In a press release dated September 7, 2016, Sotheby’s has announced the holding of the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale on October 4, 2016, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. A total of approximately 195 lots will be on offer at the auction, with a total estimated value of over HK$ 513 million equivalent to USD 65 million. The sale takes place in two sessions on October 4, 2016, the first session offering lots 1601 to 1709 starting at 2.00 pm and the second session offering lots 1710 to 1799 starting at 4.30 pm. The sale will be preceded by exhibition of the lots at Singapore, Taipei and Hong Kong. At Singapore the exhibition takes place on the 10th and 11th of September, 2016, from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm on both days. At Taipei the exhibition will take place on the 24th and 25th September, 2016, from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm on both days. In Hong Kong the exhibition takes place from 30th September, 2016 to 3rd October, 2016, starting at 10.00 am on all days but ending at 5.30 pm on 30th September, 7.00 pm on 1st October, 8.00 pm on 2nd October, and 6.30 pm on 3rd October.
The Hong Autumn Sale will bring into focus an extraordinary selection of exquisitely crafted signed vintage jewelry and iconic designs by renowned jewelry houses/designers such as Harry Winston, Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Graff, Tiffany & Co, Rene Boivin, Buccellati and David Webb. These lots are complemented by a selection of lots containing rare diamonds, natural colored gemstones, natural pearls, jade and jadeite jewels, and at least one lot of Royal Provenance.
Top lot of the sale going by presale estimates is a Jade Lot – Lot 1790, titled “Highly Important Jadeite Bangle,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 50-70 million (US$ 6.4-9.0 million). The inner circumference and thickness of the bangle is approximately 55.91 x 10.66 mm.The bangle is of excellent thickness, highly translucent with a vivid emerald green color. Inclusions commonly seen in natural jadeite, such as white cloud inclusions and a few black spots appear under strong illumination, but not visible when worn. The lot is accompanied by a jadeite testing certificate No. KJ 93098, certifying that the jadeite bangle is natural.
A jadeite bangle is a hololith, carved out of a single jadeite boulder. Such jadeite bangles command very high prices because of the of the immense wastage during the carving and polishing process. Another reason that enhances the price of such jadeite bangles, is the fact that such bangles can be carved out only from a jadeite boulder almost entirely free of fissures and inclusions, because the presence of such impurities, can reduce the hardness and consequently the durability of the piece of jewelry created from it. Apart from this, the “Highly Important Jadeite Bangle” also has highly desirable characteristics such as a vivid emerald-green color and very good translucency, two indicators of jadeite of the highest quality. Jadeite bangles of such desirable characteristics are exceptionally rare, that they seldom appear even at international auctions. One such extremely rare jadeite bangle appeared at a Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring auction in Hong Kong in April 2014, known as a “Guifei” bangle (noble consort bangle) and sold for a record HK$ 43.8 million (US$ 5.6 million), a world auction record for any such Jade bangle. Incidentally, this auction also set the world auction record for any jadeite jewelry of HK$ 214 million (US$ 27.44 million), set by the Cartier’s Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Bead Necklace.
Another significant Jadeite lot is Lot 1700 – a “Unique Pair of Jadeite Dragon and Phoenix, Diamond and Colored Diamond Pendants,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 8-10 million (1.0-1.3 million). Each pendant is made up of a flat, barrel-shaped, translucent jadeite plaque, with a vivid emerald green color. The two plaques match in size and shape and their dimensions are respectively 50.93 x 32.22 x 4.50 mm and 50.93 x 32.48 x 4.51 mm. While one plaque is carved with the Chinese mythical creature, the Dragon, the other matching plaque is carved with the complementary Chinese mythical creature, the Phoenix. The dragon and phoenix are associated with good fortune, wisdom and prosperity. Together they represent a balance of forces, yin and yang, that brings order and harmony to the world. The dragon a symbol of benevolence and power became the symbol of the emperor. The phoenix, a mythical bird and a female symbol came to be associated with the empress. The pairing of dragon and phoenix was regarded as a powerful sign of good fortune, which led to its incorporation into the decorative arts of ancient and traditional China. The symbols painted on household items like a vase, bowl or a jar or carved on ornamental jewels like jade, or incorporated into the design elements of a garden, park or home, connoted a wish for harmony, good fortune and high social status. Being symbolic of a happy and successful marriage, the dragon and phoenix were popular decorations for bridal gifts. They are also the name for “lucky” male-female twins. Most importantly, they embodied the stability of power in dynastic China and the longing for order and balance in Chinese society.
