A German Noble Family’s Pearls and Diamonds to Be Auctioned
tiara from the collection of the House of Württemberg
More than 200 jewels and precious objects from the House of Württemberg, formerly one of Germany’s noble families, are on display until Monday at Sotheby’s New York, the first stop on a multicity tour before their auction Nov. 6-7, 2023 in Geneva.
“This is not a classic collection in the sense that one person or a couple have assembled pieces over the years,” said Philipp von Württemberg, a distant relative of the current heirs who, as an independent professional art adviser, worked on the sale. “It is more a family treasure that has built itself over many generations.”
The family, which traced its origins to the early 1000s, ruled the area around what is now Stuttgart, Germany. And the collection includes pieces from several European noble dynasties, leading to the auction’s title, “Vienna 1900: An Imperial and Royal Collection.”
“It immediately brings to mind the court of Vienna, its glamour and the style emanating from the court, and which came from the Empress Sisi,” said Andres White Correal, Sotheby’s deputy chairman of jewelry, using the nickname of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. She “loved rubies and pearls and, obviously, we find plenty of them in this collection.”
Among the most significant pieces highlighted by Sotheby’s are two natural pearl brooches that were given to Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Teschen when she married the Duke of Württemberg in 1865. The first is a floral wreath devant de corsage, a large brooch meant to be worn on the front of a gown, with diamonds and pearls. As for the second, a portrait of the duchess shows her wearing it on a lace ribbon tied around her neck. Each one has a fitted case with the name of the Viennese jeweler Emil Biedermann and a sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.