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One of the most intimate forms of art, the miniature represents a compelling chapter in the history of art. While large-scale portraits served as a testament to one’s power and importance, the miniature had a far different purpose. Given as personal gifts to loved ones and bestowed as rewards for loyal supporters, they were meant to be kept close and private as a reminder of one’s love, faith or fealty. Today, they offer us a glimpse into a world that no longer exists — of courtiers and kings, of generals and revolutionaries — each rendered down to the most minute detail. Yet, the emotional impulses behind their creation remain familiar, and it is this dichotomy that makes them so captivating to contemporary viewers and collectors. 

Crowning Jewels highlights the elemental allure of fine jewelry through a curated collection of royal jewels, exceptionally rare gemstones and stunning designer creations. Meant to be worn and admired, jewelry shines, sparkles and catches the eye, inspiring creativity and desire. Featuring some of the most important names in jewelry design, including Harry Winston, Cartier and JAR, as well as some of the most noteworthy jewelry collectors of the 20th century, including the Duchess of Windsor and the Duchess of Alba, this exhibition showcases the sartorial elegance that only the finest jewels can provide.

Crowning Jewels includes pieces that are beyond compare in terms of rarity, artistry, and provenance. It represents our gallery’s century-long tradition of offering only the best in this category with a collection specializing in high jewelry and one-of-a-kind gemstones.

THE SILVERSMITHS

de Lamerie

Bateman

Any discussion of Western silver inevitably begins with the silversmith Paul de Lamerie. He was the unequivocal star of the finest period of English silver in the 18th century. The Victorians compared him to Benvenuto Cellini, the acclaimed 16th-century Italian silversmith and sculptor best remembered for his Perseus with the Head of Medusa. The great Paul Storr, another British silversmith of significance who emerged during the reign of George III, was creating exact replicas of de Lamerie’s work at the onset of his career. Perhaps the greatest indicator of de Lamerie’s genius, however, was the fact that after only four years as a master silversmith, he was named the “King’s Silversmith,” a meteoric rise that remains unparalleled in the history of English silver.

 His success was not only due to his talent, which was considerable, but also his remarkable business acumen and, perhaps most importantly, his ability to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. His creations range from the elegant simplicity of the Queen Anne taste to the Rococo style for which he is most remembered. It was de Lamerie who was one of the first to incorporate French Rococo design with English silver, raising his art to a standard that had never before been seen, nor since duplicated.

Now On View at the M.S. Rau Jewelry Boutique 
Until December 31, 2021

630 Royal Street  |  New Orleans

21.35-Carat Golconda Diamond Ring

This elegant ring is set with a monumental 21.35-carat diamond certified by the Gemological Institute of America as being the ideal D color and Type IIa, meaning it contains no trace of nitrogen. This lack of nitrogen makes the stone a full two shades whiter than the whitest diamonds. A letter from the GIA accompanies the certificate that states, “Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and have exceptional optical transparency,” underscoring this gem’s visual beauty. Set in platinum with 1.20 carats of accent diamonds. 

#31-4121

"Pools of crystal water..."

—Louis XIV referring to the newly discovered 
Golconda diamonds presented to him in 1668

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Oscar Heyman Black Opal Necklace


Due to their kaleidoscopic color, the ancient Romans believed opals were an amalgamation of the most alluring qualities of all other gemstones. This necklace combines 65.53 carats of the finest black opals that demonstrate an incredible range of color and play of light.

Founded in New York in 1912, Oscar Heyman built a reputation for creating impeccable jewelry by controlling every aspect of production, from initial design to alloying its own metals. This necklace epitomizes the quality that makes Heyman’s jewels so timeless and sought after. Set in platinum with 12.24 carats of diamonds. #31-4058

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"That miracle & queen of gems..."

—William Shakespeare

Owning the finest cameos was the privilege of princes.

Renaissance-Inspired Cameo Pendant

Dating to the early 17th century, this pendant features a cameo expertly carved with a biblical scene — the Sacrifice of Isaac — in the style of the Greco-Roman era, achieving an exacting level of detail on the diminutive figures. A second cameo is set at the top of the pendant, while the reverse displays another classically-inspired scene rendered in gold. Multi-colored gems, pearls and enamel further adorn the 18K gold setting.


Cameos like this were popular amongst wealthy connoisseurs in Renaissance Italy. They were particularly prized by the Medici and Lorraine families, examples of which can be seen at the National Archeological Museum in Florence. #30-8394

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Possessing an undeniable romantic appeal, this fancy orangy pink diamond is an immense rarity in the world of colored diamonds. Stones with a pink hue rank among the scarcest of all diamonds and those that weigh over one carat are particularly prized. This example measures 11.05 carats — an incredible size for a diamond of this color and quality. Certified by the Gemological Institute of America, it displays VVS2 clarity, meaning it is unmarred to the naked eye. Set in platinum and 18K gold between white diamonds of D and E color totaling 1.38 carats. #31-1777

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11.05-Carat Fancy Orangy Pink Diamond Ring

Diamond Perfection
Meets the King of Sapphires

Two of the world’s greatest treasures combine here: a velvety blue Kashmir sapphire and an internally flawless D-color Golconda diamond. The 8.05-carat sapphire is certified as Kashmir in origin and unheated ­— a truly rare find in the world of fine gemstones. The equally rare 4.25-carat Golconda diamond by its side is GIA-certified to be Type IIa, meaning that it contains no trace of nitrogen, the element that gives diamonds color, making it a full two shades whiter than the whitest D-color diamond. Set in platinum. #31-4016

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“Double Trouble” Kashmir Sapphire and Golconda Diamond Ring

The serene blue of the aquamarine was believed to invoke calming properties of the sea, helping to cool tempers and allow the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded.