The reverse of the jadeite plaques are carved with floral motifs. The surmounts on the top of the plaque are each set with a round brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 0.83 and 0.80 carats. A black cord is used to suspend the plaques from the surmounts. Just above the surmount the two arms of the black cord are secured together by a metal band set with variously colored diamonds. The jade plaque, colorless diamonds on the surmount and colored diamonds on the band are set on 18k white, yellow and pink gold.
Two certificates by the Hong Kong Jade and Stone Laboratory certify that the jadeites are natural and “A Jade.” Two GIA certificates that the 0.83 and 0.80 carat diamonds on the surmount are E and F color and VS1 and VS2 clarity respectively.
Lot 1765 is another significant Jadeite lot, titled “Important Jadeite and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 6.5-7.5 million (US$ 850,000-950,000). The stunning size 8, 18k white gold ring is set with an oval jadeite cabochon of brilliant emerald-green color and a very high translucency. Dimensions of the jadeite cabochon are approximately 21.60 x 18.35 x 9.50 mm. Shoulders of the ring are pavé-set with tiny round brilliant-cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 0.60 carat. The diamonds are about F color and overall VS clarity. Jadeite certificate no. KJ 93212, certifies that the jadeite cabochon is natural and type “A” jadeite.
Among the diamond lots, top lot of the sale is Lot 1794, titled, “Very FIne Fancy Intense Purple-Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 41-50 million (US$ 5.3-6.4 million). The 5 1/2 size, 18k white gold cluster ring is set with a 6.59-carat, pear-shaped, fancy intense purple-pink diamond as its centerpiece, accented with eight pear-shaped diamonds, and circular-cut diamonds mounted on the shoulders and hoop of the ring. GIA report No. 2171664883 accompanying the lot certifies that the diamond weighing 6.59 carats is natural, fancy intense purple-pink and Internally Flawless. Total weight of pear-shaped and circular-cut diamonds approximately 1.70 carats, with color grades of F to G and clarity grade of VS as gauged and graded in the mounting.
Other signficant diamond lots include Lots 1787, 1707, and 1782. Lot 1787 is a “Superb and Auspicious Unmounted Diamond,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 34.5-42.0 million (US$ 4.5-5.5 million). GIA report No. 6173682585 dated August 22, 2016, accompanying the lot states that the 28.8 carat diamond is a round briliant-cut, D-Color, Flawless diamond with excellent cut, polish and symmetry. A supplementary type classification report states that the diamond is determined to be a Type IIa diamond, which confirms the D-Color status of the diamond. Type IIa diamonds that are chemically pure and structurally perfect are absolutely colorless, in the absence of any factors that can induce color to diamonds, Such diamonds constitute only about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. They are sometimes referred to in superlatives, such as “purest of the pure,” “whiter than white,” “brighter than bright,” and “diamonds of the purest water.”
Lot 1707 is a “Very Fine Diamond Ring, by Cartier,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 11-14 million (US$ 1.4-1.8 million). The size 6 1/4 platinum ring signed Cartier, is set with a cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond, weighing 13.60 carats and flanked by two baguette-cut diamonds on the shoulders of the ring. GIA report No. 1172422938 dated March 17, 2016, accompanying the lot, states that the 13.60 carat, cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond is D-color and Flawless, with excellent polish and symmetry. Supplementary Type classification report states that the diamond is determined to be Type IIa, which confirms the D-color status of the diamond.
