Queen Elena of Italy's jewellery could bring Royal prices to Christie's

Christie's sale of Important Jewels on Tuesday 29 November 2011 features over 400 stellar lots, with Royal and historic jewels offered from The Property of HM Queen Elena of Italy and Her Descendants, classic Art Deco, Art Nouveau and signed jewels by Boivin, Bvlgari, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

With estimates ranging from £1,000 to £250,000, the sale is expected to realise in the region of £5 million.

The Property of HM Queen Elena of Italy and Her Descendants comprises 27 lots (lot 207-233) and is led by a finely pierced 1920s diamond bracelet, with a stunning floral motif, by Alfredo Ravasco (estimate: £25,000-35,000), illustrated right.

Ravasco created jewellery for the Royal House of Savoy, including presentation brooches for thePrincess of Piedmont, later Queen Maria José of Italy. He was one of the few Italian jewellers to exhibit at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Ruby, emerald and diamond Deux Fleurs clip brooch by Van Cleef and Arpels
Ruby, emerald and diamond Deux Fleurs clip brooch by Van Cleef and Arpels

Queen Elena (1873-1952) had a keen interest in gem stones and jewels and was generous with presents of jewellery to her four daughters. Born Princess Jelena Petrovic-Njegos of Montenegro, the daughter of Prince Nicholas I of Montenegro and his wife Princess Milena Vukotic, Elena married the heir to the Italian throne, the Prince of Naples, in October 1896.

Upon the assassination of King Umberto I, her husband became King Victor Emmanuel III and she became Queen Consort of Italy from 1900 until 1946.

A great beauty of her time, The New York Times remarkedon her glamour and popularity with the Italian people in August 1900, noting "she is thought to resemble the Byzantine Madonnas of ancient icons."

A great philanthropist, Elena worked as a nurse in World War I, turning the Quirinal Palace and Villa Margherita into hospitals. In 1937 she was awarded the Golden Rose of Christianity by Pope Pius XII in recognition of her charitable work.



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