Bonhams Auction House has announced the sale of an exceedingly rare and exceptionally beautiful square emerald-cut, VS1-clarity, fancy pink diamond weighing 5.03 carats (139) at their London Fine Jewelry Sale to be held on 26th September, 2018, which also features a tiara owned by the family of Sir Winston Churchill. A pre-sale estimate of GBP 600,000 to 800,000 (USD 777,380 to 1,000,000) is placed on the rare pink diamond
Commenting on the sale of the rare pink diamond Emily Barber, Director of Jewelry at Bonhams UK, said, “This pink diamond, offered at auction for the first time, possesses an exceptional combination of characteristics. It is extremely unusual to find a pure pink diamond, of even saturation, with no secondary component colors, weighing over 5.00 carats. This diamond’s significant size and elegant, unmodified square cut, coupled with its high clarity grade distinguishes it further. It is of extraordinary beauty.”
Only one in 10,000 gem quality diamonds produced in the world show noticeable color and of these a similarly small percentage are pink, the majority under 2.00 carats in size. Unlike yellow and blue diamonds in fancy colored diamonds, the color is caused not by trace elements in their chemical composition but by a lucky miracle of nature, a distortion within their atomic lattice caused by the pressure exerted on them during their formation, resulting in colors such as red, pink, purple, orange, brown and gray.
Another colored diamond lot that will be offered at the auction is a Fancy-Colored Diamond Three-Stone ring, circa 1910, in which the central old brilliant-cut Fancy Blue diamond, weighing 0.95 carat, is set between Fancy Yellow-Orange marquise-cut diamonds, weighing 0.51 and 0.56 carats, with an estimate of £80,000-120,000.
NOBLE JEWELS FEATURED AT THE SALE
Long synonymous with royal splendor and a tacit sign of status and wealth, in recent years there has been a renewed appreciation for tiaras and Bonhams says it is delighted to offer two magnificent examples of tiaras in its sale.
The first tiara is A Belle Époque Diamond ‘Meander’ Tiara, designed by Spanish royal jeweler Ansorena and owned by Spanish noblewoman Esperanza Chávarri Aldecoa, Countess of Villagonzalo, wife of Fernando Maldonado Salabert, 8th Count of Villagonzalo. Dated circa 1900, it is estimated at £80,000-120,000 and has previously been exhibited at the National Museum of Decorative Arts, Madrid in 1995. The “garland style” tiara is designed as a double diadem that can be detached to form two separate tiaras, one of which is designed to be further converted to form a choker.
The Countess was a lady-in-waiting of Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, Queen Consort of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Queen Victoria Eugenie also owned splendid jewels by Ansorena and her famous diamond fleur-de-lys tiara is today one of the central pieces in the Spanish Crown Jewels.
Emily Barber comments: “This tiara is of impeccable workmanship and the elegant Louis XVI design of diamond wreaths and flowers has a lightness and lace-like quality made possible by the technical freedom and innovation of working in platinum, a metal that is as light as it is strong. Jewelers only began to understand how truly to exploit platinum from around 1900, so it is particularly interesting that this tiara is noted in Ansorena’s archives as being conceived as early as 1890.”
The second tiara to feature in the sale is An Art Deco diamond tiara/necklace/brooch combination by Hennell, estimated at £40,000-60,000. Dated circa 1930, it belonged to Viscountess Churchill (1895-1972), the second wife of the 1st Viscount Churchill, and was worn by Viscountess Churchill at the 1937 coronation.
The Viscount was a distinguished courtier whose career spanned the late Victorian and Edwardian eras and was a second cousin of Sir Winston Churchill. This tiara, in the geometric Art Deco style, is also a tranformable jewel and may be worn in a variety of ways: as a tiara, necklace, pair of bracelets and various clips and brooches.
Hennell was regarded as the British jeweler by the 20th century. Their clients, the crème de la crème of society, included members of the British aristocracy and landed gentry, Indian maharajas, American billionaires and European royalty. During the Art Deco period Hennell was known for offering its discerning clientele jewels of superlative quality, rivaling the offerings of the best French houses.
