Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels | 8 November 2023

A Tiara from the Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung, a Tiara, Brooch and Corsage from Baroness Inchiquin, and a Brooch from Queen Margherita of Italy are among the Royal and Noble Jewels on Auction on Auction at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale in Geneva tomorrow!

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale in Geneva

Diamond Tiara/Necklace

Estimate: 20,000 – 40,000 CHF

A Diamond Tiara/Necklace, from the late 19th century, composed of scroll motifs set with circular-, single-cut and rose diamonds detachable for wear as a necklace, in a fitted case stamped P.G. Dodd & Sons.

Pearl, Amethyst and Diamond Necklace and Pearl Earrings

Estimate: 35,000 – 50,000 CHF

From the collection of Sebastian Fürst von Hatzfeldt-Trachenberg

A natural Pearl, Amethyst and Diamond Necklace and a pair of cultured Pearl Earrings, comprising: a necklace composed of three graduated rows of roundish to oval, barrel-, button-, drop- and slightly baroque-shaped natural pearls, the clasp collet-set with an oval amethyst framed by rose diamonds, and a pair of cultured pearl earrings enhanced with cushion-shaped diamonds.

This natural pearl, amethyst and diamond necklace originally belonged to Marie von Hatzfeldt (1820-1897). Born as Countess von Nimptsch, she married Hermann Anton, Prince of Hatzfeldt (1808-1874) in 1847. The Princes of Hatzfeldt held vast estates in the Prussian Province of Silesia, modern-day Poland. This necklace remained in the family by descent.

Diamond Brooch

Estimate: 6,000 – 8,000 CHF

From the collection of Ethel Jane Foster, Baroness Inchiquin 

A Diamond Brooch from the late 19th century, of circular design set with cushion-shaped diamonds, comes from the collection of Ethel Jane Foster, Baroness Inchiquin.

Diamond Devant-de-Corsage

Estimate: 24,000 – 35,000 CHF

From the collection of Ethel Jane Foster, Baroness Inchiquin 

A Diamond Devant-de-Corsage, from the collection of Ethel Jane Foster, Baroness Inchiquin, of foliate design, collet-set with a pear-shaped diamond, set throughout with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds, enhanced with rose diamonds, brooch fitting detachable.

Pearl and Diamond Tiara

Estimate: 170,000 – 280,000 CHF

From the collection of Ethel Jane Foster, Baroness Inchiquin 

An exquisite natural Pearl and Diamond Tiara, late 19th century and later of foliate design set with cushion-shaped and circular-cut diamonds, enhanced with rose diamonds, supporting a slightly graduated series of drop-shaped to oval natural pearls capped with rose diamonds.

The Crown Jewels of Éire

The Barons of Inchiquin are an influential, leading Noble House in the Irish Peerage, directly descended from the legendary medieval Irish King Brian Boru. Additionally, the family holds the chiefdom of the name of O’Brien. This most noble family has been a key player in Irish history for over a millennium.

Origins of the O’Brien dynasty

The Barons of Inchiquin are directly descendent from The High King of Ireland, Brian Boru (c.941-1014), He was the founder of the O’Brien dynasty. Brian Boru initially ruled over the Kingdom of Munster in South West Ireland and eventually became the High King of Ireland, creating a largely unified Ireland, one of the few times in the island’s history this occurred. He was also instrumental in bringing the Viking Age in Ireland to a close. Therefore, Brian Boru is fondly remembered as the greatest king in Irish history.

Under British rule

The descendants of Brian Boru went on to be the Kings of Thomond. In 1543, Murrough O’Brien, the last King of Thomond, submitted his realm to Henry VIII. In order to do so, he had to renounce his ancient Irish titles, instead he was granted the titles Marquis of Thomond, and Baron Inchiquin. The Marquisate of Thomond became extinct in the 19th century and thus the baronial line succeeded as the principal line we know today. The ancestral seat of the Barons of Inchiquin is at Dromoland Castle in County Clare.

Lucius O’Brien, The 15th Baron, Lord Inchiquin (1864–1929), Prince of Thomond and chief of the name, and direct descendent of Brian Boru was born in England and started his military career in Royal Irish Riffles. Upon succeeding to the title of Lord Inchiquin, 15th Baron, he served as an Irish representative in the House of Lords. His spouse, Lady Inchiquin, née Ethel Jane Foster (1868-1940), attended the coronation of King George V in 1911, wearing the natural pearl and diamond tiara (lot 634). The three jewels presented in this section belonged to the late Lady Inchiquin.

Sapphire and Diamond Brooch/Pendant

Estimate: 160,000 – 340,000 CHF

From a European Royal Family

A Historical Sapphire and Diamond Brooch/Pendant, collet-set with an oval sapphire, within a border of foliate design collet-set with cushion-shaped diamonds, enhanced with single-cut and rose diamonds.

According to family tradition Umberto I, King of Italy (1844-1900) gifted this brooch to his consort Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy (1851-1926), and it was later inherited by Queen Elena of Italy, thence by descent.

Diamond Tiara

Estimate: 185,000 – 270,000 CHF

Formerly in the Collection of H.H. Sri 3 Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung, Sir Chandra Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal

A superb Diamond Tiara, from the 1930s, designed as a graduated series of alternating palmette and arrow-head motifs, each palmette motif supporting a cushion-shaped diamond, set throughout with circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds, the band enhanced with baguette diamonds, detachable from tiara fitting, clasp fitting deficient for conversion to a necklace, three central motifs detachable. The Tiara comes from the Collection of H.H. Sri 3 Maharaja of Kaski and Lamjung, Sir Chandra Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal.

