Hancocks to showcase exceptional jewels at Masterpiece London
June 2017 – A Victorian ruby, pink sapphire and diamond necklace owned by Anne, Countess of Rosse, a magnificent diamond pendant by Black, Starr & Frost, and a rare 1950s Van Cleef & Arpels zip necklace are three of the star pieces to be unveiled by Hancocks at Masterpiece London this month (29 June-5 July 2017).
Masterpiece Fair is London’s premier showcase for art and antiques, with millions of pounds worth of work on sale, and is regarded as the most chic of art fairs in the capital, attracting buyers and collectors around the world.
One of the key pieces Mayfair jewellers Hancocks will be exhibiting at its stand (C25) is A Victorian ruby, pink sapphire and diamond necklace with detachable drops, circa 1870. This was formerly owned by Anne, Countess of Rosse, pictured below left.
The Countess of Rosse was a well-known society hostess and the mother of Antony Armstrong-Stones, 1st Earl of Snowdon and mother-in-law to HRH Princess Margaret. Sylvania Rose-Innes, a close family friend, gave the Countess the necklace as a gift when she married Ronald Armstrong-Jones in 1925. Rose-Innes is believed to have acquired it from her mother who was given it by the Queen of Spain.
The necklace is designed as a series of 14 graduated oval and cushion shaped cluster motifs centred on a ruby or pink sapphire surrounded by a halo of old cut diamonds, each interspersed with two old cut diamonds either side of a ruby. In total, 17 rubies and 16 pink sapphires – all of Burmese origin – weighing a combined total of 51.71 carats feature in the piece along with old cut diamonds weighing 20 carats.
Guy Burton, Director of Hancocks, comments: “The necklace is believed to have special Royal significance as a source from the Royal Warrant holding jewellers Collingwood remembers this necklace being brought in to them by Anthony Armstrong-Jones, soon to become the Earl of Snowdon. A ruby was removed from the necklace and used as the central stone around which the engagement ring he would propose to Princess Margaret with was designed. Taking inspiration from her middle name ‘Rose’ the ruby was surrounded by diamonds and set to resemble a rose bud.
“The ruby from the necklace was later replaced and some alterations completed and this beautiful fitted case was made to keep the necklace and accompanying earrings safely. The dark red leather box is embossed in gold to the front with a double border and the initial R (for Rosse) surmounted by a crown. The inside is fitted with cream velvet and lined in cream silk with the Royal Warrant and Collingwood name stamped in gold to the centre.”
Diamond with a cut reminiscent of The Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) makes a sparkling appearance
The second notable piece of jewellery that will go on show at the Fair is a Magnificent Diamond Pendant by Black, Starr & Frost, circa 1910. Set with an incredible D colour 5.20cts old cut pear-shaped diamond, it has been described as, “one of the most beautiful diamonds we have ever offered for sale,” according to Guy Burton. With VVS2 clarity, the diamond has a “wonderful limpid quality and bright, lively appearance”, and is set in an elegant platinum scallop mount and suspended from an antique seed pearl and platinum chain by Tiffany & Co.
Guy Burton adds: “The style and cut of this exceptionally beautiful diamond is very special and is reminiscent of The Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I), which is part of the British Crown Jewels. The Great Star of Africa was cut by Jospeh Asscher in 1908 and is rumoured to be so well cut that it is able to stand on its culet. This diamond also exhibits this quality and is very similar in cut. It’s truly an exceptional gem and worth seeing in the flesh.”
Collectors set to head to Hancocks’ stand to see one of the earliest Van Cleef & Arpels zip necklaces
The third of Hancocks’ star lots to make its debut at Masterpiece is an iconic Van Cleef gold and diamond zip necklace, dating from the early 1950s.
Regarded as an astonishing feat in jewelry-making, the zip necklace can be credited to the Duchess of Windsor. Circa 1938, she suggested to Renée Puissant – the Maison’s artistic director and daughter of Alfred Van Cleef – that she should create a high jewellery piece based on the zip fastener.
This ‘Collier fermeture éclair’ Zip necklace is designed as a highly articulated working zipper finely crafted in 18 carat yellow gold and consisting of 206 single and round brilliant cut diamonds.
Versatile in its design, the necklace is a wonderful example of a piece of transformable jewellery as it can be worn open as a necklace or zipped closed as a bracelet, leaving the tassel to hang freely down the hand.
Alongside the Van Cleef & Arpels signature, this necklace is numbered 63964 which dates it to late 1950/early 1951 meaning it is one of the earliest Zip necklaces ever made making this piece extremely rare and highly desirable to collectors.
Guy Burton comments: “Since its unveiling in 1950, the Zip has become one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ most sought-after designs given its timeless elegance and appeal. It combines the creative vision, innovative design and extraordinary technical expertise that Van Cleef & Arpels are renowned for and we are really delighted to offer one of the earliest examples at Masterpiece this year and anticipate it will attract global interest given these pieces very rarely come to market.”
Amy Burton Fine Jewellery unveils ‘The Helix’ ring
Moving on to the most contemporary piece to be shown at Masterpiece, Hancocks will unveil the latest addition to its exclusive Amy Burton Fine Jewellery ‘Unum’ collection, The Helix ring. This features a 4.09ct old carré cut diamond, F colour VS1 clarity, in an intricate setting, hand pierced and set, by master craftsmen.Amy Burton comments: “As soon as I saw this wonderful carré cut diamond I knew I had to do something very special with it. I played around with a number of designed and really pushed the boundaries of the central stone. I wasn’t sure what I saw in my mind’s eye would translate to my design but after painstaking hours playing with the design and then translating it to a physical ring with the help of my master craftsman we managed to do it. It’s a ring which I am incredibly proud of and one that will give its owner lots of pleasure wearing it I hope.”
Hancocks adds a touch of Hollywood glamour to Masterpiece
Hancocks also plans to add a touch of Hollywood glamour to the fair this year with two interesting pieces:
The first, a gold cuff, was previously owned by one of America’s favourite child actresses and number one box office stars, Shirley Temple. The Shirley Temple Lalaounis wide cuff bangle is by Greek goldsmith and jeweller Ilias Lalounis, the most requested jeweller of the moment at Hancocks London.
Created in luxurious 18ct yellow gold, the textured finish cuff has a strong design with raised scrolling motifs, steeped in Byzantine influence, and was made by Lalaounis in his 1970s heyday.Hancocks will also offer A Pair of Diamond and Platinum “Caresse d’Orchidées” par Cartier earrings, which were worn by American actress Amy Adams at the Palm Springs Film Festival and the Vanity Fair Oscar After Party (pictured left). The earrings features a classic motif in Cartier jewellery, the orchid, first used by the jeweller in 1925. Embodying a delicate, feminine appeal, the fragility of this queen of flowers is meticulously rendered by Cartier’s skillful craftsmanship, its delicate petals sculpted from the finest precious materials.
Stephen Burton, Managing Director of Hancocks London, says: “Masterpiece gives us a wonderful opportunity to present an outstanding selection of the best of the best in relation to fine jewellery and exceptional gemstones we offer in our shop in Burlington Arcade. We are looking forward to another exciting fair and meeting collectors from all over the world.”
Hancocks at Masterpiece: Hancocks will be exhibiting at Masterpiece, stand C25. To book an appointment, please call Hancocks on 020 7493 8904. Follow Hancocks on Instagram @Hancocks_London.