Proud 1920s Cartier Peacock Brooch Fetches $870,000

Has there ever been a prouder peacock? Commissioned from Cartier by an unnamed royal in 1924, this pin was the piece du jour at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale Oct. 7. The bejeweled bird would seem to fit right in with Cartier’s iconic animal oeuvre, but in the ’20s, the house was steeped in Art Deco. “Around the 1950s, designs shifted away from the geometric Art Deco style to the imaginary world of naturalism,” says Flora Wong, deputy director and senior specialist of jewelry at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, citing the “harmonious proportions” of the peacock plumage, plus the 48 ct. ruby, as the brooch’s most covetable elements: “Its rarity, royal provenance, and design are all highly valued.”

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