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Lot 306. Gold and gem-set sautoir, Robert Goossens for Chanel, France, circa 1960. Estimate $80,000–120,000. Lot sold 187,500 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.

The hammered gold chain suspending a cross pendant set with a spinel bead, tumbled turquoises and cultured pearls, the reverse engraved with an image of a saint, gross weight approximately 117 dwts, length 31 inches, with French assay and workshop mark for Robert Goossens.

LiteratureFor additional information on Chanel's Byzantine jewels see Jewelry by Chanel by Patrick Mauriès.

NoteFor nearly a century the House of Chanel has set trends and defined style, making it perhaps the most influential, recognizable and profitable fashion brand on the planet. Coco Chanel’s philosophy on jewelry reflected her commitment to individuality, authenticity and bold statements, always with a keen sense of proportion.  The Chanel “look,” quite simply, cannot exist without jewelry, a fact firmly established with the introduction of her first fine jewelry collection in 1932.

From the beginning, Renaissance and Byzantine art informed the Chanel jewelry oeuvre and, as with the present lot, was often designed in collaboration with Robert Goossens. Goossens would become Chanel’s chief jewelry designer in 1960 and remained closely associated with designs of Byzantine inspiration throughout his career, particularly Chanel’s signature Maltese Cross. Decades later, these same motifs appeared in costume jewelry on the runways of YSL, Lacroix and Dior. But, as with cotton jersey, ropes of pearls and the little black dress, Chanel did it first. And best. 

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels New York, 05 Dec 2017