A new benchmark set for an Art Deco necklace at Sotheby's Geneva

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A new benchmark set for an Art Deco necklace at Sotheby's Geneva
The Beaumont Necklace sells for CHF / $ 3.6 million at Sotheby’s Geneva. Courtesy Sotheby's.

GENEVA.- Tonight, 25 years after making auction headlines, a masterpiece of Art Deco jewellery set a new benchmark for a necklace of this period at Sotheby’s Geneva. Created in the 1930s for Hélène Beaumont (1894 – 1988), an American socialite and close friend of the Duchess of Windsor, the stunning emerald and diamond necklace fetched CHF 3,620,000 / $3,593,900 – more than double the price achieved when it was first sold at auction in 1994[1] (lot 448, est. CHF/$3 - 4 million).

Following the historic results achieved by the Bourbon Parma collection last November – which set a new auction record for antique jewels - pieces with prestigious provenance confirmed their universal appeal today. In addition to the “Beaumont necklace”, a Fabergé diamond tiara sold for CHF 437,500 ($434,346) (lot 412, est. CHF/$ 200,000 – 300,000). The tiara was made for the wedding of the last Crown Princess of Prussia, Duchess Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954), on the occasion of her wedding to Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951), son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, in Berlin in June 1905.

Today’s “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” auction which was distinguished by a large number of signed pieces (half of the lots) brought a combined total of CHF 42,350,800 ($42,045,451), with almost 80% of the lots sold and close to 60% of them achieving prices above their high estimate.

Speaking after the sale, Sotheby’s Worldwide Jewellery Chairman David Bennett commented: “Tonight we saw the enduring appeal of outstanding Art Deco jewellery. The Beaumont necklace is “the Chrysler building of jewellery”, instantly recognisable as an Art Deco masterpiece, and in my opinion, the greatest emerald and diamond necklace of the period. I had the privilege to sell it a quarter of a century ago and achieving this landmark result tonight is a further testament to its absolute and timeless beauty.”

The “Beaumont Necklace”
This emblematic piece is composed of a row of 11 immaculate Colombian cabochon emeralds, weighing a total of over 75 carats, and perfectly matched both in colour and proportions. These exceptional gemstones are combined with geometric diamonds in a breathtaking Art Deco design, placing this jewel among the very finest examples of 20th-century Jewellery.

Although it is unsigned - as was not unusual at the time – its beauty and quality suggest that it was made by Van Cleef & Arpels, as were so many other pieces in her collection. In additional to being visually stunning, it is also very versatile; the central emerald and diamond sections of the necklace can be detached and worn as bracelets.

Art Deco Jewels Soar
In addition to the “Beaumont necklace”, this evening saw a number of further strong results for Art Deco Jewels. Set with cushion-shaped Colombian emeralds weighing 17.01 and 17.71 carats respectively, a pair of earrings in the Art Deco style sold for CHF 980,000 / $ 972,934 (Lot 413, est. CHF/$ 800,000 – 1,400,000). Created by Cartier in 1933, a coral and diamond bangle doubled the pre-sale estimate to sell for CHF 150,000 / $ 148,918 (Lot 417, est. CHF/$ 53,000 – 60,000).

[1] The necklace first sold for CHF 1,653,500 ($1,167,730) at Sotheby’s Geneva on 18 May 1994, in a sale dedicated to the “Magnificent Jewels of Madame Hélène Beaumont” (est. CHF 1.3-1.95 million).

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