50th Anniversary Luxury Evening Auction: The Exceptionals

50th Anniversary Luxury Evening Auction: The Exceptionals

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 88. A Rare and Exceptional Jadeite Bead, Ruby and Diamond Necklace |  稀世翠寶【天禄琳琅】天然「帝王綠」翡翠珠配紅寶石及鑽石項鏈.

The Emperor's Treasure

The Emperor’s Treasure

A Rare and Exceptional Jadeite Bead, Ruby and Diamond Necklace | 稀世翠寶【天禄琳琅】天然「帝王綠」翡翠珠配紅寶石及鑽石項鏈

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April 5, 12:16 PM GMT


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Lot Details


The Emperor's Treasure

A Rare and Exceptional Jadeite Bead, Ruby and Diamond Necklace


Composed of forty-three slightly graduated jadeite beads of intense emerald green colour and very good translucency, completed by a clasp decorated with a cushion-shaped and calibré-cut rubies, rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in 18 karat white gold, length approximately 570mm. Jadeite beads approximately 13.05 to 11.55mm.

Accompanied by Gübelin report and appendix no. 23021020, dated 17 February 2023, stating that the jadeite are with no indications of treatment and may also be called "Type A" in the trade, majority : Imperial Jade. Gübelin Appendix further stating that '... A matched set of forty-three polished and drilled natural jadeite beads described in the above mentioned Gübelin Gem Lab reports possesses a richly saturated and evenly distributed green colouration,referred to as “imperial green”, combined with the high translucency as well as their very fine texture...makes this set of green jadeite necklace a piece of matching beauty and importance.’

Jade has long been treasured in China, bearing a cultural significance that dates back 8,000 years as the ‘Stone from Heaven’. The ancient Chinese attributed the beauty of jade to its five virtues: benevolence, wisdom, courage, justice and purity. Yu (玉), is one of the oldest characters in the language. The pictograph is known to have originated in 2,950 BC, and symbolizes the linking of heaven and earth. One of the earliest well-known lovers of jadeite from the imperial family is Emperor Qianlong (1711 – 1799). As an avid art collector, Emperor Qianlong had a special appreciation for jade. During his reign, the Qing court had extended their jurisdiction into Northern Myanmar and gained access to Hetian. This allowed the Imperial family to enjoy new sources of jadeite and Hetian jade from the Kunlun mountains. The jadeite was soon called fei tsui (翡翠), as the saturated colours of the stone were seen akin to the bright blue feathers of a kingfisher bird. The Palace Museum holds two jadeites from the Qianlong period, both remarkable treasures from the past.

中國玉文化歷史最早可遠溯至 8000 年前。中國人尚玉,奉之為天地精氣的結晶、稱「天地之石」;古人曰:「君子比德如玉」,認爲玉有仁、義、智、勇、潔五德。「玉」字本身源遠流長,最早出現於公元前2,950 年,象徵天地相連。清朝乾隆皇帝御藏藝術珍品無數,鑑賞眼光獨到,對玉和翡翠更是青睞有加。乾隆在位期間,清軍平定西域和緬甸北部等地,自此和闐美玉源源上貢,製成宮廷玉器,精美絕倫,堪稱傳世之寶。翡翠之名來自玉石瑩潤鮮艷、近於翠鳥明亮羽色的特質。北京故宮博物院珍藏兩塊乾隆時期的翡翠,皆為極品。

The essence of jadeite is measured through a variety of categories, such as the colour, tone, texture, translucency, size, and polish. The best of jadeite has a fine translucency, with a deep emerald green hue. This is often called ‘Imperial Green’ quality, associating the fine colour to be as noble and majestic as the emperor. Combined with a fine texture and translucency, the rough material of the jadeite must be of exceptional quality for the finished piece to be qualified of an Imperial Green standard.  


The Imperial Green jadeite bead necklace of lot 88 is named the Emperor’s Treasure (天祿琳瑯), based on the of the Tianlu Linlang Collection. An assortment of rare antique manuscrips including Song and Liao period scripts, the collection was stored in the Qianqing Hall (乾清宮) of the Imperial Palace. This was officially named by Emperor Qianlong as ‘Gems of Heavenly Favour’ in 1744, which is the year that Sotheby’s was founded. The beads on this exceptional necklace are well matched, with fine Imperial Green colour and superb texture. With fourty-three beads ranging from 11 – 13mm in size, the necklace is perfect in its roundness.

「天祿琳琅」是清朝皇室內廷藏書的別稱,拍品88號的帝王綠翡翠珠項鏈絕色天成,故名天祿琳瑯。紫禁城乾清宮收藏宋、遼珍稀古籍,皇帝於1744年(乾隆九年)為書閣御筆親題「天祿琳琅」而得名。無獨有偶,蘇富比也是在1744年於英國成立。 這條項鏈的每顆玉珠都擁有帝王綠的濃艷和質感,顏色均配天衣無縫,全鏈共有43顆玉珠,每顆切割與打磨完美,尺寸從 11 到 13 毫米不等。

Jadeite bead necklaces are treasured collector’s pieces, as works of the highest qualities are exceedingly rare. The production of a jadeite bead necklace requires a sizeable rough that is pure and even in quality, as well as the craftsman’s eye and skill to create beads with matching colour and texture throughout the entire necklace. In selecting the rough crystal, the craftsman must ensure that there is enough of the material that will produce good colour and excellent translucency accounting for any flaws in the material that might be present. Often significant amounts of rough are discarded in the carving of round jadeite beads to match, and thus bead necklace projects are often abandoned in favour of other types of jewellery. Due to this, jadeite bead necklaces are rare and highly valued by collectors. Sotheby’s Hong Kong has auctioned the Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace by Cartier in 2014, which holds the highest world auction record for any jadeite jewellery and for any Cartier jewellery at HK$214 Million – higher than twice the amount of the initial estimate.

翡翠珠項鏈極受藏家珍重,臻品極為罕見。製作翡翠珠鏈須一塊尺寸相當、純净無瑕、色澤均匀的上等原玉、而且講究工匠的眼光和技藝,務求做到整串珠鏈色澤和質地配合均匀。選擇玉材時,工匠必須確保原玉的尺寸在移除瑕疵部分之後,仍然足夠製成色澤與透明度上乘的玉珠。然而,製作翡翠珠鏈須耗費巨量珍貴原材料,因此工匠往往寧可改為製作其他首飾,翡翠珠鏈因而更珍稀罕有。2014 年,一條卡地亞 Hutton-Mdivani天然翡翠項鏈在香港蘇富比以估價兩倍以上的2.14 億港元天價成交,刷新任何翡翠首飾及卡地亞珠寶的世界拍賣紀錄,成爲業界佳話。