Jewelry

The Timeless Elegance of Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels

By Benoit Repellin

T he Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale on 16 May will feature a fine array of jewels and gems from a superb private collection. The gemstones have been carefully selected and emphasise the elegance and sophistication of the collectors.

Harry Winston is recognised as one of the greatest jewel connoisseurs from the 20th century. “Harry Winston’s almost unerring instincts about gemstones grew over the years to legendary proportions… (His) creativity sprang from a desire to display the finest-quality gemstones in the most elegant settings possible. While he admired the interesting jewellery designs of the Art Deco style, Mr. Winston wanted his settings to place more emphasis on the beauty of the gemstones themselves” (Laurence S. Krashes, Harry Winston. The Ultimate Jeweller).

PAIR OF EMERALD AND DIAMOND EAR CLIPS. ESTIMATE CHF 42,000–62,000;
VERY FINE EMERALD AND DIAMOND RING, HARRY WINSTON. ESTIMATE CHF165,000–225,000.

This particular selection of fine gemstones is perfectly illustrated by several outstanding stones mounted by Harry Winston. Variously shaped D-Colour diamonds lead the selection. A step-cut diamond weighing 12.81 carats has been graded as Internally Flawless (Lot 313); a 16.92 carat marquise-shaped stone has been determined as type IIa and has the potential to be internally flawless after minor repolishing (Lot 325), as has the largest diamond from the collection, a 32.42 carat type IIb pear-shaped stone (Lot 326).

The collectors were taken by the rich and saturated green colour of Colombian emeralds. Two rings by Winston are mounted with beautiful Colombian stones with no indications of clarity modification, as per the SSEF reports. The Swiss Gem lab also issued appendix letters for both gems, the 11.03 carat (Lot 320) and the 21.34 carat (Lot 315), stating that alongside their attractive and saturated green colour combined with a fine purity, the fact that the stones show no indications of clarity modification is a further sign of rarity.

IMPORTANT SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING, VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. ESTIMATE CHF810,000–1,410,000.

An important Burmese sapphire weighing 45.74 carats is one of the highlights of the jewels from the Maison de Haute Joaillerie Van Cleef & Arpels. This impressive gemstone exhibits a ‘royal blue’ colour, and is emphasised by a simple mount with tapered baguette diamond shoulders (Lot 312).

When jewellery connoisseurs think of Van Cleef & Arpels, the serti mystérieux, or mystery setting, immediately comes to mind. It was in 1933 that Van Cleef & Arpels developed the mystery setting in its Paris workshops. Alfred Langlois, one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ chief designers, created this technique for setting small, perfectly matched square stones in mosaic patterns, secured by thin wires on the reverse, with no trace of metal between the stones to obstruct the flow of light.

RUBY AND DIAMOND BROOCH, VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. ESTIMATE CHF82,000–122,000;
PAIR OF RUBY AND DIAMOND EAR CLIPS, VAN CLEEF & ARPELS. ESTIMATE CHF82,000–142,000.

This typical and particular technique is still very much en vogue. The sale includes several fine examples of this iconic Van Cleef & Arpels design: two bracelets set with rubies or sapphires (Lots 323 and 324), and several jewels of floral and foliate motifs (Lots 317, 318, 319 and 322), also set with sapphires or rubies, highlighted with diamonds.

This superb collection, also featuring jewels from Cartier, M. Gérard. Tiffany, Bulgari, Marina B, Boucheron and JAR, is a testimony to the taste and refinement of the owners, and to the timeless elegance of these jewellery houses.

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