May Birthstone: Emerald

As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald, derived from the word smaragdus, meaning green in Greek, was mined in Egypt as early as 330 B.C. Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia.

Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald Salimah Aga KhanFrom the former collection of princess Salimah Aga Khan, Van Cleef & Arpels Indian-style yellow gold, melon carved emeralds, diamond necklace, 1970 (Click photo to enlarge).

Van Cleef & Arpels. A Gold, Diamond and Carved Emerald Ring.jpg

Van Cleef & Arpels, 18kt yellow gold, diamond and carved emerald ring

Emerald and diamond “Camellia” brooch by Van Cleef and Arpels, circa 1975

Emerald and diamond ‘Camellia’ brooch by Van Cleef and Arpels, circa 1975 (Click photo to enlarge).

art-deco-emerald-and-diamond-ring-circa-1925.pngCentering a rectangular carved emerald with baguette, single, triangular and fancy-shaped diamond shoulders, completed by a plain mount; estimated total diamond weight: 2.70 carats; mounted in platinum; size 5 1/4

Antique Emerald Melon Pumpkin Cut Chain YakymourAntique Indian melon carved emerald necklace (Privat collection) (Click photo to enlarge).

 

The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.

by Jean Amr

‘Le Bal Oriental’

Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild  married her distant cousin Guy de Rothschild. Her husband and his sisters, Jacqueline and Bethsabée, grew up in the castle of Ferrières in the countryside, just outside of Paris. The Castle remained empty until 1959, after the German troops during the occupation of France in World War II.

Afterwards the newly married Rothschilds made the decision, to live at the Castle. The Interior of the large Castle was by Marie-Hélène. The Castle grew into a place where European nobility, during exuberant parties, came into contact with musicians, artists, fashion designers and movie stars from Europe and Hollywood. The hip and inventive thematic evenings they organized, both in Paris and New York, were usually to raise money for charity, were much discussed.

Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild  and her husband, baron Guy de Rothschild bought the Hôtel Lambert on the island of Saint-Louis, one of Paris ‘ most prestigious homes, where they involved the upper floors. Marie-Hélène became close friends with the in the ‘ society ‘ active baron Alexis de Redé who lived on the first floor of the Hôtel Lambert and who was a regular on their parties. In recognition of her importance for the international promotion of the French culture and fashion, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild was awarded the “Legion of honor” granted.

Digitalizar0001 (3) - Cópia - Cópia

Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild

Alexis de Redé tells in ‘Alexis, the Memoirs of the Baron de Redé’:  “The Oriental Ball in 1969 has been described as one of the most fantastic parties of the twentieth century, and as a high point in my life. I am frequently asked what the reason was for giving it, and I have to say there was no special reason. I just decided to give a ball.
The Oriental Ball made me well known in Paris, that and my occasional racing successes. it attracted a huge amount of publicity. I began to plan it in March 1969, sent out the invitations in May and the ball itself took place on 5 December”.

Bal Oriental Rothschild Begum Aga Khan

Invitation ‘Le Bal Oriental’ at L’Hôtel Lambert, Paris

“There were about 400 guests at the ball. Nobody dined beforehand. The ball started at 10 o’clock and went on until about 5 in the morning”

Valerian Styx-Rybar and Jean-François Daigre

Valerian Styx-Rybar and Jean-François Daigre

“Jean-François Daigre, a discovery of Marie-Hélène’s, designed the evening. He had worked for Jacques Dupont. He had vivid imagination, but a terrible temper, and there were dreadful rows between him and Marie-Hélène. He would suddenly lose is head and shout. ‘Do it yourself,’ and then storm off. There were so many flare-ups that it became nerve-wracking but as ever, it was all right on the night. I did not have those problems working with him. Daigre transformed the Lambert into a Eastern fantasy”.

Bal Oriental Rothschild Begum Aga Khan

“There were two huge white life-sized elephants made of papier maché in the courtyard. These were ornately dressed and a rider sat on top, under a golden canopy. At the bottom of the stairs, there were two Hindu musicians, a zither player in red and gold and a beauty in a turquoise sari, clinking cymbals. All the way up the staircase to the apartment, at suitable intervals, stood sixteen half-naked muscular men, hired from Paris gymnasiums, dressed as Nubian slaves, holding torches to guide the guests”.

