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GENEVA.- On 15 May 2019, Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction will be highlighted by superb jewels of exceptional craftsmanship, historical provenance and pieces by the most sought-after jewellery houses including Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston. The jewels will be on view at Christie’s London from 9 to 11 April and at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva from 10 to 15 May during Christie’s Luxury Sales. 

HISTORICAL JEWELS 
An early 19th century emerald and diamond fringe necklace with royal provenance will be offered (estimate: CHF/USD 1,500,000 – 2,500,000). Owned by Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-1897), the jewel was gifted to his goddaughter Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951) on her marriage on 25 June 1895 to the Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Italy (1869-1931), Duke of Aosta. During the 20th century, the necklace became part of the equally prestigious collection of Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (1894-1989), the daughter of Sir Edward Sassoon and Baroness Aline de Rothschild. Miss Sassoon's collection comprised jewels of exceptional quality. Part of her jewellery was sold at Christie's and this historic necklace consequently became part of an important private collection. 

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Lot 244. Historic Early 19th Century Colombian Emerald and Diamond Fringe Necklace. Estimate: CHF/USD 1,500,000 – 2,500,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019

Cushion, square, rectangular and hexagonal-cut emeralds. old, single and rose-cut diamonds, silver and gold, circa 1810, 42.5 cm, pink ftted case.

SSEF, 2018, report no. 103916: 23 emeralds approximately from 17.0 to 0.3 carats, Colombia, none to moderate oil

SSEF, 2015, reports nos. 79796, 79801, 79804 and 79805: 4.21, 2.84, 2.22 and 2.17 carats, Colombia, no indications of clarity modifcation.
SSEF, 2015, reports nos. 79802, 79803 and 80244: 2.73, 2.32 and 1.79 carats, Colombia, minor oil.
SSEF, 2015, reports nos. 79794, 79795, 79797, 79798, 79799 and 79800: 16.78, 8.14, 3.82, 3.78, 3.65 and 3.47 carats, Colombia, moderate oil.

Provenance: Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (1822-1897)
Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951)
Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley (1894-1989)
Christie's, London, 20 June 1990
Christie's, Geneva, 10 November 2015

Literature: M.G. di Savoia and S. Papi, Gioelli di Casa Savoia, Electre, 2002, Milano, p.63

ELENA’S EMERALD AND DIAMOND NECKLACE

There has been a long tradition in the European royal families ofofering the most beautiful jewels to one's spouse at the time of marriage. This is especially true when the wedding is a symbolic strengthening of the alliance between diferent countries. Thepresent fabulous emerald and diamond necklace is one of those exceptional pieces of jewellery that can claim a prestigious list of owners from various parts of the world for almost 150 years.

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Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871-1951), wearing lot 244.

Princess Hélène (1871-1951) was born into the Orléans family in 1871. Her father, Philippe d'Orléans (1838-1894), Count of Paris, was a direct descendant of Louis Philippe, King of France (1773-1850), and himself pretender to the throne. Of great elegance, Princess Hélène is rumoured to have been courted by some of the most important European heirs. She married Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Italy (1869-1931), Duke of Aosta, on 25 June 1895. The matrimony was a historic event in Europe, widely reported in the international press. Princess Hélène oficially became S.A.R. la Principessa Elena di Francia, Duchessa d'Aosta.

On her wedding day, Elena d'Aosta received both a stunning emerald and diamond necklace, and an emerald and diamond tiara from her godfather, Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale. Given the nature and importance of such European alliance, it is not surprising that the Duke of Aumale chose only the most spectacular gifts for his goddaughter. He was a renowned art collector, with a particularly prominent antique book collection: the Duke also was a passionate admirer and collector of important jewels. This necklace most probably comes from hispersonal collection. The exceptional quality of the emeralds and the delicate craftsmanship, typical of the early 19th century, resembles the jewellery made during the First Empire, by Nitot or Bapst, for Empress Joséphine. The design of the main pendant, in particular, is of the same style as the one hanging on the emerald necklace of Empress Joséphine parure, now owned by Queen Sonja of Norway.

