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A Magnificent Platinum-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace. Estimate 2,500,0003,500,000 USD. Photo Sotheby’s

NEW YORK, NY.- Following Sotheby’s record-breaking auction of Jewels from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon in November, the next sale of Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s will take place in New York on 9 December 2014 – just in time for the holidays. In addition to a selection of important white and colored diamonds, the sale is characterized by an exceptional number of pieces with notable provenance, including jewels owned by Helen Hay Whitney, Estée Lauder and Evelyn H. Lauder, Marlene Dietrich, Matilda Dodge Wilson, Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, and more. The more than 400 jewels on offer carry estimates from $5,000 to more than $1 million, and will be on public view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 5 December.

Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, commented: “When there is both provenance and a wonderful jewel, there is also the aura of the woman, a window into a different world, a life and a lifestyle.”

JEWELS FROM THE ESTATE OF HELEN HAY WHITNEY

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Helen Hay Whitney photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

In February 1902, as America transitioned from the Gilded Age to the Progressive era, the marriage of Helen Hay and Payne Whitney made newspaper headlines across the country. Their wedding was attended by President Theodore Roosevelt, members of the United States Cabinet, and the height of American society. The December sale offers a stunning collection of seven jewels that have descended through Helen Hay Whitney’s family to the present owner – a treasure trove of period pieces that epitomize the exceptional quality and unique design of jewels worn by women of prominence in the early-20th century.

Magnificent Platinum-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace
This captivating necklace – featuring four diamonds ranging from F to H color, and weighing 27.48, 15.53, 13.08 and 8.91 carats respectively – was presented as a gift to Helen Hay Whitney on the occasion of her wedding in 1902. Estimate $2.5/3.5 million.

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Helen Hay Whitney’s Magnificent Platinum-Topped Gold and Diamond Necklace. Estimate 2,500,0003,500,000 USD. Photo Sotheby’s

The delicate chain set at the front with a marquise-shaped diamond weighing 8.91 carats, supporting three fringes, the central fringe anchored by a pear-shaped diamond weighing 27.48 carats, the side fringes anchored by pear-shaped diamonds weighing 15.53 and 13.08 carats, further set with old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately 6.65 carats, length 17 inches; circa 1902.

FROM THE ESTATE OF HELEN HAY WHITNEY, THENCE BY DESCENT

Acompanied by 4 GIA reports:
No. 2165105858 stating that the 27.48 carat diamond is F color, VS1 clarity.
No. 5161106165 stating that the 15.53 carat diamond is G color, VS1 clarity.
No. 1162105929 stating that the 13.08 carat diamond is F color, VS1 clarity.
No. 2165107394 stating that the 8.91 carat diamond is H color, VS2 clarity.

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Helen Hay and her bridesmaids on her wedding day, 1902. According to family tradition, lot 414 was one of Helen Hay Whitney’s wedding presents.

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Helen Hay Whitney’s Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Diamond, Jadeite, Lapis Lazuli, Pearl and Enamel ‘Stalactite’ Lapel-Watch, Cartier. Circa 1925. Estimate 30,00050,000 USD. Photo Sotheby’s

The floral top centered by an old European-cut diamond weighing approximately .85 carat, suspending a pendant which opens to reveal a watch dial, topped by a jadeite bead measuring approximately 10.3 mm, accented by a pearl measuring approximately 4.8 mm, decorated throughout with lapis lazuli segments and highlighted with black enamel, set throughout with old European and single-cut diamonds, the dial signed Cartier, numbered 1737; circa 1925.

FROM THE ESTATE OF HELEN HAY WHITNEY, THENCE BY DESCENT

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Helen Hay Whitney’s Platinum, Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring. Circa 1920. Estimate 125,000175,000 USD. Photo Sotheby’s

Centering an emerald-cut emerald measuring approximately 11.9 by 10.2 by 5.8 mm, flanked by two calf’s head-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 7.65 carats, the mounting further accented by single-cut diamonds weighing approximately .30 carat, size 7½; circa 1920.

FROM THE ESTATE OF HELEN HAY WHITNEY, THENCE BY DESCENT

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Helen Hay Whitney’s Platinum, Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring, Tiffany & Co. Circa 1925. Estimate 250,000350,000. Photo Sotheby’s

Centering an emerald-cut emerald measuring approximately 15.9 by 10.4 by 6.5 mm, accented by old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately .50 carat, size 6¾, signed Tiffany & Co.; circa 1925.

