• New York Jewels auction at Christies

    Sale 2231

    New York Jewels

    10 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 84

    A BELLE EPOQUE RUBY AND DIAMOND PENDANT NECKLACE, BY DREICER

    Price Realised  

    A BELLE EPOQUE RUBY AND DIAMOND PENDANT NECKLACE, BY DREICER
    Suspending a detachable pendant, set with a pear-shaped ruby, weighing approximately 9.41 carats, within a two-tiered old European-cut diamond surround, from an old European-cut diamond bow, to the collet-set diamond neckchain, mounted in platinum-topped gold, circa 1905, 16 ins.
    Signed J. Dreicer & Son
    With report 1112129785 dated 14 September 2009 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the geographic origin of this ruby is Burma (Myanmar). No indications of heating

    With report 97016212 dated 24 July 2009 from the AGTA Gemological Testing Center stating that the data obtained during the examination of this ruby indicates that the probable geographic origin is Burma (Myanmar). No indications of heating (2)


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    Pre-Lot Text

    The Belle Epoque was a long period of peace and prosperity that began at the close of the 19th century until the declaration of World War I in 1914. This 'Beautiful Era,' dedicated to delicate femininity, celebrated the most gracious and opulent living, while flowering the most romantic and lavish jewels. Drawing inspiration from 18th century patterns and the decorative arts, jewelers from this age adopted the details common in posy baskets and trelliswork, bow knots and ribbons, and wheat ears and laurels. During this period, the increasing use of finely milled platinum that was strong and malleable, was successfully adapted to these lace-like designs while carrying the weight of many stones.

    The great jewelry houses blossomed during the era of the Belle Epoque, with Dreicer & Co. introducing wealthy Americans to the finest jewelry that could be obtained on either side of the Atlantic. The origin of Dreicer & Co. dates to 1904, when J. Dreicer & Son represented the Parisian dealer A. Eknayan at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. From 1910 to the mid-1920s, the company introduced the latest techniques of Parisian jewelry to the American market, such as "French-cut" square diamonds, which were set into flexible box bracelets. The company opened its original location at 560 Fifth Avenue in New York, as well as a branch in the Blackstone hotel in Chicago. Upon the 1923 death of founder Michael Dreicer, the business was liquidated and purchased by Cartier in New York.

    Michael Dreicer lived up to his reputation, in choosing the most exceptional gemstone for this elegant pendant. The 9.41 pear-shaped ruby originating from the mines of Burma possesses a rich deep red color typical of the most desirous gems found in this region. It displays a remarkably even and saturated hue with radiant luster and transparency to match. Of all the countries in Asia, it is perhaps Burma, currently known as Myanmar, that has the most valuable gem deposits. So unique are the quality elements exhibited by the rubies found here that it has emerged as the standard by which other stones are judged. Those over 5 carats, and in particular, ones that have not undergone any thermal enhancement are exceedingly rare. This is mainly because the famous mines of Mogok are yielding fewer and fewer stones of an important size. It is also because the market has seen a diminishing number of antique ruby jewelry and old Burmese gems appearing for sale.