Lot 1782 is another unmounted diamond, titled “Fine Unmounted diamond” with a presale estimate of HK$ 9.8-12.0 million (US$ 1.3-1.5 million). GIA report No.5171492749, dated 12 May 2016, accompanying the diamond states that the 12.36 carat, pear-shaped diamond is D-Color and Flawless, with excellent polish and symmetry. Diamond type classification report states that the diamond is determined to be Type IIa, which confirms the D-color status of the diamond.
Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Sale also showcases some extremely rare natural colored gemstones such as blue sapphires and rubies, particularly the much sought after Kashmir blue sapphires and the pigeon-blood red Mogok rubies. Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sales have earned the distinction of setting world record price-per-carat values for Kashmir Blue sapphires. In October 2014 at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn sales two Kashmir sapphires had broken the world record for price-per-carat, one after another at the same auction. At first a 12.00-carat kashmir blue sapphire set in a Cartier Ring (lot 1752) set the world record for price-per-carat for a kashmir sapphire of US$ 193,975. After some time a second Kashmir blue sapphire weighing 17.16 carats broke the record set by lot 1752 earlier, by registering a price-per-carat value of US$ 236, 540. The price-per-carat world record for Kashmir sapphires was broken again one year later, at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn sales in October 2015, when the 27.68-carat,”The Jewel of Kashmir”sapphire was sold for HK$ 53 million (US$ 6.7 million), working out to a new world record price-per-carat value of US$ 242,145.
Top lot among colored gemstones is Lot 1799 – “The Pride of Kashmir” an “Exceptional and Very Rare Sapphire and Diamond Ring,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 30-45 million (US$ 3.9-5.8 million). The size 3 3/4, platinum and 18k yellow gold ring, signed Harry Winston is set with an oval-cut Kashmir blue sapphire, weighing 20.22 carats, mounted in 18k yellow gold. The blue sapphire is flanked on either side by two colorless trilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum on the shoulders of the ring. The hoop of the ring is made of platinum. Three lab reports accompanying the lot, by GGL, SSEF and GIA state that the 20.22-carat sapphire is natural, of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heat enhancement. The Gübelin Gem Laboratory report further states that the “Pride of Kashmir” possesses a velvety, richly saturated and homogenous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and a finely proportioned cut. GIA and SSEF reports also state that the colour of this sapphire may also be called ‘royal blue’ in the trade and based on SSEF reference standards. The SSEF report further states that the sapphire exhibits a remarkable size and weight of 20.225 ct, combined with a highly attractive colour and an outstanding purity. The trilliant-cut diamonds have a total weight of approximately 0.80 carats, a color grade of G-H (near-colorless), and clarity grade of SI as gauged and graded in the mounting.
Another significant colored gemstone lot is Lot 1795, another Kashmir sapphire ring created by Van Cleef & Arpels. The Lot titled, “Exquisite and Very Fine Sapphire and Diamond Ring, Van Cleef & Arpels,” has a pre-sale estimate of HK$ 17.5-20.0 million (US$ 2.3-3.2 million). The ring size 7, platinum ring signed Van Cleef & Arpels and designed around the year 1917, is claw-set with a 21.72-carat, cabochon-cut Kashmir blue sapphire, decorated with colorless, old mine-cut and single-cut diamonds on the shoulders and base of the ring setting. Three lab reports by GGL, SSEFand AGL confirm that the 21.72-carat, blue sapphire is natural and of Kashmir origin with no indications of heat enhancement. The lot is also accompanied by a letter from AGL, stating that “This sapphire has received the highest origin determination issued by AGL: Classic Kashmir…Traditionally, stones of this color have been described as having a “cornflower blue” hue.”Total weight of old mine-cut and single-cut diamonds 0.30 carats approximately, with color grading G – H (near-colorless), and clarity grade SI to I, as gauged and graded in the mounting.
