Christie’s sells two historic jewels in New York
Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch
April 23, 2010 – Christie’s sold two historic jewels at well above their estimates at a sale in New York on April 22 – the Emperor Maximilian Diamond of 39.55 carats and the Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch, set with a Colombian emerald of over 60 carats.
“Historic diamonds and Royalty stole the headlines at Christie’s, with the Emperor Maximilian Diamond achieving $1.76 million – more than twice its original auction price since its first appearance at Christie’s in 1982,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewellery at Christie’s New York.
The Emperor Maximilian Diamond, which was sold to a private U.S. buyer, had an estimate of $1-1.5 million.
Christie’s sold the Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch to a private Middle Eastern buyer for $1.65 million, well above its estimate of $1-1.5 million.
Emperor Maximilian Diamond
The Emperor Maximilian Diamond is one of two large diamonds the Archduke Maximilian acquired in Brazil in 1860, in the years just before he was named
Emperor of Mexico at Napoleon’s urging.
In 1866, under pressure from the United States, Napoleon backed away from financial and military support for Maximilian, effectively abandoning him. Soon thereafter, republican forces captured and court-marshalled the young emperor and sent him before the firing squad.
Legend holds that Maximilian was wearing the Emperor Maximilian Diamond in a small satchel tied around his neck when he was executed.
The Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch centres on a hexagonal-cut Colombian emerald of exceptional quality weighing between 60 and 70 carats.
Uniquely precious and suited for imperial elegance, the emerald is set within rows of rose and old mine-cut diamonds and mounted in silver-topped gold.
This Imperial gem originally belonged to Catherine II of Russia, who ascended to the Russian
throne in 1762.