Cartier makes heatwave more bearable

2017_cks_14228_0162_000an_early_20th_century_rose_quartz_and_gem-set_thermometer_by_cartier.jpg

It will not get cooler during a heat wave, but it is certainly a lot more bearable when you read the temperature of this thermometer.

This unique thermometer was made around 1915 by Maison Cartier. The rose quartz tablet with black enamelled bowl and rose-cut diamond detail, has a ruby cabochon and a diamond flower head on every corner. The golden and white enamel pieces rest on a rectangular rose quartz base and have a total height of 18.0 cm, and is signed by Cartier N.Y

This unique and expensive thermometer was estimated at GBP 18,000 – 20,000. It eventually sold for £ 22,500 on June 13, 2017 at Christie’s London.

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Taylor and Bvlgari

 

ElizabethTaylor-Posh24

Don’t miss the unique exhibition ‘A Passion for Jewels’ in Zurich from 7 to 23 April 2016. The Bvlgari store in Zurich (Bahnhofstrasse 25) showcases a selection of Bvlgari masterpieces that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, now part of the Maison’s Heritage Collection. The impeccable craftsmanship and magnificent stones of the creations on display will tell a compelling story made of  love, glamour and beauty.

Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection was renowned as one of the greatest ever assembled. In 2011, Christie’s held a sale of Taylor’s private collection, which set records as the most valuable sale of jewellery in auction history. From this sale, Bvlgari re-acquired seven pieces that best represented Taylor’s predilection for the brand and her unerring collector’s eye.

Indeed, the bold and  sumptuous style of Bvlgari perfectly  matched her decided tastes and since 1962, when the actress settled in Rome to film Cleopatra, the affinity became a lifelong, intense relationship with the brand.

The only Italian word Elizabeth knows is Bvlgari.

Richard Burten

This predilection was encouraged by Elizabeth Taylor’s love affair with Richard Burton, started on the film set and sealed with magnificent Bvlgari jewels: legend has it that after filming their first scene together they instantly fell in love, despite the fact that they were both married. Their love affair spread like wildfire throughout the international press and the Bvlgari Via Condotti store was one of the favourite hide-outs of the couple in Rome. A ‘secret door’ in the back of the shop, still visible today, allowed the couple to escape from paparazzi lining in front of the store. Recalling the memorable moments spent at the Condotti store, Taylor stated that

…..undeniably one of the biggest advantages of filming Cleopatra in Rome was Bvlgari’s shop. I used to visit Gianni Bulgari in the afternoon and we’d sit and swap stories.

The exhibition includes Taylor’s first piece of Bulgari jewelry, an emerald and diamond En Tremblant brooch, the “Cleopatra Mirror,” the Taylor Burton fianceìe ring, a diamond brooch with a 23.44 octagonal step-cut diamond, an emerald and diamond necklace; a platinum sautoir with diamonds and sapphires; a Trombino ring that Taylor bought to compliment the platinum sautoir; and, lastly, one of Taylor’s most frequently worn pieces –  a diamond and gold sautoir set with six ancient Roman coins.

liz-taylor-emerald-engagement-ring-Bulgari

Richard Burton’s emerald engagement ring (above): the actress cherished this piece and when she decided to auction it to raise funds for the fight against AIDS, she wrote a letter to the new owners instructing them to “Wear it with love!”.

468-6676_TAYLOR-N2.jpg

Immagini 146

The spectacular necklace (above) of emeralds and diamonds Burton presented her with on the occasion of their marriage in 1964. The very starting point of this platinum jewel was a brooch, featuring an 18.61 carat emerald surrounded by diamonds, one of the first gifts from Richard Burton and subsequently re-worked as pendant, and ‘completed’ as a necklece, that the actress loved so much that it was the only jewel she wore the day they married.

taylor-top-suite-Bvlgari-11The Bvlgari emerald suite bracelet (above) was a gift from Richard Burton for her 35th birthday on February 27, 1967,

AB 143Beside the fabulous stones, Taylor also admired the craftsmanship behind her jewels; a perfect example is her Tremblant brooch (above) with emeralds and diamonds, whose flowers quiver following the movements of the wearer’s body thanks to a spring attached to the petals.

