Christie's is selling all lots in this sale as agent for an organization which holds a State of New York Exempt Organization certificate. Seller explicitly reserves all trademark and trade name rights and rights of privacy and publicity in the name and image of Doris Duke. No buyer of any property in this sale will acquire any right to use the Doris Duke name or image. Seller further explicitly reserves all copyright rights in designs or other copyrightable works included in the property offered for sale. No buyer of any property in the sale will acquire the rights to reproduce, distribute copies of, or prepare derivative works of such designs or copyrightable works.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, with the advent of the Spanish Conquistadors and their capture of the Inca Empire, Colombian emeralds began to journey across the oceans to Europe and the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony at the time. From the Philippines, the emeralds continued to travel to the Maharajahs of India. The relatively soft hardness of emeralds allowed the Mughal Emperors to carve verses of the Koran into the gemstones as well as exquisite foliate designs. The Maharajahs set the Colombian stones into elaborate belts, kada bangles and headpieces. The most important of the Colombian mines were the Muzo and Chivor located approximately 75 miles from Bogota. The Incas rigorously defended the locations of the sacred mines by concealing the way; they were discovered accidentally in 1558.
Colombian emeralds appeared in many Royal Collections and have since been offered at auction. Most famous perhaps was the collection of jewels of Empress Eugenie, sold on 24 May 1887, which contained several magnificent emeralds and was purchased by Tiffany & Co. More recently, in 1992, a collection of diamond and emerald jewelry sold on behalf of Mrs. James de Rothschild's Charitable Trust was offered by Christie's in Geneva. The emerald bead tiara, seed pearl and emerald drop sautoir by Cartier, and other magnificent gems could be traced not only to the Empress Eugenie, but, possibly Queen Isabella II, who ascended the throne in 1833.
The three emerald bead necklaces lots 84, 103 and 104 belonging to Doris Duke contain emeralds that probably originate from the Muzo mines. The necklaces were likely purchased in India on her honeymoon with James Cromwell in 1935. The intense color and distinct saturation that typifies a Colombian emerald is illustrated perfectly in these remarkable necklaces. Doris Duke, with her fascination of Eastern culture, would be intrigued by the journey of the emeralds while appreciating their unique beauty.