May 16, 2019

Art Deco Jewellery Gets a Boost with the Beaumont Necklace Going for US$ 3.6 Mn at Sotheby’s Auction

At the recently held Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels held in Geneva on May 14, 2019, the much-lauded piece of Art Deco jewellery, The Beaumont Necklace, sold for a fabulous US$3,593,900.

“Tonight, 25 years after making auction headlines, a masterpiece of Art Deco jewellery set a new benchmark for a necklace of this period at Sotheby’s Geneva,” the auction house stated.   

“This emblematic piece is composed of a row of 11 immaculate Colombian cabochon emeralds, weighing a total of over 75 carats, and perfectly matched both in colour and proportions,” Sotheby’s said describing the piece. “These exceptional gemstones are combined with geometric diamonds in a breathtaking Art Deco design, placing this jewel among the very finest examples of 20th-century Jewellery.”

The necklace was created for Hélène Beaumont (1894 – 1988), an American socialite and close friend of the Duchess of Windsor, in the 1930s.

Although it is unsigned -- which, Sotheby’s points out was not unusual at the time –  its “beauty and quality” suggests, the auction house feels, that it was made  by Van Cleef & Arpels, as were so many other pieces Hélène Beaumont’s collection.

Not only is the neckpiece stunning to behold, it is also “very versatile”, for, the central emerald and diamond sections of the necklace can be detached and worn as bracelets.

At the same auction,  a Fabergé diamond tiara sold for US$434,346 against an estimate of  CHF/US$ 200,000 – 300,000. “The tiara was made for the wedding of the last Crown Princess of Prussia, Duchess Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954), on the occasion of her wedding to Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951), son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, in Berlin in June 1905,” Sotheby’s said.

The total collection taken in at the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Geneva auction amounted to US$42,045,451, with almost 80% of the lots sold; and close to 60% of them achieving prices above their high estimate.

Speaking after the sale, Sotheby’s Worldwide Jewellery Chairman David Bennett commented: “Tonight we saw the enduring appeal of outstanding Art Deco jewellery. The Beaumont necklace is “the Chrysler building of jewellery”, instantly recognisable as an Art Deco masterpiece, and in my opinion, the greatest emerald and diamond necklace of the period. I had the privilege to sell it a quarter of a century ago and achieving this landmark result tonight is a further testament to its absolute and timeless beauty.”

The necklace was first sold for US$1,167,730  at Sotheby’s Geneva auction on   May 18, 1994, in a sale dedicated to the “Magnificent Jewels of Madame Hélène Beaumont” (est. CHF 1.3-1.95 million). 

Pic Cap:  David Bennett auctioneering the “Beaumont necklace”

Pic Courtesy: Sotheby’s