Christie’s auction house kicks off its spring auction season with the first Magnificent Jewels Sale due to be held at the New York Rockefeller Center on April 14, 2015. A total of 312 lots will be on offer at the auction to be held in two sessions, the morning session featuring lots 1 to 160 starting at 10.00 am and the afternoon session featuring lots 161 to 312 starting at 2.00 pm. The sale includes a range of jewels incorporating high-quality colored and colorless diamonds, colored gemstones and natural pearls. Major highlights of the sale include an impressive 80.73-carat cushion-cut diamond ring; a magnificent four-strand natural colored pearl necklace; a Millicent Rogers Ruby Heart Brooch by Paul flato and a 5.29-carat. fancy intense purplish-pink diamond ring. The auction also includes an array of signed jewels from major jewelry houses, such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, David Webb as well as Bulgari, Graff, Harry Winston, and JAR. The auction is projected to achieve a sales total in excess of US$40 million.
Top among the highlights of the sale with the highest pre-sale estimate of US$4-5 million is lot 302 – An Impressive Diamond Ring – set with a cushion-cut diamond, weighing 80.73 carats and mounted in platinum. A GIA report dated February 9, 2015, accompanying the lot certifies that the diamond is K-color, VS2-clarity, with excellent polish and symmetry.
The next highlight of the sale is lot 169 – A Magnificent and Rare Natural Colored Pearl and Diamond Necklace – with a pre-sale estimate of US$3.8-4.5 million. The four-strand natural pearl necklace consists of a total of 290 natural gray pearls, with highly attractive rosé, green or purple overtones and very fine orient. The number of pearls in each strand from the outermost to the innermost strands in order are respectively 81, 77, 69 and 63 pearls, making a total of 290 pearls. The size of the pearls vary between 4.90 mm and 12.65 mm. The four strands are joined to a clasp behind made of silver-topped gold, set with a 3.03-cart, D-color, Internally Flawless, cushion-cut diamond as centerpiece, with an old-European-cut diamond surround, consisting of 10 diamonds. SSEF report dated March 3, 2015, confirms the natural saltwater origin of the pearls, with no evidence of artificial color modification. A supplemental appendix attests to the rarity of this natural, saltwater, colored pearl necklace. In fact during the past 50 years only a very few black and gray pearl necklace have featured at public auctions, such as the “Nina Dyer Black Pearl Necklace” first sold at Christie’s Geneva in May 1969 and more recently, the “Cowdray Pearls” sold at Christie’s London in June 2012.
Lot 312 – A Superb Colored Diamond And Diamond Ring – with a pre-sale estimate of US$3.5-5.0 million, is another highlight of the sale. The centerpiece of this platinum ring is a cut-cornered rectangular-cut fancy intense purplish pink diamond, weighing 5.29 carats, flanked on either side by a half moon-cut diamond. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report dated February 17, 2015 certifying that the 5.29-carat, cut-cornered rectangular-cut diamond is a fancy intense purplish pink, natural color, VS2 clarity stone. A supplemental letter issued by the GIA also states that the purplish-pink diamond has been determined to be a Type IIa diamond, chemically pure but structurally distorted imparting the rare purplish-pink color to the diamond. Such diamonds are extremely rare and constitute less than 0.1% of all naturally occurring diamonds.
Lot 159, A Diamond Pendant by Graff, is another highlight of the sale, with a pre-sale estimate of US$2.7-3.5 million. The pendant is set with a pear-shaped, D-color, VVS1-clarity diamond weighing 25.49 carats, mounted in platinum. A GIA report dated December 22, 2014 certifies that the pear-shaped, 25.49-carat diamond, is D-color with a clarity grade of VVS1. A working diagram accompanying the report indicates that the clarity of the diamond may be potentially internally flawless. A supplemental letter issued by the GIA states that the diamond has been determined to be a Type IIa diamond, which confirms the D-color grade of the diamond. Type IIa diamonds with color-grades D-F are chemically pure and structurally perfect diamonds. In the absence of any factors that can impart color to diamonds, such diamonds are absolutely colorless, sometimes referred to in superlatives as “whiter than white,” “purer than pure,” “diamonds of the purest water” etc.
