Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi, (1917 - 2002) born in Boston, educated at St Timothy's Baltimore and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland resided in New York city and Charleston, South Carolina. She also spent time in Spoleto and Rome where she lived for many years with her husband Count Lorenzo Paolozzi.
The Countess was very strongly committed to humanitarian and environmental causes and served on the United States commission for UNESCO, was President of the National Council of Women of the United States and The National Association of Physicians for the Environment to name but a few.
It was the Countess who introduced Gian Carlo Menotti to Charleston and was instrumental in getting the Spoleto Festival, USA established after already being involved with the Spoleto Festival in Italy for which she was decorated by the Italian Government for her support of the Arts.
Michael Dreicer, the founder of Dreicer & Co of 560 Fifth Avenue, New York was compared to the great Harry Winston as both men, in their time, introduced wealthy Americans to the finest diamond jewellery that could be obtained on either side of the Atlantic.
William Spaulding, an extremely eligible bachelor and art connoisseur from Boston, was one such important client who purchased this necklace from Dreicer & Co as a demonstration of his affection for his new bride Katherine Fairlea. It was Katherine who gave this necklace to her daughter Alicia, prior to her move to Italy before the second World War, as a source of portable wealth. As it turned out, Alicia had to flee from Rome to Switzerland with her children, carrying the necklace with her in a picnic basket. It remained in Switzerland until after her death in April 2002 and was never worn.
Michael Dreicer lived up to his reputation, in choosing two of the most exceptional gemstones for this elegant pendant. The 47.64 sapphire originating from the mines of Burma possesses a rich deep blue colour typical of the most desirous gems found in this region. It displays a remarkably even and saturated hue with radiant lustre and transparency to match.
Golconda mines in the southern Princely state of Hyderabad once ruled by the powerful Nizams from the Asaf Jah dynasty. Indeed some of the most spectacular diamonds of the world such as the Agra, the Hope, the Idol's eye and the Koh-I-Noor were mined in Golconda.
The celebrated French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who frequented India on numerous visits in the 17th century described these stones as, 'pools of crystal water'" a reference to the water-clear transparency and soft luminescent quality that is particular to these rarities.
The Golconda mines were almost depleted in the mid 18th Century and large diamonds of this famed provenance and distinction are seldom encountered today. The 26.98 carat pear-shaped gem suspended from the sapphire is one of these extraordinary examples, a diamond of the first water.