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Christie’s $150M ‘Largest and most valuable collection’ to sell in May

Christie’s is preparing for what may be a record-breaking jewelry sale featuring The World of Heidi Horten, a two-part live auction boasting over 700 pieces of exquisite high jewelry from the estate of the late European collector. The collection, which includes stunning diamond rings, lustrous pearl necklaces, and brilliant bracelets, has a remarkable pre-sale estimate of more than $150 million.

The auction house has claimed that it is the largest and most valuable collection to ever be offered for sale, and could potentially set a new auction record. According to Christie’s:

Heidi Horten (1941-2022) was one of the most important figures in the history of jewellery collecting. Fine and decorative arts were among the many interests she pursued over the course of her lifetime, but it was her unparalleled private collection of jewels that set her apart.

Heidi Horten
Heidi Horten (1941-2022) wearing the 90.38-carat ‘Briolette of India’ diamond necklace. Credit: Christie’s

An eye for art

Horten grew up in 1940s Vienna, Austria. Her father worked as an engraver which permitted her learn appreciation for objects of quality and beauty. After marrying German entrepreneur Helmut Horten, she further refined her discerning eye for jewelry and art. Over the years, she educated herself and became highly selective, only acquiring the finest pieces for her impressive collection.

Christie's auction item
‘The Sunrise Ruby’ Cartier ruby and diamond ring. Credit: Christie’s

A buffet of brands

The jewelry collection, comprising of over 700 pieces, is a fusion of vintage and contemporary designs from prominent jewelry houses such as Boivin, Bulgari, Cartier, Kochert, Tiffany, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels. Some of the lots from Horten’s private collection will be sold online between May 3 and 15. Part one of the live auction will take place on May 10 in Geneva, followed by part two on May 12. A second online auction for remaining jewels is planned for November. See the auctions here.

Christie's auction item
An impressive Harry Winston natural and cultured pearl and coloured diamond necklace.  Credit: Christie’s

Featured items

Some of the most noteworthy items in the collection include the Briolette of India diamond necklace from Harry Winston, with a total weight of 90-carats, originally sold by Cartier in 1909, valued at around $10 million; a ruby-and-diamond ring from Cartier, weighing 25-carats and anticipated to fetch between $15 million and $20 million; and a three-strand natural pearl necklace featuring a cushion-shaped, 11-carat pink diamond clasp, also from Harry Winston, with a projected sale price of $7 million to $10 million.

Christie's auction item
An exceptionally rare Van Cleef & Arpels ruby, emerald, onyx and diamond Egyptian Revival sautoir. Credit: Christie’s

The Heidi Horten Collection

Following her husband’s passing in 1987, Horten began curating her own private collection of modern and contemporary art. She specifically sought out pieces by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Damien Hirst. Horten passed away last June at the age of 81, just ten days after unveiling the the Heidi Horten Collection, a museum of modern art in Vienna which now houses her exceptional modern and contemporary art collection.

Christie's auction item
Bulgari sapphire, emerald and diamond earrings; a Bulgari sapphire, emerald and diamond bangle; and a Bulgari emerald and diamond pendant. Credit: Christie’s

Proceeds to fund philanthropy

In accordance with her wishes, all proceeds from the sale will go to the Heidi Horten Foundation, an entity which supports the Heidi Horten Collection. The proceeds will also fund her long-standing medical research and other philanthropic endeavors, which she had been supporting for many decades. According to Anthea Peers, president of Christie’s EMEA:

This is a historic moment for Christie’s to have the privilege of offering one of the world’s finest and most important jewelry collections originating from Europe. Furthermore, to witness a philanthropic effort of this scale is as rare as it is remarkable.

Heidi Horten
Credit: The Heidi Horten Foundation

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