An art deco ruby, tourmaline and diamond brooch and earring suite, by Van Cleef & Arpels, (2)
Lot 111
An art deco ruby, tourmaline and diamond brooch and earring suite, by Van Cleef & Arpels, (2)
Sold for £ 30,000 (US$ 41,683) inc. premium

Fine Jewellery

24 Apr 2013, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
An art deco ruby, tourmaline and diamond brooch and earring suite, by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1930
The brooch set to the centre with a sugarloaf ruby, between elongated scalloped terminals, set with a large cabochon ruby, a large oval cabochon tourmaline and old brilliant and single-cut diamonds in millegrain and collet settings, the pendent earrings of similar design, mounted in platinum, brooch signed Van Cleef & Arpels Paris, French assay mark, tourmaline a later replacement, earrings unsigned and unmarked, later post fittings, brooch diameter 7.2cm, earring length 4.5cm (2)


  • The central ruby in the brooch accompanied by a report from The Gem & Pearl Laboratory.

    Michael Mosley (1932-2012)
    Descent to the current owner

    The jewels offered here were inherited by Michael Mosley, younger son and youngest child of the controversial politician Oswald Mosley and his first wife Lady Cynthia Mosley (née Curzon).

    The photograph of Cynthia Mosley shows her wearing a double row of pearls, some of which are believed to form the necklace (lot 112) offered here. In the photograph of Irene Curzon, she wears the ruby and diamond brooch (lot 111) in her hat. The earrings are also believed to have belonged to Irene Curzon.

    Lady Cynthia Blanche Mosley (1898-1933) and her older sister, Lady Mary Irene Curzon, later Baroness Ravensdale, (1896-1966), were the elder daughters of the great British statesman George Nathaniel Curzon, first Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859-1925) and his first wife, the American-born heiress, Mary Victoria Leiter (1870-1906).

    In 1898, the two little girls, known as Ne-Ne and Cimmie, accompanied their parents to India, where Curzon took up his post as Viceroy until 1905. During the three week voyage, Mary Curzon wrote her will, in it documenting her impressive collection of jewels, much of which had been given to her by her father, the real estate millionaire, Levi Leiter. Among the tiaras and diamonds, she noted a ruby and diamond clasp and a rope of white pearls.

    In 1918, Cynthia attracted the attention of a young man called Oswald Ernald Mosley. Tom, as he was known, was a committed womaniser, and determined in his pursuit. After Lord Curzon was persuaded of Tom's suitability, they married in the Chapel Royal, St James's on 11 May 1920. The guests included King George V and Queen Mary, Leopold III and the King and Queen of the Belgians. Curzon showered his daughter with presents including his late wife's long rope of pearls. The pearls in lot 112 are believed to be from this necklace.

    Their first child, Vivien, was born in 1921 and their first son, Nicholas, in 1923. By 1924 both Tom and Cynthia had joined the Labour Party and Cynthia campaigned with her husband. Her charm and good nature were the perfect foil for her mercurial husband; something he chronically took advantage of by numerous infidelities and increasing rudeness to her in public. The Mosley's were often criticised by the press for their lavish, hedonistic lifestyle. Cynthia's elegant dress, costly furs and magnificent pearls whilst campaigning were often remarked upon. After their third child and younger son, Michael, known as Mickey, was born 1932, Cynthia, already in poor health, was further shattered to discover her husband's passionate affair with Diana Guinness (née Mitford). This and her husband's fascism caused her tremendous distress. She died in 1933 of peritonitis after undergoing an appendectomy.

    After her death, Irene, unmarried and childless despite numerous offers, became surrogate mother to Cynthia's three children, in particular baby Mickey. After Mosley was interned in 1940, she became their official guardian.

    During the 1920s, Irene, a lover of fox-hunting, had established herself at fashionable Melton Mowbray and was at the centre of the Prince of Wales's glittering social set. Immensely rich, having inherited her share of the Leiter fortune, she was also interested in music and the theatre and her friends included legendary pianist Artur Rubinstein. She also travelled widely and was often away for months at a time. In 1925 she inherited the barony of Ravensdale after her father's death. Throughout her life she engaged in voluntary welfare work with young people. After World War Two she worked in shelters and having "inherited something of her father's oratorical powers" she travelled the country speaking at youth rallies and clubs. In later life Irene continued to travel, often with her nephew Mickey.

    For further information, see Dictionary of National Biography and "The Viceroy's Daughters. The Lives of the Curzon Sisters" by Anne de Courcy, London, 2000.
Auction information

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Lot symbols
Item contains ruby or jadeite

Please note that as a result of recent legislation ruby and jadeite gem stones of Burmese (Myanmar) origin may not be imported into the US. Rubies and jadeite of non-Burmese origin require certification before import into the US.

  1. Emily Barber
    Specialist - Jewellery
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8284
    FaxFax: +44 20 7499 5364
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