An Art Deco ruby and diamond brooch, circa 1930, by Cartier
Estimate: Swiss Francs (CHF) 100,000-150,000. This lot was offered in Magnificent Jewels on 17 May 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva and realised a price of CHF 241,500.
It’s a beautiful piece, Art Deco in style and period, able to be approximately dated because of its construction (clip brooches were unknown as a style before the 1920s-1930s) and unusual because of the use of coloured stones as the significant and substantial element of the piece. Diamonds were much more often the focus gem in Art Deco jewelry, but in this case, the rubies are imporant gems, substantial and well-matched.
The old-cut and baguette-cut diamond geometrically designed panel has an oval-cut ruby flower in the centre, within a square-cut ruby geometric surround. The piece is c.1930, is 5.0 cm long, and mounted in platinum. It’s signed Cartier London, no. 5664.
This glamorous clip brooch was owned originally by a Hollywood actress and film star Emily Wehlen who began her career in Germany as a singer and silent film actor. She worked in London as an operetta singer and then crossed the Atlantic to pursue her career in Boradway and Hollywood.:
A 1911 article in Everybody’s Magazine, an American glossy, described the starlet as ‘very pretty, very graceful, [and] extraordinarily clever’. Wehlen would go on to feature in many films, often in leading roles, before returning her focus to opera. After her death in 1977, her estate and jewellery collection were bequeathed to family and friends. ‘Emmy Wehlen’s life was exceptional, and this brooch is as colourful as she was,’ says Berden. ‘The two went very well together.’
Here’s Emmy… in the film His Bonded Wife, 1918 © Granger NYC / Rue des Archives
Information, cited text and images: Christie’s
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