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Extravagant Royal Jewels To Cross the Auction Block at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s final jewelry auction of the season will offer more than 500 pieces…

Just in time for the holidays, Sotheby’s final jewelry auction of the fall season will be held in New York on December 9, 2015. The more than 500 pieces on offer – with estimates starting at $5,000 – will be on view in our York Avenue galleries beginning December 5, alongside the auctions of Important Watches and RM Sotheby’s Driven by Disruption sale of important automobiles.

Historic Jewels

Lisa Hubbard, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division, North & South America, commented: “If these jewels could talk, what a tale they would tell: an iconic Art Deco diamond necklace made in 1939 by Van Cleef & Arpels for Queen Nazli of Egypt, and an avant-garde creation made by designer Suzanne Belperron circa 1935 for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne. The rare combination of superb original design with romantic provenance is irresistible to lovers of fine jewels, and we are thrilled to present them to collectors this December.”

The December auction is led by a Magnificent and Historic Platinum and Diamond Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate $3.6/4.6 million), created by the Parisian jeweler in 1939 for Queen Nazli of Egypt. Set with 217 carats of diamonds in a sunburst motif, the sensational bib-style necklace has been called ‘a perfect piece of jewelry’ by Vincent Meylan, author of Van Cleef & Arpels: Treasures and Legends.

Queen Nazli (1894-1978), mother of Egypt’s King Farouk, commissioned the diamond necklace and a matching tiara for the wedding ceremony of her daughter, Princess Fawzia, to the Crown Prince of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1939. According to Vincent Meylan, their wedding banquet was the most lavish event to ever take place in modern Egypt, and Queen Nazli attended literally covered in diamonds. By the late 1940s Queen Nazli had moved to the United States with her jewels and she resided primarily in California for the remainder of her life.


A large part of Nazli’s jewelry collection, including her Van Cleef & Arpels diamond necklace and tiara, was sold by Sotheby Parke Bernet in New York in November 1975. The diamond necklace has since remained in a private collection for 40 years, and is to be sold this December for the benefit of a charitable foundation.

The auction also will offer two seminal jewels designed by Suzanne Belperron that were first sold by Sotheby’s Geneva in the landmark 1987 auction of The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor: a Pair of White Gold, Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond ‘Couronne’ Cuff-Bracelets (estimate $400/600,000) and a Platinum, White Gold, Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond ‘Flower-Head’ Necklace (estimate $350/550,000). Made by Belperron in Paris circa 1935, both pieces have since been lauded as iconic examples of the Duke and Duchess’ visionary connoisseurship of 20th century jewelry design. Their appearance at auction coincides with the relaunch of the Belperron salon in New York this fall.

Important Diamonds and Exceptional Colored Stones

Gary Schuler, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division, North & South America, said: “As there are no more Kashmir sapphires yet to be recovered from a mine, the only way to present an exceptional Kashmir at auction is when one emerges from a great collection. To have the opportunity to present to the world a sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire of such size, quality and distinguished provenance as the Ryan family sapphire is truly a privilege. This December we are also fortunate to have several important white diamonds from private collections, each of top quality and possessing both unique characteristics and inherent beauty.”

Following the record-breaking sale of the Jewel of Kashmir for $242,145 per-carat at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October, the December sale will offer an Exceptional Platinum, Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring (estimate $3.5/4.5 million), set with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire of 25.87 carats, and with no indications of heating. This Kashmir sapphire hails from three generations of one of America’s most prominent families: that of Thomas Fortune Ryan (1851-1928), who stands alongside J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller in the annals of American financial history.

The selection of impressive top-quality diamond rings from private collections includes the Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Ring (estimate $3.5/4.5 million), set with a square emerald-cut diamond weighing 38.27 carats, D color, VVS2 clarity and type IIA – on offer from the Estate of an Italian Countess sold to benefit her charitable foundation – and the Very Fine Platinum, Fancy Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring (estimate $2.5/3.5 million), set with a pear-shape stone of 6.93 carats, VS1 clarity, the Property of a Lady.

The Highly Important Pair of Emerald and Diamond Earrings (estimate $1.8/2.2 million) are set with Classic Colombian emeralds. Known as The Stars of Muzo, the impressive emeralds weighing 22.97 and 21.37 carats are accompanied by two gemological reports stating the stones are unenhanced. These exceptionally rare emeralds are accented by more than 5 carats of D color, Internally Flawless diamonds. An Important Pair of Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire Earrings (estimate $1,650/1,850,000) are designed with cushion-cut diamonds weighing 29.39 and 28.03 carats, both L color and VS2 clarity, set on the bias for a sophisticated contemporary look.

Jewels by Renowned Design Houses

An extensive collection of Bulgari jewels from the estate of philanthropist and arts patron Adele G. Bergreen coincides with the showcase of Bulgari’s heritage collection in New York. The Bergreen estate includes examples of Bulgari’s most celebrated designs of the 1960s and 70s, including gold link chains, coin jewels, ‘Serpenti’ designs and colorful evening-wear. The highlight of the Bergreen estate is a Platinum, Fancy Colored Diamond and Diamond Brooch, Bulgari, 1964, which features a Fancy Intense Blue diamond weighing 2.47 carats (estimate $500/700,000).

Collectors will discover two ‘Drape’ Bracelets by Schlumberger, one lapis lazuli, turquoise and colored diamond, the other coral and diamond, (estimates $20/30,000 each) formerly from the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon. Mrs. Mellon was known to be a patron of Jean Schlumberger’s jewels and much of her Schlumberger jewelry collection was bequeathed to The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts last year.

The spectrum of signed jewels in the sale ranges from late-19th century pieces to modern designs. One of the most elegant necklaces to be offered is an Exquisite Silver-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace, René Lalique for Lacloche Frères, Paris, circa 1890 (estimate $750/850,000). Composed of 13 entwined ribbon-style links of graduated design and set with approximately 72 carats of diamonds, this necklace is notable as the only collaboration between Lalique and Lacloche known to still exist.

A century later, JAR created a Pair of Silver, Gold, Topaz and Diamond ‘Feather’ Earclips (estimate $250/350,000). These earclips were included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Jewels by JAR in 2013-2014.

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Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in eight different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

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