My agenda

23 October 2023

Auction sales, Geneva 2023 – What not to miss

First week of November: the major auction houses in the city’s palaces display the jewels that will be dispersed a few days or weeks later in Geneva, New York and Paris. Collectors flock to these auctions, so don’t hesitate to attend. A preview of the wonders to be discovered.

By Sandrine Merle.



Two Geneva firsts

The two historical pillars of these Geneva auctions are Christie’s (since 1969) and Sotheby’s (since 1980). This year, they are joined by Phillips, which is organizing its first jewelry sale, a “strong signal of its international investment.” Tajan, on the other hand, is exhibiting in Geneva for the first time at the Hotel d’Angleterre, the jewelry for its upcoming sale in December in Paris.


The Royal Collection at Sotheby’s

The royal collection at Sotheby’s for over 10 years, Sotheby’s has dedicated one of its sales to noble and royal jewelry. This time, it’s the most important and largest collection of Viennese pieces ever put up for auction. The 200 pieces from a single owner showcase the style and grandeur of the Habsburg court. A must-see for “Sissi” fans!


Stones worth over a million

The top estimation goes to the incredible 17.61-carat Royal Blue Fancy Vivid Blue diamond – estimated at between 35 and 50 million USD (Christie’s). Collectors can also opt for the slightly more affordable Fancy Intense Pink diamond, estimated at 11-16 million USD (Phillips), or the Paraiba tourmaline of over 93 carats, estimated (with its diamond necklace) at USD 1.4-2.7 million (Sotheby’s).


Sotheby’s historical records in Geneva


Little cases by the dozen

So many wonderful little objects, now obsolete! Minaudieres, cigarette cases, Japanese necessaires, decorated with flowers, in enamel or lacquer, are counted by the dozens thanks to the two beautiful collections, one at Phillips and the other at Tajan (sale in Paris December, 5). Most of them date back to the golden age, the Art Deco period, and are by well-known names (Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co.) along with occasional lesser-known ones (Ostertag, Janesich, Black Starr & Frost).


Belperron/Boivin: a Parisian collection 

Christie’s presents the collection of a Parisian woman, comprising a small dozen pieces by Suzanne Belperron and René Boivin. For the designer, there are two very fine pairs of earrings from the 40s, characterized by the godronné gold typical of her style, and an ivory bracelet made while she was working at René Boivin. From the latter, we find silver and gold ornaments featuring a panther’s head and a necklace from the 80s, now a highly sought-after period. Online sale Christie’s Paris from December 1 to 15, 2023.


René Boivin in the 80s-90s


JAR, more than ever

Alongside Suzanne Belperron and René Boivin (not forgetting Cartier), JAR remains the brand that electrifies buyers. Exciting battles are expected, seeing the necklace formed by three perfectly matched white pearl rows, the ring consisting of a kind of concave hat entirely paved with emeralds (both at Tajan), or the solitaire that belonged to the fashion designer Nina Ricci. Her granddaughter Margot, who inherited it, had it remounted by the jeweler in the 1990s.


What about the Wieses?

Tajan offers 6 pieces by Wiese father and son, dating from 1845 to 1880. For the time being, the German jeweler (whose father, Jules, spent his entire career in France) remains sought-after only by museums and rare collectors. The highly desirable and magnificent gold sautoir is representative of the Romantic aesthetic, referring to the ornamental repertoires of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


Contemporary designers in the spotlight

Last year in Geneva, during its exhibition, Sotheby’s offered pieces by Hannah Martins, Silvia Furmanovich and Nadine Ghosn, for immediate purchase as if in a boutique. This year, Phillips is also showcasing contemporary creations, with pieces by Viltier, Margaret and Maison Alix Dumas. It remains to be seen whether traditional customers, or fans of the antique and vintage, will embrace this trend. Watch this space.


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