Russian royal jewels smuggled out of the country during the 1917 revolution, alongside rare colored diamonds, are on offer at auction next week in Geneva, looking for deep-pocketed collectors emerging from the pandemic.
An orange-pink diamond weighing 25.62 carats, estimated at 3.6 million to 5.38 million Swiss francs ($3.9 million to $5.9 million), set in a ring, is the star lot at auction house Sotheby’s semi-annual jewelry sale in the Swiss city on November 10.
“A beautiful crystal, it’s a fantastic color with a little bit of orange but not too much, so it’s a very subtle color,” Olivier Wagner, head of sale and jewelry expert at Sotheby’s Geneva, told Reuters in the showroom in a lakeside hotel.
“The market is currently very dynamic and after the pandemic people are very keen to buy jewelry today and to buy something tangible they can enjoy.”
“They belonged to the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia who was the queen of social life in St. Petersburg. She was the wife of the Grand Duke Vladimir, so the son of the tsar (Alexander II), and she had a fantastic collection of jewels,” Wagner said.
The royal set, entrusted to her friend the British diplomat Albert Henry Stopford, who took them to London for safekeeping along with other jewels, is estimated at 280,000-480,000 francs, the auction house said.
Pavlovna escaped from revolutionary Russia and died in France in 1920. Her brooch and earrings are being sold by a European princely family who bought them at auction in 2009, the auction house said.