Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Geneva Auction Preview

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Americas and Switzerland at Christie's, holding 'The Orange', a 14.82-carat diamond.  (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Americas and Switzerland at Christie’s, holding ‘The Orange’, an exceptionally rare 14.82-carat diamond. (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

On Tuesday, November 12, Christie’s will hold a Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva and there are some very interesting pieces hitting the block.

Continuing the recent streak of truly exceptional diamonds being offered at auction is a stone dubbed ‘The Orange’, which at 14.82 carats is the largest orange diamond ever graded by the GIA, and so may be the largest in existance. The pear-shaped gem, which is fancy vivid orange with VS1 clarity, is more than double the size of the previous record holder (which was under 6 carats) and carries an estimate of $18 million to $21 million. It will be the last lot of the day.

14.82-carat fancy vivid orange diamond being offered by Christie's.

14.82-carat fancy vivid orange diamond being offered by Christie’s.

18 pieces of jewelry from the enviable collection of Parisian society grand dame Hélène Rochas (1927-2011), wife of the famed fashion designer Marcel Rochas, will be offered at the sale as lots 218 thru 235. These include a number of pieces by René Boivin, as well as signed Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Verdura jewels.

René Boivin diamond and pearl earrings circa 1966 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

René Boivin diamond and pearl earrings circa 1966 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

Van Cleef & Arpels 'Magnolia' mystery-set ruby and diamond brooch circa 1968 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

Van Cleef & Arpels ‘Magnolia’ mystery-set ruby and diamond brooch circa 1968 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

Verdura aquamarine, pink topaz and diamond bangle circa 1968 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

Verdura aquamarine, pink topaz and diamond bangle circa 1968 from the estate of Hélène Rochas.

Bolivian mining tycoon Simón Itturi Patiño (1862-1947), ‘The Tin King’, was famously a collector of exceptional gemstones and three of those pieces will be offered for sale. The highlight of his collection was a necklace bought for his wife in 1938 that featured a 45-carat emerald cross purchased by Cartier from Queen Eugenia Victoria of Spain in 1937. Dubbed ‘The Andean Cross’ it had previously belonged to Queen Isabel II of Spain and Empress Eugenie of France, and Cartier matched another 100 carats of emerald to create the necklace. Sadly the cross is no longer there and the original necklace was shortened to create a matching pair of earrings, which are also being offered (Lot 214 and Lot 215). The third piece is a 32.65-carat cushion-shaped white diamond ring by Chaumet (Lot 213).

Cartier emerald and diamond necklace circa 1937 once owned by Simón Itturi Patiño.

Cartier emerald and diamond necklace circa 1937 once owned by Simón Itturi Patiño.

The matching earrings taken from the above necklace.

The matching earrings taken from the above necklace.

More exceptional emeralds are being offered that were once owned by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt (1923-1994). One is an emerald drop necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels (and is featured on the cover of the auction catalog) and the other is a Cartier sautoir-style beauty (Lot 209 and Lot 254).

A Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond necklace circa 1929 once owned by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt.

A Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond necklace circa 1929 once owned by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt.

Cartier emerald and diamond necklace circa 1926 previously owned by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt.

Cartier emerald and diamond necklace circa 1926 previously owned by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt.

And finally, a last emerald piece to whet your appetite.

JAR emerald, diamond, peridot, garnet, citrine and zircon brooch featuring a  11.96-carat center emerald circa 1989. (Lot 212)

JAR emerald, diamond, peridot, garnet, citrine and zircon brooch featuring a 11.96-carat center emerald circa 1989. (Lot 212)

The sale will be held in two sessions at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva, the first at 2:00pm (Lots 1-163) and then 7:00pm (Lots 164-286).

An Evening with Verdura

The iconic jewel crosses of Verdura.

The iconic jewel crosses of Verdura.

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a special event hosted by Mindham Fine Jewellery of Toronto and Verdura to celebrate the exclusive arrival of the Verdura brand into Canada. This is the first international expansion for the New York-based company in 25 years and was a natural step after successful trunkshows in Toronto.

