Designed as an octagonal-shaped emerald weighing 30.71 carats within a border of fourteen circular-cut diamonds embellished with rose-cut diamond accents, circa 1870 - 1890. Accompanied by a certificate from the...
Designed as an octagonal-shaped emerald weighing 30.71 carats within a border of fourteen circular-cut diamonds embellished with rose-cut diamond accents, circa 1870 - 1890. Accompanied by a certificate from the SSEF stating that the emerald weighing 30.705 carats is of Colombian origin and displayed moderate amounts of oil in its fissures. Width: 4.5cm, Height 3cm. Weight: 28.9 grams
As is often the case in history, the specifics are lost to the sands of time and the stories remain, especially concerning the fate of jewellery. As a famous figure of infamous repute, many stories remain about Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck’s liaisons and social ambition leading to her often being considered the most successful courtesan of her time. Unusually however, there are also some documented specifics about the enormity of her jewellery collection. The Boucheron archives detail a portion of it and, as they were but one of the major jewellery houses prevalent in Paris at the end of the 19th Century and the Donnersmarcks were also known clients of Chaumet, this hints at the enormity of the remainder. One such entry describes the Countess visiting Boucheron in 1882, towards the end of her life, to have boxes made for many of her jewels, specifically a necklace with fifteen emeralds and brooch with a square emerald and diamond surround. This cushion-shaped brooch has a soft-octagonal-shaped emerald that could easily have been simplified to the term square and more importantly was consigned to Christie’s for auction in 2007 by a descendent of the Henckel von Donnersmarck family along with a necklace comprising fifteen emeralds. At the same time the Donnersmarck family consigned the famous ‘The Donnersmarck Diamonds’ with Sotheby’s to mark their inaugural ‘Noble Jewels’ auction. Comprising a cushion-shaped yellow diamond weighing 102.54 carats and a pear-shaped yellow diamond weighing 82.47 carats, these had been well documented as La Païva’s, who was often seen wearing these unmistakeable gems. After the Countess’ death, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck married a Russian aristocrat Katharina Wassilievna de Slepzow in 1887 and perpetuated the reputation of the Donnersmarck’s legendary jewellery collection by not only gifting his bride the family jewels once belonging to la Païva, but commissioned a tiara comprising 500 carats of cabochon emeralds that the family believed had belonged to the Imperial French Crown (he had gifted La Paiva a two row necklace of natural pearls having once belonged to Empress Eugenie for their wedding) which sold for over 11 million Swiss Francs in 2011. This emerald and diamond brooch, which is definitely made in the mid to late 19th Century, almost definitely entered the incredible Donnersmarck collection with the Marquise de Païva/Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, and most definitely by the time of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck.
Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, known as ‘La Païva' (1882-1884) Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1884-1887) Countess, later Princess, Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck (1887-1929) Thereafter, by direct family descent Christie’s Geneva November 2007 Lot 395 Private Collection