T his extensive and well-rounded collection, which also includes Chinese Works of Art to be auctioned at Sotheby’s New York during Asia Week, was assembled by a prominent female collector, who over the course of five decades acquired important pieces from top jewelry houses – in particular Cartier. She also greatly admired the work of Van Cleef & Arpels and owned several jewels by ‘the King of Diamonds’, Harry Winston. The result is a delightful selection of pieces, formed by the intertwining of two distinct strands. On the one hand, she purchased a core of classically styled pieces adorned with important diamonds and gemstones; and on the other, she was drawn to fashion-oriented, light-hearted jewels, which she treasured and enjoyed wearing on a regular basis.
At the heart of the collection is an exceptional Art Deco sapphire and diamond bracelet created by Cartier in 1927. The bracelet is adorned with a sensational Royal Blue Burmese sapphire, weighing 47.07 carats, flanked by two stunning pear-shaped white diamonds weighing 9.27 and 8.60 carats respectively. The sapphire is particularly noteworthy for its extraordinary clarity. While gemstones of this quality would normally be faceted, this example was cut into a cabochon shape. The fact that Cartier chose a this cut is a clear design choice, and one which could be regarded as decadent, considering the scarcity of gemstones of this size and quality.
The bracelet was made in 1927, during what many consider the golden era for the prestigious jewelry house, and a time when Cartier’s exploration of Eastern motifs was in full flower. The cabochon sapphire, along with the pear-shaped diamonds cut in the Moghul style, are subtle expressions of Cartier’s embrace of the so-called exotic, while the step-cut diamond and sapphire links of the bracelet reflect the linearity that formed the bedrock of Art Deco design.
Speaking ahead of the sale, David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division, commented, “This wonderful collection of jewels and gemstones was clearly assembled with both passion and joy, and we know that they were treasured and often worn by their owner. The Cartier Art Deco bracelet is stunning in its design; its central stone is a sensational Burmese sapphire of the highest quality and colour. Timeless pieces such as these are sure to have global appeal.”
Describing the bracelet, Daniela Mascetti, European Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division, added, “The sapphire and diamond bracelet at the heart of the collection is a truly superb example of the art of Cartier. Its strong and powerful geometric design, somehow reminiscent of architectural solidity, is the perfect foil for the exceptional Burmese cabochon sapphire. The perfectly balanced design, coupled with superb gemstones and remarkable workmanship, makes this jewel a true masterpiece.”
Highlights from the collection will go on view for the first time in New York and Los Angeles in September. This will be followed by an international tour with stops in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, London and Geneva.