NEW YORK, April 6, 2012 - Christie’s will conduct the sale of a collection of jewelry from the Estate of Huguette M. Clark, an American heiress, in New York on April 17th, including extremely rare Art Deco pieces.
Ms. Clark’s jewelry collection, which is believed to have been stored in a bank vault since the 1940s, includes signed Art Deco jewels by Cartier, Dreicer & Co., and Tiffany & Co., including a 9-carat pink diamond ring and a 20-carat D-color diamond ring.
The complete collection of 17 jewels is expected to fetch $9 - 12 million at the auction on April 17th at Christie’s New York.
“In the world of fine jewelry, this is truly a fairytale collection,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas.
“Opening the vault to find this treasure trove of period jewels from the best French houses of the early 1900s has certainly been one of the most extraordinary moments of my 15-year career here at Christie’s.
"The iconic Art Deco design and exceptional craftsmanship of these meticulously preserved jewels are emblematic of the great Gilded Age in American history.”
The collection’s remarkable provenance coupled with the exceptional craftsmanship and rarity of the jewels is sure to inspire intense interest from collectors and dealers around the globe.
The star of the collection is a cushion-cut fancy vivid purplish pink diamond of 9.00 carats, mounted in a Belle Époque setting by the French jeweler Dreicer & Co. (estimate: $6 – 8 million).
Based on the date of the stone’s setting – circa 1910 - the ring is believed to have originally belonged to Ms. Clark’s mother, the former Anna Eugenia La Chapelle, and was handed down to Huguette.
Prices for top-quality pink diamonds of this size and quality have increased exponentially in recent years, driven by both collector demand and increasingly limited supply.
Pink diamonds gain their highly desirable color as a result of a rare, naturally-occurring slippage of the crystal lattice in the stone while it is forming deep within the earth’s crust.
Only a few mines in the world produce pink diamonds, and of the stones that are cut and polished, only one in about 10 million diamonds will possess a color pure enough to be graded as “fancy vivid”.
In December 2009, Christie’s Hong Kong offered for sale the 5-carat Vivid Pink diamond, which achieved a world auction record price of US$2.1 million per carat, amounting to US$10.8 million for the diamond.
Huguette Clark’s collection also features an exceptional colorless diamond ring of 19.86 carats, by Cartier.
Certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as D color – the best color grade possible in a white diamond – and with potentially internally flawless clarity, this superb stone was discovered in its original Cartier box from the 1920s.
As was fitting for a society debutante of the day, Huguette Clark’s collection also included a stunning array of signed jewels by the finest makers of the Art Deco era, including an intricately-detailed diamond bracelet by Cartier circa 1925; estimate: $300,000-500,000), a diamond and multi-gem charm bracelet by Cartier, also circa 1925 (estimate: $20,000-30,000), and a ruby, sapphire, emerald and gold bracelet possibly designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany & Co. circa 1915 (estimate: $30,000-50,000).