Home News Rare Rothschild Jewelry to Grace Christie’s Auction Block

Rare Rothschild Jewelry to Grace Christie’s Auction Block

by Madonna

The pursuit of beauty knows no bounds, a philosophy embraced wholeheartedly by the Rothschild family, once the possessors of the world’s largest private fortune during the 19th century. Their immense wealth was accompanied by an insatiable appetite for aesthetics, with Baron James Mayer de Rothschild famously declaring in 1955 that “no price is too high for the acquisition of true masterpieces.”

This October, collectors from all walks of life will have the opportunity to test the veracity of this sentiment as Christie’s Rockefeller Center prepares to host an auction of the treasured collections of Baron James de Rothschild, his wife Betty, and their sons Baron Alphonse and Baron Gustave. Among these invaluable treasures are significant Maiolica pieces from Renaissance Italy, intricately designed headstone boxes, silver and silver-gilt sculptures, European furniture, Old Master paintings, and a magnificent array of Rothschild jewelry.


One captivating piece in the jewelry selection is a continental jeweled and enameled gold pendant depicting Judith and Holofernes, dating back to the late 16th century, with an estimated value of $15,000-$20,000.


“The jewels are a testament to the Rothschild family’s discerning taste and opulent preferences in the 19th century,” remarks Jonathan Rendell, Christie’s Deputy Chairman, Private and Iconic Collections. “The manner in which these extraordinary pieces were showcased in the Rothschilds’ residence on the rue Saint-Florentin, Paris, would have underscored the family’s prestige. Displaying them collectively had a profound impact, leaving people in awe.”


For those with an appreciation for historical interior and jewelry styles reminiscent of the Gilded Age, the Rothschild collection offers a compelling journey. The family’s influence transcended borders, giving rise to a style known as “Le Gout Rothschild,” which left its mark in France, Britain, Austria, Germany, and beyond during the 19th century when the Rothschild family reigned supreme. Their reputation was so influential that it shaped the tastes of affluent and influential families across Europe and, eventually, the United States.

The auction will showcase an extensive selection of jewelry pieces that contributed to the iconic Rothschild style. Examples include a brooch featuring a perched bird dating to around 1890, crafted with ruby, emerald, diamond, and 18k yellow gold. Additionally, an ornament adorned with petal-shaped rubies and emeralds from the same era will be available. For horology enthusiasts, a French Lapis-Lazuli pocket watch from around 1950 will also be part of this prestigious collection.

The upcoming auction promises to be a unique opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs to own a piece of history and experience the legacy of the Rothschild family’s extraordinary taste and opulence.


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