Thu, Aug 24, 2017

Art & Auctions
Danziger jewels to go on sale

Fine jewellery from the personal collection of Gigi Guggenheim Danziger, wife of the former owner of Cartier Paris, will go under the hammer at Bonhams’ New York salesroom next month. 

The collection features 32 pieces of fine jewelry, with the earliest piece dating back to 1957. 

It includes a number of signed Cartier pieces from the 1960s and 1970s when the Danziger family owned Cartier Paris. 

This is the first time the jewelry has ever appeared at auction and is expected to capture interest given its fascinating provenance. 

Gloria (Gigi) Guggenheim Danziger, is the wife of native New Yorker Edward Danziger.  Edward, and his brother Harry Lee Danziger, were prolific film producers and created more than 140 feature films during the 1950s and 1960s.  They also produced hundreds of hours of television from London’s Elstree Studios which they founded in 1956.  

In 1958 the Danzigers acquired London's Mayfair hotel, Grosvenor hotel and the Metropole hotel in Monte Carlo. Ten years later, in 1968, the brothers became the new owners of Cartier Paris.  As part of the deal, they also acquired Cartier shops in Monte Carlo, Cannes and Switzerland. 

The Danziger family kept their ownership quiet to continue to capitalise and maintain the Cartier name which, until then had been a family business. 

During their four-year ownership of Cartier Paris, the Danzigers opened Cartier stores in Hong Kong, Geneva and Munich, and Gigi amassed an enviable collection of jewelry which was further added to in the 1960s and 1970s.  

Highlights in the collection include:

• A diamond necklace by Cartier featuring three rectangular-shaped diamonds, weighing 1.92, 1.66 and 1.33 carats, and set with round brilliant-cut diamonds.  It has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-50,000.

• A ruby and diamond brooch by Cartier comprising a rectangular diamond, weighing 4.24 carats, within a cluster of pear-shaped rubies, accented by marquise-shaped diamonds.  This was given to Gigi as an anniversary present and she wore it to the London premiere of The Godfather.  It has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-50,000.

• A sapphire and diamond brooch by Cartier.  The 7.10 carat diamond lies within a cluster of marquise and pear-shaped diamonds.  It has a pre-sale estimate of US$30,000-40,000.

• A diamond three-stone ring featuring a round brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 3.17 carats, between two pear-shaped brilliant-cut diamonds, weighing 1.02 and 1.00 carats and estimated at $30,000-50,000. 

• A diamond necklace by Cartier with a brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 3.17 carats, between two pear-shaped brilliant-cut diamonds, weighing 1.02 and 1.00 carats. It has a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-50,000.

An 18-karat gold cuff bracelet by Cartier, designed with openwork ovals and attributed to Dinh Van, estimated at $4,000-6,000. 

Gigi’s son James Danziger said: "My mother adores jewelry and always appreciated exceptional craftsmanship. She particularly loves diamonds, pearls, rubies, and sapphires and jewelry that makes a real artistic statement. All the jewelry in this collection was given to her by my father who had impeccable taste and always loved to see her wearing the jewels from Cartier Paris, the business he owned.  As a result, the Cartier pieces in her collection have a special significance and have literally travelled the world, being worn by my mother at many of the glamorous events she and my father attended in Paris, Monte Carlo, Gstaad, and Hong Kong.”   

Susan Abeles, Head of Jewelry, Bonhams US, said: “We are honoured to sell this important collection which has a wonderful provenance given the family’s ownership of Cartier. Gigi Guggenheim Danziger’s collection of jewels really reflect her signature style, elegance and sophistication.  These jewels, just like its owner, have lived a very glamorous life and are charming and hold a special place in her history and also Cartier’s. The late 1960 and early 1970s was a time of change in fashion and jewelry. Fashion was short and maxi long, colourful and patterned, and flowing, the colourless diamond classic jewellery of the early 1960s was replaced by gold jewellery towards the end of the decade.  Colorful gemstones were used in contrast, and the overall size of creations increased.  Several examples of this period are found in this collection.”

The collection will be sold at Bonhams New York as part of its Fine Jewelry sale on September 19. 

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