Collecting Guide

Master Jewelers

A late 19th century ‘Laurier’ diamond necklace-tiara, by Boucheron
Sold for EUR 68,200 ($83,170)
May 2010, Christie’s Paris


Frédéric Boucheron opened his first jewellery salon at the Palais Royal in 1858, and soon acquired fame as an expert in precious stones, a masterful technician and a creator of beautiful jewellery. In 1893, he was the first jeweller to set up shop at the Place Vendôme where he continued to serve the social elite, and from where the firm still operates successfully today. Over the years, the Maison Boucheron opened branches in Moscow and London, and also in Japan, the Middle and Far East. Boucheron exhibited in many international expositions including the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles in Paris, the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago and the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Boucheron was acquired, in May 2000, by the Gucci Group (PPR), one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury goods company.

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A suite of gold jewellery, by Buccellatti
Sold for EUR 6,760 ($8,766)
November 2008, Christie’s Milan


In 1903, Mario Buccellati began an apprenticeship in goldsmithing at Beltrami e Besnati in Milan and in 1919, he opened his first shop in Via Santa Margherita. In the following years, the fame of Buccellati jewels began to attract the attention of royalty all over the world. In 1925, he opened a shop in Rome, in Via dei Condotti followed in 1929 by one in Florence, in Via Tornabuoni, and it was in 1953 that a shop in New York opened. In 1965, the three sons of Mario, who were goldsmiths themselves, decided to create their own company: Federico Buccellati runs the shop in Rome and in Milan, in Via della Spiga. He continued his father’s activity by preserving all the ideas that had been instilled in him while they worked together. No matter what precious materials are employed, taste, beauty and personalization are the prime factors when a Buccellati jewel is created. Production is carried out today by 70 Italian craftsmen. Six licenses have been set up in the Tokyo and Osaka area, a new distributor has opened up in Sidney and the foreign sales network is to be extended in the near future. The tradition is maintained by Federico and now by his children Lorenzo, Rodolfo and Benedetta.

A group of diamond-set jewellery,
comprising a brooch and a pair of ear clips,
by Bulgari, circa 1960
Sold for £7,500 ($10,838)
June 2010, Christie’s London


The firm of Bulgari was founded by Sotirio Bulgari, who was born in 1857 in Greece and was descended from a family of silversmiths. In 1884 he opened his first shop in Rome on the Via Sistina, and then in 1905, he moved to the Via dei Condotti. Upon Sotirio’s death in 1932, his sons, Giorgio and Costantino, took over the business. They are credited with creating the highly distinctive ‘Bvlgari’ style, inspired by Greek and Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th century Roman school of goldsmiths. The 1970s marked the beginning of Bulgari’s international expansion with the opening of stores in New York (the first overseas), Paris, Geneva, and Monte Carlo, building towards more than 155 international stores open today. It was also in this decade that Bulgari introduced the ‘Bvlgari- Bvlgari’ which was to become a successful watch classic. Bulgari Time was established in the early 1980s in Neuchâtel, Switzerland for the creation and production of all Bulgari watch lines.

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A pair of Art Deco coral, diamond & onyx ear pendants,
by Cartier, circa 1925
Sold for £67,250 ($104,641)
December 2010, Christie’s London


Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. It was his three grandsons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who were responsible for establishing the famous world-wide empire. Louis retained responsibility for the Paris branch, moving it to the rue de la Paix in 1899. Jacques took charge of the London operation in 1906, which had opened in 1902, eventually moving it to the current location on New Bond Street. Pierre established the New York branch in 1909, relocating it in 1917 to the current location at 653 Fifth Avenue. Branches were opened in Moscow and the Persian Gulf in 1910, followed by openings in Cannes and Monte Carlo. Prominent amongst Cartier’s gifted team, were Charles Jacqueau who joined Louis Cartier in 1909 for a lifetime and Jeanne Toussaint who was appointed Director of Fine Jewellery from 1933. In 1964, following the death of Pierre, Cartier Paris, London and New York were sold by the family. In 1972, a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui bought Cartier Paris whose President became Robert Hocq, originator of the concept “Les Must de Cartier” in collaboration with Alain Dominique Perrin. In 1974, Cartier London was bought back and Cartier New York in 1976. In 1983, the “Art of Cartier Collection” was initiated by Eric Nussbaum. Today, Cartier is part of the Richemont group.

