In a press release dated April 9. 2015, Christie’s has announced the highlights of its Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale to be held on May 13, 2015. The sale will be led by a late 19th-century historically important antique jewel with royal provenance, known as the ” Maria Christina Royal Devant-de-Corsage,” which was presented as a wedding gift from King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife, the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria in November 1879. The auction will showcase over 351 spectacular jewels, which apart from historic and antique jewels, also include an array of contemporary jewels incorporating rare colored and colorless diamond, rare colored gemstones, pearls as well as signed jewels from reputed designers and jewelry houses such as Jar, Cartier, Graff, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston.
The historically significant and antique jewels that will be on offer at the auction originates from the period extending from the 18th to 20th centuries, and undoubtedly the most significant among these is the highly important diamond devant-de-corsage brooch, known as the “Maria Christina Royal Devant-de-Corsage,” given as a wedding present in November 1879 by King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, soon to be Queen Consort and then Queen Regent of Spain. The historic devant-de-corsage brooch is presently in the collection of Baroness Thyssen-Bornemizsa. By offering the historic devant-de-corsage brooch at this auction, Christie’s auction house is providing collectors an exciting opportunity to own an incomparable jewel. A pre-sale estimate of US$1.5-2.0 million is placed on this brooch. However, going by the performance of an early 20th-century Belle-Epoque Diamond Devant-De-Corsage Brooch designed by Cartier, circa 1912, which realized a staggering US$ 17.89 million, at the Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held on May 14, 2014, it will be interesting to watch how the much older Maria Christina Royal Devant-de-Corsage Brooch, with a provenance going back to the Spanish royal family in the late 19th-century, will perform at this auction.
Another highlight of the historic and antique jewels is a Pair of Antique Emerald Indian Bangles, with a pre-sale estimate of US$1.5-2.0 million. These bangles are believed to have been once in the possession of a prominent Indian Royal family, reputed to have had one of the most superb collections of emeralds in their treasury. The yellow-gold bangles are channel-set with large emerald-cut emeralds of exceptional quality and richness of color. The bangles are accompanied with fitted red leather cases embossed with a gold B on each of them. The bangles are among the few old Indian jewels that have not been dismantled for their gem content and offers a rare opportunity to own a piece of history in its original condition.
The important and rare colorless and colored diamonds featuring at the auction will be led by a magnificent pear-shaped, D-color, Flawless diamond weighing 55.52-carats, with a pre-sale estimate of US$8.5-10.5 million.
Another highlight of the important colorless and colored diamonds is a rectangular-cut, fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 5.18 carats, with a pre-sale estimate of US$9.5-12.5 million. An Ashok-cut, D-color, Flawless diamond weighing 21.75 carats and mounted on a ring is another highlight of the important diamond lots. A pre-sale estimate of US$2.8-3.5 million is placed on this diamond ring.
The colored gemstone lots are led by an exceptional cushion-shaped Kashmir blue sapphire weighing 35.09 carats, with a pre-sale estimate of US$3.0-4.2 million. This lot is expected to perform extremely well at the auctions given the premium values attached to Kashmir sapphires more than 20 carats in weight, and in the context that it was just six months ago in November 2014, Christie’s Geneva established a new world auction record for any sapphire with the sale of “The Blue Belle of Asia” for SFr.19,965,000 equivalent to US$17,305,997.
Another equally significant colored gemstone lot is “The Pride of Burma,” a 6.25-carat, cushion-shaped Burmese ruby and diamond ring, with a pre-sale estimate of US$1.8-2.5 million.
Another important colored gemstone lot, originally from the collection of iconic jewels of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is a pair of ruby and diamond ear pendants and matching ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels, presented as a wedding gift by Aristotle Onassis in 1968. This lot has a pre-sale estimate of US$250,000 – 350,000.
Lots containing natural pearls are led by a large single-strand natural saltwater pearl necklace, with a pre-sale estimate of US$2.5-3.5 million dollars.
Highlight of jewels by reputed designers is led by a JAR creation, an early example of the artist’s work – A Pair of Tourmaline and Agate Camellia Brooches, circa 1985. A modest estimate of US$140,000-170,000 is placed on this JAR jewel. However, going by the performance of another JAR jewel – A Gold, Diamond and Green Garnet “Parrot Tulip” Bangle, with a moderate estimate of US$197,000-300,000, but sold for a staggering SFr. 3,525,000/ US$3,595,853 (the second highest price realized by a JAR jewel at an auction) at Christie’s Geneva November 2014, auction, just six months ago, it is anticipated that the Pair of Tourmaline and Agate Camellia Brooches by JAR, might also perform extremely well at this auction, like its predecessor in November 2014.