AB 055The Trombino ring (above) on display featuring a cabochon sapphire, was purchased by Taylor herself as an ideal complement to the sautoir.

Immagini 195Another magnificent Bvlgari creation, the sautoir featuring an octagonal pendant with a 65 carat sapphire (above), was chosen by Richard Burton in 1972 to mark Elizabeth Taylor’s fortieth birthday, as the intense blue of the stone reminded him of the colour of her eyes.

elizabethtaylorbulgariserpentiwatchchristiesimagesltd2011

bulgari_iconedb-1096x1248

At this moment the Bvlgari Serpenti Tubogas watches are realy High-Fashion. This precious Bvlgari Serpenti gold, diamonds and emerald tubogas watch-bracelet dates 1962!

AB 200

Another piece she chose and wore frequently is the necklace of 1975 with ancient coins, one of the most celebrated Bulgari motifs ever.

347871_specchio

 

 

Gabrielle Chanel in her suite at the Ritz hotel in Paris 1937

 

entrance-of-ritz-palace-paris

The Ritz Hotel in Paris at the Place Vendôme, is arguably a museum in itself with all the clandestine history that went on behind those doors, but it turns out the hotel has been hiding one very expensive piece of art history in particular all these years, not in a dusty attic but in Coco Chanel’s former suite no less.

As you might be aware, in the summer of 2012, the Ritz closed for the first time since César Ritz opened the hotel in 1898, to undergo a two year renovation project. All the furniture and valuables of the hotel are being stored in a secret location until the project is complete. But before the hotel’s contents were removed, a large-scale inventory was conducted before closure.

Coco Chanel at the Ritz Paris

A room with a view: Coco Chanel at her rooftop apartment at the Ritz, Paris

When the inventory team began accounting for the opulent furnishings of the famous Coco Chanel suite, where the designer called home for 37 years until her death in 1971, a painting in the drawing room caught the undivided attention of the hotel’s art advisor, Joseph Friedman.

“When I saw this painting in the suite, I had to take a step back. It had a very powerful impact,” Mr. Friedman, former curator of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s residence in Paris, told the Agence France Presse. “The use of colour and the movement are remarkable. It was clearly the work of a major 17th century French master.”

le brun

Coco Chanel Suite 302, The Ritz, Paris, with The Sacrifice of Polyxena hanging on the wall

The ‘mystery’ 17th century painting hanging on the drawing room wall of Coco Chanel’s suite, Friedman’s colleague found the initials CLBF and a date, 1647, but the mysterious tableau depicting the ritual slaying of Trojan princess Polyxena had no record of purchase or installation in The Ritz archives, much less any information about the work.

Olivier Lefeuvre, a Christie’s France specialist of the 17th century spotted the painting hanging in Coco Chanel’s suite a month before the hotel’s closure and instantly recognised it. “I thought it was a Le Brun straight away,” he said. “It was very well preserved. It was really quite moving.”

Coco-Chanel-suite-2

Coco Chanel Suite 302, The Ritz, Paris, with The Sacrifice of Polyxena hanging on the wall

The initials stand for Charles Le Brun Fecit, Charles Le Brun being a dominant figure in 17th-century French art, and declared by many as ‘the greatest French artist of all time’. Fecit is a latin word that previously appeared on works of art next to the artist’s name, meaning ‘he (or she) made it’. 

“The influence of Poussin is obvious,” says Friedman, referring to LeBrun’s works which were notably often inspired by the master of baroque art, Nicolas Poussin. And although experts have not found any contemporary record of the painting, the oil painting has been officially identified as an early work by Le Brun  (1619-1690), making it more than 400 years old. “No-one is in any doubt that it is a genuine Le Brun,” according to Friedman.

Gabrielle Coco Chanel Ritz hotel Paris

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel in her suite 302, at the Ritz hotel in Paris 1937, published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1937, this photo was chosen for the Chanel No.5 advertisement.

