AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH
AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH
AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH
AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH
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Property from the Collection of Margaret Thompson Biddle
AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH

Details
AN IMPORTANT CARTIER EMERALD, DIAMOND AND RUBY BROOCH
Carved and baguette-cut emeralds, pear-shaped and round cabochon rubies, old, single and round diamonds, yellow gold, circa 1945, signed Cartier, London

Size/Dimensions: 10.1 x 4.4 cm (4 x 1 ¾ in)
Gross Weight: 85.3 grams

Brought to you by

Rahul Kadakia
Rahul Kadakia International Head of Jewellery

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Lot Essay

For a millennia, emeralds have been a prized gemstone with a history as rich as their lush green color. Originally dating back to ancient Egypt, Cleopatra claimed ownership over all the mines and considered the gem as a status of wealth and power. During her 21 year reign, she reportedly used emeralds in her jewelry and adorned her palace with the rich colored stone. In the Roman Empire, emeralds were used regularly in jewelry and the gemstone was associated with fertility and healing. In Peru, the Incas had been using emeralds in their jewelry and religious ceremonies for 500 years. Throughout the years, legends regarding emeralds arose, such as bestowing the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when stone was placed under the tongue or that it protected against evil spells. Emeralds were also once believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria.

Today, although found across the world, principal deposits are located in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia with each locality producing a range of colors. Colombia has been the source of the finest emeralds, and Colombian emeralds are the standard by which all others are measured.

From the 1920s through 1930s, Jacques Cartier voyaged to India, Egypt and the Middle East for the firm to buy and sell gemstones. During these travels, Cartier kept a journal which showed his great respect and admiration for the cultures of the countries he visited. With these visits, a new seed of inspiration came upon him to create a new style of jewelry with design aspects pulled directly from the temples, fabrics, carvings and mosques he had admired.

The present lot showcases Cartier’s superb example of design influence straight from the Qajar Dynasty (1779–1924). The Qajar period is known for its unique artistry, glamour and extravagance. This brooch is adorned with bright diamonds, rich rubies, vibrant baguette-cut emeralds and two spectacular carved emeralds. The significantly sized stones are similarly colored which is difficult to acquire in emeralds of these dimensions adding a unique characteristic to this impressive brooch.

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.

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 delighted to offer the following six lots from Mrs. Biddle’s collection. Her keen eye for design is evident from the delicate Chaumet Art Deco tiara (Lot 152) to the significant Cartier carved emerald brooch (Lot 157). Spanning multiple decades of jewelry craftsmanship, this assemblage illustrates Mrs. Biddle’s exquisite taste.

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