Van Cleef & Arpels buyers included John F. Kennedy, the Prince of Wales and Elizabeth Taylor
An important collection of eight exquisite jewels will be offered by Bonhams in Hong Kong on 23rd November 2012. Entitled "Eight Exceptional Jewels from a Private Collection", the sale showcases magnificent gemstones and four superlative jewels by legendary jeweller, Van Cleef & Arpels.
Van Cleef & Arpels have a long tradition of expertise, having first established their business in the fashionable Place Vendôme, in Paris in 1906. The boutique soon became a must-visit destination for anyone with pretensions to chic and over the following decades Van Cleef & Arpels became the place to shop for stunning pieces to celebrate life's more memorable moments.
It was here that the Prince of Wales bought Wallis Simpson the sapphire-and-diamond clip and bracelet, which she wore to set off her blue satin Mainbocher wedding gown. Prince Rainier ordered the pearl-and-diamond necklace with matching bracelet and earrings on his engagement to Grace Kelly and John F. Kennedy found the emerald-and-diamond ring he slipped on the third finger of Jacqueline Bouvier's left hand. Movie stars from Dietrich and Garbo to Elizabeth Taylor, and political style icons, such as Eva Perón (who commissioned a brooch of the Argentine flag), all possessed at least one, if not more, Van Cleef gem in their jewellery boxes.
Lot 6, a magnificent ruby and diamond strap bracelet, which is recorded in Van Cleef & Arpels' archive as being made in 1936, was once in the collection of glamorous philanthropist and leader of pre-WW2 French Riviera society, Madame Hélène Beaumont. Set with 107 carats of fine-quality rubies, the bracelet is remarkable for its outstanding supple and ribbon-like craftsmanship and is estimated at £284,000 - 340,000 (HK$ 3,500,000-4,200,000).
Between 1959 and 1961, twenty-two perfectly matched emeralds were sought by Van Cleef & Arpels to make a sumptous collar necklace. The result was Lot 7, composed of 22 precisely matched emeralds, weighing 47 carats, and 412 diamonds with a total weight of more than 70 carats. The necklace was last seen at auction in 1975 where it fetched the staggering sum of CHF 1,000,000. With an estimate of £640,000 - 960,000 (HK$7,750,000 - 11,650,000) it is one of the key highlights in the Hong Kong sale.
In 1969, Jacques Arpels travelled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in person to acquire a 43.16 carat sapphire, a perfectly crystalline, flawless stone that was subsequently mounted in a ring and flanked by two pear-shaped diamonds. This ring, lot 8, is estimated at £350,000 - 420,000 (HK$4,250,000 - 5,000,000) demonstrates the jeweller's expertise in sourcing stones of extraordinary depth and quality.
Matthew Girling, chief executive of Bonhams said "What is particularly exciting is that it's incredibly unusual to know precisely where a stone comes from. Here we have documented evidence that the sapphire was selected by Jacques Arpels himself".
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com