Royal jewels smuggled from Russia during the 1917 revolution go on sale

Russian royal jewelery smuggled out of the country during the 1917 revolution, along with rare colored diamonds, are up for auction next week in Geneva, in search of deep-pocketed collectors emerging from the pandemic.

An orange-pink diamond weighing 25.62 carats, estimated at 3.6 million to 5.38 million Swiss francs ($ 3.9 million to $ 5.9 million), set in a ring, is the flagship lot in Sotheby’s auction house biannual jewelry sale in the Swiss city in November. 10.

“A beautiful crystal, it’s a fantastic color with a little bit of orange but not too much, so it’s a very subtle color,” Olivier Wagner, sales manager and jewelery expert at Sotheby’s Geneva, told Reuters in the showroom. of a hotel by the lake. .

“The market is currently very dynamic and after the pandemic, people are very interested in buying jewelry today and buying something tangible that they can enjoy.”

For historical gem collectors, a large oval sapphire and matching diamond brooch and earrings from the jeweler of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the aunt of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, are back on the block.

A sapphire and diamond brooch and a pair of ear flaps dating from around 1900. Credit: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

“They belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, who was the queen of social life in St. Petersburg. She was the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir, so the son of the Tsar (Alexander II), and had a fantastic collection of jewelry “Wagner said.

The royal ensemble, entrusted to his friend British diplomat Albert Henry Stopford, who brought them to London for safekeeping along with other jewels, is estimated at 280,000-480,000 francs, the auction house said.

Pavlovna escaped from revolutionary Russia and died in France in 1920. Her brooch and earrings are being sold by a European princely family who bought them at auction in 2009, the auction house said.

Sotheby’s is expanding its luxury week, with a “Fashion Through Time” online sale aimed at younger collectors, including handbags with the names of movie stars Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin, and sneakers. worn by the late NBA star Kobe Bryant.

His yellow and black Nike shoes, US size 14, are estimated at 25,000-35,000 Swiss francs.

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