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A mother-of-pearl, lapis lazuli & diamond bird brooch,
by Chaumet
Sold for EUR 6,250 ($9,165)
September 2008, Christie’s Paris


Chaumet was founded in 1780 by Marie-Etienne Nitot who with his son, Francois Regnault Nitot became the official jeweller to Napoleon during the Consulate and the Empire. Among their achievements were the Consular sword, the tiara of Pius VII and the grand parures ordered by the Empresses Josephine and Marie-Louise. After the fall of Napoleon, the business continued under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Fossin and his son, Jules, both artists, who succeeded in capturing the spirit of Romanticism in jewellery just as Nitot & Fils had done for the Empire. In 1848, Jules Fossin set up a London branch in partnership with J.V. Morel who was assisted by his son, Prosper. On his return to Paris in 1854, Prosper Morel joined Jules Fossin whom he succeeded in 1868. Prosper Morel’s daughter married Joseph Chaumet in 1875. Chaumet had begun his jewellery career at the age of fifteen, working in his parents’ jewellery shop in Bordeaux. Upon moving to Paris, he was hired by his future father-in-law. By 1885, he assumed management of the firm. In 1889, Chaumet took over the company, simultaneously changing the name. Under his direction, the firm won prizes at all of the international exhibitions, supplied jewellery to many of the Royal houses of Europe. In 1907, he moved the company to 12, Place Vendôme. He also opened boutiques in London, in 1905, and in New York in the 1920s. The latter closed in 1934 due to the Depression. In 1999, the firm was acquired by the luxury group LVMH.

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A pair of Retro citrine & gold brooches,
by Paul Flato, circa 1940
Sold for $79,000
October 2007, Christie’s New York


Paul Flato was born in 1900 in Flatonia, Texas. In the late 1920s, he opened his own shop at 1 East Fifty-Seventh Street in New York City, several years before Tiffany & Co. relocated to their current address just across the street. His design-oriented style, often bordering on the humourous, reached its peak in the 1930s. Adolph Kleaty, George Headley and Fulco di Verdura were among his designers. In 1937, Flato opened a branch in Beverly Hills, at 8657 Sunset Boulevard. This branch remained open for only two years, frequented by such luminaries as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Merle Oberon and Marlene Dietrich. In 1970 Flato left America, establishing a shop in Mexico City in the fashionable Zona Rosa district. He spent his last years in Dallas, Texas, where he passed away in July 1999.

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A pair of colored diamond ear clips, by Graff
Sold for $37,500
December 2010, Christie’s New York


Founded in 1966 by Laurence Graff, Graff Diamonds has set an unsurpassed standard of excellence and innovation in the world of high jewellery. Graff is involved in all stages of the production process, from the mining, cutting and polishing of the diamond and the initial vision and design, to the final exquisite Graff jewel. The Graff master jewellers, based at the company Headquarters in London, draw upon years of training and exceptional levels of skill to create the extraordinarily fine settings and intricate designs synonymous with Graff, the most fabulous jewels in the world. Laurence Graff is considered a world leader in the field and one of the most significant forces in the market. It is said that he has handled more world famous diamonds than any other diamantaire, including the Idol’s Eye, the Begum Blue, the Emperor Maximilian and the Lesotho Promise. In 2010, Graff unveiled two of the world’s largest diamonds: the Graff Constellation, a 102.79 ct D-colour Internally Flawless round brilliant diamond, and the Delaire Sunrise, a 118.08 ct Fancy Vivid Yellow square emerald-cut diamond. Graff ’s UK flagship store is located on London’s prestigious New Bond Street. Today there are over 30 Graff locations around the world, including Shanghai, Geneva, Hong Kong, Monte Carlo, Moscow and New York.

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A pair of Imperial topaz, ruby & diamond ear pendants, by JAR
Sold for $650,500
October 2010, Christie’s New York


Joel (Arthur) Rosenthal was born in New York City. He graduated in art history from Harvard in 1966 before moving to Paris. He initially worked in the film industry, and then opened a needlepoint shop, where his clients included Hermès and Valentino, and where his work with multi-coloured yarns would have a lasting effect on his designs. After working with Bulgari in New York, he returned to Paris and opened a shop in the Place Vendôme in 1977; his initials, JAR, the only source of identification on the façade. Mr. Rosenthal works with his partner, Pierre Jeannet, to create exquisite jewels, superbly crafted in unique settings. His work is meticulous and imaginative, incorporating stones in unexpected colour combinations. Only 70 to 80 jewels are created each year, for an exclusive clientele. In November 1987, in celebration of his 10th anniversary in Paris, Mr. Rosenthal held an exhibition of his work at the National Academy of Design in New York City. In November 2002, a retrospective of 400 jewels was held at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, in London.

