Lot 312
  • 312

Ruby and diamond necklace and a brooch, circa 1935

535,000 - 735,000 CHF
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  • diamond, platinum, ruby
The necklace set with variously shaped rubies, highlighted with baguette diamonds, the geometric side clasps set with circular-cut and baguette diamonds, length approximately 440mm, French assay and partial maker's marks, separates into two segments, together with a brooch; the brooch could be worn as a pendant at the back of the necklace, one ruby in the brooch synthetic.


This necklace and brooch are mentioned in a 1943 insurance valuation by Chaumet and have remained in the family ever since. 


Cf.: The Magnificent Jewels of Hélène Beaumont, Sotheby's Geneva, 18 May 1994, lot 523. 

Cf.: The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor, Sotheby's Geneva, 2-3 April 1987, lot 88, for the illustration of the ruby and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels in its present form by Renée-Sim Lacaze in 1939. 

Cf.: Evelyne Possémé, Van Cleef & Arpels, The Art of High Jewellery, Paris, 2012, pgs. 100 - 101 for other examples of 1930s ruby necklaces. 


Accompanied by Gübelin report no. 17119006 and no. 1711905 stating that a large majority of the rubies is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating, and that one stone was found to be synthetic. Front section of the necklace with French assay marks for platinum and indistinct maker's marks. Back section of necklace with French assay marks for platinum. Brooch unmarked. Rubies well matched in colour, purplish red, with typical inclusions visible to the naked eye, some surface-reaching, some chips and abrasions. Rubies ranging from approximately 9.7 x 7.9 x 4.2mm to 5.8 x 5.5 x 3.0mm, calculated to weigh from approximately 2.55 to 0.65 carats, estimated to weigh a total of approximately 75.00 - 95.00 carats (front part of necklace), 20.00 - 30.00 carats (back of necklace), and 18.00 - 25.00 carats (brooch), one ruby in the brooch synthetic. Diamonds bright and lively, estimated to weight a total of approximately 20.00 - 28.00 carats, on average H-J colour, VS-SI clarity, as gauged and graded in the mount. Light scratches to surfaces consistent with wear. Links well-articulated, clasps secure. Brooch measuring approximately 53 x 55mm. In good condition. Total gross weight approximately 201 grams.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's. We do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the property. We do not guarantee that watches are in working order. 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. Prospective buyers should also refer to refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue, in particular to the Notice regarding the treatment and condition of gemstones.

Catalogue Note

This magnificent ruby and diamond necklace could be compared to two remarkable necklaces, both made by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s.

One was commissioned in 1936 by the Duke of Windsor, then King Edward VIII, from Van Cleef & Arpels and offered as a gift to Mrs. Simpson on her fortieth birthday, 19 June 1936. The first version of this necklace, which was later altered, consisted of a triple festoon of rubies with diamond set motifs at the sides. The Duchess of Windsor, was photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1937 wearing the ruby and diamond necklace in its original form, as illustrated above.


The other necklace, also by Van Cleef & Arpels, was part of the collection of Hélène Beaumont, and was offered at auction at Sotheby's Geneva in May 1994 (lot 523, illustrated to the left). Three rows of rubies at the centre are highlighted with diamond baguettes, similar to the piece offered in this sale.

The well matched rubies, both in colour and quality, its classical geometric Art Deco design, so emblematic of the 1930s and its exceptional craftsmanship, all elevate the piece offered here undoubtedly to the level of an important jewel.