Dubbed by Christie’s as The Sacrifice of Polyxena, the painting has been hanging in Coco Chanel’s suite for decades, if not longer. Nobody knew it was there or even existed. Since there are embarrassingly no records for it, it’s anyone’s guess how it got there. Perhaps Mademoiselle Chanel herself could have brought it in quietly during the German occupation of Paris. Coco lived at the Ritz throughout World War II. She also had highly questionable relationships with the Nazi’s who were notorious for looting valuable art collections belonging to wealthy French (Jewish) families as well as major museums.

The-Sacrifice-of-Polyxena-Charles-Le-Brun-1647

The Sacrifice of Polyxena

Or it could have already been on the premises when César Ritz purchased the property– although the fact that the original 1705 building was so extensively rebuilt during its conversion into a luxury hotel would make the latter hard to believe.

But even harder to believe is that after Chanel’s death when an expert inventory team no doubt went through the three room suite with a fine-toothed comb, the 17th century masterpiece hanging right in front of them on the wall went ignored.

Shocking still, before the suite was reopened to the world’s elite at €10,000 a night, art historians and interior specialists as well as Karl Lagerfield had even been called in to recreate the world Chanel lived in and to actually research the original furniture, decorative objects, the fabrics, even the wallpaper– and still no one noticed the paining staring right at them.  Perhaps if any of the wealthy guests over the years had possessed some real artistic knowledge, they would have made an offer on the painting at reception.

chanelsuite1

Coco Chanel Suite 302, The Ritz, Paris

No one did, and today the painting by Charles Le Brun has a pre-sale estimate of €500,000. It will go on display in New York temporarily and be auctioned by Christie’s in Paris in April, where the money raised will go to a foundation established by businessman Mohamed Al Fayed. Mr. Al Fayed is of course the owner of the Hotel Ritz, who set up the charitable foundation in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Princess Diana. They dined together at the Ritz just before their fatal car crash in 1997. “Mohamed Al Fayed decided to sell it because he thinks its quality means it should be in a museum,” Friedman said. “It deserves to be part of a major collection.”

 

 

Glamorously Royal Cartier Tigers

 

Cartier_Tiger_bracelet_brooch-e1411558254795

One of the most revered animal, Tigers are vulnerable to extinction as only about 3,200 exist in the wild today. Even in the ritzy-glitzy world of fine jewelry, Cartier Tigers are rare to chance upon. The Cartier Tiger Collection has been a highlight of 20th century jewelry design since it first appeared in 1928. At Christie’s’ upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, two pieces of tiger jewelry by Cartier are all set to go under the hammer. The onyx and diamond clip brooch and the bracelet with emerald eyes are estimated to sell for about $2.5 million together.

Along with the tag of French fashion house Cartier and the value of the precious metals and gemstones, it’s the history attached to these tigers that has played the role in elevating their value. The two diamond studded wild cats fashioned with onyx and emeralds originate from the legendary collection of the Duchess of Windsor. These pieces were bought by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from Cartier between 1956 and 1959. At the legendary sale of the Duchess’ collection in 1987, Andrew Lloyd Webber bought them for his then wife, Sarah Brightman. They were a present to her to celebrate the huge London and Broadway success of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, which he wrote and in which she starred.

ChristiesTigerBrooches_cartier

The Duchess of Windsor, Sarah Brightman

Seen in the images above is the Duchess of Windsor wearing the iconic Cartier Tiger jewels, at the Gala opening of the new Lido Revue in Paris, 11 Dec 1959. Twenty-nine years later, in 1988, Sarah Brightman was captured wearing the Cartier Tiger brooch and bracelet at The Phantom of the Opera opening party in New York’s Beacon Theatre.

The proceeds from this sale is intended to benefit The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, which significantly supports the arts, music in schools, The Architectural Heritage Fund and awards 30 performing arts scholarships annually.

Wonder whose wrist, the Cartier tiger choosed to rest on glamorously….