Wife of Former Cartier Owner’s Jewelry Heads to Auction

AuctionsAug 31, 2017

Wife of Former Cartier Owner’s Jewelry Heads to Auction

The Danziger family, which owned the brand for four years, tapped Bonhams New York to sell the personal collection of Gigi Guggenheim Danziger next month.

This Cartier necklace centers on three rectangular-shaped diamonds, weighing 1.92, 1.66 and 1.33 carats. The necklace is set throughout with round brilliant-cut diamonds. It could sell in the range of $30,000 to $50,000 at Bonhams New York next month.

New York--The wife of one of the former owners of Cartier Paris is auctioning off some of her jewelry, and she has tapped Bonhams New York to do it.

On Sept. 19, fine jewelry from the personal collection of Gigi Guggenheim Danziger will go under the hammer as part of the auction house’s Fine Jewelry sale, marking the first time the jewelry has appeared at auction.

The collection features 32 pieces of fine jewelry, including a number of signed Cartier pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, when the Danziger family owned Cartier Paris. The earliest lot dates back to 1957.

Edward and Gigi Guggenheim Danziger in Monte Carlo, circa mid- to late-1960s
Gloria (Gigi) Guggenheim Danziger was born in Cambridge, Ohio, to businessman Frederick Daniel Guggenheim (distant relation to the mining magnates) and Ethel May Lewison.

She attended Ohio State University from 1941 to 1944, majoring in education, and then moved to Atlanta and finally New York.

She met native New Yorker Edward J. Danziger at a society wedding in 1951. The two married later that year in Mexico and then went on to have two sons, Danny and James.

Edward and his brother, Harry Lee Danziger, were prolific film producers, creating more than 140 feature films in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as hundreds of hours of television. Then in 1958, the Danzigers acquired London’s Mayfair hotel, Grosvenor hotel and the Metropole hotel in Monte Carlo.

Ten years later, in 1968, the two brothers negotiated a secret deal to acquire Cartier Paris. As part of it, they also acquired Cartier shops in Monte Carlo, Cannes and Switzerland.

The Danziger family intentionally kept their ownership under wraps to maintain the Cartier name since the business, up until then, had been family-run.

During their four-year ownership of the brand, they expended the company’s footprint by opening Cartier stores in Hong Kong, Geneva and Munich. The family also traveled extensively around the world as its owners, but returned to America in 1977.

Edward died in March 1999 at the age of 89. Gigi now splits her time between Los Angeles and Palm Beach.

There will be 180 lots available overall at the Bonhams New York sale next month.

Aside from the Danziger collection, one of its highlights is a 16.90-carat step-cut diamond ring set with round brilliant-cut diamond shoulders. It’s expected to sell for between $1.6 million and $2.2 million.

The auction
also features a number of Kashmir sapphires, including an oval-shaped version, weighing 7.54 carats, set within a surround of round brilliant-cut diamonds, which is estimated at $375,000 to $575,000.

Meanwhile, a rare Australian black opal and diamond pendant/brooch also will hit the block. The 48.80-carat gem is set within old European-cut diamonds and is estimated to sell for between $200,000 to $300,000.

Another interesting lot is a diamond, emerald and ruby brooch, circa 1900, purchased at a garage sale in Ohio a number of years ago for $8--the second such lot to hit auction this year.

The owner’s daughter was at a jewelry store when she pulled it out and shared the story about how it came into their possession. To her surprise, she was told it was real.

Bonhams had it tested by the Gemological Institute of America, which confirmed the stones were gem quality.

The brooch features an old mine-cut diamond, D color, VS1 clarity, weighing 1.39 carats; a rectangular-shaped emerald originating from Colombia, weighing approximately 1.50 carats; and an oval-shaped Burmese ruby, weighing approximately 0.60 carat.

It has a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.

There also will be signed pieces from Harry Winston, Cartier, René Lalique and David Webb.

All lots in the Sept. 19 Fine Jewelry sale can be seen on
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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