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Storied Necklace Makes Bold Return at Sotheby’s

Hélène Beaumont’s emerald and diamond piece fetches $3.6 million in Geneva.
May 15, 2019 6:08 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Sotheby’s brought in $42 million at its Geneva auction this week as an emerald and diamond necklace with royal connections fetched $3.6 million.

The Van Cleef & Arpels Art Deco piece, which includes diamonds, as well as 11 cabochon Colombian emeralds with a total weight of more than 75 carats, went for more than double the price it achieved when it was first sold at auction in 1994, Sotheby’s noted. The necklace — which can be converted into bracelets — was created in the 1930s for Hélène Beaumont, an American socialite and close friend of Wallis Simpson, the duchess of Windsor. It was originally valued at $3 million to $4 million at the May 14 Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale.

“Tonight we saw the enduring appeal of outstanding Art Deco jewelry,” said David Bennett, Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry chairman. “The Beaumont Necklace is the Chrysler Building of jewelry, instantly recognizable as an Art Deco masterpiece, and in my opinion, the greatest emerald and diamond necklace of the period. I had the privilege to sell it a quarter of a century ago, and achieving this landmark result tonight is a further testament to its absolute and timeless beauty.”

Other notable lots include a brilliant-cut, 36.57-carat, D-color, type IIa diamond, which garnered $5 million against an estimate of $4.5 million to $5.5 million. A signed Bulgari ring, set with a 5.14-carat Burmese ruby, fetched $328,355 per carat, or $1.7 million, beating its high estimate of $1.3 million. An 18.86-carat, D-color, type IIa diamond ring by Harry Winston also smashed its high estimate of $1.2 million, bringing in $1.4 million at the auction.

Sotheby’s also sold a diamond tiara, made by Fabergé in 1903 for Duchess Cecilie von Mecklenburg Schwerin, the last crown princess of Prussia. The headpiece, which was a present from her Russian relatives upon her marriage to Crown Prince Wilhelm, achieved $434,346. It was valued at $200,000 to $300,000.

Sotheby’s sold 77% of all lots on offer, it said, with close to 60% of them fetching prices above their high estimate.

Image: The Beaumont Necklace. (Sotheby’s)
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Tags: Bulgari, Crown Prince Wilhelm, David Bennett, Duchess Cecilie von Mecklenburg Schwerin, Fabergé, geneva, Harry Winston, Hélène Beaumont, Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Rapaport News, Sotheby’s, the duchess of Windsor, Van Cleef & Arpels, Wallis Simpson
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