Emerald: An Opulent New Book from Thames & Hudson

The 'Baroda Necklace' commissioned by Sita Devi, Maharani of Baroda,  from Van Cleef & Arpels set with 154 carats of emeralds.

The ‘Baroda Necklace’ commissioned by Sita Devi, Maharani of Baroda,
from Van Cleef & Arpels set with 154 carats of emeralds.

Just published by Thames & Hudson is a sumptuous new book all about a certain mythical green stone. Titled ‘Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power’, the book delves into the long history and significance of the gemstone, going through the trade from ancient times to modern. There are many beautiful images of historically important pieces, jewels from private collections (a number of which are being seen by the public for the first time), celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie in their beloved own pieces, as well as examples of the best in contemporary design. Contributions to the text come from Joanna Hardy, a respected jewelry historian, Jonathan Self, a globe-trotting author and journalist with a personal love of emeralds, and Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia who puts emeralds into the context of fashion and art.

Emeralds are, of course, having quite the year, with the shade being named the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year, but also with the extensive promotions done by Gemfields and some truly amazing pieces commanding very high sums at auction. Hopefully the resurgence in popularity of emeralds, and other colored gemstones, is not a quickly passing trend.

This book is now in the Gem Standard Library.

Cover of 'Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power'

Cover of ‘Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power’

The 'Eternity' necklace by Cartier circa 1997, containing two 200+ carat emeralds  (© Cartier/Cartier Archives)

The ‘Eternity’ necklace by Cartier circa 1997, containing two 200+ carat emeralds
(© Cartier/Cartier Archives)

An emerald, rock crystal, moonstone and diamond Seaman Schepps bracelet,  circa 1940, that once belonged to Andy Warhol.

An emerald, rock crystal, moonstone and diamond Seaman Schepps bracelet,
circa 1940, that once belonged to Andy Warhol.

The Cartier engagement ring of the Duchess of Windsor, featuring a 19.77-carat emerald.

The Cartier engagement ring of the Duchess of Windsor, featuring a 19.77-carat emerald.

Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Hong Kong November 26 Results

A flawless, D-color 104.84-carat diamond rivière necklace,  sold for $8.1 million.

A flawless, D-color 104.84-carat diamond rivière necklace,
sold for $8.1 million.

Christie’s is touting its Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong yesterday, with a sales total of $111 million, as the highest total ever for a jewelry auction in Asia, led by four pieces that sold for over $5 million.

The top five lots had two new record holders among the group. Highest price achieved went, unsurprisingly, to the remarkable diamond rivière necklace that contained 104.84 carats of flawless D-color diamonds (pictured above). In second place at $6.4 million was the star of the catalog cover, a ruby and diamond necklace by Etcetera, that now holds the record for most expensive ruby necklace sold at auction. Both of these lots were purchased by private Asian buyers. Next was a stunning ruby and diamond ring that sold for $6 million, followed by a diamond-laden necklace by Harry Winston that sold for $5 million. The second record set was for a 12.85-carat orange-pink diamond, which sold for just under $5 million. Peruse the rest of the auction results here.

A 87.78 ctw ruby and diamond necklace by Etcetera, sold for $6.4 million.

A 87.78 ctw ruby and diamond necklace by Etcetera, sold for $6.4 million.

A 13.21-carat Burmese ruby ring, sold for $6 million.

A 13.21-carat Burmese ruby ring, sold for $6 million.

A diamond Harry Winston necklace (all pear-shaped diamonds are D-color, flawless), sold for $5 million.

A diamond Harry Winston necklace (all pear-shaped diamonds are D-color, flawless),
sold for $5 million.

A 12.85-carat orange-pink diamond, sold for $4.95 million.

A 12.85-carat orange-pink diamond, sold for $4.95 million.

Gilded New York

A gold, natural pearl, demantoid garnet, and enamel necklace circa 1900 by Marcus & Co. (Courtesy of Siegelson, New York)

A gold, natural pearl, demantoid garnet, and enamel necklace circa 1900 by Marcus & Co. (Courtesy of Siegelson, New York)

The Gilded Age in New York, the late 19th century, is a legendary time of enormous Fifth Avenue mansions, sumptuous balls and one-upmanship that kept dressmakers and jewelers alike busy. Competing barons, and their wives, were determined to break through the old guard (and their old money) to be on top of New York society, and spent eye-watering sums of money to mark their status. The Museum of the City of New York is exploring this era in an exhibition entitled ‘Gilded New York’, which has over 100 pieces from this time on display, including jewelry. Like with fashion, many jewels came from Parisian maisons, but American companies like Tiffany & Co. and Marcus & Co. established their place in society and ushered in a new style that incorporated colored gemstones into the usual piles of pearls and diamonds. The exhibit is housed in the newly opened Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery at the museum and runs until November 30, 2014.

A gold, sapphire, zircon and enamel brooch  circa 1900 by Tiffany & Co. (Copyright Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A gold, sapphire, zircon and enamel brooch
circa 1900 by Tiffany & Co. (Copyright Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A platinum, gold, diamond, pearl, ruby, garnet and sapphire brooch  circa 1900 by Tiffany & Co. (© Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A platinum, gold, diamond, pearl, ruby, garnet and sapphire brooch
circa 1900 by Tiffany & Co. (© Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A gold, diamond, enamel, turquoise and pearl necklace  circa 1904 by Tiffany & Co. (© Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A gold, diamond, enamel, turquoise and pearl necklace
circa 1904 by Tiffany & Co. (© Tiffany & Co. Archives 2013)

A book has been published in conjunction with the exhibition called ‘Gilded New York: Design, Fashion and Society’, which you can get here. Also, check out this post on the exhibition for more images of the items and era.

Gilded New York Book Cover (The Museum of the City of New York/The Monacelli Press)

Gilded New York Book Cover (The Museum of the City of New York/The Monacelli Press)

Gilded New York Exhibition (The Museum of the City of New York)

Gilded New York Exhibition (The Museum of the City of New York)