Another colored diamond lot is the next highlight of the sale, with a pre-sale estimate of US$1.75-2.50 million. The Lot bearing No. 311 is titled “A Rare Colored Diamond Ring.” The ring made of 18k rose-gold is set with a 5.04-carat, round brilliant-cut, VS1-clarity, fancy grey-blue diamond. A GIA report dated October 23, 2014 certifies that the 5.04-carat, round brilliant-cut diamond is a VS1-clarity, natural color fancy grey-blue diamond.
A Kashmir blue sapphire lot bearing No.269 and titled “An Important Sapphire And Diamond Ring” is anothe highlight of the sale. With a pre-sale estimate of US$1.2-1.8 million, the ring made of platinum is mounted with an octagonal-cut Kashmir blue sapphire as centerpiece, weighing 11.88 carats and flanked on either side by a shield-shaped diamond. A GGL report dated May 7, 2014 certifies the Kashmir origin of the blue sapphire, with no evidence of heat enhancement. A second report by AGL dated January 16, 2014 confirms the Kashmir origin of the sapphire with no indication of heating. Both GGL and AGL further attest to the rarity of the blue sapphire.
Lot 152 is another colored gemstone highlight, titled “An Important Ruby and Diamond Ring” with a pre-sale estimate of US$700,000 – $1,000,000. The centerpiece of this platinum ring is a 9.40-carat, cushion-cut Burma ruby, flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond. An AGL report dated February 26, 2015, confirms the origin of the ruby as Burma with no indication of heat enhancement.
A Ceylon blue sapphire lot bearing No.142 is another impressive colored stone lot featuring at the auction, titled “A Sapphire and Diamond Necklace” with a pre-sale estimate of US$375,000-$475,000. The 17 inches long platinum necklace is designed as a graduated series of nine cushion and oval-cut sapphires, varying in weight from 4.71 to 26.86 carats, each within a two-row circular-cut diamond surround, with a circular-cut diamond backchain. AGL report dated February 13, 2015 certifies that the sapphires are of Sri Lankan origin with no gemological evidence of heat enhancement.
Signed jewels from renowned jewelry houses dominate the auctions as the following analysis of the number of signed jewels in respect of each jewelry house would reveal. Cartier has the highest number of jewels at the auction – 54 jewels, followed by Van Cleef & Arpels with 39 jewels. Tiffany has 14, David Webb 8, Bulgri 6, Graff 5, Schlumberger 4, Buccellati 4, Harry Winston 4, JAR 3, Sterle 3, Oscar Heyman & Bros. 2, Boucheron 2, and one each by Paul Flato, William Goldberg, Lacloche, Verdura etc. The 54 Cartier jewels vary in price from as low as a US$1,000 to as high as US$400,000-500,000, the top lot of the Cartier jewels – Lot 268, A Fine Ruby Ring by Cartier. The ring made of platinum is bezel set with an oval-cut ruby weighing 5.86 carats, accompanied by an AGL report dated January 16, 2014 certifying that the ruby is of Burma origin with no indications of heat enhancement.
Van Cleef & Arpels jewels are led by Lot 254 – An Important Sapphire and Diamond Necklace, by Van Cleef & Arpels, with a pre-sale estimate of US$300,000-500,000. The 14.5 ins. platinum necklace is designed as a graduated series of eleven cushion-cut and oval-cut blue sapphires highlighted by circular-cut diamond surrounds, the largest central cushion-cut sapphire weighing 7.02 carats. The sapphire and diamond clusters are spaced by marquise and circular-cut diamond links. The backchain of the necklace is designed as a plant motif, with two marquise-cut diamonds representing leaves alternating with a group of three circular-cut diamonds representing fruits. The necklace can be dismantled and worn as two bracelets of lengths 7 ins. and 7.5 ins each. An AGL report dated December 1, 2014 states that 3 of the sapphires are of Cambodian origin, another 3 of Kashmir origin and the remaining 5 are of Burma origin, with no gemological evidence of heat enhancement.