A showstopping aquamarine weighing approximately 400 carats exhibits the pure oceanic blue hue the gem is named for in this designer creation from David Webb. Its incredible size and coloring are showcased next to curving rows of diamonds totaling approximately 13.99 carats in a textured platinum and 18K yellow gold setting. With a passion for unique materials and bold design, legendary luxury jeweler David Webb created pieces marked by complete originality, earning him a Rolodex of clientele that included socialites and celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor.  #31-4347

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David Webb 
Aquamarine Bracelet

Eschewing traditional techniques and forms, JAR pushes the boundaries of imagination 
and design.

As one of the most adventurous and innovative jewelers of our time, Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR) has created singular works of jeweled art for celebrities and important collectors for over 40 years. Completing only around 70 pieces each year, each of JAR’s creations is crafted with the utmost skill and artistry. To date, he is the only living jeweler to ever be honored with a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

These earrings, once owned by a lady of titled nobility, combine red spinels, orange sapphires and diamonds with blackened gold to dramatic effect. #31-4267

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Spinel Physalis Earrings by JAR

This "Jewel of Kings" has long been held as a symbol of wealth & power.

This ring possesses a stunning example of the ancient and complex art of gem engraving. Intricately carved in a rich floral design in the Mughal taste, the 24.05-carat emerald in this ring is certified by C. Dunaigre. This carving’s motif is consistent with those used to adorn precious jewels during the Mughal Empire in South Asia that flourished from the early 16th to the mid-18th centuries, with emeralds being the favored gemstone of Mughal emperors. This enormous emerald is joined by 1.82 carats of diamonds in a platinum setting. #31-4478

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Carved Zambian
Emerald Ring

THE SILVERSMITHS

“Love or hate her, the world is still obsessed by that woman.”

Designer Roland Mouret

One of the most intimate forms of art, the miniature represents a compelling chapter in the history of art. While large-scale portraits served as a testament to one’s power and importance, the miniature had a far different purpose. Given as personal gifts to loved ones and bestowed as rewards for loyal supporters, they were meant to be kept close and private as a reminder of one’s love, faith or fealty. Today, they offer us a glimpse into a world that no longer exists — of courtiers and kings, of generals and revolutionaries — each rendered down to the most minute detail. Yet, the emotional impulses behind their creation remain familiar, and it is this dichotomy that makes them so captivating to contemporary viewers and collectors. 

de Lamerie

The Duchess of Windsor’s Emerald & Tourmaline Brooch by Cartier

This brooch once belonged to Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, a woman famous worldwide for her exquisite taste in jewelry. Originally created by a native artisan in the area of Bukhara, Uzbekistan, the delicately crafted goldwork, natural pearls and faceted and beaded emeralds and tourmalines all highlight the prized natural materials of that region. The Duchess later commissioned Cartier to add an emerald and tourmaline mounting at the apex of the design, further enhancing its prestige. #31-4490

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"A good diamond, ruby or emerald, no matter how small, is a possession to be  prized for generatons."

—Harry Winston

The house of Harry Winston is celebrated for its dramatic, unique designs incorporating only the finest gemstones. For over 80 years, the name has been synonymous with Hollywood glamour, with an exclusive client list including celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Gwyneth Paltrow.
 
Exuding romance and luxury, this necklace is comprised of approximately 121.51 carats of Burma rubies and approximately 42.30 carats of white diamonds, all set in platinum. #31-4311

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Harry Winston Burma Ruby & Diamond Necklace

Marked by an array of highly rare gems, these incredible diamond earrings feature two green diamonds weighing 3.48 and 3.33 carats at their center. White diamonds totaling 13.15 carats of D to F color and VVS to VS clarity radiate out from the center stones, resembling blooming flowers. Set in platinum.
 
Just as peerless as blue or pink, green diamonds are extremely scarce. They are the result of a phenomenon that exposes the stone to radiation deep within the earth over the course of millions of years, and they rarely attain the vibrancy or saturation to be graded as fancy. #31-4299

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Green Diamond 
Floral Earrings

"...diamonds won't keep you warm at night, but they're sure fun when the sun shines."

—Elizabeth Taylor

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend."

—Marilyn Monroe

Ancient Persians believed that the earth itself rested upon a great sapphire whose reflection caused the sky to be blue.

Best known for its rich blue hue, sapphires also occur naturally in a host of other colors. In this necklace, a sparkling rainbow of 34 fancy-colored sapphires from traditional blue to pink, purple, yellow and orange totaling 51.16 carats display the prismatic range of these coveted gemstones. The hexagonal-shaped stones are each certified by C. Dunaigre as untreated, meaning their vibrant hues are completely natural. The sapphires alternate with colorless white diamonds totaling 13.88 carats. Set in 18K yellow gold and platinum.  #31-4473

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Natural Multi-Color Sapphire Necklace

Oscar Heyman Black

Opal Necklace

"...diamonds won't keep you warm at night, but they're sure fun when the sun shines."

—Elizabeth Taylor