Tajan, one of France's main auction houses, is holding an exciting sale of fine jewellery tomorrow (August 2), but not in its native Paris. Rather, the glittering assembly of nearly 800 items is being offered in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Eyes have obviously been on the principality in recent weeks with the royal wedding of Prince Albert II to Charlene Wittstock taking place last month. With the glamour of the dresses and ornaments, it's natural enough to hold an auction of collectible gems.
Indeed the expected top lot of the sale is one with an aristocratic connection: This is a platinum ring set with a cushion-cut diamond which weighs 14.39 carats, with a small baguette-cut diamond set in the base.
The dazzling piece hails from the jewel casket of none other than the 'Countess Maria GB'.
This was the Countess Maria, famed for her elegance and taste for jewellery, who left Russia in the early twentieth century, driven by the revolution in her country.
After traveling in Europe, she moved to France. A renowned dancer who danced at the Paris Opera, La Scala in Milan, she founded a dance school in Paris. As a result, King Farouk was inspired and had offered to teach dance to the children of royal Egypt.
The diamond is accompanied by a certificate stating that it is of G colour and P2 purity suggesting an exceptional stone. It is expected to sell for €120,000-€140,000 (just over $200,000) - a fitting price for a thing of beauty which is also a valuable asset.
Perhaps the most unusual item in the sale is a 'beauty box' shaped like a toy car. Created from engraved silver, silver gilt and enamel, it holds two wheels in shadow boxes in the body, a cigarette box and a mirror in the radiator, a perfume vial in the hood and even a tube of lipstick.
An extraordinary and unique item, it is expected to sell for €13,000-15,000.
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