ended Result
May 2011
  • Geneva (Switzerland)

  • address: Quai du Mont-Blanc 13 - 1201

At Sotheby's Geneva sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels on the 17th May 2011 a stunning emerald tiara, considered the most important to come to auction in 30 years, broke auction records and sold for CHF 11,282,500/$12,736,927 - the highest price ever achieved for a tiara at auction.

Commenting on this evening's sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East, said: "Sotheby's was honoured to be able to offer perhaps the grandest piece of jewellery to come to sale in over 30 years and the market responded with enthusiasm. This evening's results, across the board, show the extraordinary appetite among connoisseurs for rarity, quality and provenance." The total for the entire sale of Magnificent and Noble Jewels was CHF 78,944,900/$89,121,687. 

The star of the show, Lot 443, the majestic emerald and diamond tiara commissioned for Princess Katharina Henckel Von Donnersmarck in early 1900, had an estimate of CHF 9.2 million/$4.6 million, but eventually went under the hammer for almost three times that amount. The family's jewellery collection was apparently of the same quality as many of the key royal figures in Europe at the time. Six bidders competed for the magnificent and extremely rare emerald and diamond tiara, and the price it fetched also represented an auction record for a piece of emerald jewellery.

The emeralds on this tiara are truly amazing, partly because of the sheer size of them and partly because of the richness of colour. When you look at them it is almost as if they are actually producing light they are so vibrant. The eleven pear-shaped emeralds are finest-quality Colombian and collectively weigh over 500 carats. It is believed that they may have previously belonged to a Maharaja who held emeralds in a very high regard. Emeralds were incredibly respected because none were mined in India so it was very prestigious to own them as they would have come from South America, which in those dates was no mean feat.


  • Geneva: Switzerland
  • address: Quai du Mont-Blanc 13

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