Antique & Estate Jewelry / Blogs: All That Glitters / Sales

Royal Jewels Uncovered After a Century Head to Sotheby’s Auction


Sotheby’s is bringing jewels from European royal houses connected to Austria’s Habsburg dynasty to a two-day auction, Vienna 1900: An Imperial and Royal Collection, during its annual Luxury Week in Geneva.

Comprising over 200 pieces recently discovered hidden away in a bank vault—where they’d been unseen for nearly a century—the Nov. 6–7 sale represents the largest collection of Austrian royal jewelry ever to come to auction. “This collection is arguably the most important noble jewels auction since the landmark sale of the royal jewels from the Bourbon-Parma family held by Sotheby’s in Geneva four years ago,” said Andres White Correal, Sotheby’s deputy chairman and jewelry senior director, in a statement.

“The collection is truly exceptional, boasting a unique combination of magnificent ceremonial court jewels worn by the women of Europe’s elite and royal families, as well as an important assemblage of men’s dress accessories, cigarette cases, and objets de vertu,” he said. “Presented together, their superior craftsmanship and exquisite design brilliantly showcase the style and grandeur of the Habsburg court and permit us a rich and fascinating glimpse into the private lives of these European ruling houses when the court of Vienna was at its most powerful and opulent.”

Below are a few of the most notable pieces, rich with diamonds, rubies, and/or natural pearls—brooches, necklaces, and tiaras, along with a devant-de-corsage, which Archduchess Marie Therese of Austria-Teschen received in 1865 as a wedding gift, that leads the sale. Prices are quoted in U.S. dollars and Swiss francs (CHF).

Sothebys Devant-de-corsage
Devant-de-corsage, circa 1865, with natural pearls and diamonds (also pictured at top), estimate $301,418–$502,364 (CHF 270,000–450,000)
Sothebys brooch
Brooch (circa 1865) with natural pearls and diamonds, estimate $301,418–$502,364 (CHF 270,000–450,000)
Sothebys necklace
Köchert necklace from late 19th century with natural pearls and diamonds, estimate $156,291–$245,600 (CHF 140,000–220,000)
Sothebys brooches
Wilhelm Haarstrick suite of diamond brooches (circa 1900), estimate $10,047–15,629 (CHF 9,000–13,000)
Sothebys tiara
Köchert tiara (circa 1900) with natural pearls and diamonds, estimate $301,418–$502,364 (CHF 270,000–450,000)
Sothebys necklace
Köchert necklace (circa 1890-1895) with diamonds and rubies, estimate $122,800–$178,618 (CHF 110,000–160,000)
Sothebys brooch
Köchert brooch (circa 1890-1895) with diamonds and rubies, estimate $100,473–$145,127 (CHF 90,000–30,000)

(Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s)

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By: Annie Davidson Watson

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