Emily Barber comments: “It is extremely rare to have not one but two tiaras with such interesting provenances. They are not only fine examples of the respective jeweler’s art but great survivors from an age of aristocratic glamour.”
SIGNED JEWELS FEATURING AT THE AUCTIONS
A selection of bracelets, necklaces, brooches and rings from some of the biggest names in jewelry including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and Chopard will also go under the hammer in the sale. Some of the highlights include :-
- A diamond ‘Volutes’ bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1954, estimated at £110,000-150,000.
2. An Art Deco Diamond Rivière by Cartier, circa 1930, estimated at £200,000-300,000. The elegant rivière consists of 51 step-cut diamonds, arranged in trios, alternating with single baguette-cut diamonds. Weighing a total of approximately 60.00 carats, the five central diamonds weigh 1.92, 1.99, 2.10, 2.20, 2.28 carats.
JEWELS FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTIONS OF SIR ALFRED CHESTER BEATTY AND LADY POWERSCOURT
Two lots which represent the Art Deco vogue for jewels in “exotic” taste, that Cartier, and other great jewelry houses of the period captured so successfully, will be offered in the sale. Dated circa 1920, the jewels hailed from the collections of one of the most significant art collectors of the 20th century, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, and his esteemed friend, the poet and writer Lady Powerscourt.
The first lot, An Art Deco Nephrite, Onyx and Diamond Pendant by Cartier, is estimated at £20,000-30,000. The rectangular nephrite plaque is carved with numerous motifs that signify blessings and abundant joy. Its reverse is engraved with Chinese characters literally meaning ‘blessings come from blessings’. It is suspended from an articulated circular plaque decorated with undulating lines of single-cut diamonds and calibré-cut onyx, mounted in platinum.
The second lot, An Art Deco Hardstone Seal, Gem-Set and Enamel Jewel, is French in origin, dated circa 1925, and was originally a shoulder ornament and then converted to a bracelet. Composed of five chalcedony seals of various colors, each engraved with a Qur’anic script and framed by black enamel, these are connected by black enamel and rose-cut diamond links with emerald and ruby bead highlights. It has a pre-sale estimate of £40,000-60,000.
Emily Barber said: “These pieces offer a glimpse into the history of Chester Beatty and his priceless art collection. As a wealthy mining engineer and philanthropist, he built an impressive and diverse collection of works of art and masterpieces from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and employed a full-time librarian and several academic advisers to appraise items he wished to purchase.”
“It is thought that the two jewels offered here were gifts to Lady Powerscourt from Sir Chester Beatty from his personal collection. Since they would have been gifted in the 1950s and the jewels themselves date from the 1920s, it is possible they were acquired during his travels with his second wife Edith.”
RARE RAYMOND TEMPLIER BRACELET SET TO ATTRACT INTEREST FROM COLLECTORS
Raymond Templier was one of the great jewelers of the Art Deco period but very few jewels by him appear at auction so Bonhams is expecting this next lot to attract a lot of interest during its previews in New York, Geneva and London next month. Estimated at £50,000-70,000, the Art Deco Diamond and Platinum Bracelet by Raymond Templier, made in 1932, is characteristic of Templier’s ultra-modern geometric style.
Emily Barber says: “Its stylised ‘tank-track’ form alludes to modern machinery. Its clean, understated silhouette is realized in platinum, a material that had only recently earned its status as a precious metal in 1912 and enabled sculptural jewels to have an unexpected lightness and sense of movement. The brilliant-cut diamonds add contrast to an otherwise smooth, polished surface. Although conceived nearly a century ago, it is emblematic of its era while still appearing contemporary today.
“As a true artist-jeweller, Templier had great creative vision, pushed boundaries and drove change in jewelry design. Each jewel he created, with great thought and precision, was a unique piece and when one appears at auction today, it invariably elicits a great deal of excitement. His innovative spirit is very much celebrated today as it was in the early part of the 20th century.”