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Bonhams Auctions Historic Emerald

Mughal Emperor Akbar II gifted stone to literary muse Lady Hood Mackenzie.
Sep 19, 2019 4:22 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... A historic emerald given to Lady Mary Hood Mackenzie by Mughal Emperor Akbar II in 1813 will go under the hammer at Bonhams, the auction house said Tuesday.

The Art Deco, Persian-engraved, octagonal-cut Colombian emerald brooch is set in a frame of black enamel and brilliant and single-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum. The piece, believed to have been created around 1925 by British jewelry designer Hennell, will be offered at auction for the first time at the September 24 sale in London. Together with its original leather case, and set with a brass plaque engraved by Emperor Akbar, the brooch is estimated at GBP 40,000 to GBP 60,000 ($49,856 to $75,785).

Hood Mackenzie was the daughter and heiress of Francis Humbertson Mackenzie, chief of Clan Mackenzie of the Scottish Highlands, and the last Baron Seaforth. She was prominent in British high society, and was friends with the duchess of Wellington and the princess of Wales. 

She was also close with noted poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, and was the inspiration for his character Ellen Douglas in The Lady of the Lake.

Lady Mary’s youngest daughter, Louisa Baring, Lady Ashburton, inherited the piece from her mother, and it continued to make its way through the generations to the current owner.

“[The jewel] has been passed down the female line of the family since Mary Hood’s death, and is the first time it has been offered for sale on the open market,” said Emily Barber, Bonhams UK jewelry director. “The Art Deco jewel perfectly encapsulates the early 20th-century vogue for Indian-inspired jewelry that resonated particularly in England due to Britain’s colonial interests.”

Bonhams has already previewed the piece in New York and Geneva. It is currently on view in Hong Kong, prior to its move to London on Friday.

Image: The Mary Hood emerald (top); Mary Hood Mackenzie (right). (Bonhams)
Tags: bonhams, Ellen Douglas, Emily Barber, Francis Humbertson Mackenzie, Hennell, Lady Hood Mackenzie, Louisa Baring, Mughal Emperor Akbar II, Rapaport News, Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake
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