Fine and Important Aquamarine and diamond corsage ornament, Cartier, 1912

In the garland style centring on a cushion-shaped aquamarine drop within an open work millegrain surround of circular-, single- and rose-cut diamonds suspended from a pair of oval aquamarine brooches within open work lozenge shaped frames to a millegrain-set connecting chain, drop and brooches detachable. Est. 120,000—170,000 CHF

Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Cartier no. GE2009-50.

Provenance: From a European collection - formerly in the collection of Olga, princess Paley, countess Hohenfelsen (continued)

NOTE: This parure was part of the jewellery collection of Olga Karnovich (1865-1929), Princess Paley, the second and morganatic wife of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich of Russia (1860-1919), Tsar Alexander III's brother. Widowed in 1891, the Grand Duke later engaged in an open love affair with Olga Karnovich who was married to Erich von Pistohlkohrs at the time. The birth of their illegitimate son, Vladimir, and Olga's subsequent divorce were major scandals among the Imperial entourage of St Petersburg. Upon learning of this, the Grand Duke's nephew, Tsar Nicolas II, refused the couple permission to marry. Paul had to resign from his military duties and all his Russian properties were seized. The couple fled Russia and settled in an elegant town house near Paris where they married in 1902.
In 1904, Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, granted Olga the title of Countess Hohenfelsen. In 1912, the Tsar finally recognised their marriage, gave Olga the title of Princess Paley, and allowed them to return to Russia.
The Grand Duke and his wife were frequent clients at Cartier's premises on the Rue de la Paix during their Parisian exile. They ordered, in addition to the jewels on offer here, a pair of opera-glasses, a magnificent diamond tiara and a diadem of Greek design.

Sotheby's. Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels And A Celebration of Taste and , Magnificent Jewels from a Private Collection. 12 May 09. Geneva www.sothebys.com photo courtesy Sotheby's.