During World War I, Elena d'Aosta got involved with the Italian Red Cross as a nurse. As time progressed she developed a passion for travels, and extensive accounts of her time in Africa are written in her published diaries. With Europe in political and social disarray, the fabulous emerald necklace was no longer worn in public and spent many years out of sight. 

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S.A.R. Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta, German Photographer. Private Collection. © Arkivi UG All Rights Reserved / Bridgeman Images.

Following the war and at some point during the 20th century, the necklace changed hands, and is next seen as part of the equally prestigious collection of Sybil Sassoon, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, the daughter of Sir Edward Sassoon and Baroness Aline de Rothschild. The beautiful Sybil Sassoon was depicted numerous times wearing fabulous jewels by her friend, painter John Singer Sargent, who was a great admirer of hers.Miss Sassoon's collection included, amongst others, a spectacular sapphire parure from the French Crown jewels.

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 The Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Portrait by John Singer Sargent, Private Collection. Bridgeman Images

The fabulous emerald necklace and tiara, ofered by the Duke of Aumale to his goddaughter Elena d'Aosta, were both in the Marchioness' collection. Upon her death in 1989, part of her jewellery was sold at Christie's.

 

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Lady Sibyl Cholmondeley wearing lot 244, by Cecil Beaton. Photograph courtesy of The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s. 

A rare aquamarine and diamond tiara by Fabergé (estimate: CHF/USD 230,000-340,000) will be offered at auction for the first time. Made in 1904 as a wedding gift from Frederick Francis IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1882-1945) to his bride Princess Alexandra of Hanover and Cumberland (1882-1963), this Fabergé tiara is of symbolic design with forget-me-not flowers tied with ribbon bows, signifying true and eternal love, pierced by arrows representing cupid, a token of endearment, attraction and affection.  

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 Lot 267. A Rare Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara, Fabergé, 1904. Estimate: CHF 230,000–340,000 / $ 230,000-340,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

Cf.my post: Christie's to offer a historic Aquamarine and diamond tiara by Fabergé

A leading jewel of the auction will be The Jonker V, a beautiful rectangular-cut, D colour diamond ring weighing 25.27 carats, set by Harry Winston (estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000). On 17 January 1934, the extraordinary 726 carats rough diamond, from which the Jonker V was cut, was named after Johannes Jacobus Jonker, who discovered it. At the time the Jonker was the fourth largest gem quality diamond ever unearthed. The stone was subsequently purchased by Joseph Bastiaenen of the Diamond Corporation Ltd., a company owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1935, it became the first of Harry Winston’s renowned acquisitions of exceptional and important diamonds. The Jonker was displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary that took place the same year.  

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Lot 270. The Jonker V, a beautiful rectangular-cut, D colour type IIa diamond ring weighing 25.27 carats, set by Harry Winston. Estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000© Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

 

Rectangular-cut diamond of 25.27 carats, platinum, ring size 6 æ, maker's mark for Harry Winston and Jacques Timey, blue Harry Winston case
GIA, 2017, report no. 11924246: 25.27 carats, D colour, VVS2 clarity, type IIa Harry Winston, certifcate of authenticity for the Jonker V in a frame (55 x 46.3 cm).

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Provenance: Christie's, Hong Kong, 30 May 2017.

Literature: I. Balfour, Famous Diamonds, London, Christie Mansion and Woods Ltd, 2000, p. 144-148

Note: Found on 17th January 1934, the extraordinary 726 carat rough was named after Johannes Jacobus Jonker, the diamond digger who discovered it. At the time the Jonker was the fourth largest gem quality diamond ever unearthed. The stone was subsequently purchased by Joseph Bastiaenen of the Diamond Corporation Ltd., a company owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1935, it became the frst of Harry Winston’s renowned acquisitions of exceptional and important diamonds. The Jonker was displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary that took place the same year. 