One of the highlights by Tiffany & Co. is Lot 307 – A Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring, by Tiffany & Co. with a pre-sale estimate of US$50,000-70,000. The centerpiece of the ring is a modified cushion-cut yellow diamond, weighing 5.01 carats, highlighted by a circular-cut diamond surround. The gallery and shoulders of the ring are also mounted with circular-cut diamonds. The diamonds are mounted in platinum and 18k gold.
A colorful intricately designed David Webb jewel moderately priced between US$20,000-30,000 is Lot 245 – A Diamond, Yellow Sapphire, Emerald, and Sapphire Brooch by David Webb. The centerpiece of the brooch, designed around the year 1965, is a detachable, modified Octagonal-cut yellow sapphire, surrounded by two tiers of circular-cut diamonds, emeralds and blue sapphires. The inner tier is thicker than the outer tier. The inner tier is made up of alternating emeral set and diamond set wedge-shaped regions, seperated by sculpted or twisted gold wires. The outer tier is made up of alternating blue sapphire set and diamond set regions, such that the blue sapphire region aligns with the diamond set region in the inner tier, and the diamond-set region in the outer tier aligns with the emerald-set region in the inner tier. The diamonds are mounted in platinum and the colored stones in yellow-gold. The lot is accompanied by a GIA report certifying the geographic origin of the yelllow sapphire as Sri Lanka, with no gemological evidence of heat enhancement.
Highlight of Bulgari Jewels is Lot 234 – A Fine Sapphire and Diamond Ring, by Bulgari with a pre-sale estimate of US$350,000-500,000. The centerpiece of the platinum ring is an octagonal-cut blue sapphire weighing 15.08 carats, flanked on either side by a triangular-cut diamond, and the shoulders of the ring set with circular and baguette-cut diamonds. A report by AGTA dated December 6, 2007 certifies the Burma origin of the blue sapphire with no indications of heating. A second report by GGL dated June 4, 2013 confirms the Burma origin of the blue sapphire, with no indications of heating.
One of the highlights of Schlumberger’s jewels is lot 12, titled “A Diamond Citrine and Ruby ‘Bird on a Rock’ brooch by Jean Schlumberger of Tiffany & Co.” Schlumbeger was the Chief Jewelry Designer of Tiffany & Co. from 1956 to the late 1970s. One of the most famous pieces created by Schlumberger was the “Bird on a Rock” brooch that incorporated the 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond, which is still in the firm’s collection. This piece is also designed based on the same theme, but instead of the cushion-cut Tiffany Yellow diamond, a large cushion-cut citrine is incorporated in the brooch. The bird is set with circular-cut diamonds and the eyes with rubies, mounted in platinum and 18k-gold.
JAR’s highly sought after unique creations are repesented by Lot 310 – A Pair of Spectacular Emerald, Diamond and Colored Diamond Ear Clips, by JAR with a pre-sale estimate of US$250,000-350,000. Characteristics of JAR jewels such as the use of a dark metal alloy for the settings to highlight the gems color and use of pavé setting for his pieces, setting small stones closer together, making the settings virtually invisible and forming a pavement/carpet of tiny colored gemstones, with a gradation of color from the subtle to the vivid, can be observed in this creation by JAR too. One earclip is designed as a pavé-set emerald and black diamond shield, centering upon a cushion-cut diamond, weighing 8.50 carats and the other as a pavé-set diamond and black diamond shield, centering upon a cushion-cut emerald, weighing 11.24 carats.
Lot 297 – The Millicent Rogers Heart – A Ruby, Sapphire, Colored Diamond And Enamel Brooch – created by Paul Flato, the first celebrity jeweler noted for his whimsical pieces, would no doubt attract a lot of interest from collectors. This piece was created by Paul Flato in 1938 for Milicent Rogers, the Standard Oil heiress, a woman of high fashion and distinctive taste, but the idea for the design came from the heiress herself. The heart-shaped brooch became one of her favorite pieces of jewelry, and is pierced with a golden arrow, draped with a blue ribbon with the words “Verbum Carro” – “A Word to my Dear.” The heart-shaped brooch, is set with circular-cut rubies, interspersed with red enamel cabochons, and is pierced by an 18k-gold arrow, set with calibre-cut rectangular yellow diamonds. The arrow is draped with a calibre-cut blue sapphire ribbon, inscribed with the words “Verbum Carro.”