Another outstanding colored gemstone lot is Lot N0.1797 – an “Important Ruby and Diamond Ring,” with a pre-sale estimate of HK$ 15-18 million (US$ 1.9-2.3 million). The size 5 1/2, platinum and 18k yellow gold ring has as its centerpiece a 5.07-carat, oval-cut, pigeon blood-red Mogok ruby, set on 18k yellow gold, surrounded by four pear-shaped colorless diamonds set within platinum loops, with a total weight of approximately 7.56 carats. The loops and hoop of the ring accented with circular-cut diamonds.
Two lab reports by AGL and SSEF state that the 5.07-carat ruby is natural and of Burmese origin with no indications of heat enhancement. AGL letter accompanying the report states that the ruby “possesses a number of internal features that are consistent with rubies from historic Burmese locality of the Mogok valley…Traditionally, stones of this color have been described as having a “pigeon blood” hue. SSEF report further states that, “the ruby may also be called ‘pigeon blood red’ based on SSEF reference standards.” Four GIA reports accompany the lot. One report for the pear-shaped diamonds state that the weight of the diamonds range from 1.70 carats to 2.02 carats; the diamonds are all D-Color; Flawless to Internally Flawless, with excellent polish and symmetry. Total weight of the smaller circular-cut diamonds approximately 1.35 carats; color grade E-F; and clarity grades VVS to VS, as gauged and graded in the mounting.
Top among the natural pearl lots is Lot 1796 – a “Very Rare Natural Pearl, Diamond and Black Onyx Necklace,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 16-19 million (US$ 2.1-2.4 million), and christened “The Black Beauty.” The 69 cm (27 inch) necklace is an “Opera” necklace composed of 41 graduated natural grey pearls, ranging in size from 5.85 mm to 14.85 mm. The pearls gradually decrease in size from the front to the rear of the necklace. The median pearl in front being the largest with a diameter of 14.85 mm, and 20 pearls of gradually decreasing size situated on either side of the median pearl. The pearls are separated by faceted diamond beads and black onyx rondelles. The clasp behind is set with a marquise-shaped diamond, mounted in platinum.
The shape of the pearls are spherical, ovoid and button-shaped.The body color of the pearls vary from light greyish-brown to brown and grey to brownish-grey. Pearls have very good luster and orient, and some have rose or green overtones. The marquise-shaped diamond weighs 1.50 carats, has a color grade of G – H (near-colorless), and clarity grade of VS. Total weight of diamond beads approximately 9.50 carats; color grade H – J; and clarity grades VS – SI; SSEF report accompanying the lot, states that the 41 pearls tested are saltwater natural pearls,with no indications of artificial color modification. Sotheby’s Hong Kong set the world auction record for any natural grey pearl necklace in 2015, by selling the Cowdray Pearl Necklace for US$ 5.3 million.
Top lot among the signed vintage jewelry and iconic designs is Lot 1798 – a “Magnificent Diamond Necklace, by Harry Winston,” with a presale estimate of HK$ 42-48 million (USD 5.4-6.2 million). The 40.5 cm (16 ins) necklace is a choker fringe necklace,with fringes all round the necklace. The fringes arise from a continuous inner row of diamonds in which two pear-shaped diamonds, set in the shape of an inverted V, alternate with a single circular-cut diamond. There are two types of fringes around the necklace, one arising from the single circular-cut diamond and the other arising between the inverted V formed by the pear-shaped diamonds. All diamonds are mounted on platinum.
The fringes on the lower half of the necklace are longer and those on the upper half are almost of uniform size. Fringes on the lower half arising out of the single circular-cut diamond are made up of two diamonds, a middle circular-cut diamond and a terminal pear-shaped diamond, with the broad end facing outwards. The pear-shaped diamond gradually increases in size towards the median fringe. Nine fringes on the lower half, arising between the inverted V formed by the pear-shaped diamonds, are longer and consist of four pear-shaped diamonds. Three of these diamonds are of the same size and shape and form a triad, the 4th larger pear-shaped diamond, arising between the triad, with the broader end facing outwards. The size of the large pear-shaped diamond increases towards the median fringe, which suspends the largest pear-shaped diamond in the necklace.