FROM THE ESTATE OF HELEN HAY WHITNEY, THENCE BY DESCENT

JEWELS FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF ESTÉE LAUDER & EVELYN H. LAUDER

Sotheby’s will offer jewels from the collections of Mrs. Estée Lauder and Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder this December. Thirty-three pieces from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder will be sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, an organization that she founded and championed, while 11 pieces from the collection of Estée Lauder will be sold to benefit The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation®. Sotheby’s previously auctioned jewels from the Collections in December 2012 and 2013 to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The jewels on offer this December include designs by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Buccellati, and Oscar Heyman & Brothers – one of Evelyn H. Lauder’s favorite New York jewelers. A lovely group of wearable evening and daytime jewels estimated under $20,000 complements the impressive selection of more formal pieces. Separate release available

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Evelyn H. Lauder’s Platinum, Colored Stone, Diamond and Enamel ‘Tutti Frutti’ Bracelet, Cartier, New York, circa 1928. Estimate 750,0001,000,000 USD

The flexible openwork foliate band set with numerous carved emeralds and rubies, accented by onyx beads and faceted rubies, further set with old European and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 6.25 carats, enhanced with black enamel, length 6 7/8 inches, signed Cartier, numbered 4896; circa 1928.

From the Collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, Sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

LITERATURECartier: Jewelers Extraordinary (1984 edition), Hans Nadelhoffer, page 172

NOTESCartier’s tutti-frutti designs are a joyous celebration of texture, form and color.  Pierre Cartier designed the first piece in this style in 1901, a necklace commissioned by Queen Alexandra to be worn with three Indian gowns given to her by Mary Curzon, wife of the Viceroy of India. The master jeweler’s necklace succeeded in blending the sumptuous curves and dazzling colors associated with the perceived exoticism of India with the techniques of modern craftsmanship perfected at the House of Cartier. The necklace opened the door to future Royal commissions and became the basis for the firm’s most celebrated foray into jewels of Eastern inspiration. 

In 1911, Pierre Cartier’s brother Jacques ventured to the subcontinent in order to foster an appreciation of Cartier jewels among Indian aristocrats.  Upon observing India’s exotic culture and traditions, Jacques’ business expedition soon developed into an educational journey that would influence how his family firm would design jewels for years to come. He returned to his London workshop teeming with inspiration, incorporating the fulgent colors and rich textures of carved Moghul gemstones into the geometric platinum and diamond mountings crafted at Cartier.  As explained by Hans Nadelhoffer, “Indian rulers [in the early 20th Century] were exclusively interested in Parisian jewelry and had no hesitation in handing over their family treasures for reworking in fashionable European styles.”  The result of this fortuitous marriage of East and West, the tutti frutti style was nothing short of a triumph, enchanting connoisseurs then as it does today over a century later.

The Lauder tutti frutti bracelet is featured in Nadelhoffer’s seminal book, Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary.  Boasting ripe rubies and emeralds interspersed with spherical onyx berries issuing from diamond-set stems, the piece’s organic qualities are balanced by a symmetry that is both elegant and sophisticated.  The focused color palate, absent of sapphires, suggests the piece may have been a special commission.  The telltale zig-zag of black enamel, however, is tantamount to a signature, making this piece at once a masterpiece of Art Deco design and quintessentially Cartier. 

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Estée Lauder’s Pair of Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Colored Diamond and Diamond Earclips, Van Cleef & Arpels. Centering two Fancy Brown-Yellow diamonds weighing 8.08 and 7.74 carats. Estimate 100,000150,000 USD. 

 Centering two round colored diamonds weighing 8.08 and 7.74 carats, framed by round near colorless diamonds weighing approximately 8.50 carats, further set with small round diamonds of yellow-brown hue weighing approximately 2.40 carats, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, numbered 48556, with maker’s mark.

From the Collection of Estée Lauder, Sold to benefit The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Accompanied by two GIA reports:
No. 2165605324 stating that the 8.08 carat diamond is Fancy Brown-Yellow, Natural Color, VS2 clarity.
No. 5161605066 stating that the 7.74 carat diamond is Fancy Brown-Yellow, Natural Color, VVS2 clarity.
Please note that the small round diamonds of yellow-brown hue have not been tested for natural origin of color.

FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARLENE DIETRICH

The mention of Marlene Dietrich – legendary actress, singer and cabaret star – instantly evokes a bygone era of glamour and sophistication. The gold and lapis lazuli Cartier bracelet offered this December was a gift from longtime friend Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front.

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Marlene Dietrich’s 14 Karat Tri-Color Gold and Lapis Lazuli Bracelet, Cartier. Circa 1940. Estimate 20,00030,000 USD

he circular gold links centering a barrel-form clasp composed of a lapis lazuli cylinder measuring approximately 28.8 by 23.3 by 18.1 mm, length 8 inches, signed Cartier; circa 1940.

PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARLENE DIETRICH

NOTEBracelets of similar design are illustrated in The Cartier Collection: Jewelry, by François Chaille, page 361.

The simple mention of Marlene Dietrich, legendary actress, singer and cabaret star, evokes a bygone era of glamour and sophistication. Universally remembered as a trendsetter and fashion icon, Dietrich famously dressed not for her public image, but for herself, alternating between sequined gowns with glittering jewels and crisply cut tuxedos with top hats.

Dietrich was known to have worn jewels from her personal collection in her most acclaimed films.  Her signature piece of jewelry, a stylized diamond brooch designed as a rose in full bloom, was given to her in the early 1930s by director Josef von Sternberg and showcased in The Blue Angel and Shanghai Express. One of her most dramatic jewels, a spectacularly three-dimensional ruby and diamond cuff made by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s, was worn in Stage Fright.  Both the “Marlene Rose” and the Van Cleef ruby bracelet were sold at Sotheby’s, New York in 2010 and 1992, respectively.

The gold and lapis lazuli Cartier bracelet offered here was a gift from her longtime friend Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front.  Marlene first met Remarque in Venice in the late 1930s and they maintained a close relationship as she helped him to emigrate to the United States in 1939.  According to Dietrich’s family, Remarque selected this design because she loved lapis and the generous gold links complemented her affinity for masculine styles.

THE VLADIMIR EMERALDS

The fascinating history of the spectacular Vladimir Emeralds on offer begins at the start of the 20th century, when they belonged in the legendary collection of Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia. After being smuggled out of Russia by an English friend of the Duchess following the abdication of the Tsar in 1917, the emeralds descended to the Duchess’s daughter and granddaughter. The earrings later were sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 1987, when they were acquired for Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis by Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis.

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The Vladimir  Emeralds. An Important and Historical Pair of Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Pendant-Earclips. The two drop-shaped Classic Colombian emeralds measuring approximately 19.3 by 12.3 by 12.5 mm and 18.5 by 12.2 by 12.5 mm. Estimate 600,000800,000 USD

The two drop-shaped emeralds measuring approximately 19.3 by 12.3 by 12.5 mm and 18.5 by 12.2 by 12.5 mm, suspended from two round pyramid-shaped cabochon emeralds measuring approximately 12.7 by 12.8 by 8.0 mm and 12.5 by 12.8 by 7.8 mm, within diamond-set frames of later addition set with round, old mine and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 17.50 carats.

PROVENANCE: Sotheby’s Geneva, 17 November 1992, The Thurn and Taxis Collection, lot 418.

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Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis wearing lot 406

LITERATUREStefano Papi, The Jewels of the Romanov Family and Court, 2013 edition, page 148.

Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 39751 stating that the emeralds are of Classic Colombian origin; the clarity enhancement for the drop-shaped emeralds is moderate, type: oil, the clarity enhancement for the cabochon emeralds is faint to moderate, type: oil.

NOTESFew jewels in the world can claim such fame for their splendour as those belonging to the Russian Imperial family. Their fabulous and historic stones and masterful execution were unrivalled in all the courts of Europe. The devastation brought by the First World War and the consequent 1917 Russian Revolution saw the end of the Romanov dynasty, its court and its glittering jewels, many of which were lost forever. By December of that year, the abolition of private property and nationalisation of the banks saw jewels belonging to the aristocracy and the wealthiest class meeting the same fate. They were dismantled and the stones sold loose, and their mounts were melted down so that the precious metals could be sold separately – primarily so that they weren’t recognised and reclaimed by their original owners. Those that survived were sold at auction to raise money for the new government and subsequently disappeared into private collections.

