SHOWCASE: Van Cleef & Arpels Walska brooch


The 96.62ct yellow diamond wonder that proved a hit at auction.

This beautiful, bejewelled bird of paradise found itself swooping off to a new home, after being auctioned by Sotheby’s Geneva on November 13.

And it took with it the 96.62ct fancy vivid yellow briolette diamond that it carries in its beak — a stone that once belonged to famous opera singer Ganna Walska. When the stone found its way to a new owner – after, serendipitously enough, a Sotheby’s auction in 1971 – they commissioned Van Cleef & Arpels to turn it into this yellow gold brooch set with yellow and white diamonds, emeralds and a cabochon sapphire.

But a brooch is not its only function. This clever little piece of jewellery can be broken down, with the Walska diamond worn as a pendant, the wings worn as earrings and the tail pinned on as a separate brooch. With beauty and functionality, it is no wonder the brooch sold for $10,555,778 (£6.58m) at Sotheby’s.

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This Showcase was taken from the November issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.



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