Bonhams London first fine jewelry sale of 2015, held on April 22, 2015, clearly demonstrated an increase in demand for colored gemstones with fierce bidding taking place in the saleroom, on the telephone and online, from buyers across the globe. The auction house had tracked a significant increase in the price-per-carat achieved for colored gemstones in its auctions over the last decade, culminating in the dramatic sale prices achieved by colored gemstone lots at its London first fine jewelry sale for this year, some lots selling for as high as 7 times the pre-sale estimate. The auction house believes the trend will continue during the year 2015, and has proclaimed 2015 as the year of the colored gemstone.
Bonhams London fine jewelry sale achieved a sales total of £4.34 million (US$6.5 million) selling 83% by value and 76% by lots.
Top lot of the sale in terms of prices achieved is lot 169 – A DIAMOND SINGLE-STONE RING by Harry Winston, which sold after a strong bidding war in Bonhams New Bond Street sales room and on the telephones, for £350,5000 (US$530,600) to a US bidder. The ring is claw-set with a 9.05-carat, pear-shaped, D-color, VS1-clarity diamond, between tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders. A GIA report accompanying the lot certifies that the 9.05-carat, pear-shaped diamond is D-color and VS1-clarity.
The next highlight of the sale is Lot 165 – A SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING – circa 1925 – which sold for £290,500 – more than five times the lower estimate of £50,000 and three times the upper estimate of £80,000. The ring from the Collection of Ernesto and Liuba Wolf, is set with a 21.27-carat, sugarloaf cabochon sapphire, within an openwork mount of stylised floral and foliate design, decorated with rose-cut diamonds, mounted in silver and gold. An SSEF report accompanying the lot certifies that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin with no indications of heat enhancement.
Lot 156 – A Sapphire and Diamond Ring – also sold for an enhanced price of £182,500 which was more than four times the lower estimate of £40,000 and more than three times the upper estimate of £60,000. The centerpiece of this ring is a 17.97-carat, cushion-cut, Burma sapphire, flanked by baguette-cut diamond shoulders, and the gallery set with single-cut diamond accents. Two lab reports by SSEF and GCS certify that the sapphire is of Burmese origin with no indications of heat enhancement.
Lot 164 – A DIAMOND SINGLE-STONE RING – which sold for £176,500, is the next highlight of the sale. The ring is set with a 9.15-carat, round brilliant-cut, H-color, VS1-clarity diamond, characteristics certified by a GIA report dated March 20, 2015 and bearing no. 5171085392.
Lot 155 – A RUBY SINGLE-STONE RING – is another colored stone lot that sold for an enhanced price of £134,500 which was more than five times the lower estimate of £25,000 and more than three times the upper estimate of £35,000. The centerpiece of this ring is a 4.54-carat, oval-shaped Burma ruby, set between stepped baguette-cut diamond shoulders. An SSEF report certifies that the ruby is of Burma origin with no indications of heating. Another lab report by the Gem & Pearl Laboratory certifies that the ruby is natural with no evidence of heat treatment.
Lot 143 – A FANCY-COLOURED DIAMOND SINGLE-STONE RING that sold for £117,700 is the next highlight of the sale. The ring is claw-set with a 7.10-carat, pear-shaped, fancy light pinkish-brown, potentially VVS1-clarity diamond, between tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders. A GIA report accompanying the diamond certifies that the 7.10-carat, pear-shaped diamond is fancy light pinkish-brown, natural color and potentially VVS1-clarity. A supplemental letter also certifies that the diamond has been determined to be Type IIa. The lot became the subject of a bidding war between two telephone bidders, and the ring was eventually sold for £117,700 which was more than seven times the lower estimate of £15,000 and more than five times the upper estimate of £20,000.
Lot 136 is A DIAMOND SINGLE-STONE RING which sold for £110,500. The ring is claw-set with a 10.39-carat, round brilliant-cut, K-color, VS2-clarity diamond. A GIA report certifies that the 10.39-carat, round brilliant-cut diamond is K-color and VS2-clarity.
Lot 146 – A DIAMOND SINGLE-STONE RING – that sold for £98,500 is another highlight of the sale. The ring is claw-set with a 4.20-carat, marquise-cut, D-color, IF-clarity diamond between tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders. GIA certifies that the 4.20-carat. marquise-cut diamond is D-color and IF-clarity.
