The jewels of Mr. Erté

Mar 22, 2021

Since I was a kid, there has been a book with a green cover that has accompanied me on all my moves. It theoretically belongs to my mum, but well, it finally migrated among my books and I wouldn’t give it up or lend it out for anything in the world. The book is called “Les modes d’Erté par Erté” and it was published by Flammarion in 1976. Maybe that’s part of what made me love jewellery. And “Les bijoux de la Castafiore” too. You never really get over meeting Madame Bianca as a child. If I mention this, it is because the next sale of the Parisian house Castor-Hara will disperse the objects that belonged to this prolific designer and creator. For that is indeed what Romain de Tirtoff was.

Les modes d’Erté by Erté, Flammarion, 1976

Romain de Tirtoff – more precisely Roman Petrovitch Tyrtov – was born in 1892 in Saint Petersburg. He arrived in Paris for the first time in 1907, at the age of fifteen, and it was on this occasion that he adopted the pseudonym that was to follow him throughout his life: Erté. In 1912, he returned permanently to the capital and became a “designer”. His first major commission was for Paul Poiret, the fashionable couturier, for whom he designed the decorations for his fashion show. His career got off to a flying start and in 1915 he landed the collaboration of a lifetime, with Harper’s Bazar. It lasted 22 years. His designs, with their recognisable art deco aesthetic, were, he said, largely inspired by his mother, whose elegance had left its mark on his imagination. Although his career suffered a few setbacks, he never completely lost the interest of the general public and the editorial offices that kept him working throughout his life. In 1990, he left the stage for good and is now buried in the Boulogne-Billancourt cemetery where he lived.

Lot 73: Gold, onyx, mother-of-pearl and diamond tie clip, circa 1979. Signed CFA. Limited edition of approximately 250 pieces. Artist’s proof (engraved AP). Estimate between 600 and 800 euros. Photo: Castor-Hara

On 26 March, the Parisian auction house Castor-Hara will be selling around a hundred objects that belonged to this artist. These include drawings, of course, but also some jewellery. Nothing really spectacular, but recognisable pieces of his very particular style. The estimates are relatively low, between 100 and 2000 euros, an opportunity to buy a small piece of Parisian fashion history. Of course, I have selected a few lots like lot 73 or the necklace 74. The ring too, number 89, which I find quite successful. The pieces were appraised by Annabelle Cukiermann’s firm, which I have already mentioned on the site.

Lot 89: Yellow gold, amethyst, enamel and diamond ring. Signed ERTE, CFA. Limited edition of about 250 pieces. Artist’s proof (engraved AP). Estimate between 200 and 400 euros. Photo: Castor-Hara

Lot 96: Yellow gold and diamond tie clip or “E” ring. Signed ERTE, CFA. Estimate between 400 and 600 euros. Photo: Castor-Hara

Lot 101: yellow gold, diamond and ruby brooches “6” and “9”. Signed CFA. Estimate between 600 and 900 euros. Photo: Castor-Hara

See you soon and enjoy the auction!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

my ideal library

This is my ideal library. All these books are part of my own library and I always read them with great pleasure.