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A Retro diamond & mutli-gem ‘Jeep de la libération’
brooch by Mauboussin, circa 1945
Sold for $4,000
December 2010, Christie’s New York


In 1827, Mr. Rocher and his cousin, Baptiste Noury, established a jewellery shop in Paris which, by 1850, had been taken over by Noury. His nephew, Georges Mauboussin, joined the firm, assuming control in 1896. In 1922, the business was named ‘Mauboussin, Successeur de Noury’, and later, simply ‘Mauboussin’. The house of Mauboussin contributed to all major international exhibitions in the first half of the 20th century including Milan in 1923 and 1924; New York in 1924 and 1939; Strasbourg in 1924; and Paris in 1925, 1931 and 1937. They were awarded the Grand Prix at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and, for his contributions to the world of jewellery, Georges Mauboussin was awarded the “Légion d’Honneur”. The firm opened branches in London and Buenos Aires which have subsequently closed. In October 1929, they opened an office in New York, but following the stock market crash less than one month later, a merger was negotiated with the American jeweller, Trabert & Hoeffer. Trabert & Hoeffer took over the location and stock, and all jewellery retailed under this contract was signed “Trabert & Hoeffer Inc. –Mauboussin”. This agreement lasted until the 1950s. In 2002, Dominique Frémont, a Swiss businessman, acquired a majority of the firm with Patrick Mauboussin remaining involved in the creation of the jewellery. The firm is currently located at 20, Place Vendôme.

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A pair of sapphire & diamond ear clips, by Mouawad
Sold for $68,500
October 2010, Christie’s Dubai


The prestigious firm of Mouawad was founded in 1890 when David Mouawad, grandfather of the current head, Robert, opened his workshop in Beirut, Lebanon. David’s son, Fayez, broadened the business by moving to Saudi Arabia in 1950. The firm’s development is due mainly to the dynamism of Fayez’s son, Robert, and the invaluable contribution of his sons, Fred, Alain and Pascal. Mr Mouawad’s choice of artists and craftsmen has enabled him to create masterpieces worthy of royalty such as the jewelled Bonsai presented by the diplomatic community to the new Emperor of Japan in 1993. Above all, however, he is renowned for having handled and owned some of the world’s greatest diamonds, including the Indore Pears, the Taylor-Burton, the Tereschenko, and the many fine diamonds named by him. The firm of Mouawad extends from the Middle East to the main jewellery centres of Antwerp, Geneva, London, New York, Paris and the Far East.

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A multi-gem & gold ‘Dauphin’ brooch,
by Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co.
Sold for $10,625
December 2008, Christie’s New York


Jean Schlumberger was born in 1907 in Mulhouse, in the German-controlled Alsace, into a family of textile industrialists. Preferring art to textiles, his first jewellery creations were china flowers mounted as clips which he gave to his friends. They caught the attention of the couturière Elsa Schiaparelli who commissioned Schlumberger to design costume jewellery. After serving in the Army and then the Free French Forces, he set up workshops with his business partner, Nicolas Bongard, in New York and Paris. In 1956, Walter Hoving, the new chairman of Tiffany & Co., brought Schlumberger into the firm as a vice president. He also invited Schlumberger to stamp his creations with his name, the first designer to be given this privilege. In 1961, the Wildenstein Gallery in New York held an exhibition of his jewellery and objets d’art. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has on permanent exhibit a selection of his jewels and fantasy objects on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Jean Schlumberger died in 1987, and his creations continue to be offered by Tiffany & Co.

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A cultured pearl & diamond bracelet,
by Sterlé, circa 1950
Sold for CHF 37,500 ($37,762)
November 2010, Christie’s Geneva


Pierre Sterlé was born in 1905 into a family of financiers. After his father’s death during World War I, he was placed under the guardianship of his uncle, a jeweller, who taught him the rudiments of the trade. In 1934, he established his own business in the rue Sainte-Anne in Paris, moving in 1945 to an upstairs location at 43, avenue de l’Opera. From 1934-39, he created jewellery for other houses such as Boucheron, Chaumet, Ostertag and Puiforcat. Although the ideas and concepts for all jewellery offered through his salon were Sterlé’s, he engaged the services of draughtsmen such as Jacques Desnoues and, after 1960, Yves Poussielgues, to carry out the designs. The firm remained open until 1976 when Chaumet bought the stock and also hired Pierre Sterlé as an artistic advisor.

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A pair of diamond ‘Victoria’ ear clips, by Tiffany & Co.
Sold for $54,000
October 2005, Christie’s New York

Tiffany & Co.

On September 21, 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and John P. Young opened a stationery and fancy goods store known as Tiffany & Young at 259 Broadway in New York City. Within ten years, jewellery and silver items were added to their stock. By 1853, Tiffany had assumed complete ownership of the business and the name was changed to Tiffany & Co. During the 19th century, designers such as Edward C. Moore and G. Paulding Farnham, as well as renowned gemmologist George Frederick Kunz, propelled Tiffany & Co. to the forefront of the international jewellery world. From 1907, the firm manufactured and sold the jewellery designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder. Upon taking over the management of Tiffany & Co. in 1955, Walter Hoving invited several talented designers to join the firm. Among them were Jean Schlumberger and Donald Claflin. In 1974, they added Elsa Peretti as an exclusive designer, followed by Paloma Picasso in 1980. In 1979, Avon Products purchased Tiffany & Co. After the management-led buyout of Tiffany in 1984, headed by then chairman William R. Chaney, and a successful public offering of stock in 1987, the company has successfully expanded into key domestic and international markets. Today they comprise more than 100 locations worldwide.

