The Bessborough tiara and the Egyptian Star diamond are auctioned at Christie’s, reaching millionaire prices in Geneva.
A dazzling crown and the famous Egyptian diamond were auctioned off at Christie’s in Geneva, ending a week of jewelery auctions. The Bessborough Diamond Tiara, used at the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, has sold for 945,000 Swiss francs ($1.06 million). Made of platinum in art dco style, this piece weighs 136.5 grams. The Star of Egypt, a 105.52-carat unpolished diamond, sold for 2.7 million Swiss francs ($3 million) in less than three minutes of bidding.
The Bessborough Tiara was made in 1931 by the Parisian jeweler Chaumet for the 9th Earl of Bessborough. It is similar to a crown and has been used at two British coronations. Total jewelry sales at Christie’s reached 41.2 million Swiss francs ($45.8 million), with 11 lots valued at over $1 million each.
The Egyptian Star has a mysterious origin and is believed to have been bought by the Viceroy of Egypt in 1850 and then sold again in 1880. It first appeared on the London market in 1939 and is believed to have belonged to King Farouk of Egypt. Farouk’s impressive jewelery collection went missing after he fled into exile, but has since reappeared. The Egyptian Star, along with other jewels in his collection, has been in the same family since the 1970s and has never been auctioned before.
Another auction house, Sotheby’s, also auctioned the jewelry in Geneva. Of particular note was the “Bulgari Laguna Blue”, an 11.16-carat blue diamond that sold for 22.6 million Swiss francs ($25.2 million). At Christie’s auction, the Cartier Belle Poque “Davent-de-Courses” brooch, once owned by opera singer Nellie Melba, failed to sell due to a lack of bids.
Chaumet’s ring with a pear-shaped diamond and a 13.07-carat ruby was the most expensive item sold, with a price of 4.7 million Swiss francs ($5.25 million). The auction also included the largest collection of pieces from the JAR jewelry house, highlighted by the sapphire, spinel and diamond “Eye” bracelet, which sold for 856,800 Swiss francs ($957,000). Joel Arthur Rosenthal, the creator of JAR, carefully creates about 70 pieces of jewelry each year.