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Count's treasure trove goes under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 20:31 29 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

Count Alexander von Beregshasy

Count Alexander von Beregshasy

A TREASURE trove of 18th century memorabilia accumulated by a cape-wearing, moustachioed Islington jeweller is to be sold off following his death. The late Count Alexander von Beregshasy, who lost his battle with tuberculosis in February aged 46, built u

A TREASURE trove of 18th century memorabilia accumulated by a cape-wearing, moustachioed Islington jeweller is to be sold off following his death.

The late Count Alexander von Beregshasy, who lost his battle with tuberculosis in February aged 46, built up a worldwide clientele from his shop in The Mall, in Camden Passage.

An 18th century fanatic who rejected modern-day living, the 6ft 6ins tall jeweller's handcrafted Swarovski crystal creations were worn by stars including singer Beyonce and featured in the blockbusting Hollywood film Titanic.

Now his mother, Baroness von Beregshasy, is auctioning off a glittering collection of period furniture, clothing and artworks from the home they shared together in Finchley.

Baroness von Beregshasy, 67, who is moving to Tenerife this week to write her memoirs, said: "It was a museum in many ways. He liked that style so much he lived it too. He never dressed in jeans - he always had capes and a top hat. He moved to London in 1982. I came to visit him in 1987 and ended up staying."

The estimated 1,000 auction lots include Versailles-style furniture, 16 chandeliers, candelabras, busts of Marie-Antoinette and a four-poster bed.

"He didn't like the 21st century at all - he thought it was too dreary, too negative," said the Baroness. "His life mission was to make beautiful historic jewellery from the 18th century using Swarovski crystals. His biggest dream was for somebody famous to wear his jewels and when Beyonce wore his jewels to the Oscars in 2005, the whole world was watching."

She added: "He lived a rich and beautiful life. He never smoked or drank or took any kind of drugs. He wanted to make people happy - nobody made jewellery like my son."

The Count, who was descended from Austrian aristocracy and regularly took tea at The Ritz, was controversially evicted from The Mall along with his antique trading counterparts last year. Swarovski are set to open a museum to preserve his "legacy", according to his mother.

The auction of the Count's collection goes on sale at Gorringes, in Lewes, Sussex, on October 20 and 21.


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