The Adventurine Posts At Auction: A Jewel from Hollywood Royalty

Ann Warner, wearing her emerald necklace at Carroll's restaurant in Los Angeles with Lili Damita, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Warner and Errol Flynn around 1938. Photo Getty

Jewelry History

At Auction: A Jewel from Hollywood Royalty

The epic emerald necklace belonged to a celebrated studio chief’s wife

by Marion Fasel

A statement jewel from the collection of Ann Warner, wife of the legendary Warner Brothers studio chief Jack Warner, is being sold at Christie’s in Geneva on November 13, 2018.While the piece isn’t signed it has long been attributed to Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. The jeweler may have largely been forgotten in Tinseltown today, but it was once one of the hottest in Hollywood.

The New York based firm’s success was fueled by the fact that it had a boutique in Los Angeles when few great jewelers did. Stars loved the bit of French cachet added to the brand in 1936 when the jeweler formed a business relationship with the Parisian house Mauboussin and became known as Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. The biggest lure of all for the Hollywood crowd was the bold Art Deco jewels set with gargantuan cabochon gems. These treasures showed up on screen, in publicity photographs and when stars were out on the town like nothing has before or since.

Marlene Dietrich wearing her Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin diamond bracelet set with a 127-carat cabochon emerald and her Paul Flato diamond bracelet set with an emerald cabochon in a film still by Clarence Sinclair Bull.

Marlene Dietrich wearing her Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin diamond bracelet set with a 127-carat cabochon emerald and her Paul Flato diamond bracelet set with an emerald cabochon in a film still by Clarence Sinclair Bull.

In a splashy marketing move Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin named many of the large gems in their jewels like important stones from royal collections. A brooch set with the 182-carat star sapphire from Sri Lanka dubbed the Star of Bombay was given by leading man Douglas Fairbanks to his wife, Mary Pickford. The actress bequeathed the sapphire to the Smithsonian where it is on permanent display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

An 83-carat ruby cabochon, christened the Star of Burma by Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin, was set in a bold diamond Art Deco clip that could be attached to a lavish diamond and ruby necklace. The jewel appeared in a few films including on actress Joan Bennett in an early Technicolor production, The Vogues of ’38.  The ruby eventually landed in the collection of the famous skater Sonja Henie.

Ann Warner’s 168-carat cabochon emerald and diamond necklace that is not signed but attributed to Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. Photo Christie’s

Ann Warner’s 168-carat cabochon emerald and diamond necklace that is not signed but attributed to Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin. Photo Christie’s

Marlene Dietrich had a couple of emerald jewels from Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin that didn’t have names but they became famous because she wore the pieces so often. Her Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin 128-carat emerald and diamond bracelet and 97-carat cabochon emerald and diamond brooch appeared in countless photo stills. The star’s smaller emerald and diamond bracelet (in the image above) was by Paul Flato who basically made a Trabert & Hoeffer lookalike design. Dietri