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34-Carat Historic Emerald Up For Sale at Sotheby’s

  • Author:CharleneXu
  • Source:Yadao
  • Release on:2017-04-07

New York--The history of the Stotesbury Emerald, which includes socialite owners and storied jewelry houses, could serve as a vignette for the history of jewelry itself, especially in its heyday.

The 34.40-carat hexagonal stone has been in the hands of three well-known jewelry collectors, with its setting changing based on owners’ desires and current styles for more than a century.

Yet, even without that historic provenance, the gem’s quality speaks for itself.

“The emerald has been coveted and cherished for more than a century, and the exceptional quality of the stone makes it as appealing today as it was when it first appeared in 1908,” said Frank Everett, sales director of the jewelry department at Sotheby’s New York.

The emerald will be up for sale at auction house’s Magnificent Jewels sale on April 25, where it is expected to sell for between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

According to Sotheby’s, the gemstone that would come to be known as the Stotesbury Emerald first came onto the scene as part of a pendant in the collection of American mining heiress and Washington, D.C., socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, who often worked with Pierre Cartier to create bespoke jewelry pieces.

In 1908, she tasked Cartier with designing a piece for the Star of the East diamond, a 94.80-carat pear-shaped stone she recently had bought, and the jewelry house mounted it as a pendant on a chain below the 34-carat emerald and a pearl.

Two years later, Cartier and the heiress entered into an agreement that McLean and her husband, Edward Beale McLean, would give $40,000 in cash and the Star of the East diamond, emerald and pearl pendant to Cartier in exchange for the Hope Diamond.

But that transaction turned into a bitter court battle by spring of 1911, with Cartier claiming they had defaulted on their payment.

The case was settled by 1912, with McLean in possession of the Hope Diamond and the emerald back in Cartier’s possession. The jewelry house already was resetting the gemstone for its next owner, Eva Stotesbury.

Stotesbury was the daughter of a well-known lawyer and her second marriage was to prominent financier Edward Stotesbury.

It was during this marriage she acquired many of her great jewels, including the emerald, which she had set in a pendant with diamonds as part of a Cartier suite.

That suite was sold to none other than Harry Winston in 1943, which likely re-made the emeralds used in it, including the Stotesbury, into more contemporary pieces, according to Sotheby’s. The Stotesbury Emerald was mounted as a ring (the setting it still is in today) and sold to American socialite, philanthropist and jewelry collector May Bonfils Stanton.

The 34-carat emerald next appeared in the 1971 sale of Stanton’s estate by Parke-Bernet Galleries, where it went to a private buyer, where it has remained ever since.