Lot 135 – A PAIR OF SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND PENDENT EARRINGS, circa 1960 – is another colored gemstone highlight of the sale. The wing-shaped surmounts of the earrings are set with baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds, each with a large round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 2.47 and 2.29 carats, suspending detachable pendants set with a single cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 9.50 and 10.50 carats, within brilliant and baguette-cut diamond borders. A GCS report certifies that the sapphires are of Sri Lankan origin, with no indications of heating. The lot sold for £92,500 which is more than three times the lower estimate of £30,000 and more than twice the upper estimate of £40,000.
Lot 163 – A Sapphire Single-Stone Ring that sold for £86,500 is another colored gemstone highlight of the sale. The ring is set with an octagonal step-cut Burma blue sapphire, weighing 11.85 carats, between square-cut diamond shoulders, the gallery and shoulders decorated with single-cut diamonds. A GGL report certifies that the blue sapphire is of Burma origin with no indications of heat enhancement.
Lot 86 – A Ruby Three-Stone Ring – is another colored gemstone highlight that showed a dramatic increase in price over the estimated value. The ring is claw-set with three cushion-shaped rubies, weighing 2.19 carats, 1.47 carats and 1.39 carats. A GCS report certifies the Burma origin of the rubies, with no indications of heating. A pre-sale estimate of £8,000 to £12,000 was placed on the ring, but the ring finally sold for £76,900 which is more than nine times the lower estimate of £8,000 and more than six times the upper estimate of £12,000.
Lot 75 – – A RETRO CITRINE-SET TWIST NECKLACE, by Chanel, circa 1954-71, was another star performer at the auction. The signed piece was hotly contested with buyers from the UK, Europe and the US fighting it out in the sale room, online and on the telephone. The highly desirable collectors’ piece outstripped its pre-sale estimate by more than ten times selling for £68,500 to Hancocks, London, the well-established jeweler that specializes in rare and collectible jewels. The twist necklace is composed of two rows of undulating polished tubular links, studded at intervals with oval-shaped citrine cabochons in closed-back settings, with a sugarloaf citrine cabochon clasp. Signed Chanel with French assay marks, interior circumference 37.0 cm.
lot 53 – AN EMERALD AND DIAMOND DRESS RING, circa 1950 – sold to an online bidder for a much enhanced price of £68,500 which was more than 4 times the lower estimate of £15,000 and more than 3 times the upper estimate of £18,000. The ring is collet-set with a 3.25-carat, cut-cornered rectangular step-cut Colombian emerald, within a border of princess-cut diamonds, with brilliant-cut diamond accents. Total weight of diamonds approximately 1.10 carats. A report by the Gem & Pearl Laboratory certifies that the emerald is of Colombian origin, with negligible clarity enhancement.
Lot 107 – A BELLE ÉPOQUE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND PENDANT NECKLACE, circa 1905. is a historic piece believed to have been purchased from Prince Felix Yousupov, at the time the Prince was an undergraduate at University College, Oxford. The highly articulated diamond chain set to the centre with a cabochon sapphire and diamond cluster, connected to cabochon sapphire and old brilliant-cut diamond trios via delicate diamond swags, suspending a detachable sapphire drop with rose-cut diamond cap, millegrain-set throughout with single-cut diamonds, one rose-cut diamond deficient, central section detachable to form a brooch with supplied fittings, necklace length 43.0cm. A GCS report certifies that the two main sapphires in the necklace, the sapphire drop and the central cabochon sapphire, weighing 22.00 carats and 10.00 carats are of Sri Lankan origin, with no indications of heating. The necklace was sold for £57,500.
Lot 13 – A SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND NECKLACE, EARRING AND RING SUITE – that sold for – £47,500 is another colored gemstone lot of the sale. The necklace, 39.5 cm in length, is designed as a series of oval and cushion-shaped blue sapphire clusters, surrounded by old brilliant-cut and cushion-cut diamonds, alternating with old-cut and pear-shaped diamond fringes, suspending a detachable pendant with a pear-shaped sapphire as centerpiece, surrounded by old brilliant-cut and cushion-cut diamonds. The pair of earrings and the ring similarly set with blue sapphires as centerpiece, surrounded by old brilliant-cut and cushion-cut diamonds. Total weight of sapphires approximately 61.40 carats and of diamonds approximately 23.15 carats .
Lot 63 – A Sapphire Single-Stone Ring – set with a 17.00-carat, rectangular step-cut Sri Lanka blue sapphire, between marquise-cut diamond shoulders, also made a significant impact at the sale, selling for £43,750 (USD66,320) equivalent to USD3,900 per carat. A GCS report certifies the Sri Lanka origin of the sapphire with no indications of heat enhancement,