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BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES
BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES
BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES
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BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES
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On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT wil… Read more FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF DAME NELLIE MELBA GBETHE PROPERTY OF A LADY OF TITLE
BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES

Details
BELLE EPOQUE TURQUOISE AND DIAMOND BROOCHES
Cabochon turquoises, rose and old-cut diamonds, detachable brooch fittings, with interchangeable central collets and additional half-pearl fittings (not illustrated), 1910s, 11.0 cm and 5.2 cm, red Cartier case
Please note that the pearls have not been tested for natural origin.
Provenance
Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861-1931)
Thence by descent
Special Notice

On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 7.7% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

Brought to you by

Angela Berden
Angela Berden

Lot Essay

DAME NELLIE MELBA GBE
Helen Porter Mitchell was born in Melbourne in 1861 to a working class family, and decided from an early age that singing would be her vocation. After modest success in her home country, she emigrated to Europe. In Paris she studied under mezzo-soprano and leading teacher Mathilde Marchesi, who recognised her for the star she was. It was Marchesi who suggested that Helen change her name to ‘Melba’, a shortened version of her home town name of Melbourne. Nellie returned to London and encountered great success, performing regularly at the Royal Albert Hall and in Covent Garden. Her art took her around the world, from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to Egypt, London, Saint Petersburg, and Australia, where she last sang before her passing in 1931.

Dame Nellie Melba is an icon of Australian culture, with her portrait gracing the Australian 100$ bill. A suburb in Canberra and the music hall of the University of Melbourne were both named after her. The renowned French chef and culinary writer Auguste Escoffier also honored Dame Melba by creating a dessert made of peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream, known as ‘Pêche Melba’.

As recalled by Hans Nadelhoffer in his famous book Cartier Jewelers Extraordinary, ‘Lillian Nordica was one of the great operatic prima donnas of her day, together with Nellie Melba, Lina Cavalieri and Mary Garden, all of whom wore their Cartier jewels as much on the stage as in private life. Thus Victor Dautremont, Pierre Cartier’s young London assistant, was regularly sent down to Covent Garden with extravagant jewelry for Nellie Melba, which had to be warmed before it could touch the sensitive skin of the artist. These tragediennes of the operatic stage enjoyed the ecstatic idolization of a public which was to turn its attention, after 1925, to the more remote idols of Hollywood’.

By tradition Dame Melba’s jewellery collection was acquired at Cartier and in the long list of famous Cartier clients, she was unquestionably one of their most prominent ambassadors. Christie’s is proud to offer these beautiful turquoise and diamond Belle Epoque jewels, acquired by Dame Melba at the peak of her career, and which remained in her family to the present day.

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