Lazare Kaplan was chosen to cut the important diamond. He studied the Jonker for months and after painstaking calculating and examining the rough, the stone was ultimately cleaved and sawed into 13 pieces. The largest polished diamond weighed 142.90 carats and retained the name of Jonker. It was later recut to 125.35 carats and is one of the most perfectly-cut diamonds in the world. 

We are honoured to present the Jonker V, a beautiful 25.27 carat (re-polished from 25.78 carats) rectangular-shaped diamond that was cut from a 54.19 carat rough part of the 726 carat Jonker. 

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Shirley Temple showing the rough Jonker Diamond at the South California fair in Los Angeles. Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images.

EXCEPTIONAL GEMSTONES 
The Magnificent Jewels auction will present collectors with extraordinary gemstones including coloured diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and pearls. The selection of coloured diamonds includes a fancy deep blue heart shaped diamond ring of 2.22 and 2.00 carats (estimate: CHF/USD 3,500,000 – 4,500,000), alongside an impressive fancy yellow old cushion cut diamond of 118.05 carats (estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000). Sapphires will be represented by an outstanding late 19th century necklace featuring a cushion-shaped Ceylon sapphire of 57.07 carats (estimate: CHF/USD 600,000 – 800,000). Further highlights of the sale include an impressive natural pearl sautoir, comprised of one hundred and ten natural pearls (estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000) and a superb pendent necklace featuring a pear-shaped emerald of 75.61 carats (CHF/USD 2,000,000 – 3,000,000).

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Lot 246. Superb fancy deep blue heart shaped diamond ring of 2.22 and 2.00 carats. Estimate: CHF/USD 3,500,000 – 4,500,000© Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

Fancy deep blue heart modifed brilliant-cut diamonds of 2.22 and 2.00 carats, circular-cut diamonds, platinum, ring size 5

GIA, 2019, report no. 5181910123: 2.22 carats, Fancy Deep Blue colour, VS2 clarity
GIA, 2019, report no. 1172283975: 2.00 carats, Fancy Deep Blue colour, VVS2 clarity.

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Lot 233. Impressive unmounted fancy yellow old cushion cut diamond of 118.05 carats. Estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000© Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

Fancy yellow cushion modifed brilliant-cut diamond of 118.05 carats, blue ftted case.

GIA, 2018, report no. 2195919509: 118.05 carats, Fancy Yellow colour, VS2 clarity.

Literature: I. Balfour, Famous Diamonds, London, William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., 1987, p. 217 for mention of this diamond in 'The World's Largest Cut Diamonds List'.

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Lot 268. Property of a lady of title, an outstanding late 19th century necklace featuring a cushion-shaped Ceylon sapphire of 57.07 carats. Estimate: CHF/USD 600,000 – 800,000© Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

Cushion-shaped sapphire of 57.07 carats, old and cushion-shaped diamonds, 1890s, necklace 40.3 cm, detachable to wear as two bracelets, detachable pendant 4.1 cm

SSEF, 2018, report no. 103657: 57.070 carats, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), no indications of heating.

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Lot 271. Property of a lady of title, an impressive natural pearl sautoir, comprised of one hundred and ten natural pearls. Estimate: CHF/USD 2,500,000 – 3,500,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2019.

One hundred and ten natural pearls, of approximately 14.75 to 7.45 mm, 107.0 cm, iIncluding 33 pearls measuring from 10.0 mm up to 14.7 mm.

SSEF, 2019, report no. 104662: approximately 14.75 to 7.45 mm, 110 saltwater natural pearls, Appendix letter.

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Lot 269. Superb pendent necklace featuring a pear-shaped Colombian emerald of 75.61 carats. Estimate CHF/USD 2,000,000 – 3,000,000.

Pear-shaped emerald of 75.61 carats, pear, circular and marquise-cut diamonds, platinum and gold, necklace 40.9 cm, detachable pendant 7.1 cm

SSEF, 2019, report no. 104338: 75.617 carats, Colombia, minor oil, Appendix letter Gübelin, 2018, report no. 18120088: 75.61 carats, Colombia, minor oil.