A spectacular selection of diamonds and jewellery from the collection of Christina Onassis, the daughter of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and Tina Livanos, will be auctioned by Christie’s in London on June 11.
Evoking a world of prestige and glamour associated with one of the most iconic names of the 20th century are more than 40 pieces of jewellery from her personal collection, while other vintage jewels, rings, bracelets, necklaces, pearls and single stones together with pieces from some of the most sought-after jewellers, including Cartier, Chaumet, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels, will also go under the hammer.
However, the pick of the lot from this collection is a pear-shaped diamond, which Christina, who controlled her father’s shipping empire until her death in 1987, wore on a diamond pendant necklace. This is estimated to fetch in the region of £2.2 million (Dh16m).
Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christies Middle East, told Emirates Business: “This collection is a wonderful opportunity for people to acquire jewels which evoke the glamour associated with Christina Onassis.
“From important jewels by leading jewellery houses through to charming smaller pieces, which are more accessible, this collection is a celebration of jewellery which should be worn, treasured and, most of all, enjoyed.”
The pear-shaped diamond worn by Christina is a 38-carat potentially flawless gem.
“This diamond is a D-colour, which is the absolute best. The cut is pear-shaped, which is highly desirable and perfect for a pendant, which is the way that Christina Onassis wore it.
“The clarity is VVS1, which means there is a tiny blemish that can be removed, this is why it is referred to as potentially flawless,” Jeha explained.
“This is a superb diamond and one of the most important to come to the market this year. The demand for diamonds of the highest quality is very strong and this necklace is likely to attract fiercely competitive bidding,” he added.
Other key jewels include the sapphire and diamond necklace by Harry Winston, which is estimated to fetch about £120,000 to £150,000, and also a ruby and diamond necklace by Van Cleef and Arpels estimated to go for £30,000 to £40,000.
“The collection also features an exceptionally rare bowenite Buddha by Carl Fabergé, which took pride of place on Onassis’s yacht. It has an estimate of £250,000 to £350,000,” Jeha said
The pick of the lot in the vintage jewellery, he added, is a corsage by Chaumet. Founded in the late 18th century, Chaumet is renowned for fine design and quality, having provided jewels for the fashionable aristocracy and historic figures such as Napoleon and the Duchesse de Berry.
The auction includes an impressive diamond corsage ornament by Chaumet, which dates to the early 20th century and is estimated to fetch between £40,000 to £60,000.
The garland-style jewel with a twin ‘L’ monogram was commissioned by Juan Antonio de Beistegui for his wife Dolores (Lolita) de Yturbe (1871-1939), also known as La Belle Mexicaine.
Many of Lolita’s jewels were made by Chaumet and Cartier in the early 20th century and include this distinctive monogram. Juan Antonio and his wife divided their time between Paris, their elegant Villa Fal in Biarritz, as well as Madrid, where he was the Mexican Ambassador.
“Bids open when the catalogue comes out four weeks prior to sale, approximately around May 15,” Jeha said. “If people can’t be at the auction they can also bid by phone or they can bid online with Christie’s Live.
“The real-time video and audio brings the excitement of the auction right to your desktop. To bid online, registrations have to be done at least two business days before a sale.”
Not your average diamonds