CHRISTIE’S ANNOUNCES THE SALE OF A SPECTACULAR COLLECTION OF ART DECO JEWELRY FROM THE ESTATE OF HUGUETTE M. CLARK, THE LAST GREAT HEIRESS OF AMERICA’S GILDED AGE
RARE DIAMONDS AND SIGNED JEWELS BY CARTIER, DREICER & CO. AND TIFFANY
COLLECTION ESTIMATED TO ACHIEVE US$9 – 12 MILLION AT CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK ON APRIL 17, 2012
New York - Christie’s is honored to announce it has been entrusted with the sale of an exceptional collection of jewelry from the Estate of Huguette M. Clark, one of the last great heiresses of America’s Gilded Age. Ms. Clark’s jewelry collection, which is believed to have been stored in a bank vault since the 1940s, includes signed Art Deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co., and Tiffany & Co., including an extremely rare 9-carat pink diamond ring and a superb 20-carat D-color diamond ring. The complete collection of 17 jewels is expected to fetch $9 - 12 million at auction on April 17 at Christie’s New York.
“In the world of fine jewelry, this is truly a fairytale collection,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas. “Opening the vault to find this treasure trove of period jewels from the best French houses of the early 1900s has certainly been one of the most extraordinary moments of my 15-year career here at Christie’s. The iconic Art Deco design and exceptional craftsmanship of these meticulously preserved jewels are emblematic of the great Gilded Age in American history. We are proud to present this collection from one of the nation’s most storied families as the major highlight of our flagship jewelry auction this spring.”
The collection’s remarkable provenance coupled with the exceptional craftsmanship and rarity of the jewels is sure to inspire intense interest from collectors and dealers around the globe. The star of the collection is a cushion-cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond of 9.00 carats, mounted in a Belle Époque setting by the French jeweler Dreicer & Co. (pictured at left; estimate: $6 – 8 million). Based on the date of the stone’s setting – circa 1910 - the ring is believed to have originally belonged to Ms. Clark’s mother, the former Anna Eugenia La Chapelle, and was handed down to Huguette.
Prices for top-quality pink diamonds of this size and quality have increased exponentially in recent years, driven by both collector demand and increasingly limited supply. Pink diamonds gain their highly desirable color as a result of a rare, naturally-occurring slippage of the crystal lattice in the stone while it is forming deep within the earth’s crust. Only a few mines in the world produce pink diamonds, and of the stones that are cut and polished, only one in about 10 million diamonds will possess a color pure enough to be graded as “fancy vivid”. In December 2009, Christie’s Hong Kong offered for sale the 5-carat Vivid Pink diamond, which achieved a world auction record price of US$2.1 million per carat, amounting to US$10.8 million for the diamond.
Huguette Clark’s collection also features an exceptional colorless diamond ring of 19.86 carats, by Cartier (pictured at right; estimate: $2 –3 million). Certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as D color – the best color grade possible in a white diamond – and with potentially internally flawless clarity, this superb stone was discovered in its original Cartier box from the 1920s.
As was fitting for a society debutante of the day, Huguette Clark’s collection also included a stunning array of signed jewels by the finest makers of the Art Deco era, including an intricately-detailed diamond bracelet by Cartier circa 1925 (pictured in appendix; estimate: $300,000-500,000), a diamond and multi-gem charm bracelet by Cartier, also circa 1925 (estimate: $20,000-30,000), and a ruby, sapphire, emerald and gold bracelet possibly designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany & Co. circa 1915 (estimate: $30,000-50,000). Among the more touching personal items in the collection is an onyx, turquoise and diamond photograph frame by Cartier which is personalized with a stylized “A”. The frame bears a hand-drawn portrait of a teen-aged girl believed to be Andrée Clark, Huguette’s older sister, who died of meningitis in 1919 (pictured at left; estimate: $5,000-7,000; image not to be sold with frame).
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Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.