The beautiful Rani Shanker, wife of the Nepalese Ambassador, General Shanker Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, G.B.E., is one of the most popular of London’s diplomatic hostesses. The charm of this most gracious lady is well known, and her exquisite taste is reflected in the furnishings of her delightful home in Kensington Palace Gardens, which complement her beauty no less than the lovely saris for which she is famous among the diplomatic circles of three continents. The Rani Shanker enjoys sharing her distinguished husband’s very busy life, which means a great deal of travelling for them both for while his Excellency has been his country’s Ambassador in London since 1949, he is also Ambassador to France and the United States. It is somewhat difficult to believe that the Rani is the mother of two grown-up children, but it is true enough her daughter is now the Maharani of Ratlam, and her son is the Military Attache at the Nepalese Embassy in London. Diplomatic Hostesses.

The Nepalese Ambassador, H.E. General Shanker Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, in the foyer with his wife, who wore a superb sun-ray tiara with her most beautiful sari…

Halo Tiaras

Halo tiaras are worn at a steep angle, high on the crown of the head, encircling the wearer with a halo-like blaze of precious stones. The style was developed in the 1930s, serving as the perfect complement to the closely cropped, waved hairstyles that were in favor by fashionable women.

Lacloche Frères was instrumental in popularizing the halo tiara, most famously with the creation of a Chinese-inspired design for Loelia, Duchess of Westminster, in 1930. The Westminster Tiara originally featured the Hastings diamond and the pear-shaped Arcot diamonds, gifted to George III by the Nizam Ali Kahn and to Queen Charlotte by the Nawab of Arcot, respectively.

In the early 1930s, opera-singer and socialite Ganna Walska was photographed wearing a suitably dramatic version topped by cabochon gemstones. The halo tiara entered popular culture with the 1934 movie musical Roberta in which Irene Dunne, starring as an exiled Russian princess turned fashion designer, wears a costume version while introducing the Jerome Kern standard, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

Cartier London was particularly well-known for the halo style, often integrating Egyptian-inspired elements such as the palmettes found in lot 636. The production of halo tiaras was concentrated around 1934-1936; most were transformable into necklaces with a central motif that could be worn as a brooch. Princess Andrée, Begum Aga Khan (1898-1976) owned two magnificent halo tiaras: a diamond version designed as a series of lotus flowers made by the workshop English Artworks for Cartier London in 1934, as well as an emerald, pearl and diamond example created by Cartier Paris as early as 1923.

In 1936, the Duke of York, the future King George VI, purchased a diamond halo tiara composed of scroll motifs at Cartier London for his wife Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, better known over five decades as England’s beloved “Queen Mum”. She presented the tiara to Elizabeth II, then still a princess, on her eighteenth birthday in 1944. In turn, Elizabeth II loaned the jewel to her sister, Princess Margaret, who wore it for her sister’s coronation in 1953. The beautiful tiara was last seen resting on the chestnut locks of Catherine Middleton, now the Princess of Wales, when she wed Prince William in 2011.

The Rana Dynasty

Field Marshal, H.H. Shree 3 Maharaja Sir Chandra Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, GCB, GCSI, GCVO, GCMG, FRGS, DCL (Oxon.)

8th July 1863 – 26th November 1929 Maharaja Chandra Shumsher was the fifth Prime Minister of the Rana Dynasty of Nepal. During his time in office Chandra Shumshere abolished slavery and the act of Sati, and established Nepal’s first college and hospitals throughout the country. He provided monetary and military assistance to Britain during the First World War, and maintained the independence of the Kingdom of Nepal throughout the Colonial era which culminated in the Anglo-Nepalese Treaty of Friendship in Katmandu on 11th December in 1923, with Britain recognising the independence of Nepal. He travelled to Britain where he was entertained by His Majesty King Edward VII and also toured Europe meeting the French President. He attended the Coronation Durbar at Delhi in 1903 and again in 1911 when he was granted a 19-gun salute. He received King-Emperor George V in Nepal December 1911 and King Edward VIII as Prince of Wales in December 1921. Part of his legacy is his donation of the largest collection of ancient Sanskrit Manuscripts to the University of Oxford, known as the Chandra Shumshere Collection.

The Rana family amassed great wealth, including property and jewellery. According to family tradition, this exceptional diamond tiara was mounted by Cartier in the 1930s and has thence passed down by descent.

Sapphire and Diamond Necklace

Estimate: 180,000 – 240,000 CHF

Property of a Lady of Title

An important Sapphire and Diamond Necklace, the front of scroll design set with brilliant-cut, baguette and tapered baguette diamonds, supporting a detachable pendant set with a pear-shaped sapphire weighing 37.50 carats within a border of brilliant-cut diamonds enhanced with baguette diamonds.

Ruby and Diamond Necklace

Estimate: 365,000 – 545,000 CHF

Property of a Princely Family

A rare and important Ruby and Diamond Necklace, the front set with oval, cushion-shaped and round rubies, set throughout with pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds, enhanced with marquise-shaped diamonds, is the property of a Princely Family.


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