Emeralds from Marie-Louise's tiara auctioned in New York
emeralds in a Van Cleef & Arpels brooch and ring originally from
a diadem belonging to the Empress Marie-Louise were sold at auction
on Tuesday last week (19/10/99) at Christies in New York.
The emperor presented
this diadem to Marie-Louise as part of an emerald and diamond parure,
made by Etienne Nitot et Fils of Paris, on the occasion of their wedding
Marie-Louise bequeathed the parure to her Hapsburg aunt, Archduchess
Elise, and it was a descendant who sold the diadem to Van Cleef &
Arpels in 1953.
The emeralds were removed from the diadem and, two years later,
a newspaper advertisement placed by the company proclaimed,
"An Emerald for You from the Historic Napoleonic Tiara." (The
diadem, reset with turquoise, was acquired by Marjorie Merriweather
Post in 1971 for the Smithsonian Institution.)
In 1967, Van Cleef & Arpels set one of these historic stones into
a brooch, specially designed for Mrs. Sybil Harrington, with emeralds
and diamonds set into a three-dimensional wire mounting that accentuates
the gemstones. The design resembles a floral bouquet with marquise and
pear-shaped diamonds forming the petals of the flowers. Van Cleef &
Arpels placed the other emerald into the center part of a ring with
circular-cut diamonds framing the stone. The estimated price for the
ring and brooch was set at 75,000-100,000 USD and the item finally went
for 189,500 USD.