An exceptional emerald necklace for a diva


An exceptional emerald necklace for a diva

by Jean-Norbert Salit, jewellery expert at Maison Tajan


Auction sale
June 27, 2024 at 2:30 pm


This magnificent necklace is composed of a set of approx. 43 carats of Colombian emeralds of the finest water and translucency, richly enhanced with diamonds of approx. 45 carats. The pair of ear clips also features emeralds of great beauty. The numbered necklace has been identified as the work of goldsmith Albert Genoud, whose workshop shaped the splendors destined for the renowned Bulgari store in Rome’s Via Condotti. The necklace, which we date to 1953, features one of the hallmarks of Bulgari jewelry from this period: some refer to it as “convertible”, I suggest “transformable”. Four of the center links disassemble to become lapel or hair clips.




Bulgari – Jeweller to the stars

This necklace and ear clips illustrate one of the fascinating facets of Bulgari, that of being the jeweller to the stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, not forgetting the equally legendary Shabanou Soraya, who in 1953, during the imperial couple’s exile in Rome, received a gift of a bracelet in the style of the set that we offer, but adorned with rubies. This bracelet was also accompanied by a magnificent pair of ruby earrings.

Emeralds were the stone of choice for Bulgari and its major clients from the 1950s onwards. Among Bulgari’s most beautiful emerald necklaces of the decade was the one presented by the American ambassador to Rome, Charlotte Broothe Luce, in 1956, with its 22.50 carats of emeralds and 39 carats of diamonds, the one presented by Gina Lolobrigida and, of course, the emerald necklace of the iconic Liz Taylor.


One of Callas’ jewels?

Having had the good fortune to lead one of the legendary sales of objects and jewelry from the Maria Callas collection in 2000 at Drouot Montaigne, I’ve always had a keen eye for the countless photographs of this super star. When these emerald jewels were entrusted to me, I re-watched the famous concert given by the singer* in December 1958. The diva wore (in these black and white photos) an ensemble similar to the jewels we are presenting. The very low-quality television images do, however, give us something to ponder.

*This concert took place shortly before Maria Callas’ separation from her first husband, patron and mentor Batista Meneghini, and her meeting with Aristotle Onassis.


References :
INA Institut, vidéo du concert du 19 Décembre 1958. Maria Callas, Orchestre de Paris, Chef Georges Sebastian. Concert en Eurovision.
Maria Callas, Souvenirs d’une légende, ouvrage collectif, Calmels-Chambre-Cohen, Paris Drouot Montaigne, 2 et 3 décembre 2000.
Quelques joyaux de la collection Maria Callas. Sotheby’s Genève, 17 Novembre 2004.
Succession Maria Callas, Boisgirard-de Heckeeren, Paris Georges V, 14 Juin 1978.

Jean-Norbert Salit
Expert Jeweller for Maison Tajan
Paris, May 23, 2024







Fine Jewellery
Auction on June 27, 2024 at 2:30 pm

Tajan, 37 rue des Mathurins, 75008 Paris



Victoire Winckler – Directeur
+33 1 53 30 30 66 – [email protected]

Jean-Norbert Salit – Expert Joaillerie
+33 1 53 30 30 77 – [email protected]

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