See you in Geneva on 6 and 7 November 2023. The auction house Sotheby’s will be auctioning a line of jewellery from imperial Vienna in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The auction market continues to turn heads. On 6 and 7 November, Sotheby’s will be auctioning a collection of more than 200 jewels that have not been seen for some fifty years, kept in a bank vault. This exceptional collection comprises jewellery ranging from tiaras to pearl necklaces and diamond brooches. This exclusive line, belonging to a single owner, was gradually assembled in Vienna, and features the all-powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Jewellery that tells the story of Europe
After the fall of the monarchy in France, Vienna became the centre of Europe, welcoming royal families from all over the continent. The pieces in the Vienna 1900 collection trace the varied styles worn at court by members of the royal houses of Habsburg, Bourbon-Parma, Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Indeed, jewellery was an integral part of the lives of nobles and royalty, and was seen as a symbol of the role held by its owner. As experts have pointed out, the pieces were often given as gifts at weddings or births and passed down through the family. These jewels bear witness to the jewellery art of previous decades, and shine as much for their beauty as for the stories they tell.
Diamonds, rubies, pearls…
There is a corsage front, a wedding gift for Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Teschen from her husband Philip of Württemberg in 1865, signed by Viennese jeweller Emil Biedermann.
A necklace and brooch set with rubies and diamonds in the shape of flowers, made by Köchert, are also part of the lot. These jewels were Emperor Franz Joseph’s wedding present for his niece Archduchess Marguerite Sophie of Austria when she married Duke and Crown Prince Albert of Württemberg in 1893. Like many 19th-century pieces, the necklace can be transformed into a tiara, while the brooch can be worn as is or in two parts.
Another masterpiece in the collection is a tiara adorned with diamonds and natural pearls that belonged to Princess Marie-Immaculée de Bourbon-Deux-Siciles, Archduchess of Austria-Tuscany from 1844 to 1899.
Or this tiara by Köchert, owned by Duchess Isabelle of Württemberg, Princess of Saxony, which sparkles with diamonds and rubies forming a subtle bow at its centre.
Magnetising rarity and finesse
Other jewels stand out for their magnetising rarity and finesse. These include a brooch whose size and purity of pearls speak for themselves, a necklace with five strands of pearls and a rivière de diamants necklace.
A sumptuous fan in mother-of-pearl, diamonds and cream-coloured lace, attributed to Köchert, given to Marie-Immaculée de Bourbon-Deux-Siciles for her wedding, captivates the eye with its finesse and elegance.
Men’s pieces are also featured, including sapphire, ruby and emerald rings from the collection of the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand I, cufflinks, gold cigarette cases and tie pins.
The series forms part of the Luxury Week organised by Sotheby’s, which will feature a number of sales in several categories of the sector. In Geneva, Hong Kong and New York, top-of-the-range watches and jewellery will be unveiled. A special mention goes to the American city, which will also host a sale of rare and ultra-premium wines.
Front page photo : Diamond and pearl corsage front ©Sotheby’s
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