Two extra-special items from the archive in New York were brought along for the occasion, which were the Fulco di Verdura-designed Maltese cross cuffs owned and worn by Coco Chanel for many years. In his remarks prior to the unveiling of the cuffs, company Chairman and CEO Ward Landrigan (former head of jewelry for Sotheby’s US) spoke of how Chanel had a need for a new style of jewelry to match the revolutionized women’s clothing that she created and wore herself. The stiff and formal jewels that her wealthy lovers bestowed on her just didn’t suit the more free-flowing wardrobe she had designed. Together with Verdura, and inspired by the colorful mosaics of Byzantine churches, the gemstones were pried loose of their settings and rearranged into the now iconic bejeweled Maltese cross.

Coco Chanel's Verdura Maltese Cross Cuffs

Coco Chanel’s Verdura Maltese Cross Cuffs

Verdura Chanel Maltese Cross Cuff 1

Verdura Chanel Maltese Cross Cuff 2

Coco Chanel captured by Man Ray in the Verdura cuffs.

Coco Chanel captured by Man Ray in the Verdura cuffs.

The cuffs were one of Verdura’s first designs in the 8 years he acted as the head jewelry designer for Chanel in Paris. In the 1930s he moved to the US and subsequently launched his own brand in 1939 in New York that catered to silver screen stars and New York society for the next few decades. His own jet-set lifestyle and glamorous friends inspired many of his pieces, and when Landrigan purchased the company in 1985, there were 10,000 designs in the archives. Today, the company uses those sketches to continue creating the jewelry he envisioned.

In that light, the Holiday 2013 collection, which was sumptuously laid out this evening for guests to admire and try on, is called En Voyage and focuses on some of the places that inspired Verdura’s jewelry. India, the Mediterranean, England, France and Italy each served as muse for many of his pieces and were interpreted into classic designs that have stood the test of time. Alongside a number of the items were photographs of the original custom designs being worn by their famous owners. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed trying them on. And finally, don’t forget that you can also view and buy more items from the Verdura archives at the exhibition and sale currently ongoing in New York!

The Italian-inspired 'Infinity Knot' bracelet is pictured center.

The Italian-inspired ‘Infinity Knot’ bracelet is pictured center.

'Herkimer' rock crystal earclips.

‘Herkimer’ rock crystal earclips.

My own choice for double cuffs.

My own choice for double cuffs.

'Ray' brooch with the 'Criss Cross' cuff behind and 'Curb-Link' bracelets in front.

‘Ray’ brooch with the ‘Criss Cross’ cuff behind and ‘Curb-Link’ bracelets in front.

The Lily bracelet designed for Marlene Dietrich.

The Lily bracelet designed for Marlene Dietrich.

The customizable 'Zodiac' cuff.

The customizable ‘Zodiac’ cuff.

The Mediterranean-inspired 'Octopus' brooch with the India-inspired 'Palm Leaves' bracelet to the left.

The Mediterranean-inspired ‘Octopus’ brooch with the India-inspired ‘Palm Leaves’ bracelet to the left.

A Maltese cross cuff in 18k gold.

A Maltese cross cuff in 18k gold.

Verdura and Belperron Exhibition and Sale

Verdura earclips made for Mrs. Vincent Astor circa 1965.

Verdura ‘Feather’ earclips made for Mrs. Vincent Astor circa 1965.

The Verdura headquarters at 745 Fifth Avenue in New York City will be hosting an exhibition and sale of 70+ pieces of Verdura and Suzanne Belperron jewelry from the 1930s to 1960s, beginning today.

Verdura was founded in 1939 by Sicilian Duke Fulco di Verdura, who began his career as the head jewelry designer for Coco Chanel. He primarily took inspiration from classical symbols and the natural world, with the most famous design of the house being the Maltese cross cuffs that are instantly recognizable. Suzanne Belperron is a similarly recognizable designer from the 20th century, who was a visionary well ahead of her time. Also inspired by classicism and nature, her distinctive designs have a much more organic and abstract bent. The two unique jewelers in fact shared a number of clients, the most stylish ladies of the day such as Diana Vreeland, the Duchess of Windsor, and Daisy Fellows.

