An Important Russian Imperial Jewel
An important Russian Imperial jewel is to be offered for sale by Christies Geneva this week, where it is expected to fetch 3 to 5 million dollars, twelve years after it was last publicly sold.
Probably commissioned by Catherine the Great, the pieces offer a glimpse at the splendour and elegance of the Russian Royal jewellery and, offer a glimpse into the style of Catherine II Empress of Russia. One of the great leaders in Russian history, and a passionate fan of diamond jewellery, she commissioned the diamond necklace and clasp as two separate pieces between 1760 and 1780.
The necklace features 25 cushion cut diamonds and is perhaps a few years later than the brooch; it is decorated with foliate motifs, and a diamond section at one end to lengthen it slightly. There are Roman numerals inscribed at the side of the links which suggest that some diamonds were removed at some point in history, perhaps to use in another piece of jewellery.
It was purchased in 1927 for 2700 pounds by SJ Phillips of London, who sold it into a private collection. It stayed in that collection until 2005, when it was sold by Sotheby’s for 1.5 million dollars.
It will be fascinating to see the price that this piece achieves – Royal jewellery is extremely rare on the market, particularly pieces from one of the most important collections in history.