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Saturday, 10 November 2012

BOUCHERON: Demi parure from Princess Salimah Aga Khan


The Boucheron archives show at least 100 entries for jewels sold to the Aga Khan III during the first half of the nineteenth century. Oddly, two thirds are for bracelets.

The Aga Khan was born in Karachi in 1877 and became Supreme Iman of the Ismaelians Muslim in 1885. He was raised in India, in exile due to his family prosecution in Iran. When he came to Europe, in the early 1900's, a legend began. As well as a religious symbol to millions, he was one of the richest men on Earth. He married four times and became famous for the jewellery commissions he offered as presents to all his wives. He owned racing stables, received as birthday present his weight in gold, even his son married Rita Hayworth, although that is a story for another post. 

The necklace and earrings featured above, belonged to Princess Salimah Aga Khan and were part of the famous 1995 Christie's auction where extraordinary jewels were sold. Amongst them, it was the renowned 13.78 carat heart shaped blue diamond, a fabulous stone sold by Boucheron. Set in yellow gold with white and yellow diamonds, this necklace is an arab fantasy of a fringe designed with graduated briolette diamonds. It will be auctioned by Christie's Geneva on November 13th.

A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with triangular facets. It is 800 years old and was popular during the Victorian times and although its popularity waned thereafter, it has enjoyed a recent resurgence for precious and semi-precious stones.
The Smithsonian has a 275-carat (55 g) diamond briolette necklace presented by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1811 to his Empress consort Marie Louise.