Cartier Tiara: The Journey from NYC to Beijing Exhibit

One of my favorite activities in NYC is looking at the jewelry store windows. There are so many beautiful objects from different time periods and places that it feels like you are taking a trip to many exotic locations. On one of my trips I came across a window with a beautiful diamond Cartier Tiara. The tiara was stunning with perfect details in platinum and diamonds. What really made this piece special was a note accompanying the tiara. A representative of Cartier had reached out to the store owners asking to borrow the tiara for an exhibit May-July in Beijing.

This exhibit is a follow up to the 2009 ‘Cartier Treasure’ exhibit, the second Cartier exhibit held at the Forbidden City. I read the note and some of the history and thought how fortunate this store (L’etoile Royale) is to get to share a piece they bought in this exhibit. For this post I will look a little at the history of this Cartier Tiara and then talk about partnerships and marketing.

History of Cartier Tiara

The tiara was made in 1908 for Miss Ada Ismay for her wedding to Henry Anthony Chandos Pole in October of that year. Miss Ismay’s father, Thomas Henry Ismay was founder of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (also known as the White Star Line), one of their most famous ships was the RMS Titanic. Ada’s brother Joseph was on the maiden voyage but survived. Both of Ada’s parents had passed before her wedding. She had two children. Her husband was a Brigadier-General that passed away in 1934.

The Cartier Tiara was made by Georges Harnichard in the London workshop. A perfect piece from the Belle Epoque era. It was auctioned at Christie’s London Important Jewelry Auction in November 2003. The estimate was 50,000-70,000 Great British Pounds (GBP) and sold for 103,810 GBP (with buyer’s premium).

Photo courteous of Christie’s

The tiara also made an appearance at the ‘Diamond Divas’ exhibit in Antwerp in 2008. It has made it into the care of L’etoile Royale on Madison Street and will again be seen by thousands of people in Bejing for the summer! The Cartier Tiara can be taken apart to have a piece be made into a stomacher. And comes in its original box!

Marketing and Partnerships

This is a great opportunity for the store. The publicity is one plus and forming relationships with people who can see you as a credible source in the future is important in any business. For those that are not as fortunate to buy a tiara that a major jewelry house wants for its exhibit here are a few ideas to find your own opportunities:

  • Partner with another business to create an event that would serve your customers better than if you were to do it alone.
  • See about loaning you space to a group that would be your ideal client (women entrepreneur’s, bloggers etc.)
  • Offer to customize an item just for that store (look at my post on how Weitzman worked with a boutique to create a shoe that he hoped Jennifer Aniston would buy)

If you are still looking for more ways contact me at data.inthe.rough@gmail.com and we will put or thinking caps ( or tiaras) on and come up with ways to grow your business. Thank you for following and please return soon for more Data in the Rough!

Analysis of Audrey Hepburn Auction at Christie’s

Analysis of Audrey Hepburn Auction at Christie’s

 

‘I have learned how to live, how to be IN the world and OF the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life. Or from love, either.’ ~ Audrey Hepburn (Sabrina 1954)

Remember watching Sabrina and hearing Ms. Hepburn’s voice speak these lines as she is writing to her father? Maybe you remember the first sign of her up in the morning peering into the Tiffany window with her long black dress, pearls and sunglasses in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? No matter the movie Hepburn became that part and it was fantastic! In late September her family auctioned off some memorabilia, personal items and photographs of the late Audrey Hepburn at Christie’s in London. Another Hollywood legend had her items auctioned that week too, you can read my analysis here.

I had some assumptions about this auction and in my analysis, you can draw your own opinions about the sale. Let’s start off with the types of items sold and location of the auction.

Types of Lots

I condensed the lots to a total of 10 types/ categories to better analyze. Fashion is for clothes, outfits and fashion accessories are shoe, hats, gloves, etc. Personal accessories included luggage, makeup cases, etc.

In contrast to Vivien Leigh’s auction, Hepburn’s was more focused on her Hollywood persona. Many of her lots were photographs and scripts from various movie roles. Which is why I was disappointed in the location of the auction.

Location

The sale and preview resided in London, England. There was not even a tour of Hepburn’s key photos and movie memorabilia.  Hepburn was Hollywood royalty, even though she lived abroad I think there was a devoted enough fan base in the United States for it to have made sense to hold the auction here instead of London. There was interest worldwide naturally but in Hepburn’s case not enough to sell all her items like Vivien Leigh.

Sold versus Unsold

Note: I am only looking at the live auction not the separate online auction that went into early October.

Below is a bar graph of the sold and unsold lots by type.  The gray bar to the right with the percentage marks how much out of 100% did not sell.

Only 4 categories had a lot or two that did not sell, those were personal accessories, jewelry, fashion accessories and fashion. To get a better idea of the amount which was small, I have a table with the count of what sold versus unsold by lot.

You can see the biggest types sold were Photographs, followed by Documents/Scripts. This auction was not Hepburn the person but of the movie star. Jewelry had the highest number of items unsold (to be fair it is only 3 items). So, what went unsold and why?

Unsold Lots

Below are the 8 unsold lots with type, lot number and description.

I am focusing on the jewelry for the interest of this post.

Unsold Jewelry

Hepburn’s collection was of costume jewelry except for a few items I will mention later, so the amount it would sell for was not expected to be extremely high. I was a little surprised to see these 3 unsold until I looked at the pearl necklace lots, they are just strands of costume pearls, very basic with no special sentiment tied to them. The colored glass bead set was one of the first lots up. I loved the colors of this set!

A closer examination saw how deteriorated they were and would need major restoration if possible. Something to think about when listing, is this piece in good condition or is there significance to the piece that can be translated to a story? So, what did sell?

Top Lots at Auction

Hepburn’s items still did very well of the 246 that did sell 90% were above the high estimate and many were in the 1000’s for the percentage above calculation. I removed the buyer’s premium for the calculation of the percent above high estimate. Here are the top 5 lots (in USD).

No surprise Breakfast at Tiffany’s lots made it to the top. The jewelry item is my focus for this part.

The Always bangle was given to Hepburn by Steven Spielberg, for her role as Hap in her last film the 1989 film, “Always”. Spielberg wrote to Hepburn about how she inspired him and loved her in, “Wait Until Dark” and “Two for the Road”. After the filming her present Hepburn with this bangle inscribed on the inside, You are my “inspiration” Always, Steven. Outside is engraved, Audrey. It’s no wonder that this piece sold so well!

What were your favorite Audrey Hepburn movies? What items were you watching for the auction? If you were able to go to the viewing or have any comments, please share! I hope you enjoyed my take on the auction. Return soon for more Data in the Rough!