Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Spring Sale held on May 13, 2015 was a significant success, registering a sales total of US$97,515,535 (CHF91,246,875), selling 77% by lot and 81% by value and 21 lots selling at over one million US dollars. As anticipated colored diamonds, colored gemstones and natural pearls featured strongly at the auctions, with colored diamond lots becoming the top lot and 7th highest selling lot of the sale; two colored gemstone lots becoming the 3rd and 5th highest selling lots and natural pearl lots occupying the 4th and 8th places. As usual colorless/white diamond lots (D to F color) also did extremely well at the auctions occupying the 2nd, 6th, 9th and 10th positions in terms of prices achieved. However, some of the pre-sale highlights of the sale, including the Maria Christina Royal Devant-de-Corsage brooch failed to sell at the auction, despite the wide publicity given to the historic brooch, which was presented as a wedding gift from King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife, the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria in November 1879. Signed jewels by Jar, Cartier, Graff, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston also performed well at the auctions.
Top lot of the sale is Lot 350 – A pink diamond lot titled “A Magnificent Colored Diamond Ring” which sold within the pre-sale estimate of US$10.2-13.4 million for US$$10,843,413 (CHF10,021,000), working out to a price-per-carat value of US$2,093,322. The centerpiece of this ring is a 5.18-carat, fancy vivid-pink, rectangular-cut, VS2-clarity diamond, mounted in gold and highlighted by a diamond surround of eight oval shaped diamonds.
The second highest lot of the sale is a colorless diamond lot bearing Lot No. 323, and titled “An Exceptional Unmounted Diamond.” The pear-shaped diamond is D-colour, Type IIa, Flawless clarity weighing 55.52 carats with excellent polish and symmetry. The lot sold within the pre-sale estimate of US$9.1-11.3 million for US$9,146,729 (CHF8,453,000) equivalent to a price-per-carat value of US$164,746.
A colored gemstone lot is the third highest selling lot of the sale. The lot bearing No 351 is a Kashmir sapphire lot, titled “An Exceptional Sapphire and Diamond Ring.” The ring is claw-set with a 35.09-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir blue sapphire, with a richly-saturated, homogeneous, velvety-blue color known in the trade as “cornflower blue” color, with a high degree of transparency and well-proportioned cut. The lot sold above the pre-sale estimate of US$3,223,757 – 4,298,342 (CHF3,000,000 – 4,000,000) for U$7,450,045 (CHF6,885,000) equivalent to a price-per-carat value US$212,312. The price of U$7,450,045 achieved by this Kashmir sapphire is the second highest whole stone price achieved by a Kashmir sapphire lot at a public auction after US$ 8,358,520 achieved by the Richelieu Sapphires, at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2013. The price-per-carat value US$212,312 achieved is the second highest ppc-value achieved by a Kashmir sapphire lot after the ppc-value of USD236,540 achieved by the 17.16-carat, “Imperial Kashmir Sapphire” that sold for USD4,059,031 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale on October 7, 2014.
The fourth highest selling lot of the sale is a natural pearl lot bering No. 322 and titled “A Superb Late 19th-Century Single-Strand Natural Pearl And Diamond Necklace.” The necklace is composed of 43 graduated natural saltwater pearls varying in diameter from 7.8 mm – 11.1 mm, with a clasp collet-set with a circular-cut diamond. A pre-sale estimate U$1,611,878 – $2,686,464 was placed on this necklace, which sold above the esimate for US$3,935,485. This is the second highest price ever recorded by a single-strand natural saltwater pearl necklace. See below the list of single-strand natural saltwater pearl necklaces, that achieved the four highest prices at public auctions :-
1) – A Single-row Natural Pearl, Emerald and Diamond Necklace – Made up of 23 slightly graduated natural pearls. Range – 10.4-13.7 mm -Christie’s Geneva, May 2013- USD 8,460,675.
2) – A Superb Late 19th-Century Single-Strand Natural Pearl And Diamond Necklace. Made up of 43 graduated natural saltwater pearls, Range – 7.8 mm – 11.1 mm – Christie’s Geneva, May 2015 – USD3,935,485.
3) – Duchess of Windsor pearl necklace – Single-strand of 28 natural pearls. – Sotheby’s New York Dec 2007 – USD 3,625,000.
4) – Cowdray Pearl Necklace – Single row of 38 graduated natural grey pearls – Christie’s London, June 2012 – USD 3,353,700.
The fifth highest selling lot is another colored gemstone lot, bearing No. 317 and titled “An Impressive Ruby and Diamond Ring.” The centerpiece of this platinum ring is a 30.20-carat, cushion-cut, natural, untreated Burma ruby, flanked by pear-shaped diamonds. The lot sold within its estimated range of US$3,438,674 – $4,513,260 for US$3,450,718 working out to a price-per-carat value of US$114,262.