The fringes on the upper half of the necklace are smaller and almost of uniform size. They are also of two types. One arising from the single circular-cut diamond,consisting of a middle circular-cut and terminal pear-shaped diamond, with the broader end facing outwards. The other fringe arising between the inverted V formed by the pear-shaped diamonds, consist of four diamonds, one pear-shaped basal diamond and three circular-cut diamonds forming a terminal triad. The pattern continues upto the clasp behind, set with a large circular-cut diamond and a triad of two circular-cut and terminal pear-shaped diamond.
The nine large pear-shaped diamonds in the front fringes vary in weight from 2.04 carats to 14.93 carats, with a total weight of 67.51 carats. Nine GIA reports accompanying the lot state that all diamonds are D-color and Internally Flawless. Diamond type classification reports for seven of the diamonds, 14.93, 13.62, 13.10, 6.21, 5.04, 4.06 and 2.04 state that they are Type IIa diamonds. Signed Winston and with maker’s mark for Jacques Timey. The remaining circular-cut and smaller pear-shaped diamonds, have a total weight of approximately 110.00 carats, with a color grade of E to F and a clarity grade of VVS to VS. Total weight of all the diamonds in the necklace approximately 177.51 carats.
An iconic design by a renowned brand which is also the cover lot of the sale is Lot 1709 – an “Important Emerald and Diamond Demi-Parure by Bulgari, with a presale estimate of HK$ 4.6-8.0 million (US$ 0.6-1.0 million). The demiparure consists of an emerald and diamond spray pendant necklace and matching pair of emerald and diamond spray pendant earrings. The 40 cm (16 ins.) neckchain is made up of a sequence of step-cut emeralds and diamonds and tapered baguette-cut diamonds, set on 18k white gold. The following sequence is repeated in the neckchain – two square step-cut emeralds with a square step-cut white diamond in the center followed by two tapered baguette-cut diamonds with the broad end facing each other and a square step-cut white diamond in the center. This sequence is repeated round the neckchain, except near the clasp at the rear and the point of suspension of the pendant in front.
The pendant consists of three graduated rectangular step-cut emeralds increasing in size from top to bottom and seperated by square step-cut diamonds. The weight of the emeralds from top to bottom are 6.91 carats, 10.14 carats and 12.00 carats. Immediately after the largest emerald another square step-cut diamond is placed with its diagonal in the vertical position, and from which a spray of seven strands of tapered baguette-cut diamonds arise. Five of these strands end in a square step-cut diamond and two end in square step-cut emeralds. A single square step-cut emerald is placed in other strands in symmetrical positions on either side of the median strand, where a single square step-cut emerald is placed two places before the terminal diamond.
The two matching pendant earrings of the demiparure, are also designed in the same style as the spray pendant of the necklace. Each emerald and diamond spray pendant earring consists of a large rectangular step-cut emerald, weighing 6.01 and 5.92 carats respectively, with a smaller step-cut diamond surmount. A tapered baguette-cut and emerald diamond spray consisting of five strands arise from a square step-cut diamond below the large rectangular emerald. The two outer strands of the spray have two emeralds one of which is terminal. The two inner strands of the spray are made of three tapered baguette-cut diamonds only without any emeralds. the central strand consists of three diamonds and a single rectangular step-cut emerald placed immediately before the terminal square step-cut diamond. Total weight of smaller emeralds in the necklace and earrings approximately 20.25 carats, and total weight of smaller diamonds in the necklace and earrings 50.84 carats. Two GGL reports state that the emeralds weighing 12.00 and 10.14 carats are natural and of Colombian origin with insignificant clarity enhancement. Three other GGL reports for the remaining three larger emeralds, 6.91, 6.01 and 5.92 carats state that they are natural and of Colombian origin with minor clarity enhancement. Sixteen GIA reports in respect of diamonds ranging in size from 0.80 carats to 3.04 carats with a total weight of 22.46 carats, state the color grade of the diamonds vary from D to G color and the clarity grade from VVS2 to VS2.