24 April 2019

On the Block: Glorious Royal Emeralds at Christie's

Christie's

The major jewelry auctions this coming May are the gift that keeps on giving, bling-wise! Today, we've got a peek at two incredible lots of royal emeralds from the Magnificent Jewels sale coming up soon at Christie's in Geneva.




Christie's

Lot 269 in the sale is an incredible necklace set with a grand 75.61 carat pear-shaped Colombian emerald. The stone itself is astonishing, but its royal and imperial provenance makes it even more special.


Grand Ladies Site

The emerald was originally a rectangular cut stone, and was later re-cut as a pear-shaped emerald for improved clarity. Its first owner was none other than Catherine the Great, the magnificent eighteenth-century Empress of Russia. From her, it passed through numerous Romanov hands, including Tsars Paul I, Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II. In 1874, it arrived in the jewelry box of one of the greatest magpies of the century: Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir. In the portrait above, taken during a costume ball in 1903, she wears the rectangular emerald pinned to the collar of her intricate costume.


Christie's

From Grand Duchess Vladimir, the emerald passed to her son, Grand Duke Boris, who sold the stone to Cartier in 1927. The stone was later owned one of the Rockefellers, and is now being sold by a private collection. The emerald today is set as a pendant in an elaborate necklace made of diamonds set with platinum and gold. Christie's has set the auction estimate for the necklace at a whopping $2.3-$3.5 million dollars.


Christie's

Also included in the sale is another diamond and emerald necklace with a major royal pedigree. The necklace, made in 1810, is also set with Colombian emeralds. One of its early royal owners was Prince Henri of Orleans, Duke of Aumale. He presented it to his goddaughter, Princess Helene of Orleans, when she married Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta in 1895.


Christie's

Here's a portrait of Helene wearing the necklace with several other jewels from her collection. The necklace was later acquired by the 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley for his glamorous wife, Sybil. When she died, the necklace was sold by Christie's in London.


Christie's

If the piece seems familiar to you, it might be because it was sold fairly recently. In November 2015, it was sold by Christie's in Geneva. That time around, it fetched more than $2.5 million. This May, Christie's expects it to sell for between $1.5 and $2.5 million.