Monday, 16 January 2017

Art Deco 'Tutti-Frutti' Jewels

In 1936 Daisy Fellowes, heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune, was terribly upset that financial reversals brought about by the Great Depression had forced her to sell her yacht.

She treated herself to a little something from Cartier. She bought a necklace mounted with a fringe of emerald, sapphire, and ruby beads; engraved ruby and sapphire leaves; and 13 briolette-shaped sapphires. Daisy's necklace became known as the Tutti Frutti and she set off the craze for Art Deco jewels.
A “Tutti Frutti” Art Deco Cartier brooch found in a $60 box of costume jewelry sold at auction for $17,550.
Fast-forward 80 years: A young woman wanders into the Fred Leighton vintage jewelry shop on Madison Avenue, New York. A flash of color catches the proprietor's eye: She's wearing an original Tutti Frutti bracelet on her wrist, a gift from her mother-in-law.

Thirty years ago it was valued at $15,000. Today, the same piece (100 were produced) can run as much as $1 million.

Henry Picq, Paris

Cartier London Art Deco Diamond Ruby Clip 1937

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Henri IV Cognac Dudognan

The world’s most expensive alcoholic miniature is expected to fetch £80,000-£170,000 at auction. For that money you get 50ml of liquid – that’s just two shots.

The 60-year-old Cognac Mini Henri IV Dudognon Heritage's tiny vessel contains only five centilitres of the noble beverage. The bottle consists of 18 carat white gold with 1,400 sapphires and 1,400 rubies. Cognac is fermented, distilled grape brandy, which is aged in the same way as whiskey.
If that is too pricey for you, how about a bottle of Louis XIII Cognac for a measly $134,750?

Called "L'Odyssee D'un Roi," or "Journey of a King," the liquor honored the first global shipments of Louis XIII's cognac in the 1870s. Only three bottles of "L'Odyssee" were produced.
The bottle comes in a handsome leather trunk that was hand-stitched by Hermes using special leathers. It's accompanied by a crystal decanter and four serving glasses that were mouth-blown, cut and hand-engraved at the royal cristallerie Saint-Louis, in France. The glasses and bottle are each engraved with different 19th century maps.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Jewels of the Nizam of Hyderabad

The Asaf Jahs of Hyderabad led extravagant lives that can only be found in fairy tales. It was a decadent lifestyle maintained by 14,000 staff members, including 3,000 Arab body guards, 40 chandelier dusters, 30 water fetchers and several servants whose sole privilege was to crack the Nizam’s walnuts.

Nizam, shortened from Nizam-ul-Mulk, meaning Administrator of the Realm, was the title of the sovereigns of Hyderabad State, since 1724, belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty.
Hyderabad was the largest and most prosperous of all princely states in India. It covered 82,698 square miles (214,190 km2) of territory and had a population of roughly 16 million people of which a majority (85%) was Hindu. Hyderabad State had its own army, airline, telecommunication system, railway network, postal system, currency and radio broadcasting service.
Seven Nizams ruled Hyderabad for two centuries until 1947. The leaders of the new Indian Union did not want an independent - and possibly hostile - state in the heart of their new country, and were determined to assimilate Hyderabad into the Indian Union, by force if necessary. In September 1948, in Operation Polo, the Indian Army marched into Hyderabad, deposed the Nizam, and annexed the state into the Indian Union.

On 22 February 1937 a cover story by TIME called Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII the wealthiest man in the world
The last Nizam was the ruler of India's largest princely state - the size of Scotland and England combined - and was the richest man in the world until he died, aged 80 in 1967.

India has finally agreed to begin negotiating a settlement between the Nizam's 470 bickering descendants over cash he left in a London bank 66 years ago. The Nizam had deposited £1 million in a high street bank account in 1948 just before his kingdom was taken over by India.

The Nizam's 173-piece jewellery collection, which was guarded by eunuchs during his lifetime, had an estimated worth of £2billion - but it was bought by the Indian government in 1995 for the bargain basement price of £33m.

The most famous jewel in it is the Jacob diamond, the size of an ostrich egg that weighs 184.79 carats. The Nizam wrapped it in newspaper and used it as a paperweight.