Russian Royal jewels to fetch millions at Sotheby's
Two exceptional jewels owned by the Russian Royal family will grace the auction block at Sotheby's in Geneva next month.
Both lots are believed to originate from the Imperial Russian collection, which was established in 1719 by Tsar Peter the Great.
The collection was originally stored in the Diamond Room of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, but at the outbreak of WWI it was moved for security reasons to the Kremlin.
After the war a series of experts itemized and valued the entire collection, and produced a catalogue entitled Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones. Published in Russian, English, French and German, the catalogue detailed every piece acquired from the early 17th century to the present day.
However, the Bolshevik Government quickly recalled and destroyed almost all copies of the catalogue, and today examples are highly rare. The Sotheby's sale will also include one of these original catalogues, with an estimate of $38,000 - $51,000.
Less than ten years later in 1927, a number of pieces from the collection were taken to London, and sold at an auction of "The Russian State Jewels".
Amongst these lots were a diamond necklace and a bow knot brooch, originally commissioned circa 1760-80 by Empress Catherine II, known as Catherine the Great. Having been sold in London, the pieces then passed through just two private collections, during which time they were combined to form a single diamond necklace with a delicate bowknot clasp.
This historic and important necklace will now be offered for sale at Sotheby's, where it's expected to fetch $3 - $5 million.
The second piece on offer is a diamond parure, comprised of a necklace, a brooch and a pair of earrings, regarded as the most important example to come up for auction in half a century.
The stones are believed to originate from a gift by Empress Catherine I of Russia to Sultan Ahmed III, to negotiate the end of the Siege of Pruth in 1711. They were then used by the Sultan Abdul Hamid II to create a necklace, which he gave to the wife of Teufik of Egypt to celebrate the birth of the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan in 1874.
The stunning suite, with provenance from three different international royal families, is also expected to sell in Geneva for $3 - $5 million.
The Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale takes place in Geneva on November 16.
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