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A ‘Mystery-set’ ruby & diamond pavot brooch,
by Van Cleef & Arpels, 1954
Sold for CHF 339,000 ($341,373)
November 2010, Christie’s Geneva

Van Cleef & Arpels

The history of the famous Parisian jewellery house began in 1896 with the marriage of Estelle Arpels to Alfred Van Cleef. The company was founded in 1906 by Alfred and his brother-in law, Charles Arpels at 22, Place Vendôme. Julien Arpels joined the family business in 1908, and Louis Arpels in 1913. The design collaboration between René Sim Lacaze and René Puissant, the daughter of Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef, began in 1926, marking the start of two decades of highly creative design for the firm. The oldest son of Julien Arpels, Claude, joined in 1932, followed by his brothers Jacques and Pierre in 1936 and 1944. An American boutique was opened by Claude in Rockefeller Center in New York in 1939, soon relocating to its definitive address at 744 Fifth Avenue, and the first of six boutiques in the US today. The 1930s saw some of the company’s most iconic designs: the house’s arguable trademark, the Mystery Setting - where the mounting of the gemstones is cleverly hidden behind the continuous calibré-cut ruby and sapphire surface of the jewel - was invented in 1933; and the concept of the Minaudière, made in honour of Florence Jay Gould, was invented in 1930 by Charles Arpels. The versatile ‘Passe Partout’ range was also developed at this time. In the following decades, the firm upheld its reputation for innovation with the snowflake jewels of the 1940s, the zip necklace of the 1950s, the ballet jewels of the 1960s and the Alhambra theme of the 1970s. The Boutique Des Heures was inaugurated in 1972 to house the new watch designs launched by Pierre Arpels. Today, Van Cleef & Arpels is part of the Richemont Group with more than 45 boutiques around the world.

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A gem-set Maltese cross brooch/pendant,
by Fulco di Verdura for Coco Chanel, circa 1930
Sold for CHF 42,000 ($34,558)
May 2005, Christie’s Geneva


Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura, moved from his native Palermo to Paris in 1926, where he began working with Coco Chanel, initially as a textile designer, and eventually as head jewellery designer. After relocating to the United States in 1937, he took a position as designer at Paul Flato’s jewellery establishment, first in New York, then in California. He remained with Flato for two years before opening his own salon in 1939 at 712 Fifth Avenue and a second, in 1947, in Paris on rue Boissy d’Anglas. His jewellery featured gold mountings with precious and semi-precious stones, a bold undertaking at the time when platinum was the most popular metal. In 1972, Verdura sold the business to his associate, Joseph G. Alfano, and retired to London, living there until his death in 1978. In 1985, Edward J. Landrigan purchased Verdura, Inc. and established a salon at 745 Fifth Avenue, where he continues to produce fine jewels from Verdura’s original drawings in a manner consistent with the Duke’s tradition.

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A diamond ‘Holly Wreath’ necklace, by Harry Winston
Sold for $1,202,500
October 2010, Christie’s New York

Harry Winston

From an early age, Harry Winston (1896-1978) had a legendary eye for gems. He bought his first emerald at the age of eight, and Arabella Huntingdon’s jewellery collection at the beginning of his career. At the age of 24, he opened his first business in New York City, known as the Premier Diamond Company. In 1912, he established another company under his own name and began to manufacture jewellery. Winston was responsible for the cutting of such famous diamonds as the Jonker, the Taylor-Burton, the Star of Sierra Leone, and the Vargas. He donated three important diamonds to the Smithsonian: The Hope, the Oppenheimer and the Portugese..By the 1950s, Winston was acknowledged as the “King of Diamonds”, owning at one time or another as many as one-third of all the famous diamonds in the world. In 1962 the company moved from 7 East Fifty-First Street to its present location at 718 Fifth Avenue. With his death in 1978, Winston was succeeded by his son, Ronald, now the chairman of the company, who continues his father’s tradition of offering “Rare Jewels of the World”, the firm’s motto for many years. The firm created a watch department, “The Ultimate Timepiece” in 1989, and the same year opened a salon in Tokyo and one on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills a year later. Today they have locations in Dubai, London, Paris, and throughout North America. In 2004, Aber Diamond Corp. acquired a controlling interest in Harry Winston Inc, buying the company in full in 2006.

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