Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 345. Fine Emerald and diamond bracelet, 1850s | 祖母綠及鑽石手鏈,1850年代.

Formerly in the Collection of the Empress Eugénie

Fine Emerald and diamond bracelet, 1850s | 祖母綠及鑽石手鏈,1850年代

Auction Closed

November 9, 08:04 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 CHF

Lot Details


Formerly in the Collection of the Empress Eugénie

Fine Emerald and diamond bracelet, 1850s


The step-cut emerald, within a stylised floral surround of circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds, to an articulated openwork strap set with similarly-cut diamonds, length approximately 170mm.

Accompanied by SSEF report no. 124796, stating that the emerald is of Colombian origin, with a minor amount of oil in fissures.

Cf.: Bernard Morel, Les Joyaux de la Couronne de France, Antwerp, 1988, pg. 355-356, for the lot list of the June 1872 sale.

Cf.: Alison McQueen, Empress Eugénie and the Arts, Farnham, 2011, pg. 300 - 307, for an essay about the dispersal of the collections of the Empress Eugénie in exile.

Eugénie de Montijo (1826-1920) was born in Granada as the daughter of a Spanish grandee who had supported the French during the Napoleonic Wars. Her mother Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, of Scottish descent, raised her daughter between Madrid, London and Paris. Eugénie de Montijo met Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte while he was President of the Second Republic. They married in 1853 after he had become Emperor of the French as Napoleon III. The Second Empire was a period of enormous economic development during which the luxury industry as we know it was born. The Empress Eugénie was renowned for supporting Parisian couturiers and jewellers, constantly updating and adding to the state-owned Crown Jewels as well as to her personal collection. When the Second Empire fell in 1870, the Bonaparte family found exile in the United Kingdom. Napoleon III passed away in 1873 while their son, the Prince Imperial, tragically died young in 1879. The Empress spent the last decades of her long life travelling between the house she built at Farnborough in Hampshire and her Villa Cyrnos on Cap Martin.

This bracelet was acquired directly from the Empress Eugénie by Russell Sturgis Esq. who passed it on to his daughter Lady Portsea. The Empress Eugénie was an avid emerald collector as illustrated by this photograph where she wears the 'Cross of the Andes', an emerald weighing circa forty-five carats carved in the shape of a cross. The Empress funded her British exile by selling a large part of her jewellery collection at auction in London in June 1872. However, among the numerous important emerald pieces, there weren’t any bracelets offered. This noticeable absence may be explained because she sold this emerald bracelet privately. The bracelet has subsequently been sold at auction twice before, first in May 1940 and again in October 1998.