Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Sale- New York- 19 April 2016
Estimate: $30,000 — $50,000
Formerly in the Collection of Queen Geraldine of Albania
On April 19th, Sotheby’s New York is auctioning an Ostier Platinum and Diamond Tiara. This Tiara was designed by Marianne Ostier for Oesterreicher in 1938, to celebrate the marriage of King Zog I of Albania and Queen Geraldine, an Hungarian Countess. This tiara is unique because it depicts the Albanian royal crest of the ‘Ram of Skanderberg’ atop a floral motif. The Ram is a unusual motif, but was appropriate, in lieu of a more traditional religious design, for the marriage of a Roman Catholic Countess and her Muslim King.
Photo: Sotheby’s Queen Geraldine wearing the tiara
The reign of King Zog lasted only for a year after the wedding. Just days after the Queen gave birth to a son, in April 1939, Mussolini invaded Albania, and the Royal Family went into exile. The family moved constantly during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and without funds, they started to sell their assets. In 1960, King Zog and Queen Geraldine sold the bulk of their jewelry collection at Ostier, this included the Tiara, a bracelet, and an Art Deco clip brooch.
Photo: Sotheby’s/Courtesy of The Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst Foundation, Inc
The tiara was bought by Elmer Bobst for his wife Mamdouha. A story published in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1971 gives an account: “Tiaras can also make an evening. About four years ago, Elmer Bobst, chairman of a pharmaceutical company, came home and said to his wife: “I think you are going to like something I got for you.” The something was, according to Mrs. Bobst, “a not large but beautiful and decorative” tiara with a ram and flower design in diamonds on platinum. It was once owned by Queen Geraldine of Albania and Mrs Bobst wore it to a White House dinner in honour of her husband. “He really is a wonderful husband,” she said earnestly. We think so too!” The Tiara is being sold after death of Mamdouha in 2015.
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale- Geneva- 18 May 2016
Begum Inara Khan, also known as Princess Gabriela zu Leiningen, is auctioning part of her large collection of jewels, she hopes they will “continue to bring joy and happiness to their new owners.” Most of the jewelry being auctioned was acquired during her marriage to the Aga Khan IV. Their divorce was finalized in 2014, when the Princess received a $70 million settlement.
A magnificent emerald and diamond necklace: Estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000
A five-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace. Estimate: $350,000-500,000
The highlight of the Sale is the Pohl Diamond, which was formerly in the collection of the Chrysler family, and acquired for the Princess at Cartier in 1998. Another beautiful piece is a Colombian emerald and diamond necklace, which is interchangeable with sapphires. The is a sapphire, emerald, pearl, and diamond necklace Persepolis necklace by Cartier, which has also been worn by the Princess’s mother, Renate Thyssen-Henne. Also being auctioned is the ‘Mystery-Set‘ ruby and diamond demi-parure, made by Van Cleef & Arpels, using the jewelry house’s iconic Mystery setting. The diamond and pearl fringe necklace, made by Van Cleef and Arpels, was owned by the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan, the fourth wife of the Aga Khan III.
Part 2 of Royal Jewels at Auctions is available here.