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Christie's New York Jewels - Presale Presentation

Oct 19, 2010 5:00 PM   By Rapaport News
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Christie’s New York will auction  superb jewels for its upcoming Jewels: The New York Sale on October 20. The day-long auction features more than  450 individual pieces, including top-quality colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, and one-of-a-kind jewels with notable provenance, as well as Jeweled Elegance: The Eye of A Distinguished Collector, a truly stellar singleowner collection of some 160 signed jewels from the most esteemed jewelry houses. The total sale is expected to achieve in excess of $40 million.

Christie’s New York previously announced two special highlights of the upcoming sale: The BVLGARI Blue - the largest triangular-shaped Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction (estimate upon request; dedicated press release available), and a pair of Imperial Topaz, Ruby and Diamond ear pendants by JAR that were formerly part of the celebrated collection of actress and fashion icon Ellen Barkin (estimate: $300,000-$500,000). With their exceptional design, provenance, and rarity, both the ring and ear pendants are among the most highly-coveted and eagerly anticipated jewels of the fall auction season.
In a sale already brimming with glamour, Christie’s is pleased to present Jeweled Elegance: The Eye of A Distinguished Collector, a carefully-curated private collection of signed jewels from the most celebrated designers, including Cartier, David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston. The entire morning session of the October 20 auction is devoted to this dazzling assemblage of more than 160 individual pieces, built with extreme care and passion over decades, often with the assistance of Philippe Arpels, a noted connoisseur and President of Van Cleef & Arpels in the U.S. from 1985 to 1991. In reviewing the catalogue of the collection, Mr. Arpels remarked, “Seeing many of these jewels again brings back fond memories for me - they are a true testament to the great joy that jewels can bring to those who love them.”

Iconic designs by Van Cleef & Arpels form the backbone of the collection, with exceptional examples from a cross-section from design eras. A superb group of "Mystery Set" jewels, including a Ruby and Diamond “Pavot” Flower Brooch with diamond-crusted pistil from circa 1974 (estimate: $200,000-$300,000), and coordinating pair of Ruby and Diamond Ear Clips from circa 1984 (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) are beautiful examples of the firm's trademark technique of crafting remarkable gem-set pieces without any visible metal or prongs on the surface.

Another example of Van Cleef & Arpels enduring style is the firm’s trademark “Snowflake” motif which was first introduced in 1945 and went on to become one of the most popular of the firm's iconic design motifs. The Jeweled Elegance collection features a full suite of intricate “Snowflake” jewels, including a diamond and gold “Snowflake” necklace (estimate: $80,000-$120,000), coordinating bracelets (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) and ear pendants (estimate: $12,000-$15,000).

From the aptly regarded “King of Diamonds” - Harry Winston - the Jeweled Elegance collection features a spectacular D-color potentially internally flawless rectangular-cut diamond ring of 17.65 carats (estimate: $1.5 million-$2 million). In quintessential Winston style, the stunning diamond is simply mounted and accented with trillion-cut diamonds to show off the main diamond’s flawless brilliance. Another stunning Winston jewel, the celebrated “Holly Wreath” Necklace (estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million) is perhaps the most important and widely imitated of Harry Winston’s signature designs. First conceived in 1944 and inspired by the deceptively simple construction of
a Christmas holly wreath, this magnificent example is composed of circular, pear, and marquise-cut diamond cluster “leaves” that are carefully arranged to hide the supporting metal structure beneath. The weight of the diamonds in this dazzling necklace totals an impressive 152.35 carats.

No collection of this breadth and caliber would be complete without the iconic designs of Cartier, David Webb, Carvin French, and an exceptional selection of chic “boutique” jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels. Among the highlights is the iconic “Panther” bracelet by Cartier encrusted with diamonds and onyx “spots” and pear-shaped emerald eyes (estimate: $80,0000-$120,000); a stunning openwork gold bracelet set with navette-shaped circular-cut diamond links by David Webb (estimate: $30,000-$50,000); and a rectangular-cut sapphire and diamond ring of 18.25 carats by Carvin French (estimate: $250,000-$350,000).

