating to the early 20th century. The piece is designed as two lines of circular-cut diamonds, surmounted with scroll and fleur de lys motifs, the scrolls topped with drop-shaped emeralds (LOT 370, estimate: CHF 39,000 – 59,000 / US$ 40,000-60,000).  

Connoisseurs of the very finest natural pearls will no doubt be captivated by the exceptional quality of this superb and extremely rare natural pearl necklace. The jewel is composed of two stunning graduated rows strung with seventy-eight splendid natural pearls.  

This captivating ruby and diamond jewel boasts illustrious provenance, having been in the collection of a European Princely Family, and is set with an enchanting Burmese ruby weighing 14.89 carats. In its assessment of the stone, the Gübelin Gem Lab states that the ‘remarkable gemstone’ ‘possesses a richly saturated and homogenous colour’, free from heat treatment – which is ‘rare in natural Burmese rubies of this size.’ (LOT 476, estimate CHF 1,170,000 – 2,140,000 / US$ 1,200,000 – 2,200,000). 

The Geneva evening event will include a number of very impressive colourless and coloured diamonds, including a superb cushion-cut diamond ring weighing 33.58 carats. This beautiful stone is D colour, Flawless, Type IIa (LOT 447, estimate: CHF 4,870,000 – 6,800,000 / US$ 5,000,000 – 7,000,000). 

Also worthy of note is an impressive pear-shaped colourless diamond weighing 31.93 carats; the elegant stone is also D colour and possesses VS1 clarity (LOT 452, estimate CHF 3,400,000 – 3,800,000 / US$ 3,500,000 – 4,000,000). 

The selection of coloured diamonds will feature a stunning Fancy Yellow cushioncut diamond of VS2 clarity, weighing 53.17 carats (LOT 425, estimate: CHF 1,560,000 – 2,150,000 / US$ 1,600,000 – 2,200,000). 

LOT 498, estimate CHF 2,920,000 – 4,870,000 / US$ 3,000,000 – 5,000,000  

The most accomplished design and craftsmanship underscore the selection of fine jewels on offer in May. Standout signed pieces showcasing the very finest in jewellery design include a rare and superb gem set vanity case by Cartier, made in 1925. This example combines the very finest elements of Cartier’s production in this period (LOT 451, estimate: CHF 110,000 – 160,000 / US$ 115,000 – 165,000). 

Admirers of Cartier’s Art Deco designs will also have the opportunity to own a delightful example of the jewellery house’s “Tutti-Frutti” design, in the form of a pair of captivating gem set and diamond clips. These covetable clips, created in the 1930s, were formerly in the collection of Lydia, Lady Deterding (LOT 469, estimate: CHF 69,000 – 98,000 / US$ 70,000 – 100,000). 

Among the rich selection of Noble Jewels to be featured in the auction, an important ruby and diamond bangle-bracelet illustrates the flair and bold design of Boucheron. Of hinged design, the jewel is decorated with rubies in a concealed setting, and has been in the collection of a European Imperial Royal Family (LOT 472, estimate: CHF 390,000 – 680,000 / US$ 400,000 - 700,000). 

French design is also represented by the striking creations of Jean Schlumberger: the sale in May will offer a selection of fabulously ornate jewels from the 1960s, including a gem-set and diamond demi-parure (LOT 453, estimate: CHF 69,000 – 105,000 / US$ 70,000 – 110,000).