• Jewels : The Geneva Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 1371

    Jewels : The Geneva Sale

    18 November 2009, Geneva

  • Lot 202


    Price Realised  


    The pendant designed as a pavé-set diamond amphora decorated with onyx foliate motifs and panels containing floral sprays to the twin leaf surmount and backchain, 1914, originally made as a corsage brooch, pendant and surmount 9.8 cm long, with French assay mark for platinum, in pink leather fitted case from the 1920s
    Signed Cartier Paris, with maker's mark H P for Henri Picq
    Accompanied by certificate of authenticity no. GE2009-115 dated 8 September 2009 from Cartier stating that the pendant with necklet is a genuine Cartier item, Cartier Paris, 1914

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    Cf. Judy Rudoe, Cartier 1900-1939, The British Museum Press 1997, page 300, plate 243, for an original drawing, and page 98, plate 32, for a similar piece in coral; mention is also made of two other examples in black and white

    Cf. Hans Nadelhoffer, Cartier, Jewelers Extraordinary, Harry N. Abrams, 1984, page 211, plate 51

    Calouste Gulbenkian was an Armenian businessman, philanthropist and one of the world's greatest art collectors. His financial success in the oil industry, including arranging the 1907 Royal Dutch/Shell merger and creating the Turkish Petroleum Company, gave him the means to amass a world renowned art collection which he kept in a private museum in Paris. Amongst his greatest passions were Renaissance paintings and Egyptian sculpture, fine examples of which he lent both to the National Gallery in London and the British Museum during his lifetime, and, of course, jewellery. His famed collection of Lalique, together with the rest of his art, was bequeathed to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 1955, and is probably the most important of its type worldwide. However, his relationship with other French jewellers, specifically Cartier, has been less well referenced yet was extremely strong. In the 1910s and 1920s Gulbenkian acquired a significant number of jewels produced by arguably the greatest jeweller of the 20th century at the most innovative period in jewellery design.

    After Gulbenkian, the Cartier pendant belonged to another great philanthropist, the English racehorse owner, Washington Singer. His father was the great American sewing machine magnate, Isaac Singer, who moved his family to England while the children were still young. Washington grew up in Devon, becoming a great benefactor to a variety of charitable causes, including the (later known as) University of Exeter.


    Bought from Cartier by Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955)
    Subsequently acquired by Washington Singer (1866-1934)


    Cartier 1899-1949, The Journey of a Style, page 19, Gulbenkian Foundation exhibition catalogue, 2007