LastScan1

“At the top a figure in black tunic and long black turban announced the guests in a reverberanting voice. I greeted them as a Mogul prince, my costume designed by Pierre Cardin”.

Alexis de Redé

Alexis de Redé

LastScan3

Estée Lauder’s husband complained that his Fu Manchu moustache itched all evening.

“The Lambert itself was a fantasy reminiscent of the ‘Thousand and One Nights’. All about was the scent of jasmine and myrrh. The Hercules Gallery was filled with Turks, Arabs, Russians, Chinese and Japanese. Turbans and false beards abounded”.

LastScan7

LastScan9

Baroness Marie-Hélène and Baron Guy de Rothschild

Baroness Marie-Hélène and Baron Guy de Rothschild

“Marie-Hélène came as a Siamese dancer, Johannes von Thurn and Taxis as a Hussar, and my favourite guest was the Vicomtesse de Bonchamps, an American living in the Avenue Foch, who was born as Dale King”.

Viscountess of Bonchamps and Countess of Ribes

Viscountess of Bonchamps and Countess of Ribes

“She came as a pagoda. She Had to be brought to the ball in the back of a truck, as her costume was made out of metal. She could not sit down in the truck and she could not sit down at all until she took it off. You have to make a balance between enjoying the evening, or the impression you want to make, I am not sure she got it right”.

Serge Lifar and Patricia Lopez-Willshaw

Serge Lifar and Patricia Lopez-Willshaw

“Kenneth J. Lane, the jeweller, wore a turban of Russian sable skins, with wolf tails hanging from it and a huge cape made of Zorino skunk, trimmed with wolf. It was a warm night, so he may have suffered a bit”.

Prince Rupert zu Lowenstein and Madame Graham Mattison

Prince Rupert zu Lowenstein and Madame Graham Mattison.

“Other guests included the Prince Karin Aga Khan, his wife Begum Salimah Aga Khan and the Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan, Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark and her husband Prince Henrik., Valerian Styx-Rybar, Jimmy Douglas, Clé-Clé de Maillé, Brigit Bardot, the Lowensteins, Salvador Dali, Amanda Lear and Bettina. One guest brought a baby panther in his arms”.

Amanda Lear Salvador DalíAmanda Lear, Salvador Dalí and ‘unknown’ guest.

Salvadore Dali, Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan, Amanda RearToday, fourty-six years ago, Salvador Dali, Amanda Lear and Her Highness The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan III attend ‘Le Bal Oriental’ hosted by the Baron de Rédé and his friend the Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild at the Hôtel Lambert, Paris, December 5, 1969.

Begum Om Habibeh Aga KhanThe Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at ‘Le Bal Oriental’ (Click photo to enlarge).

Begum Om Habibeh Aga KhanThe Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan at ‘Le Bal Oriental’ (Click photo to enlarge).

Clé-Clé de Maillé came to this ball. It was her last appearance in public. The next day she went to the clinic, where she died two weeks later. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but did not want to have the breast removed sonce her greatest joy in life was to sunbathe naked. So instead she took chemotherapy with distressing results.

Madame Vincente-Minnelli and Madame Jean-Claude Abreu

Madame Vincente-Minnelli and Madame Jean-Claude Abreu

Brigitte Bardot was almost naked but for strings of coins and a little black chiffon, as was the recently widowed Odile Rubirosa, of whom the press wrotw, she arrived ‘all but nude, her bare bottom covered by a bit of silver chain mail (with great chinks in it) trough which Odile’s charms shone through. ‘Her costume was predictably audacious.”

“I have a wonderful memory of the evening nonetheless, and its full splendour is recorded in a vast album, bound in leather and encrusted with semi-precious stones. with watercolour images of the décor and guests by Serebriakoff.”

by Alexis de Redé in ALEXIS, the Memoirs of the Baron de Redé