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Geneva – Three superb jewels from the world famous collection of Bolivian tycoon Simón Itturi Patiño are amongst the most important lots on offer in Christie's Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels on 12 November 2013.
These exceptional pieces feature rare gems of supreme quality, once owned by ‘The Tin King’, embody his taste and that of the fabulous and powerful dynasty he founded.
François Curiel, International Head of Christie’s Jewellery Department: "When one looks back to the great jewellery collections of the 20th Century, the name of Patiño always comes up. In the 1930s and 1940s, during one of the greatest periods of jewellery design, fabulous gemstones and jewels were purchased by Simon Patiño and kept in family hands over several generations. The Cartier emerald and diamond parure and the 32ct diamond ring by Chaumet are stunning examples from the "Patiño casket", which illustrate perfectly the high standards and great eye of this visionary man. History, provenance and outstanding quality are here combined with the signatures of two of the oldest and greatest jewellery houses. These are true treasures for the world's collectors of today."
The highlight of the Patiño Collection is a magnificent emerald and diamond necklace, by Cartier (estimate: SFr.6.6-9.4 million / US$ 7-10 million; illustrated above left). This impressive necklace of Royal inspiration was designed by Cartier London in 1937 after they had purchased a rare emerald cross of 45 carats from Queen Eugenia Victoria of Spain. Carved from one single gem, the cross, named ‘The Andean cross,’ had belonged to Queen Isabel II of Spain as well as to Empress Eugenie of France. To honour this extremely rare gem, Cartier selected over 100 carats of the best emeralds available at the time to create the stunning emerald and diamond necklace on offer at Christie's Geneva in November. The South American provenance of the emeralds, the historic ‘Andean cross’ and the magnificent quality of the diamonds and emeralds charmed Simon Patiño who purchased the necklace for his wife in January 1938. At a later date the cross was purchased by Van Cleef & Arpels and the necklace was shortened in order to create a pair of matching earrings (estimate: SFr. 380,000-570,000 / US$400.000-600.000; illustrated right).
Offered from the same collection, is an equally extraordinary cushion-shaped F colour diamond ring of 32.65 carats, by Chaumet which is estimated at SFr. 2.1-2.6 million / US$ 2.2-2.8 million (illustrated right).
Notes to Editors:
Born in 1860 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Simón Itturi Patiño (illustrated below left), studied business before trying his luck in the silver mining center of Oruro. Foreseeing that the silver reserves would soon be exhausted, he embarked upon a search for alternative resources for the new industrial world, particularly tin. Prospecting for years in the mountains with his wife Albina, he discovered one of the greatest tin deposits ever known, later called ‘La Salvadora’ (The Savior). Over the next 10 years, Simón Patiño extended his area of operations to other mines and diversified his activities. He founded a bank in Bolivia, marketed his own ore, opened foundries and at the same time invested in ore deposits in Malaysia, Canada and elsewhere. By the end of the 1930s, more than 60% of the world’s tin output was being processed at his foundries and he was one of the five wealthiest men in the world, hence his nicknames ‘The Tin King’ and ‘The Andean Rockefeller’.