This situation lit the fuse to an explosion of legends about smuggled, hidden and rediscovered jewels. Sometimes these stories were true; sometimes they were pure invention. This created an aura of mystery and intrigue around all jewels from Russia at this time, but especially around those belonging to the ex-Imperial family – their stories could come from the pages of an historical thriller. But by far the most exciting tale about the Romanov treasure is the true story of the jewels of Grand Duchess Vladimir.

The emerald and diamond ear pendants offered in this sale stem from this collection. Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (1847-1909) was the second son of Alexander II and brother to Alexander III. He was a member of the Council of Ministers, a Councillor of State and field commander of the guard for the military district of St Petersburg. In 1874, he married Princess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who took the name of Maria Pavlovna. Blessed with charm and a strong personality, she would become one of the most important figures in the Romanov family, second only to Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. The couple had four children: three sons, Kyril, Boris and Andrei, and a daughter, Elena.

The Vladimirs’ residence on the Palace Embankment in St Petersburg was created for them in Florentine Renaissance style by the architects Alexander Rezanov and Andrei Huhn. The Grand Duke was a highly cultivated man and president of the Imperial Academy of Arts, and the salons soon became the centre of cultural and social life for politicians and diplomats. Concerts and balls saw gatherings of artists, musicians and intellectuals from all parts of Europe.

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Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia

Maria Pavlovna was famous for her jewelry collection. Her emerald parure – a wedding gift from the Tsar – had no rival in any court in Europe, with the central emerald in the necklace weighing over 100 carats. Her collection was rich not only in historic pieces but also in stunning jewels created for her after she met Pierre Cartier in 1900. Their shared knowledge of gemstones and great sense of style saw the birth of many amazing pieces.

In 1902 the Grand Duchess’s daughter married Prince Nicolas of Greece and Denmark. To mark the occasion, the Vladimirs showered Elena with jewels, including some pieces from Maria Pavlovna’s personal collection and others created especially, such as the diamond kokoshnik commissioned from Cartier by Grand Duchess Vladimir. Having a predilection for emeralds, she chose the best stones from her vast collection to give to her daughter. She gave her a brooch set with a round cabochon emerald in a diamond cluster and a magnificent pair of ear pendants with round cabochon emeralds and drops.

Elena’s marriage was a happy one and produced three beautiful daughters, Olga, Elisabeth and Marina, who regularly visited their relatives in Russia. At the outbreak of the First World War the family was living safely in Greece.

After the abdication of the Tsar in March 1917, Grand Duchess Vladimir left St Petersburg for Kislovodsk in the Caucasus. It was too dangerous to travel with her casket of jewels, so she left it in her palace safe, hoping to return to it at a safer time. This hope was soon lost, after the riots and Bolshevik looting of safes and palaces in St Petersburg intensified.

Thanks to Maria Pavlovna’s exclusive social events, her international acquaintances included an English gentleman by the name of the Hon. Albert Henry Stopford, a great friend of Prince Felix Yusupov, who made regular visits to St Petersburg, probably as an unofficial secret agent for the English government. Stopford went to check whether or not the Vladimir Palace had been ransacked, then travelled to Kislovodsk to report to Maria Pavlovna. It was there that the two devised a plot to rescue her jewels.

Stopford, once back in St Petersburg, followed all the directions given to him by the Grand Duchess. In the dead of the night, dressed as a workman and with the help of a loyal servant of the Vladimirs, he entered the kitchen through a small side entrance. There he found the secret passage that led him through a hidden door to the place where the safe was concealed. He carefully wrapped the jewels in newspaper and put them in two old gladstone bags. After that, we assume he took them to the securist place he could: the British Embassy. Next came the toughest part of the plot – smuggling the jewels out of Russia.

Rather than risk transporting the treasure unaided, Stopford took the advice of a friend who was a Commander in the Royal Navy in charge of the Russian Armoured Car Division, soon to be withdrawn from Russia. Returning to England with the Division was one John Stopford, an American in no way connected to Albert. The two swapped identities. Albert seems to have left for England with the Division, via Sweden and Aberdeen, with the jewels in his suitcase. Just before he arrived back in London on 6 October 1917 he discovered that the Vladimir Palace had been invaded by the Bolsheviks. He had rescued the jewels just in time. Albert Stopford deposited the casket in a safe at the bank Cox and Co., under the Grand Duchess’s name. It was a great relief for the Grand Duchess to know that her jewels were safe in a bank in England. She was the last Romanov to leave Russian soil, in late February 1920.

