THE PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR
AN HEIRLOOM JEWEL
If jade is discarded and pearls destroyed, petty thieves will disappear, there being no valuables left to steal.
From a dictionary published during the reign of Emperor Kang Hsi (1662-1722 AD), in Gump, 1962
In over 2000 years of mining, the finest jadeite has only ever been found in what is today Northern Burma. This supreme material, once a favourite of the Empress Dowager Cixi, is regarded as the material of choice, embodying certain especial characteristics of the gemstone jadeite. In colour, it displays a vivid emerald green, pure and penetrating, with an intense saturation and a tone that is neither too dark, nor too light. This exceptional old mine material also shows an extremely fine texture as well as excellent translucency. The distinctive combination of features is rare and valuable, and renders Burmese jadeite a treasure to behold.
A leading jewellery highlight of this auction is Lot 2347, a stunning jadeite bead necklace that exhibits the highly coveted properties of top quality jadeite. The necklace portrays a wonderful balance between the ideals of colour, texture and translucency. Its vivid emerald green beads are even and free from flaws, displaying a remarkable depth of colour. Complemented by a vitreous and fine texture, the beads are glass-like and highly translucent, revealing a vivacity that is unrivalled. The beauty of this necklace is further enhanced by a Cartier clasp that recalls the fashionable Art Deco period of the 1920s. The sleek geometrical design gives the piece a particular elegance and charm that distinguishes it from other jadeite jewels.
Jadeite bead necklaces have always represented the ultimate in jadeite collecting, as it is extremely difficult to find a necklace with well matched beads. The wastage involved in cutting beads and the large amount of rough required to complete a strand explains why the bead necklace have long been the most valuable of jadeite jewellery. The greatly varying structure of jadeite makes matching between stones difficult, if not impossible. Most jadeite rough contain no purity or merely small uneven sections of greens. Indeed, only one out of thousands of jadeite boulders will yield the rare material that can be fashioned into a precious bead necklace. In addition, only unblemished and matching beads in both colour and texture can be used. Carved from a single piece of rough, the present necklace represents an exceptional piece of gem-quality jadeite with its perfectly matching strands of brilliant green beads. Adding to this ideal is the perfect shape of each bead. Superb craftsmanship is apparent in the polish and fine lustre, which infuses every bead with a soft brilliance and greenness that radiates from within.
It is not often that one comes across a jewel that one finds, at once, irresistible, compelling immediate possession. This necklace is amongst the finest of jadeite jewels and is part of an exclusive private collection that Christie's is proud to offer in this auction. This glamourous piece demonstrate a predilection for the very finest, and showcase a distinctive taste for the rare and the beautiful. It reflects the impeccable taste of an astute collector whose eye for the exceptional meant that only the best would do. A highly collectable piece, the necklace remains extremely rare in today's market. Such pieces are often family heirlooms, where ownership is granted only by inheritance.