National Jeweler Network

Jewelry Auctions

Storied jadeite necklace could sell for $12M

March 06, 2014

The jadeite beads in the Hutton-Mdivani necklace feature a patina and polish consistent with the craftsmanship from the late Qing period in China, Sotheby’s said.

Click through this slideshow to see additional photos of the Hutton-Mdivani necklace.

Hong Kong--The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace, which Sotheby’s calls “the greatest jadeite bead necklace of historical importance,” could fetch as much as $12.8 million at the auction house’s April 7 sale in Hong Kong.

The necklace is comprised of 27 jadeite beads of “magnificent green color, excellent translucency, extremely fine texture and majestic proportions,” Sotheby’s said, with the beads ranging in size from 15.40 to 19.20 millimeters. It has a clasp crafted by Cartier.

Cartier’s archive records show that beads were in the brand’s possession in 1933. They were made into a necklace and presented as a wedding gift to Barbara Woolworth Hutton, granddaughter of and heiress to the fortune of retail tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth, when she married Prince Mdivani of Georgia.

The necklace remained in the Mdivani family until 1988, when it first sold at auction in Hong Kong for $2 million (about $4 million today), making headlines as the most expensive piece of jadeite jewelry in the world.

In 1994, the necklace was again offered at auction in Hong Kong, doubling its previous price by selling for $4.2 million ($6.6 million today).

“Of the finest quality and striking proportions, this jadeite bead necklace with a storied past is an epitome of the mysterious and captivating beauty of jadeite, the most revered oriental gemstone, and evokes the glamour of distinguished style icons of both China and the West at the turn of the century,” said Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman and head of jewelry at Sotheby’s Asia, said.