Looking to add something royal to your repertoire?
A 107.67-carat emerald dating back to Catherine the Great will go under the hammer at Christie’s Geneva this May. It’s expected to fetch between CHF2.3 million and CHF3.5 million (US$2.3 million and US$3.5 million). The Empress—the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 1762-96—had a reputation as a patron of the arts. Her personal collection was the foundation of the Hermitage Museum, which now occupies the whole Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Upon her death, the emerald was given to her son, Tsar Paul I, and kept in the Russian imperial collection for over 100 years. In 1874, Tsar Alexander II gave the emerald to Grand Duchess Vladimir (1854-1920) on the occasion of her wedding to his son Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia, according to Christie’s.
Grand Duchess Vladimir was rumored to have had the largest private jewelry collection of the early 20th century. Upon her death, her jewels were divided between her children, and her son, Grand Duke Boris (1877-1943), was bequeathed her emeralds.
The emerald weighing 107.67 carats was sold to Cartier in 1927. Following the recommendation of famed gem dealer Paphael Esmerian, the French Maison had the rectangular-shaped stone recut to improve its clarity, resulting in an exceptionally high-quality pear-shaped emerald of 75.63 carats.
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