The Verdura company purchased the archives of Suzanne Belperron in 1999 and are now reviving the brand under the direction of president Nico Landrigan. This is a wonderful opportunity to see a number of pieces together and they are all available to buy.

The exhibition runs until December 27 and you can view the jewelry at the Verdura salon on weekdays from 10am to 6pm and on Saturdays in December. Happy shopping!

Verdura 'Cross' brooches circa 1941.

Verdura cross brooches circa 1941.

Verdura 'Wing' earclips circa 1950s.

Verdura ‘Wing’ earclips circa 1950s.

Verdura lapis brooch.

Verdura lapis brooch.

Belperron 'Faceted Model' ring circa 1941-1955 and 'gadrooned' ring circa 1935.

Belperron ‘Faceted Model’ ring circa 1941-1955 and ‘gadrooned’ ring circa 1935.

Belperron cuff.

Belperron cuff.

Belperron hoop earclips.

Belperron hoop earclips.

Belperron diamond bracelet.

Belperron diamond bracelet.

Belperron 'Whirl' ring featuring a Burmese ruby circa 1932-1955.

Belperron ‘Whirl’ ring featuring a Burmese ruby circa 1932-1955.

Masterpiece London

Aquamarine, tourmaline, diamond and gold brooch by Georges Fouquet circa  1901 (offered by Hancocks).

Aquamarine, tourmaline, diamond and gold brooch by Georges Fouquet circa 1901 (offered by Hancocks).

If you are in London between today and July 3, be sure to check out Masterpiece London. It is an international fine art, antique and design show that will host a number of jewelry booths from the likes of Seigelson, Fred Leighton, Verdura, David Webb and many more. A great opportunity to see some fine work up close.

Blue chalcedony suite by Suzanne Belperron circa 1935 (once owned by the Duchess of Windsor and offered by Siegelson).

Blue chalcedony suite by Suzanne Belperron circa 1935 (once owned by the Duchess of Windsor and offered by Siegelson).

Chinese Ming Dynasty gold and ruby pin circa 16th century (offered by Susan Ollemans).

Chinese Ming Dynasty gold and ruby pin circa 16th century (offered by Susan Ollemans).

Belle Époque diamond and rock crystal brooch by Cartier circa 1913 (offered by Siegelson).

Belle Époque diamond and rock crystal brooch by Cartier circa 1913 (offered by Siegelson).

Citrine brooch/pendant by Boucheron circa 1940 (offered by S.J. Phillips)

Citrine brooch/pendant by Boucheron circa 1940 (offered by S.J. Phillips)

Gold, enamel, diamond and ruby momento mori locket ring circa England 17th century (offered by Les Enluminures).

Gold, enamel, diamond and ruby momento mori locket ring circa England 17th century (offered by Les Enluminures).

David Webb gold, platinum and diamond "Juno" cuff.

David Webb gold, platinum and diamond “Juno” cuff.

Platinum, lapis lazuli, diamond, and enamel earrings by Boucheron circa 1925 (offered by Siegelson).

Platinum, lapis lazuli, diamond, and enamel earrings by Boucheron circa 1925 (offered by Siegelson).

Art Deco diamond and platinum necklace with a carved crystal watch pendant by Cartier circa 1930 (offered by Kentshire).

Art Deco diamond and platinum necklace with a carved crystal watch pendant by Cartier circa 1930 (offered by Kentshire).

Carved black jade, 18k gold, emerald and diamond "No 50" Verdura Cuffs (stones can be detached to become earclips).

Carved black jade, 18k gold, emerald and diamond “No 50” Verdura Cuffs (stones can be detached to become earclips).

Art Deco white and yellow gold, chrysophrase and onyx necklace circa France 1930 (offered by Kentshire).

Art Deco white and yellow gold, chrysophrase and onyx necklace circa France 1930 (offered by Kentshire).