• Press release
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  • Geneva
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  • For immediate release
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  • 10 April 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Geneva Magnificent Jewels Led by La Légende by Boehmer et Bassenge, Along With Two Spectacular Ruby and Diamond Jewels Formerly from the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor

An Exceptional Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring, 15.03 carats Estimate: US$ 10’000’000-15’000’000

Geneva – Christie’s upcoming auction of Magnificent Jewels will take place on 17 May at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, where over 250 exceptional jewels await collectors from around the globe. Exceptional diamonds and gemstones will lead this spring season, along with important private properties such as the Cartier and Art Déco collection assembled by Éric Nussbaum, one of Cartier’s most eminent experts. A particular focus has been set on Italian jewellery design from the 1900s to the present day in the dedicated Dolce Vita section.

The sale will be led by La Légende a fabulous 92 carat D color Flawless heart-shaped diamond pendant, signed by Boehmer et Bassenge. The Maison de Haute Joaillerie was launched last year and named in honour of Charles Boehmer and Paul Bassenge, Parisian jewellers of the 18th century.

Working exclusively with a handful of large, D colour, Flawless clarity diamonds of perfect polish and symmetry, combined with years of experience and preparation, the Maison Boehmer et Bassenge creates exceptional jewels in honour of the craftsmanship of their eponym. With an uncompromising attitude to quality, just a few creations are produced each year. Having sold the first unique jewels over the course of 2016, Christie’s is pleased to present two further examples this spring in Geneva.

La Légende is a mesmerizing diamond and cultured pearl necklace set with a 92.15 carat heart shaped, D colour, Flawless diamond pendant. Suspended from a cultured pearl sautoir, it is a necklace of pure quality and magnitude, estimated at US$14-20 million. It is the largest D Flawless heart shaped diamond ever to be offered at auction.

La Vie Bohème is a pair of chandelier ear pendants, each with an asymmetrical pink diamond bow, a pear-shaped diamond connecting link, suspending a marquise-cut diamond weighing approximately 10.07 and 10.05 carats. Each stone is a D colour, Flawless clarity diamond, with perfectly symmetrical cuts. Such perfection is rarely seen and the estimate for this pair of ear pendants is US$ 2-3 million.


Until the middle of the 19th century, only the Sovereign of Burma, or an individual deemed worthy by him, would have been allowed the privilege of possessing such a magnificent gemstone as the 15.03 carat oval-cut ruby on offer this May. Although rubies can be found in various countries, it is the legendary mines of Burma which have yielded the most beautiful gems over the centuries. Brought to the attention of the Europeans at the beginning of the fifteenth century, Burmese rubies have not been surpassed in quality by any other origin.

To find a 15.03 carat unheated stone of pigeon blood colour and exceptional clarity is the dream of every gemstone collector.

Sapphires have always held great significance to connoisseurs of fine gems. Sapphires originating from Kashmir symbolize rarity and the most magnificent velvet blue colour. The Kashmir sapphire weighing 14.88 carats is characterised by an attractive rich cornflower blue colour and excellent purity, a combination rarely encountered in Kashmir sapphires of this size.

The sale also features a wide variety of coloured gemstones of the finest quality and origin, such as the 47.63 carats Burmese sapphire, formerly from the collection of Countess Paolozzi.


Diamonds in rare colours, such as a Fancy Deep Blue square-cut diamond weighing 4.05 carats and the 7.97 carat Fancy Intense Blue cushion-shaped diamond will be offered alongside a 6.07 carat Fancy Purple pink diamond ring by David Morris.


In June 2004 Christie’s offered “The Doris Duke Collection” which totalled just under US$12 million, at the time the highest sale total for any private jewellery collection sold at auction in America. 

The illustrated diamond and platinum necklace was purchased at Cartier New York on April 30, 1937 for $65,000. Only the mounting was auctioned in 2004 as Doris Duke had all of the larger diamonds in this important necklace unmounted. Interestingly, just the mounting achieved almost as much at auction as the original purchase price of the necklace in 1937. The buyer subsequently spent years painstakingly replacing all of the missing stones with age appropriate diamonds, restoring the necklace to its former glory, which will be offered with an estimate of US$ 3-5 million.

In December 2011 Christie’s offered the collection of Elizabeth Taylor and the ruby and diamond earrings as well as the matching bracelet, both by Cartier, were part of the famous ruby parure gifted to Elizabeth Taylor in August 1957 by her then husband Mike Todd.  These rare jewels will once again make an appearance on the auction block on 17 May.


This beautiful collection includes an impressive diamond necklace by Chopard, suspending a D colour pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 56.03 carats, as well as exceptional jewels created by Graff, De Grisogono and David Morris.


The famously reclusive Paris-based, New York-born jewellery designer JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal), has been called “the single greatest jeweler of our time”. JAR opened his studio in Paris in 1978 along with his partner Pierre Jeannet. Since then JAR has built up a cult-like following and in 2013 the Metropolitan Museum of Art staged a four month major exhibition. With a very limited yearly production it is almost impossible to acquire a JAR jewel at the store in Place Vendôme and when one does come up for sale at auction, international interest is guaranteed.

Viren Bhagat, India’s talented designer, is the 4th generation of a Mumbai based jewellery family and produces approximately 60 pieces annually. His signature style is the marriage of traditional Indian motifs with contemporary designs often featuring table-cut diamonds, historic stones and delicate tassels.


Éric Nussbaum was acknowledged as one of the most eminent Cartier experts and has been hailed by his peers as the “Eye”, a tribute to the virtuoso level of his taste and refinement. He was the genius behind the establishment of the “Cartier Collection”, an archive for the legendary house. From 1983 onwards, Éric Nussbaum put together the artistic, historic and cultural heritage of Cartier from its roots in 1847. Today, the collection has assembled over 1,600 jewels and objects of heritage.

Concurrently, Éric Nussbaum was building another important collection, one that was even closer to his heart. His private jewellery collection illuminates the man and his inner world. In a lifetime, Éric Nussbaum had acquired a sizable and rather eclectic assortment: pearls, gemstones, delicate jewels, timepieces, bejewelled boxes, objects of vertu and a remarkable variety of cufflinks. All elegant works of art, meticulously crafted and uniquely beautiful.

The 17 May sale in Geneva will begin with 32 lots of the Éric Nussbaum collection. Over 100 further lots from this collection will be offered in the next jewellery online-only auction taking place from 14-21 June.


For the first time Christie’s Geneva dedicates an entire section of the Magnificent Jewels auction to Italian jewellers from the 1900s onwards. The Dolce Vita Section showcases some of the best of Italian designs from Buccellati to Villa, a total of 40 jewels will be on offer.

The revival of interest in Italian jewellery of the 1960’s is very much due to the fashion trends of dripping embroidery, lace trim and printed extravagances of Italy’s prime fashion. This revival is led in the world of jewellery by Bulgari, Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite jewellery designer, whose gob-stopper cabochon rubies, emeralds and sapphires were surrounded by pave’-cut diamonds and set into elaborate bright yellow gold mounts. Perfect examples of this Bulgari style and love for fine stones are the two Burma gems: the rare cabochon ruby of 14.38 carats, set in a diamond ‘Trombino’ ring, and the impressive 55.97 carats sugarloaf cabochon sapphire elaborately mounted in the custom made ruby and emerald mount.

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2017 that totalled £5.1 billion / $6.6 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.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*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.