Sat, May 16, 2015

Luxury Goods, Jewellery & Watches
Jewels sale fetches record $161m

A Sotheby’s auction of ‘Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels’ in Geneva, Switzerland, achieved a total of CHF149.85 million/$160.91 million, the highest ever total for any jewellery auction. 

Ninety-four per cent of lots were sold at the May 12 evening auction.

Among the highlights, the ‘Sunrise Ruby’, an exceptional and rare 25.59-carat Burmese stone, sold for CHF 28.3 million/$ 30.3 million (est CHF11.7 -17.5 million/$ 12-18 million). This price also established a new record both for any ruby per carat, and for any stone by Cartier.  

‘The Historic Pink Diamond’, an extremely rare and highly important 8.72-carat fancy vivid pink diamond - which has been linked to Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of Napoleon I, achieved CHF 14.8 million/$15.9 million (est CHF13.7-17.5 million/$14-18 million). 

David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, commented: “The record result is the reflection of the outstanding quality of the pieces in the sale across the board. The ‘Sunrise Ruby’ captivated me from the moment I saw it – such an exquisite stone truly deserved the multiple-record-breaking price. The exceptional results achieved for the other Cartier jewels in the sale - including two world auction records for sapphires – and for ‘The Historic Pink Diamond’ are evidence that the market for exceptional jewels is going from strength to strength. The galleries have been brimming with collectors during our worldwide exhibitions, and this translated into lively bidding throughout the sale with truly global demand for the finest diamonds, gemstones and signed pieces of the very highest order.”


This exceptional and immeasurably rare untreated ‘Pigeon’s blood’ Burmese ruby realised CHF28.25 million/$30.33 million (CHF1.103 million/$1.185 million per carat). 

It marked a new world auction record for a ruby, a new world auction record for a ruby per carat, and a new world auction record for a jewel by Cartier.

This price more than triples the previous record of CHF8.28 million/$8.6 million set by the 8.62-carat ‘Graff Ruby’ at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2014.

Mounted by Cartier and weighing an exceptional 25.59 carats, the stone’s world record price reflects its extraordinary size and outstanding colour.


‘The Historic Pink Diamond’ was acquired by a bidder in the room for CHF14.81 million/$15.90 million.

Believed by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA), to once have been part of the outstanding collection of Princess Mathilde of Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece, the 8.72-carat stone only recently resurfaced, having been kept in a bank vault since the 1940s. 

Boasting VS2 clarity and mesmerising colour, the stone is also remarkable for its classic non-modified cushion cut, unusual in a pink diamond and a highly sought-after shape for connoisseurs of the very finest precious jewels.


From the same outstanding private collection as the ‘Sunrise Ruby’, three further sensational modern pieces by Cartier ranked among the stand-out jewels in the spring sale.  

A magnificent diamond necklace sold for an impressive CHF6.74 million/$7.24 million).  

A new world auction record price for a Kashmir sapphire jewel was established by a ravishing brooch set with a 30.23-carat sapphire which achieved CHF5.73 million/$6.16 million (est CHF3.4-5.9 million/$3.5-6 million).  

A new world auction record for a pair of Burmese sapphire earrings was set by a pair of elegant sapphire and diamond earrings, made with two exceptionally well-matched Burmese Mogok sapphires, which achieved CHF3.19 million/$3.42 million (est CHF780,000 -1.2 million/$ 800,000-1.2 million).   

Together, the four jewels by Cartier achieved an outstanding total of CHF43.92 million/$ 47.16 million.


A strikingly varied and rich selection of 17 delightful pieces from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe was 100 per cent sold, together realising a total of CHF 7.48 million/$8.03 million – six times the pre-sale low estimate of CHF 1.5-2.3 million). 

Among the highlights, a stunning tiara created by Cartier in the 1930s found a buyer for CHF2.41 million/$ 2.58 million, while a second exquisite diamond tiara from the collection, which dates from the 19th century and can also be worn as a necklace, was sold for CHF 790,000/ $848,326 after a prolonged five minute battle between two bidders in the room.

Further property from the estate will be sold in London on 27th & 28th May 27 and 28, 2015.


Connoisseurs of the very finest natural pearls were active in the sale. A superb and extremely rare natural double-strand pearl and diamond necklace, bought for CHF6.55 million/$ 7.003 million – a new record for a two-row natural pearl necklace.

Also, a pair of magnificent natural pearl and diamond pendent ear clips by Petochi saw bidding reach CHF3.01 million/$3.23 million.  


The most accomplished design and craftsmanship were also in the spotlight thanks to a selection of standout signed pieces. 

These included a rare and superb gem set vanity case by Cartier, made in 1925, which was sold for CHF274,000/$294,229, and a delightful pair of captivating gem set and diamond “Tutti-Frutti” clips which achieved CHF466,000/$,405.

French design was also represented thanks to an important ruby and diamond bangle-bracelet by Boucheron, which realised CHF910,000/$977,185 and a striking 1960s gem-set and diamond demi-parure by Jean Schlumberger was bought for CHF162,500/$ 174,497.

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