Historical Chinese jadeite string to be auctioned

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Necklace to sell at Sotheby’s gems and jewellery sale in New York.

For the first time in more than 30 years a jadeite jewel of major historical importance will appear for auction at Sotheby’s in New York.

The story of The Oei Tiong Ham necklace, a historic Chinese Imperial Jadeite bead necklace, begins more than 100 years ago when Oei Tiong Ham, a successful Chinese businessman, is said to have purchased two necklaces composed of beads from an Imperial court necklace from the leading jadeite dealer in Peking, who had reputedly obtained them from the family of Emperor Puyi. After descending through multiple generations of the family, the exceptional necklace is currently offered by a direct descendant of Oei Tiong Ham.

Sotheby’s has estimated the value of the necklace at US$1.9 million to US$2.2 million. It will be sold as part of a wider gems and jewellery sale on December 9.

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The day will begin with a single-owner sale of jewels from the estate of William B. Dietrich Ssold to benefit the William B. Dietrich Foundation, an organisation committed to the restoration and preservation of art and architectural treasures in the Philadelphia area.

The sale of Magnificent Jewels will immediately follow, and will continue through the afternoon and evening. The auctions offer 450 lots estimated in excess of US$40 million. Highlights from both sales will travel to Geneva, Los Angeles and Hong Kong before returning to New York for exhibition beginning on December 4.

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