T he 9 June Magnificent Jewels sale is led by an array of exceptional signed jewels, together with important diamonds, colored diamonds and colored stones. Highlights of the auction include an impressive 73.11-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring by Glenn Spiro, a Fancy Intense Pink diamond ring, as well as a superb 25.29-carat Kashmir sapphire. The sale is headlined by a distinguished private collection sold to benefit a charitable foundation presenting a magnificent Harry Winston emerald and diamond necklace, an exquisite 13.02-carat Burmese ruby ring, as well as a necklace set with diamonds totaling over 168.00 carats. Featuring pieces from the collection of Margaret Jonsson Rogers and the estate of Mary Ethel Weinmann, the sale presents a variety of highly covetable pieces from Cartier’s Art Deco period, mid-century classics by French makers such as Cartier, Sterlé and René Boivin, and a curated selection of ‘Mystery-Set’ jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels.
This Spring Sotheby’s Luxury Division is pleased to bring together the finest examples of jewelry, watches, handbags, wine and design. Be sure to visit our exhibition opening on 4 June to take part in this landmark week of events.
Margaret Jonsson Rogers was born in Dallas to Margaret Fonde and Texas Instruments Founder and Dallas Mayor J. Erik Jonsson. Following in her parents footsteps, she went on to become a civic leader in her own right.
In the 1960s Margaret raised her three children with her husband George Volk Charlton. During this time she was a civic catalyst and generous philanthropist, supporting numerous nonprofit and political organizations. Margaret was the first woman to serve on a national US bank board, and she also served on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Board in Washington, D.C. Margaret further supported both the National Gallery of Art and Dallas Museum of Art through her board participation. She was a leader in education, helping to found two K-12 schools in the Dallas region and serving as the Chairman of the Investment Committee on SMU’s Board of Trustees. Organizations such as UCLA Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical School, and Charlton Methodist Hospital all benefited from Margaret’s dedication. Sotheby’s is honored to present American Art and Jewelry from the Collection of Margaret Jonsson Rogers in our May and June auctions.
Collection of Margaret Jonsson Rogers
Mary Ethel Weinmann was born in Paris in 1929, the youngest daughter of Count and Countess Andre de Limur (née Ethel de Limur who was the granddaughter of Charles Crocker). Mary grew up in Paris and moved to Washington D.C. in 1939 when her father was at the French Embassy. She completed professional training at Parsons School of Design in New York, and in 1955 she married Neil Carothers III. She raised two sons, and after divorcing Carothers, and married Eric Weinmann in 1974. Mary passed away on November 23, 2018 at her residence in Washington D.C. Mary was a Dame of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; a board member of the Alliance Française of Washington D.C., Chairman of the garden committee of the Blair House Restoration Fund for 25 years; and Vice Chairman of the Fellows of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
The Crocker and the De Limur families have been associated with philanthropy and arts patronage since the late 19th century: Charles Crocker as the American executive immortalized as one of the Big Four who built the transcontinental railroad and Ethel De Limur as a leading patron of Impressionist art and who helped organize a series of exhibitions which first introduced Impressionism to California in the 1890’s. The family legacy of patronage also includes founding The Crocker Art Museum, the longest continuously operating art museum in the West.
Property from the Estate of Mary Ethel Weinmann
Glenn Spiro’s unrelenting quest for superlative stones—and his unwillingness to settle for less than the best—started early. The East Londoner grew up in a working-class family and left school at 15 to work as a goldsmith’s apprentice at English Artworks, Cartier’s workshop in London. It was there he learned the art of the craft alongside master jewelers. With a propensity for unconventional and bold ideas, Spiro struck out on his own at just 22, opening a small workshop with his partner and friend, Robert Aylett, in London’s famed jewelry district. He worked at the bench and produced commissions from jewelry houses for several years, until the business was acquired.
Spiro describes himself as having been “rough around the edges” when he arrived in the United States in 1992. “I learned how to negotiate with clients and dealers with a certain finesse and charm, and I learned never to go more than 24 hours without responding to an email or call.”
By 2000, Spiro returned to Europe, setting up offices in London’s Mayfair district as well as in Geneva. From these locales, he created elaborate gemstone designs that were sold to some of the most prominent high-jewelry houses. During this period, he opted to remain behind the scenes, creating showstopping designs for other brands. Over time, however, private clients, acquaintances and friends would seek out Spiro for jewelry advice or to commission important pieces. Concurrently, he witnessed a shift in the luxury world: the ever-increasing emphasis on profit favored the creation of “safe” jewels with broad appeal, resulting in a lack of innovation. To be a great designer, boundaries must occasionally be pushed.
After designing for other houses for nearly 25 years, Spiro established his own house, G, in 2014, on Mayfair’s Bruton Street. He quickly established himself as an artist whose designs are at once contemporary and timeless, and always set with exceptional stones.
Lot 91, The Sienna Star, represents a culmination of Spiro’s oeuvre, embodying the relentless pursuit of the world’s finest gemstones with an artistically daring and innovative design. At over 73 carats, the diamond represents one of the largest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds to ever come to auction, and it is, in the GIA’s words, “a standout item in the extraordinary world of gemstones.” The ring itself adds a masterful aesthetic. With intricately set pave diamonds and a flexible shank, it complements the central diamond perfectly, creating a piece of truly wearable art.
For a hundred years, the house of Van Cleef & Arpels has been at the forefront of high design. Among their many innovations, their most celebrated is doubtless the “mystery setting.” Patented in 1933, the technique has given rise to some of the twentieth century’s most spectacular jewels, such as the Duchess of Windsor’s holly leaves brooch (1936) and Princess Faiza of Egypt’s remarkably naturalistic peony clip.
The painstaking process requires approximately 90 minutes per gemstone, each grooved so it may be slid onto a system of rails, eliminating the need for prongs that would otherwise disrupt the passage of light. After hundreds, even thousands, of hours of labor, a jewel of extraordinary fluidity is created. With only a handful of pieces created each year, Van Cleef’s mystery settings are the ultimate in haute joaillerie and a requirement for anyone wishing to have the complete canon of jewelry design.