Christie’s auction, Magnificent Jewels & the Rockefeller Emerald, will be taking place on June 20th in New York at the Rockefeller Center. Included in the auction will be a collection of 58 pieces of jewelry by Louis Comfort Tiffany that are exquisite examples of a talent for which he was far less known than that of his lamps and Favrile glasswork. Here’s a sneak peek at many of the jaw-dropping pieces to be auctioned and a little background on the son of the founder of Tiffany & Co.
Louis Comfort Tiffany Jewelry at Christie’s Auction
The sale will be led by the Rockefeller Emerald (shown below), sold on behalf of a private American Collector.
This historically important gemstone is among the finest emeralds to ever be offered for sale at auction and is expected to fetch between $4,000,000 and $6,000,000.
The New York auction will offer more than 270 lots, with estimates ranging from below $5,000 to $4,000,000.
The sale will also include an important private collection comprising 58 pieces of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany & Co. jewels that had once been part of The Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum Collection in Japan.
Museum founder Mr. Takeo Horiuchi and Art Nouveau and Art Deco artworks expert Mr. Alastair Duncan passionately traveled the world over to collect pieces for Japan’s world famous Garden Museum. Sadly, the major Tiffany and Art Nouveau collections were sold off in 2007 when faced with the overwhelming evidence that the ever-present earthquakes in the city would eventually destroy the beloved glass collection. (source)
The exquisite examples of Louis Comfort’s early 20th century work on offer express his fascination and appreciation of exotic and natural motifs, as well as unusual enamel work and color combinations including American gemstones such as tourmalines from Maine and sapphires from Montana.
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933)
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Co. Although best know for his “Tiffany Lamps” and “Tiffany Glass”, Louis Comfort Tiffany was a Renaissance man who turned his artistic talents to many mediums, including painting, furniture, textiles, pottery and book design.
In the late 1870s he became fascinated by the decorative possibilities of glass, taking inspiration from Gothic stained-glass windows, and inventing new methods resulting in iridescent finishes, lava glass, and his most important innovation, Favrile glass.
Then, as an interior designer, he created homes for such prominent figures as Mark Twain and President Chester Arthur.
It was not until the death of his father in 1902, however, that Louis Comfort began to manufacture his own jewellery designs. It is possible that he felt intimidated by the fact that Tiffany and Co. had defined American taste and style in jewellery for so many decades.
Highlights from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Property in the auction
A nephrite amethyst and sapphire necklace (detail) by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate:$30,000-$50,000):
An iconic Favrile Glass Beetle and Gold Necklace by Louis C. Tiffany (estimate: $25,000 – $35,000):
A cabochon emerald, sapphire, colored sapphire and fire opal pendant necklace by Louis Comfort Tiffany, (estimate: $25,000-35,000):
A black opal, demantoid garnet, sapphire and enamel necklace by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $90,000-120,000.)
Close-up detail, front and back:
A delicate pearl and gold bib necklace by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $20,000-30,000):
An impressive set of moonstone and sapphire jewellery by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $60,000-80,000)
“Beauty is what nature has lavished upon us as a supreme gift.” – Louis Comfort Tiffany
A multi-gem and vari-colored enamel pendant necklace featuring a large sapphire drop by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $50,000-$70,000)
An unusual multi-colored zircon and platinum necklace by Louis C. Tiffany (estimate $30,000 – $50,000):
An Aquamarine and diamond necklace and pendant (detail) set in platinum by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $20,000 – $30,000):
A beautiful antique Renaissance Revival multi-colored sapphire and enamel brooch by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $20,000-$30,000)
A garnet, seed pearl and enamel brooch, by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $7,000-10,000):
A multi-gem, enamel and gold brooch by Louis Comfort Tiffany (estimate: $15,000-20,000)
Also included in the auction is an impressive selection of exceptional fancy colored and colorless diamonds, offered in an expansive range of price points, along with significant signed period and modern jewels by Buccellati, Bulgari, Cartier, David Webb, Graff, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and more. The sale is further highlighted by two historically significant private collections by Cartier and Tiffany.
The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, decorative art.
images and information courtesy of Christie’s