Spanning over 500 years of history and sovereign power on the subcontinent, Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence tells the story of a continuous tradition of patronage from the Mughal Empire to present day, with provenance including the royal and noble families of India and jewelers including JAR, Bhagat and Cartier. Highlights of the sale have been in recent exhibitions at the V&A in London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Grand Palais in Paris, and the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Led by jewelry historian, Vanessa Cron and David Warren, Senior International Jewelry Director, Christie's, the course will begin with a private preview of the Christie’s sale. Lectures at Christie’s Education will follow exploring the designers, gems, and history of this remarkable collection.
French, based in Switzerland, Vanessa Cron is a jewellery historian who has specialized in historic provenance research. Working 4 years for one of the most important expert dealer in antique jewellery and exceptional gemstones, and 15 years at Christie’s as Jewellery Archivist and Senior Cataloguer, she researched major jewels such as the Peregrina pearl, the Empress Eugenie ‘Feuille de Groseillier’ brooch, the ‘Blue Belle of Asia’ sapphire or the ‘Grand Mazarin’ diamond. She collaborated with author Vincent Meylan on the preparatory research for his book ‘Christie’s: the Jewellery archives revealed’ and is now an independent jewellery historian, lecturer and consultant. She is also in charge of the ‘History of Jewellery Design’ class at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD - Genève).
David began his career with Christie's in 1978 in the firm's Jewellery Department in Scotland, before moving to Christie's Head office in London in 1980. Over the next decade he was responsible for the sale of 3 world record breaking diamonds: the 42.92ct Tereschenko blue diamond, sold in 1984 for $4.5 million; the historic light pink Agra diamond weighing 32.24cts, sold in 1990 for $7 million and the Golden Drop, a yellow diamond of 18.49cts, sold in 1990 for $3.7 million.
David relocated to Hong Kong in 1993 to set up jewellery, watch and jadeite auctions and to develop Christie's jewellery expansion in South East Asia. Within a year David oversaw the sale of the magnificent Barbara Hutton jade necklace for $4.3 million, an auction record at the time for any jewel or jadeite piece sold in Asia. In 1995 annual sales soared to $40 million and with a skilled team of specialists established in Hong Kong, David returned to London to take up the position of Head of Jewellery. His leadership took the department to the heights of success with a series of exciting theme sales including Bijoux Français, Bijoux Signés, Asprey & Garrard, and Magnificent Mughal Jewels.
In 2007 David was appointed Head of Jewellery, Middle East, responsible for Christie’s inaugural jewellery and watch auctions in Dubai as well as the development of Christie’s jewellery business throughout the region. A major highlight of his work in the Middle East was the sale of a private royal collection. 'The Royal House’ sale, held in Geneva in 2006, was 100% sold and realized a total of $36 million, by far the highest total for any single owner jewellery collection sold by Christie's at that time.
In his current role as Senior International Director of Jewellery David continues to develop activities in the Middle East and to work closely with our auctions in Europe as well as advising Christie’s private clients on jewellery investment. He was responsible for discovering the Blue Belle of Asia – a 392.00ct Ceylon sapphire, whose whereabouts have been unknown since the 1930s. This remarkable stone sold in Geneva on 15 November 2014 for $17.3 million, a world auction record for any sapphire and for any coloured gemstone.
A respected authority on gems and jewellery, David has written many articles on the subject and has lectured extensively in South East Asia, South America, the Middle East and Europe. He is also a well-recognised authority on natural pearls, emeralds, diamonds, Cartier jewels, Mughal jewellery and contemporary jewellery.