Results Christie's Important Jewels Sale, London 8th June 2011

The Rosebery tiara is up for auction at  Christie's Important Jewels sale on June 8th in London. Not only is this an exquisite collection of jewels, it is also shimmering with beautiful natural pearls, but the timing seems to be spot on with all things royal in vogue. See this and other jewels that have caught our eye.

June 01, 2011

The Rosebery tiara is up for auction at  Christie's Important Jewels sale on June 8th in London. Not only is this an exquisite collection of jewels, it is also shimmering with beautiful natural pearls, but the timing seems to be spot on with all things royal in vogue. See this and other jewels that have caught our eye. Christie's Sale of Important Jewels, King Street, Londonon8th June will be drawing interest as the highlights of the sale are Lot 285 (estimate £300,000-£400,000) Rosebery pearl and diamond bracelet and brooch and Lot 286 (estimate £1,000,000 - £1,500,000)  the Rosebery pearl and diamond tiara. These are three of the most important jewels that belonged to Hannah, Countess of Rosebery (1851-1890) née de Rothschild. Christie's describes them as "Victorian ancestral jewels of the first rank, they were made in the opulent grand Victorian court style and comprise a series of large natural pearl and diamond clusters. The seven drop-shaped pearls on the tiara detach to form brooches. Keith Penton, Head of Jewels Christie's London says: "The Rosebery pearl and diamond tiara, bracelet and brooch were at the heart of Lady Rosebery's vast array of magnificent jewels, which rivaled those of the crowned heads of Europe at the time. They are a rare survival of 19th century English aristocratic splendour, as so much ancestral jewellery has been sold anonymously, remounted or broken down. Having descended through various branches of the family and survived the vicissitudes of fashion, the jewels are being offered for sale from a private collection for the first time since their creation nearly 140 years ago. As jewellery market leaders for 17 consecutive years, Christie's are proud to offer these spectacular examples on an international stage at a time when pearls are once more appreciated for their great beauty and rarity." The pearl and diamond bracelet tiara, brooch and bracelet are  circa 1878 and are an extraordinary historic suite of jewellery. This set is literally breathtaking, as the pearls have such a beautiful luster, and it is incredibly rare and special to see so many natural pearls of this size. To put it into context; firstly natural pearls are very special and to grow a pearl of this size could take on oyster about 10-20 years. Secondly, often the reverse of natural pearls can be marked but these are beautifully clean. And thirdly, to have so many enormous pearls so well matched would take opening thousands and thousands of oysters. The 8 pearls in the bracelet are surrounded by diamonds. It is designed to graduate centrally and is almost 20cm long. The brooch is two rows of old-cut diamonds that encase another large bouton shaped pearl. It will be interesting to see how much this stunning set goes for at auction. Some more beautiful natural pearls are lot 283 (estimate £50,000-£70,000), circa 1950. They are earclips by Van Cleef & Arpels. Here we have two beautiful black natural pearls, set in a foliate diamond scroll design. The pearls weigh 18.42 and 20.27 carats. We are so used to seeing black cultured pearls in the jewellery world, but to see natural black pearls is a real treat as they are known to be rare and valuable. The colour of pearls is defined by the type of oyster, and it is fantastic to have such a lovely pair of this spectacular circumference which have not been stained or dyed. Natural pearls occur when an irritant gets inside the oysters. The oyster deposits successive layers of aragonite (calcium carbonate) around the irritant which gradually develops into a pearl. Cultured pearls are when a small bead is placed inside the oyster and then the similar process occurs. Natural pearls do not occur anymore as places where they did grow are now populated with oil rigs and therefore the waters have become too polluted, resulting in their high value and being extremely sought after. Lot 160 (estimate £300,000-£400,000) is a beautiful art deco Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet circa 1928. This bracelet corresponds to Jacques Cartier's first trip to India in 1911. He was hugely inspired by the maharaja's carved emeralds and the Indian tradition of engraving coloured gemstones. After his trip to the East, Cartier designed these flamboyant jewels that later became known as 'Tutti Frutti' jewels. These pieces were exotic floral compositions made of carved sapphires, rubies and emeralds which came as earclips, brooches, necklaces and bracelets. They became hugely popular to the western market and commissioned by celebrities such as Daisy Fellows. This bracelet has ruby berries and emerald leaves, sitting amongst a diamond vine that has a black enamel border.  These carved gemstones were often more included/opaque and not of the quality that would have been desired for a single stone ring for example. This is therefore an example of how the clarity of the stones is not necessarily reflective in the value of the jewel. A beautifully rare jewel is lot 167 (estimated £10,000-£15,000). It is incredible to see a piece so old and in such fine condition. This is dated circa 1760, and is so stunningly intact. Few pieces of this age can be seen in their original form. The design is a posy of flowers which reflects the style of the 18th Century when they had garlands of wild flowers to decorate themselves and their homes. The paste and foil backed topaz flowers are mounted in brass and silver, and colours vary from pinks and oranges to browns and whites. Some of the flowers are fixed and others are 'en tremblent', bringing an intriguing life to the brooch. Lot 112 is a Cartier art deco vanity case (estimate £3,000-£4,000) circa 1935. It is rectangular in shape and black enamel, diamonds and jade decorate the gold case. Vanity cases came into fashion after the First World War. Women had not really worn make up before or smoked and after the war cosmetics really took off. It was 'in-vogue' to have powdered faces and red lips, with heavy eyes, and these cases were designed to be a graceful way to encase these cosmetics. They were a way of bringing elegance back to the women, who had been very practical and hands-on during the war years and now wanted their feminine identity back. When this case is pushed open it reveals a bevelled mirror, a lipstick holder and two more compartments. Lot 114 (estimate £3,000) is also a vanity case by Cartier circa 1920. This earlier model is smaller and a little more delicate in design. It is mainly black enamel with red enamel and gold arabesque decoration at either end, and a diamond plaque in the middle. It really feels exquisite when you push the cabochon onyx to open the case, and it reveals a little mirror and a hidden pencil with which you would write who your next dance would be with on the concealed piece of ivory. There is such attention to detail with every single thing you could imagine in this piece, and that makes it a real work of art. Cartier's designs feature a lot in this sale's highlights, and here again in lot 145 (estimate £40,000-£50,000) we see another beautiful piece from this jewellery house. This is a rare art deco onyx pearl and diamond 'Domino' brooch, 1921. Cartier had such a variety of different designs and styles, and was always innovative and current with what they produced. One of the things that they did so well was working with just two colours and this brooch is a stunning example of this. The use of black and white is very striking. A pearl completes the end of the onyx part of the brooch and the panel of diamonds is completed by a bouton-shaped onyx. The design is very simple but very effective and eye catching. Lot 274(estimate £22,000-£25,000) is a fabulous belle epoque pearl and diamond sautoir, circa 1910. This was a period when hems of dresses were becoming lower and as a result necklaces were becoming longer. This is an incredibly fine piece of jewellery with a beautiful circular pierced diamond motif that brings together the ends of a long lattice work, seed pearl rope. Hanging on the bottom side of the circular diamond motif are more pearls that have stunning tassels coming from diamond caps and links. The diamonds are mounted in platinum. What makes this necklace so great, is that despite being made and designed over one hundred years ago, it is in fantastic condition for something so delicate and could so easily be worn today.

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