AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER
AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER
AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER
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AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER
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Property from the Collection of Margaret Thompson Biddle
AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER

Details
AN ELEGANT DIAMOND 'PALM-TREE' BROOCH MOUNTED BY CARTIER
Circular brilliant-cut diamond of 13.30 carats, marquise, baguette, round and single-cut diamonds, platinum and 18k white gold (French mark), circa 1948, signed Monture Cartier, maker's mark, numbered, red Cartier case

GIA, 2022, report no. 1102840610: 13.30 carats, H color, VS2 clarity

Size/Dimensions: 11.4 x 9.5 cm (4 1/2 x 3 3/4 in)
Gross Weight: 79.6 grams
Provenance
Margaret Thompson Biddle, thence by descent
Literature
N. Coleno, Amazing Cartier: Jewelry Design Since 1937, Paris, Flammarion, Rizzoli, 2009, p. 117, pictured with original diamond drops
Post lot text
Please note that the original design of this brooch included diamond pear-shaped drops which have since been removed.

Brought to you by

Daphne Lingon
Daphne Lingon Head of Jewellery Department, Americas

Lot Essay

Margaret Thompson Biddle was born in Helena, Montana in 1896. She was the daughter of notable copper miner and financier, William Boyce Thompson.

Margaret’s father was born and raised around mining in Montana, so it was no surprise that he went on to make a name for himself in the copper mining industry. He attended the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and Columbia University. After retiring from the New York Stock Exchange around 1915, Thompson’s interests returned back to mining where he founded the Newmont Mining Corporation.

Thompson was passionate about science and wanted to make a difference on a global scale. Generously supporting many philanthropies and efforts around the world, he was awarded an honorary title of Colonel by the American Red Cross. In addition to the several companies he owned, Thompson founded the Boyce Thompson Institute in New York in the 1920s. The institute focuses on plant research with the goal of improving human welfare.

Margaret Thompson married Anthony Drexel Biddle Jr. in 1931. That year he was also appointed the Minister to Norway by President Roosevelt, and then Ambassador to Poland 1937. This role led Biddle and his family all over the world. After fleeing Poland in 1939, they landed in England for one of Anthony’s commissions. In this position, he worked with the governments-in-exile of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Yugoslavia. Biddle held numerous ambassador positions in the years that followed before re-enlisting in the army in 1944.

Margaret relocated to France after she and Anthony separated at the end of World War II. She had a home on the French Riviera, and a spectacular hotel particulier on the notable boulevard St. Germain in Paris. Not only was she a writer and author of The Women of England, Margaret was also known to be quite the hostess and socialite. One could find the Eisenhowers, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and many other notable French creatives at her soirees.

In addition to having a wonderful jewelry collection, Margaret was an avid collector of fine porcelain, silver, home furnishings and art by the most distinguished artists and makers. She gifted a 1,575 piece dinnerware service to former First Lady Eisenhower. Select pieces of the ‘Vermeil’ collection are still on display at The White House present day.

Christie's is thrilled to offer Mrs. Biddle’s diamond ‘Palm Tree’ brooch mounted by Cartier (Lot 138). This lot features a round diamond of 13.30 carats that was a part of Mrs. Biddle’s jewelry collection and previously featured pear-shaped diamond drops that have since been removed.

The ‘Palm Tree’ collection was thought to be designed in celebration of the opening of the Cartier boutiques in Monte Carlo and Cannes, first appearing in the 1930s. Mrs. Biddle’s spectacular brooch was commissioned from Cartier in the late 1940s and embodies her keen eye for design and elegant sophistication.
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