The afternoon session of Jewels: The New York Sale features a number of important jewels with exceptional provenance, including a selection of items from the collection of Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman, a direct descendant of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt, who started the family fortune in shipping, real estate and railroads and oversaw the construction of Grand Central Terminal in New York. Christie’s is delighted to present one of the cornerstone pieces of Ms. Lehman’s collection, The Vanderbilt Diamond Necklace, an extraordinary diamond fringe necklace of 24 detachable pear-shaped diamonds (estimate: $400,000-$600,000). Exhibiting impeccable craftsmanship and ingenious design, this celebrated necklace has been handed down from Wendy’s parents, the strikingly beautiful Manuela (Mollie) Hudson and Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt II.

For collectors of fine period jewels, the afternoon session features several exceptional examples of Belle Epoque and Art Deco era design, including an elegant Belle Epoque Diamond Bow Brooch by Cartier from circa 1904 that perfectly exemplifies the romance and femininity of the era. Sculpted with a lace-like design, the brooch features an openwork double-bow and tasseled ribbon set with old European and old mine-cut diamonds ($300,000-$500,000). A dazzling Belle Epoque Diamond Choker Neckace by Boucheron is the height of glamour, and features an intricate diamond openwork design accented with circular and old-cut diamond fringe (estimate: $200,000-$400,000).

Among the Art Deco period jewels, a standout is an important Diamond, Multi-Gem and Enamel Sautoir by Mauboussin (estimate: $800,000- $1.2 million) that represents the best of the firm’s “Tutti Frutti” offerings from the 1920’s. In this example, dated 1927, the engraved sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are incorporated into the bold geometric design of both the neck chain and its finely crafted ‘Vase de fleurs’ pendant. As a remarkable feature of this necklace, its reverse is just as beautifully crafted as the front, with all of the gemstones engraved on the underside, creating a fully finished, threedimensional work of art.

Highlights of the modern period include an exquisite pair of 1960’s era Diamond “Palm” ear pendants by Cartier crafted in chandelier style, with cascades of palm motif plaques set with pearshaped diamonds (estimate: $250,000-$350,000), and an exceedingly rare Diamond, Cultured Pearl, and Lapis Lazuli Choker Necklace designed by Jean Schlumberger in 1976. Delicately accented with three diamond bows, this stunning necklace is one of only two or three examples ever produced by Tiffany & Co. (estimate: $70,000-$100,000).

As recent sales seasons have demonstrated, the market for top-quality colored and colorless diamonds continues to rise, driven by increasing demand from collectors and investors alike. The afternoon session of Jewels: The New York Sale features an exceptional selection of D- and E-color diamonds and rare gemstones, all leading up to the grand finale sale of The BVLGARI Blue, a two-stone diamond ring designed by the legendary house of BVLGARI in the 1970s. The ring features a triangular-shaped, colorless diamond of 9.87 carats paired with a stunning triangular-shaped Fancy Vivid blue diamond of 10.95 carats.

The selection of diamonds and gemstones includes:

A Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring, By Harry Winston of 17.86 carats, D, VS1 clarity, Type IIa (estimate: $1.5 million - $2 million

A Pear-Shaped Diamond Ring of 12.32 carats, D, internally flawless clarity (estimate: $1 million - $1.5 million)

A Rectangular-Cut Diamond Ring, by Graff of 12.21 carats, D, VS1 clarity, potentially internally flawless (estimate: $900,000-$1.2 million)

A Cushion-Cut Diamond Ring  of 14.10 carats, E, VVS1 clarity (estimate: $800,000-$1.2 million)

A Rectangular-Cut Diamond Ring of 12.63 carats, E, VS1 improvable clarity (estimate: $500,000-$700,000)

A Pair of Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ear Pendants  of 7.75 and 6.27 carats (estimate: $650,000-$850,000)

A Sugarloaf Cabochon Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Necklace of 158.81 carats (estimate: $350,000-$500,000)

A Burma Sapphire and Diamond Ring, By Oscar Heyman & Brothers of 21.01 carats (estimate: $270,000-$350,000)

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