Sotheby’s inaugural sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at the Mandarin Oriental in Geneva on May 16, 2017 turned out to be a tremendous success, with a strong sell-through rate of 90%, realizing a total sale of US$ 151,546,458 (CHF 150,737,000), much above the total pre-sale estimate of approximately US$100million (CHF 98 million). While two-thirda of the lots sold above the upper estimate, three lots sold for over US$10 million each and five lots for over US$5 million each. There was dynamic bidding throughout the sale, on the phone, online as well as in the auction room. The climax of the sale as anticipated was Lots 377 and 378, the Apollo and Artemis diamonds, two breath-taking and exceptional stones, Apollo a pear-shaped blue diamond and Artemis, a pear-shaped pink diamond, perfectly matched in size, cut and tonality and mounted in a spectacular pair of earrings. After competitive bidding, the Apollo and Artemis diamonds sold to the same anonymous buyer, a connoisseur and collector of diamonds, who obviously wanted to keep the rare and exceptional diamonds together in the same settings as a spectacular pair of earrings.
Lot 377 – the Apollo Blue diamond, a Pear-shaped, Fancy Vivid Blue, Internally Flawless, 14.54-carat diamond mounted on platinum as a pendant earring, from a surmount consisting of a pear-shaped and round brilliant-cut colorless diamonds, sold within the pre-sale estimate of USD 38,645,406 – 50,844,684 for USD 42,087,302 (CHF 41,862,500), becoming the highest selling lot of the sale.
Lot 378 – the Artemis diamond, a Pear-shaped, Fancy Intense Pink, VVS2 Clarity, 16.00-carat diamond mounted on platinum as a pendant earring from a surmount consisting of a pear-shaped and round brilliant-cut colorless diamonds, also sold within the pre-sale estimate of USD 12,716,239 – 18,306,519 for USD 15,338,176 (CHF 15,256,250), becoming the second highest selling lot of the sale. The combined total value of the Apollo and Artemis diamonds works out to USD 57,425,478 (CHF 57,118,750) setting a new world auction record for a pair of earrings sold at an auction.
Apart from the world auction record set for a pair of earrings, Sotheby’s Genva May 16, 2017 auction also set two more records arising out of the sale of Lot 371 – “Superb fancy intense purplish pink diamond ring, Piaget,” the third highest selling lot of the sale, registering a price above the estimated range of USD 8,139,609 – 12,204,346 at USD 13,245,750 (CHF 13,175,000). The size 51 ring signed Piaget, is set with a modified rectangular brilliant-cut, fancy intense purplish pink, VS1 clarity diamond weighing 7.04 carats, flanked by triangular-cut, colorless diamonds on its shoulders. The price of USD 13,245,750 achieved by the superb Fancy Intense Purplish Pink, 7.04-carat diamond is a new auction record not only for a Fancy Intense Purplish Pink diamond, but also a new auction record price-per-carat for a Fancy Intense Purplish Pink diamond, of USD 1,881,499 per carat. Hence, the auction achieved three world records of which the most notable is the world auction record for a pair of earrings sold at an auction, a record that undoubtedly would remain unchallenged for a long time to come.
The next highlight of the sale was Lot 363A an “Important Fancy vivid blue diamond ring” the 4th highest selling lot of the sale, that sold within the estimate range of CHF 6,055,000 – 8,070,000 (USD 6,137,651 – 8,180,155) for CHF 6,762,500 (USD 6,798,815), achieving a price-per-carat value of USD 2,047,836 per carat. The size 51 1/2, 14k white gold ring is set with a cut-cornered rectangular step-cut, fancy vivid blue, Internally Flawless, 3.32-carat diamond, flanked by triangular colorless diamonds mounted on the shoulders of the ring.
The 5th highest selling lot was Lot 364 – an “Attractive fancy pink diamond ring,” which sold above the estimated range of CHF 3,010,000 – 5,015,000 (USD 3,051,087 – 5,083,455) for USD 5,441,565 (CHF 5,412,500), working out to a price-per-carat value of USD 257,772 per carat. The size 54 1/2, 14k pink gold ring is set with a cushion-shaped, fancy pink, VVS2 clarity diamond weighing 21.11 carats, the shoulders and upper shank of the ring mounted with brilliant-cut diamonds of near-colorless and pink tints.
The 6th highest selling lot of the sale was Lot 326, an “Important diamond ring, Harry Winston,” that sold for USD 3,330,288, which was 2.2 times the lower estimate of USD 1,518,109 and 1.3 times the upper estimate of USD 2,523,479. The size 49, platinum ring signed WINSTON, is set with a pear-shaped, D-color, VVS1 clarity diamond weighing 32.42 carats, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds on its shoulders. The price-per-carat value of the diamond works out to USD 102,723 per carat.
The next highest selling lot of the sale is Lot 372 – an “Important diamond ring, Van Cleef & Arpels.” which sold slightly above the upper estimate range of CHF 1,610,000 – 2,010,000 (USD 1,631,977 – 2,037,436) for USD 2,606,422 working out to a price-per-carat value of USD 120,668. The size 52, platinum ring signed Van Cleef & Arpels is set with a rectangular emerald-cut, D-Color, VVS1-Clarity diamond weighing 21.60 carats, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds on the shoulders of the ring.
Lot 369 an “Important diamond pendant” is the 8th highest selling lot of the sale, registering a hammer price of USD 2,485,777 (CHF 2,472,500) which was 2.6 times the lower estimate of USD 945,048 and almost twice the upper estimate of USD 1,256,713. The 34.41-carat, D-color, VVS2 clarity, pear-shaped diamond mounted on white metal is suspended as a pendant from a surmount set with a marquise-shaped colorless diamond. The pendant carries maker’s mark for Jacques Timey. The PPC value of the diamond works out to USD 72,240 per carat.