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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Imperial Emeralds: Royal Spanish Provenance

Christie's Geneva will be auctioning this pair of emeralds on May 18th. The most extraordinary feature about these gemstones is their provenance. They belonged to Eugenia de Montijo, Countess of Teba, who was born in Spain and married Emperor Napoleon III in 1853. She was one of the most influential women of her time and her jewellery collection was renowned. She particularly liked emeralds and when she died she left nine unmounted emeralds that she has worn in a tiara, to the future Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, her goddaughter, in 1920. 

Queen Victoria Eugenia wore the emeralds in many occasions, first as a necklace and later as a parure. She had to leave Spain due to the uprising of the Second Republic in 1931 and lived in exile  thereafter. Her jewels were auctioned in Bern in 1961 and these two emeralds were acquired then by the current owner.