AUCTIONS – Romanov jewels smuggled out of Revolutionary Russia for safekeeping soar to $885,000 in Sotheby’s Geneva Luxury Week Auctions


GENEVA – Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva on November 10, 2021, highlighted three sapphire and diamond jewels with Romanov provenance, which doubled the pre-auction estimate to make $885,000.

sapphire and diamond jewels

Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s

They led the historic jewels offered in the sale, including four tiaras.

The top lot of the night went to a perfectly matched pair of diamond pendant earrings at $5.6 million, reflecting the strong demand seen for exceptional white diamonds across the auction.

The Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction made 39.8 million CHF / $43.7 million, a total comfortably within the pre-sale estimate (31.1-43.3 million CHF), and with a healthy sell through rate of 85.7%. 55% of lots sold for prices above their high estimates.

The sale starred a sapphire and diamond brooch and matching ear clips with Romanov provenance taken out of Russia for safekeeping during the 1917 revolution (lot 279).

They more than doubled their low estimate to sell for 806,500 CHF / $884,972 (est. $300,000-500,000).

The jewels had once belonged to the formidable aunt of Emperor Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (1854-1920) who entrusted her friend, the British diplomat and aristocrat Albert Henry Stopford (1860-1939) with their safe passage to London.

The sale was led by a superb and perfectly matched pair of diamond earrings, each set with a D colour, Flawless square-cut diamond weighing 25.88 carats respectively (lot 287). They sold for 5.1 million CHF / $5.6 million, a price above their pre-sale estimate (4.1-5 million CHF).

Indeed, white diamonds accounted for four of the five highest prices across today’s auction (lots 287, 297, 293, 250), reflecting the demand for stones of the very highest quality.

They include a magnificent diamond bracelet from a royal collection set with a D colour pear-shaped diamond weighing 59.00 carats.

This sold for the second highest price of the day: 4.1 million CHF / $4.5 million (3.6-4.2 million CHF).


Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s