Christie’s Magnificent Jewels | 9 November 2021

It’s that time of year again! The major European Auction Houses are having their annual autumn Royal and Noble Jewellery Sales, and we are featuring the Royal and Noble highlights from the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva tomorrow, which includes Jewels from Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Pauline Bonaparte, Empress Marie-Louise and the Duchess of Windsor!

Christie’s Magnificent Jewels | 9 November 2021

Nitot Diamond ‘Ears of Wheat’ Tiara

Estimate: CHF 440,000 – CHF 650,000 Result: CHF 810,000

From the collection of Pauline Bonaparte, Princess of Guastalla, Princess of Sulmona and of Rossano, thence by descent

The spectacular Nitot Diamond ‘Ears of Wheat’ Tiara comes from the collection of Pauline Bonaparte (1780-1825), the second sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was married to Don Camillo Borghese, Prince of Sulmona, who was made the Sovereign Princess and Duchess of Guastalla. Princess Pauline Borghese can be seen wearing a ‘Ears of Wheat’ Tiara in Jacques-Louis David’s monumental Coronation of Napoleon in 1804, and passing through the Borghese family, and was pictured on Maria Immacolata Salviati, daughter of Principessa Aldobrandini.

Ears of wheat, or épis de blés in French, were one of the most prominent decorative themes in jewellery under the First French Empire. This period was stylistically marked by a revival of classical antiquity, inspired by recently excavated archeological sites such as Pompei and Herculaneum. In fashion this translated into simple dresses with high waistlines that were a canvas for elaborate parures. Ears of wheat are an attribute of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, the harvest, fertility and prosperity. Ears of wheat were often executed as separate diamond, gold and silver brooches that could be arranged freely on a dress or hairstyle, either separately or bundled as wheat sheaves. Similar

Chaumet Art Deco Natural Pearl and Diamond Earrings

Estimate: CHF 90,000 – CHF 130,000 Result: CHF  131,250

Property of a Lady of Title

A pair of drop-shaped natural pearls, in a baguette, single and rose-cut diamond frame set in platinum and white gold, circa 1930, in an original Chaumet fitted case, which are the property of a Lady of Title.

Queen Marie Antoinette’s Diamond Bracelets

Estimate: CHF 2,000,000 – CHF 4,000,000 Result: CHF 7,459,000

Queen Marie-Antoinette of France and the Bourbon-Parma Royal Family

Composed of old-cut diamonds, in silver and yellow gold, commissioned in 1776, adapted in the 19th century, the bracelets originate from Queen Marie Antoinette of France which was eventually inherited by her only surviving child, Princess Marie Thérèse of France, Duchess of Angoulême, and then passed down the Bourbon-Parma Royal Family for almost two centuries, ending up in the collection of Infanta Alicia, Duchess of Calabria, whose descendants are auctioning them. More HERE.

Ruby and Diamond Brooch

Estimate: CHF 40,000 – CHF 60,000 Result: CHF 250,000

Property of a Noble Family from the French Crown Jewels

The Meniere Ruby and Diamond Brooch of oval and pear-shaped rubies and old-cut diamonds, circa 1816, originates from the French Crown Jewels, originally a part of a splendid Ruby and Diamond parure commissioned by Napoleon at Nitot for Empress Marie-Louise in 1811. FOllowing the bourbon Restoration, the suite was then remounted for Princess Marie Thérèse of France, Duchess of Angoulême by Paul-Nicolas Ménière, creating a suite consisting of a tiara, a coronet, a pair of bracelets, a belt, one large and one small necklace, a pendant, a clasp, a set of buttons, two brooches and of course this pair of earrings. The Parure remained unaltered during the July Monarchy and the second French Empire until it was auctioned by the French Third Republic in 1887, with the earrings acquired by Boin-Taburet, and one of them later converted into this brooch. The bracelets from the ruby  parure were acquired by the Louvre in 1973, and along with a plaque of the belt acquired in 2019, reside in the Galerie d’Apollon, where hopefully this brooch will join them.

Cartier Ruby and Diamond Bracelet

Estimate: CHF 1,000,000 – CHF 1,500,000 Result: Not Sold

Formerly in the Collection of the Duchess of Windsor

The Cartier First Anniversary bracelet features cushion-shaped rubies, and baguette and circular-cut diamonds set in platinum. A Gift from the Duke of Windsor to his wife on the occasion of their first wedding anniversary in 1938, it was sold in the ‘The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor’ in Geneva in 1987.

Important Diamond Tiara

Estimate: CHF 120,000 – CHF 180,000 Result: CHF 350,000

An important Diamond Tiara featuring pear brilliant-cut diamonds of 4.00, 3.03, 3.01, 2.02 and 2.01 carats and pear, oval and circular-cut diamonds all set in white gold.


7 thoughts on “Christie’s Magnificent Jewels | 9 November 2021

  1. My favorites and the ones I would buy (in a parallel universe where I have millions to spare) are the Chaumet Diamond and Pearl earrings and the “Important Diamond Tiara” from a lady. My choices have to do with beauty and the possibility of actually wearing the piece. I doubt anyone would want to wear the Ears of Wheat tiara even though it’s beautiful. It’s too much of a historic piece! The same goes for the ruby brooch and the diamond bracelets. As far as the Duchess of Windsor’s ruby bracelet, I don’t like it too well. The stones are amazing, but the design is a bit awkward, IMHO. We’ll see how much they fetch!

Leave a Reply