This week, an incredibly rare piece of vintage jewelry will be sold at auction. Let’s take a closer look at this lovely leafy brooch, set with diamonds and peridots, from a firm whose pieces are extremely desirable—and rarely auctioned.
This stylized leaf brooch, which dates to 1945, was made by the House of Boivin. The firm was founded by French goldsmith René Boivin in Paris in the 1890s. He married Jeanne Poiret, the sister of couturier Paul Poiret, and the two began producing incredible jewelry pieces connected to the high fashion world of French haute couture.
After René’s death, Jeanne kept the firm going, hiring several prominent female jewelers to dream up unique and unusual designs. Suzanne Belperron was responsible for many of their iconic pieces, including the famous starfish brooch. In the 1940s, when this leaf brooch was produced, René and Jeanne’s daughter, Germaine Boivin, was working for the firm alongside another prominent designer, Juliette Moutard.
The leaf brooch is being offered for sale this week by Sotheby’s in Geneva as part of their “Flora & Fauna: Fine Jewels” auction. The lot notes for the piece describe the jewel as “Designed as a stylized leaf, set with step-cut, pear-shaped and circular-cut peridot and circular-cut diamonds.”
Like most Boivin pieces, the brooch is not signed. (Jeanne Boivin believed that the firm’s designs were so unique that they would be able to be identified by their design alone.) But the piece does bear French marks, and it comes with a letter of authenticity from a pair of Boivin experts, Françoise Cailles and Jean-Norbert Salit.
It’s very rare for Boivin pieces to come to auction, as collectors are often reluctant to part with the jewels. The auction estimate for the brooch is set at between 22,000-32,000 Swiss francs. (That’s about $24,000-35,000 USD.) We’ll have to wait and see how high the sale price goes when the brooch is auctioned on Thursday!