Here is a piece of jewelry stunningly beautiful in its own right, which has added significance because of its association with the collector who first owned and cherished it, Mona, Countess of Bismarck.
Recently offered for auction as Lot 362 by Sotheby’s during Session 3 of Magnificent and Noble Jewels in Geneva, in May 2017, this is a Cartier Art Deco jadeite, onyx, ruby and diamond pendant/brooch, circa 1925.
Two carved jadeites, beautifully translucent, are set on an onyx hoop and highlighted with single-cut diamond and circular-cut diamonds set into the jadeite and onyx. The ends are set with sugarloaf cabochon rubies and the piece is signed Cartier and numbered.
Formerly in the Collection of Mona, Countess von Bismarck (1897-1983), this piece had previously changed hands in 1986, when Sotheby’s Geneva sold her magnificent collection of jewels. After an estimate of 105,000 — 155,000 CHF at this latest auction, the pendant brooch realised a price of 372,500 CHF including buyer’s premium.
Mona, Countess Von Bismarck, was described by her lifelong friend Cecil Beaton as:
“one of the few outstanding beauties of the thirties… who represented the epitome of all that taste and luxury can bring to flower”
She was born in 1897 in Kentucky and by 1983, the year of her death, she had been twice divorced and three times widowed. In 1954 as a widow of means, she married Edward, Count von Bismarck, grandson of Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, one of the two men with whom she shared relatively lengthy and satisfying relationships. After they moved to Europe to live, Mona became a glamorous and admired hostess in Paris and on Capri, entertaining guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas, always resplendent in her jewels and beautiful gowns.
Information and image courtesy Sotheby’s