Lot 889
  • 889

An 18 Karat Gold, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Necklace and Earclips, Van Cleef & Arpels, 1972, and Cartier

45,000 - 55,000 USD
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  • Van Cleef & Arpels
  • 18 karat gold, cultured pearl, diamonds
designed in the Mughal style, the necklace set throughout with numerous round, old European-cut and old mine diamonds weighing approximately 22.50 carats, suspending 3 detachable cultured pearl drops graduating in size from approximately 14.0 mm to 13.1 mm, length 14 inches, French maker's marks for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, numbered 38562, French assay marks; the earclips set with numerous round and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 3.85 carats, suspending cultured pearl pendants measuring approximately 13.1 and 13.4 mm, one earclip signed Van Cleef & Arpels NY, the other earclip numbered 42667, pendants detachable; with signed envelope.


In good condition. NECKLACE: The diamonds are approximately F-I color and VS-SI clarity, The drop-shaped pearls are silvery white, with good luster and moderate to strong rose and green overtones. Some very minute dimpling is evident under magnification, otherwise the skins are intact. Maker's marks for Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels on the necklace clasp tongue. Formerly set with a safety closure. EARCLIPS: The diamonds are of similar color and clarity to the diamonds in the necklace. The pearls are silvery white with good luster and moderate rose and green overtones and smooth, unblemished skins. The detachable pendants on the necklace and earclips fitted with safety closures. Dimensions: Necklace length 14 inches. Earclips: 2 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches (including pendants).
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Illustrations in the catalogue may not be actual size. Prospective purchasers are reminded that, unless the catalogue description specifically states that a stone is natural, we have assumed that some form of treatment may have been used and that such treatment may not be permanent. Our presale estimates reflect this assumption.

Catalogue Note

In 1947, American heiress Barbara Hutton commissioned Cartier to create a necklace-tiara featuring seven exquisite emeralds from the collection of Grand Duchess Vladimir.  The Grand Duchess, laying claim to what was reputed to have been the greatest jewelry collection in her time, fled Russia in 1919 and died one year later in France. The emeralds were then acquired by Cartier and, as was the case with so many significant jewels in the post-World War I era, found their way to America where they were acquired by Edith Rockefeller McCormick.  Upon McCormick's death in 1935, the emeralds returned to Cartier and were sold to Barbara Hutton.  The extravagance of this transaction, involving payment in excess of one million dollars, made headlines.  

Initially wearing the emeralds as a ring, pair of earrings and sautoir, Miss Hutton, by then Princess Troubetzkoy, asked Cartier to reimagine the gemstones as pendants to a Mughal-inspired necklace-tiara.  Designed as a sumptuous, foliated gold bib set with old European- and old mine-cut diamonds, the piece bore a striking resemblance to the necklace offered here.  In 1967, Miss Hutton sold the necklace-tiara to Van Cleef & Arpels who refashioned the emeralds into other jewels.  The present necklace, suspending cultured pearl drops, bears Van Cleef & Arpels' maker's mark and may be found in the firm's archives from 1972. It also is stamped with French maker's marks for Cartier, further suggesting it may have formed part of the original necklace-tiara designed for Miss Hutton in 1947.

A photograph of Barbara Hutton's necklace and a Cecil Beaton portrait of it being worn as a tiara can be found in Famous Jewelry Collectors, Stefano Papi and Alexandra Rhodes, p.183-184.