First up is Christie's, leading their April 22nd sale with 2 historical stones. The "Catherine the Great Emerald" is a 60ct (or so) irregularly shaped faceted Colombian emerald surrounded by old-mine cut diamonds and set in a gold/silver broach. It was in her collection when she took the throne in 1762, and she then gave it to Sophie Dorothea,
princess of Württemberg, in 1776 when she married the future Tsar Paul I, Catherine's son.
Part of the same sale is the Maximilian Diamond, a 40ct white diamond with quite a checkered past. Archduke Maximilian bought the stone in 1860 in Brazil, shortly before he was installed as Emperor of Mexico under the patronage of Emperor Napoleon III of France. Under diplomatic pressure from the US, France abandoned him, leaving him to be arrested by Republican forces led by Benito Juárez. According to legend, he was wearing the diamond in a small pouch around his neck when he was executed, by firing squad, in 1867.
After being returned to his widow, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, it was sold several times until ending up at Christie's in July of 1982. It was bought by Laurence Graff (previously mentioned) for $726,000, who resold it with two other important stones to Imelda Marcos, notorious first-lady of the Philippines.
(both pictures from Paris Joaillerie)Patricia Kluge.
(both pictures from Paris Joaillerie)
(historical notes from Rappaport)