Earlier this week, a trio of auctions dedicated to the world's most valuable non-royal private jewelry collection concluded with exciting results. The World of Heidi Horten sale series realized a total of US$202 million / CHF 180 million, surpassing the low estimate of US$162 million / CHF 145 million for these three auctions.
Heidi Horten, an Austrian philanthropist known for her elegance, glamour, and fine taste, inherited her appreciation for objects of great beauty from her father, an engraver. Her passion for jewelry and works of art further developed during her first marriage at the age of 19 in 1966 to German businessman Helmut Horten. Over the years, Mrs. Horten amassed one of the world's most brilliant jewelry collections, along with a stunning array of decorative arts, and modern and contemporary art. The latter is now housed in The Heidi Horten Collection museum in Vienna.
While the magnificence of the jewelry offered in the auction is indisputable, the sale also garnered negative attention due to the source of Horten's wealth. Her late first husband, Helmut Horten, acquired his fortune by purchasing businesses at a fraction of their value from Jews who were forced to sell to 'Aryans'.
Yoram Dvash, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, issued a letter to Christie's urging them to either halt the auction or ensure that "the majority of the proceeds be donated by Christie's to charities supporting the welfare of Holocaust survivors, as well as commemoration and education," with the amount given made public.
Christie's promptly responded by stating that all the jewels in Horten's collection are believed to have been acquired legally from legitimate sellers. The statement further explained that it was Horten's wish to donate all the proceeds from the sale to the Heidi Horten Collection, the museum of modern and contemporary art she founded in Vienna, as well as to "medical research, child welfare, and other philanthropic activities." Christie's also pledged to make a "significant contribution" from the auction proceeds to organizations that promote Holocaust research and education. The auction house added that it would be up to these organizations, if they wished, to communicate about these donations.
Magnificent Harry Winston
‘Briolette of India’ Diamond and Diamond Necklace
Price realised USD 7,037,631
The sales produced some remarkable outcomes, with the rubies taking center stage, which is unusual considering that fancy-colored and white diamonds typically steal the show. Among the collection's highlights is a white gold and diamond Cartier ring adorned with the Sunrise Ruby, the world's most valuable non-diamond gemstone, which Horten acquired for $30.4 million at an auction eight years ago. This rare 25.59-carat "pigeon's blood" Myanmar ruby is described by the Swiss Gemmological Institute as a "unique treasure of nature" and was sold for $14.6 million.
Other noteworthy pieces featuring rubies include the Köchert Ruby and Diamond Ring, Earrings embellished with diamonds and pear-shaped cabochon rubies, the Sabbadini set of Ruby and Diamond "Bee" Jewelry, the Oscar Heyman & Brothers Ruby, Diamond, and Enamel Strawberry Brooch, and a Bulgari watch.
Ruby and Diamond Earrings
Price realised USD 20,989
Bulgari, Yellow Gold, Diamond and Ruby-Set ‘Quadratto’
Price realised USD33,583
Sabbadini Set of Ruby and Diamond ‘Bee’ Jewellery
Price realised USD 48,975
Köchert Ruby a Diamond Ring
Price realised USD 210,613
The Sunrise Ruby Sensational Cartier Ruby and Diamond Ring
Price realised USD 14,498,386
Another precious jewel that Horten seemed to be particularly enamoured with was jade. The auctions included some outstanding examples of that precious mineral on its own or set against more rubies or pearls.
Jadeite, Diamond and Ruby Earrings
Price realised USD 587,709
Emerald, Jade, Ruby and Diamond Necklace
Price realised USD 10,494
Jade and Cultured Pearl ‘Buddhas Hand’ Necklace
Price realised USD 18,191
Jade and Diamond ‘Mini Monster’ ring
Price realised USD 11,194
Theodore & C would be happy to help you add rubies and jade to your jewellery collection. Please discover our selection below for some inspiration.
Theodore & C. Ruby selection:
JACOB & CO.
Full Baguette Brilliant Rubies Cufflinks $87,515
Diamond and Ruby Necklace $26,171
Radish Pendant $3,601
Pistachio Pendant $1,500
The Ever After Ring $22,000
Lip Lock Twinkle Ring $8,750