The first five highest selling lots of the sale are in order 1 – colored-diamond, 2 – colorless diamond, 3 – colored gemstone, 4 – natural pearl and 5 – colored gemstone lots. This clearly reveals the strong showing of the colored gemstone and natural pearl lots apart from colored diamond and D-F colorless diamond lots.
Lot 315, a colorless diamond (D-F color) lot is the next highest selling lot of the sale. The lot titled, “A Spectacular Diamond Pendant” is claw-set with a 36.55-carat, F-color, Internally Flawless, round brilliant-cut diamond suspended by a gold link-chain. The lot sold within the estimated range of US$2,793,923 – $3,223,757 for US$3,087,143, working out to a PPC-value of US$84,463.
The 7th highest selling lot is another colored diamond lot bearing No.344 and titled, “A Colored Diamond Ring.” The yellow-gold ring is mounted with a 7.47-carat, fancy purplish-pink, rectangular-cut, Internally Flawless, Type 11a diamond, highlighted by two layers of smaller pave-set colored diamonds, and the hoop set with similar diamonds. The lot sold within the estimated range of U$2,149,171 – $3,223,757 for US$2,602,376 (CHF2,405,000), giving a PPC-value of US$348,376.
Lot 69 which is the 8th highest selling lot is another natural pearl lot, titled “A Three-Strand Natural Pearl, Cultured Pearl and Diamond Necklace” by Sabbadini. The strands composed of 64, 60 and 55 natural saltwater pearls and two saltwater cultured pearls, varying in diameter from 5.3-12.2 mm has a diamond clasp set with single-cut diamonds and signed Sabbadini. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$773,702 – $1,031,602 for US$2,342,679 (CHF2,165,000).
The 9th and 10th highest selling lots, Lot 328 and Lot 345 are both D-F colorless diamond lots. Lot 328, titled “An Exceptional Diamond Ring” is claw-set with a 27.49-carat, rectangular step-cut, D-color, SI1-clarity, Type IIa diamond as centerpiece, flanked by shield-shaped diamonds on its shoulders. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$1,611,878 – $2,149,171 for $2,342,679, working out to a ppc-value of US$85,219.
Lot 345 is a signed piece by Bulgari titled “A Diamond Ring by Bulgari.” The centerpiece of this ring is an 18.26-carat, cut-cornered rectangular-cut, E-color, VVS2-clarity but potentially Internally Flawless, Type IIa diamond, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamond shpulders. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$1,074,586 – $1,611,878 for US2,082,983 working out to a ppc-value of US$114,073.
Another natural pearl highlight of the sale is lot 306 – “An Exceptional Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Pendants.” Each ear-pendant suspends a drop-shaped natural pearl with dimensions of 12.2 x 14.6 x 20.0 mm and 11.8 x 14.8 x 20.2 mm, by a bell cap arrangement pavé-set with circular-cut diamonds, from a button-shaped natural pearl top, with dimensions of 16.6 x 16.7 x 11.7 mm and 16.4 x 16.9 x 11.2 mm. A half-moon shaped and brilliant-cut diamond spacer is placed on the suspension between the pearl top and the pearl pendant. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$1,396,961 – $1,611,878 for US$1,823,286.
Other colored gemstone highlights include lots 314 and 283. Lot 314 – A Superb Pair of Antique Emerald Bangles” was designed in India around 1900s and are believed to have been once in the possession of a prominent Indian Royal family. The yellow-gold bangles are each channel-set with 23 graduated emerald-cut Colombian emeralds of exceptional quality and richness of color, with minor or no oil treatment at all. The lot sold within the pre-sale estimate of US$1,611,878 – 2,149,171 for US$1,758,362.
Lot 283 – A Fine Emerald And Diamond Ring – is set with an octagonal-cut Colombian emerald weighing 25.23 carats, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders. The emerald possesses a saturated and homogeneous colour, combined with an exceptional degree of transparency with no indication of clarity enhancement, which is an exception rather than the rule in emeralds. Such rare and exceptional characteristics in the emerald led to the realization of a much-enhanced price for the emerald of US$1,277,923 which was nearly five times the lower estimate of US$268,646 and more than three times the upper estimate of US$376,105.
JAR’s jewelry creations as usual performed well at the auctions, selling much above the estimated range. Top lot among JAR’s jewels was Lot 271 – A Sapphire, Amethyst And Diamond Ring by JAR. The ring of unique design is composed of two entwined diamond and amethyst cords, holding an oval-shaped Burma sapphire, with similarly-set diamond double hoop, mounted in platinum and silver. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$376,105 – $591,022 for US$784,500.
Another lot by JAR, Lot 270, “A Pair of Tourmaline, Agate and diamond Camellia Brooches, by JAR,” also did very well at the auctions. Each brooch is designed as a sculptural flower, centering upon a circular-cut diamond, within brilliant-cut diamond collet pistils. The petals of the flower are made of carved pink tourmaline and white agate. The lot sold above the estimated range of US$139,696 – $171,934 for US$524,803.