Sotheby’s Offers House of Boivin’s Lush Garden of Jewels at Geneva Sale


GREEN PIECES: Nature-inspired jewelry from the house of Boivin will be at the heart of the Sotheby’s auction, Iconic Jewels: Her Sense of Style, which takes place in Geneva in May.

The house, founded by René Boivin in 1890, was known for its sculptural jewels inspired by flowers in bloom, greenery and “garland style” diamond settings. 

When Boivin died in 1917, his wife Jeanne took the business to new heights, hiring her daughter Germaine as well as Suzanne Belperron, who would go on to become one of the most influential female jewelry designers of the 20th century.  

Among the pieces on sale is the Bouquet de Violettes brooch and earring set, with an estimate of 25,000 to 35,000 Swiss francs; and the Algae necklace, with an estimate of 20,000 to 30,000 Swiss francs.

There is also the Noeud de Passementerie brooch, which carries an estimate of 15,000 to 20,000 Swiss francs, and a seal flacon pendant, priced between 30,000 and 50,000 Swiss francs.

Sotheby’s said the Boivin jewels may well represent the “most extensive selection of works by the French jeweler in the world,” and is definitely the largest collection of Boivin jewels ever to come to auction.

Overall, the auction will offer more than 250 pieces by an anonymous “European female collector” who amassed her collection over five decades. Sotheby’s has described it as “one of the most important private collections of signed jewelry ever to come to auction.”

The single-owner collection carries an overall estimate of $5.4 million to $8.3 million and will be offered across two sales in May. One lot of 46 jewels will be sold on May 14 as part of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva.

More than 200 pieces will be sold in a dedicated Iconic Jewels: Her Sense of Style online sale from May 2, with bidding closing on May 16.

The wider sale will also feature 20th century jewelry designs by houses including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Boucheron, Chaumet and Marina B.

Other top lots include a pair of Bulgari earrings, set with two Fancy Intense Yellow diamonds, each weighing just under 10 carats and previously belonging to the American socialite Baroness di Portanova. They carry an estimate of 400,000 Swiss francs to 600,000 Swiss francs.

There is also a Cartier Panthère bangle from 1969 and a Tutti Frutti bracelet from the brand. The sale also features a choker and earring set by Marina B, intricately mounted with carved amethyst. Sotheby’s said the Marina B piece is a great example of “the power styling so readily associated with 1980s jewelry.”



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