Rare Chanel jewellery belonging to socialite Susan Gutfreund to be sold at auction

Susan Gutfreund and Karl Lagerfeld in 1992

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The gloriously extravagant jewellery of the late, great, Karl Lagerfeld, whose 36-year tenure at the house of Chanel left behind an unrivalled legacy, is the subject of a dazzling new auction at Christie’s this month.

Taking place online between 14 and 29 January, the auction will see more than 100 of Lagerfeld’s Chanel jewels from the ‘80s and ‘90s go under the hammer.

The spectacular 106-piece collection, of which many are one-of-a-kind, never-seen-before designs, comes courtesy of socialite Susan Gutfreund, wife of American businessman John Gutfreund.

Susan Gutfreund at the Literary Lions Awards in New York City, 1990

Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Susan, a former Pan Am flight attendant, was married to John Gutfreund – hailed as ‘the king of Wall Street’ until his downfall in 1991 from an illegal bidding scandal – from 1981 until his death in 2016. The couple were close to Lagerfeld and well-established figures in the Paris and New York social scenes. The iconic fashion designer, who passed away in 2019, gifted most if not all of the jewels to the couple over the years.

Now, Christie’s estimates that the auction, titled ‘Susan and Karl: Important Chanel Fashion Jewellery from the Collection of Mrs John H. Gutfreund’, could total over $163,000.

Susan backstage at the Chanel Couture Show with Karl Lagerfeld in 2014

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images

‘Of all of the world’s greatest fashion designers, arguably the greatest of all time is Karl Lagerfeld. Karl’s sense of imagination came through in every collection he designed and, since his passing in 2019, desirability for these types of pieces has only increased,’ says Claibourne Poindexter, specialist for Christie’s Jewels, who believes that the auction will provide a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire unique pieces.

‘To have a sale of these jewels which were created during some of his most prolific years at Chanel is something we never see at auction and Mrs Gutfreund’s superb sense of colour, design and whimsy is evident throughout.’

Details at Susan Gutfreund’s apartment at 834 Fifth Avenue


Stand out lots include a necklace with three rows of faux pearls suspended with glass ivy leaves from the Chanel SS 1992 show along with a pair of matching earrings and an oversized bird brooch set with exquisite rainbow-hued gemstones.

  • Unsigned Chanel faux pearl and chain necklace, $1,000-1,500

  • Important unsigned Chanel oversized faux pearl and resin earrings, $3,000-5,000

  • Chanel pair of gripoix glass and faux pear brooches, $2,000-3,000

  • Important Chanel set of gripoix glass and faux pearl jewellery, $4,000-6,000

  • Unsigned Chanel pair of gripoix glass hair combs, $1,500-2,000

  • Chanel gripoix glass and faux pearl pendant earrings, $800-1,200

  • Unsigned Chanel rhinestone, faux pearl and gripoix glass pendant brooch, $1,000-1,500

  • Chanel gripoix glass turtle earrings, $600-800

  • Lot 42 – Chanel Gripoix glass and rhinestone flower brooch, $500-700

  • Unsigned Chanel gripoix glass and leather choker necklace, $1,500-2,000

  • Lot 37 – Chanel gripoix glass and faux pearl Camellia earrings, $2,000-3,000

  • Lot 58 – Chanel rhinestone and glass pendant earrings, $2,000-3,000


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