The platinum and diamond necklace that once belonged to Queen Nazli of Egypt has been part of a private collection up until its sale on December 9, at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewel sale.
The Van Cleef & Arpels necklace sold for $4.3 million in New York Wednesday, just below the $4.6 million Sotheby’s had projected for the piece.
Made in 1939, the Art Deco necklace is set with more than 600 round and baguette diamonds arranged in a sunburst motif. The queen commissioned the necklace, as well as a matching tiara, for her daughter’s wedding ceremony in 1939. Sotheby’s said she attended the event “literally covered in diamonds.”
Though the necklace was a prominent piece in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale, which brought in a total of $52.2 million, it was not the top lot of the auction.
Selling for $5.1 million, the highlight of the auction was a 25.87-carat cushion-cut sugarloaf cabochon sapphire, flanked by two bullet-cut diamonds and set into a platinum ring.
Another historic jewel in the auction was the Suzanne Belperron suite comprised of a pair of white gold, chalcedony, sapphire and diamond cuff bracelets and the matching necklace. The lots were sold separately. The cuffs sold for $526,000 and the necklace sold for $430,000. The suite was made circa 1935 for the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, and was first sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 1987.
Lisa Hubbard, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division, North & South America, commented: “If these jewels could talk, what a tale they would tell: an iconic Art Deco diamond necklace made in 1939 by Van Cleef & Arpels for Queen Nazli of Egypt, and an avant-garde creation made by designer Suzanne Belperron circa 1935 for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne. The rare combination of superb original design with romantic provenance is irresistible to lovers of fine jewels, and we are thrilled to present them to collectors this December.”