Maria Pavlovna never had the chance to see her jewels again: she died on 6 September 1920 in her favourite spa town of Contrexeville in France, in the comforting presence of her family. In her will, she divided her jewels between her four children by colour. Elena received the diamonds and the pearls; she sold the superb interlaced diamond circles and pear-shaped pearl kokoshnik to Queen Mary of England. It is still worn today by Queen Elizabeth II. At the end of the 1920s, Elena would have the emeralds received from her mother remounted in their current setting (see lot xx). She also added an emerald and diamond pendant to her cluster brooch. The pendant was sold with the earrings (lots 686 and 688) at Sotheby’s, Geneva, in November 1987, and the brooch at Sotheby’s, Geneva, in May 1990 (lot 506).

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Princess Olga (wearing lot 406) and her son Prince Alexander, 1955 Credit : AGIP – Rue des Archives/Granger, NYC

Elena later divided her jewels between her three daughters. Princess Olga received the emerald and diamond pendent earrings offered in this sale. Their elegant design and the magnificent quality of the stones are befitting of their legendary and illustrious past.

Stefano Papi G.G. International Jewellery Historian, Specialist and Author

PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MATILDA DODGE WILSON

The Magnificent Jewels sale will offer three jewels formerly in the collection of Matilda Dodge Wilson, who became one of the wealthiest women in America when she sold the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company in 1925, having inherited it from her husband John Dodge. The three exquisite jewels were acquired in the 1968 auction of Matilda Dodge Wilson’s estate, and have remained together since.

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Portrait of Matilda Dodge Wilson by Louis Betts, 1928. credit:  Courtesy Meadow Brook Hall Archives

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Matilda Dodge Wilson’s Platinum, Carved Emerald and Diamond Necklace. Circa 1930. The pear-shaped pendant centering a carved Colombian emerald drop. Estimate 80,000120,000 USD.

The pear-shaped pendant centering a carved emerald drop measuring approximately 19.5 by 14.3 by 12.0 mm, the frame composed of fan-like motifs, the necklace accented by three additional carved cabochon emeralds, set with numerous various-cut diamonds weighing approximately 10.25 carats, length 20 inches; circa 1930.

PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MATILDA DODGE WILSON

Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 41675 stating that the emerald drop is of Colombian origin and the three smaller cabochons are of Pakistani origin, clarity enhancement: insignificant, type: traditional.
Together with a letter from the AGL discussing carved emeralds from the Mughal Empire.

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Matilda Dodge Wilson’s Platinum, Emerald and Diamond Ring, Cartier, New York. Circa 1933. Centering an emerald-cut Classic Colombian emerald weighing approximately 4.06 carats. Estimate 250,000350,000 USD

Centering an emerald-cut emerald weighing approximately 4.06 carats, flanked by two triangle-cut diamonds weighing approximately 1.80 carats, the mounting further set with single-cut diamonds weighing approximately .39 carat, size 5¾, signed Cartier, numbered 3319309; circa 1933.

PROPERTY FORMERLY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MATILDA DODGE WILSON

Accompanied by AGL report no. CS 41055 stating that the emerald is of Classic Colombian origin, with no indications of clarity enhancement. Together with a letter from the AGL speaking to the superb quality of the emerald.
Accompanied by Cartier Certificate of Authenticity number NY2007-23.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS

A selection of 25 pieces from a Prominent South Florida Family are highlighted by an exceptional group of diamond jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels, which epitomize the glitz and glamor of 1950s Café Society – a time when the firm was at the height of its creative powers and leadership of the high jewelry industry.

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Pair of Platinum and Diamond Earclips, Van Cleef & Arpels. Centering two round diamonds weighing 3.52 and 3.29 carats, both E color. Estimate 60,00080,000 USD

Centering two round diamonds weighing 3.52 and 3.29 carats, within swirled mounts set with baguette diamonds weighing approximately 6.50 carats, accented by round diamonds weighing approximately 4.30 carats, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, numbered 15029.

PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT SOUTH FLORIDA FAMILY

Accompanied by two GIA reports:
No. 1162622712 stating that the 3.52 carat diamond is E color, SI1 clarity.
No. 2165622694 stating that the 3.29 carat diamond is E color, SI1 clarity.