This sale of fine jewelry in the Var, in southern France, recalled a flamboyant interwar couple that owned four outstanding pieces.
French, two-toned gold transformation brooch, the center set with an approximately 6.90-ct unheated Kashmir cushion sapphire surrounded by 37 old-cut diamonds, the whole surmounted by a fine seawater pearl.
In 1917, Count Foulques de Baillardel de Lareinty de Tholozan (1895-1944) married Princess Zenaide Pavlona Demidoff (1899-1981) in Russia. The couple fled the October Revolution for Paris, where they began a whirlwind high-society life. Then they moved to the Château du Lac in Sigean near Narbonne, where they threw parties and large dinners for their Parisian guests and exiled Russians. On these occasions, Princess Demidoff wore the jewelry offered for sale at this auction, which had been bought for her by the count. The most spectacular piece is this two-toned gold transformation brooch set with an approximately 6.90-ct cushion sapphire surrounded by 37 old-cut diamonds, the whole surmounted by a fine seawater pearl (gross weight 19.82 g/0.70 oz). French craftsmanship enhances a genuine unheated Kashmir sapphire (1.28 x 0.91 x 0.55 cm/ 0.50 x 0.35 x 0.21 in), one of the strengths of this bauble, which sold for €400,000 based a high estimate of €80,000. The sale also featured rubies, including two choice pieces. The first was a white-gold ring set with an approximately 8.20-ct ruby and diamonds weighing 0.70 ct each (gross weight 6.16 g/0.22 oz), undoubtedly from a deposit in the Mogok region. Because of its rarity, bidders fought over the piece until the price reached €268,750. A dazzling gold and silver barrette brooch with five cabochon rubies surrounded by 78 old-cut diamonds fetched €21,250. The stones, also from Burma and unheated, range from 1.20 to 2.30 ct (gross weight 19.52 g/0.68 oz). Lastly, a highly original "You and I" yellow-gold bangle bracelet set with a 2-ct old-cut diamond and a sugar-loaf sapphire, both alternating with lines of calibrated roses and sapphires (gross weight 53.98 g/1.90 oz), sold for €23,125.