Sotheby’s New York April 21, 2015, Magnificent Jewels Sale achieved an impressive sale total of US$65.1 million, selling 294 lots out of 368 on offer, working out to 80% by lot and 85% by value. The total sale achieved was a new record for total sales, for a jewelry aucion at the Company’s New York salesroom. As predicted by jewelry experts long before the auction, top lot of the sale turned out to be Lot 357 – A 100.20-carat, D-color, Type IIa, Internally Flawless diamond, known as the “Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond,”an extraordinary perfect diamond in a classic emerald-cut, which sold for a staggering US22.1 million dollars, equivalent to US$220,459 per carat. The sale of this exceptionally rare diamond set at least three records, viz. the largest perfect D-color diamond with a classic emerald-cut ever to be sold at an auction; the first 100+ carat perfect D-color diamond sold at an auction in New York; and the highest price for any D-color diamond auctioned in New York.
Commenting on the sale of this exceptional diamond, Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, said “This diamond is exceptional in every sense of the word, and we were thrilled to see it achieve such a strong result. The stone captivated people around the world, throughout our extensive travels this spring, but it was a particular privilege to offer it at our New York headquarters. Including today’s result, only six perfect D-color diamonds weighing over 100 carats have sold at auctions in the last 25 years – a testament to the incredible rarity of these stones. Sotheby’s sold five of those spectacular diamonds, including sales in Geneva, Hong Kong, and now New York.”
As anticipated top-quality diamonds and gemstones, signed and historic jewels and pieces with notable provenance featured strongly at the auction, with ten jewels registering prices of over US$1 million, four of which were sold to online bidders, including the second-highest price realized at the auction – US$3.3 million for a magnificent 22.30-carat, D-color, Internally Flawless diamond ring. The impact of private collectors was also very strong at the auction, with eight of the top ten lots being purchased by private individuals.
The second-highest selling lot, sold to an online bidder for US$3.3 million was lot 363 – A Magnificent Platinum and Diamond Ring – the property of a prominent collector, with a pre-sale estimate of US$2.8-3.2 million. The centerpiece of this platinum ring was a 22.30-carat, oval-cut, D-color, Internally Flawless, Type IIa diamond. The price-per-carat value of this diamond works out to US$145,740.
The third-highest selling lot at the auction was a lot with celebrated provenance from the Estate of Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, wife of Henry Flagler, the American industrialist, a pioneering developer of Florida’s eastern coastline. The lot bearing No. 165 and titled an “Important Platinum Emerald and Diamond Pendant” had a pre-sale estimate of US$1.0 to 1.5 million placed on it. The Pendant suspends an emerald-cut emerald, known as the “Flagler Emerald” weighing 35.02 carats, topped by four collet-set old-European cut diamonds weighing 0.35 carats. An AGL report accompanying the lot stated that the emerald was of classic Colombian origin with insignificant clarity enhancement. The Flagler Emerald was eagerly sought by eleven bidders and was finally purchased by an anonymous collector for a much enhanced price of US$2.8 million, equivalent to a price-per-carat value of US$79,098.
Lot 364 – an “Elegant and Rare Platinum, Emerald, Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli and Diamond Pendant-Necklace,” designed by Charles Jacqueau for Cartier, Paris, circa 1924 – was the next highest selling lot at the sale. This rare and unique Art Deco necklace is also known as “The Baron de Rothschild Necklace” as it was acquired by Baron Eugene de Rothschild in 1924 for his new American wife Catherine. A pre-sale estimate of USD1.8-2.2 million was placed on this necklace, which sold above the upper estimate for US$2.6 million. Provenance as well as the antique design associated with the Cartier name appear to have played a part in determining the enhanced price realized by this lot.
A lot combining both colored diamond and colored gemstones was the next highest selling lot, registering a price of over US$2 million. The lot bearing No.362 was titled “A Magnificent Platinum, 18K-Gold, Fancy Purplish-Pink Diamond And Sapphire Ring,” and had a pre-sale estimate of US$2.5-3.5 million placed on it. The centerpiece of this platinum ring was a pear-shaped, fancy purplish-pink, VVS2-clarity, Type IIa diamond weighing 6.24 carats, flanked by two cushion-cut, Kashmir blue sapphires, one on each side, weighing 2.44 and 2.36 carats. The lot sold for US$2.41 million, slightly below the lower estimate of US$2.5 million. The price-per-carat value of the purplish-pink diamond works out to $386,218.
The other five lots that sold for prices ranging between US$1-2 million are lots 121, 365, 356, 151 and 170. Lot 121, titled “An Important Platinum, 18K Rose-Gold, Fancy Light PInk Diamond And Diamond Ring,” had a pre-sale estimate of US$1.9-2.2 million placed on it. The centerpiece of this ring was a round-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut, fancy light pink, internally flawless diamond weighing 11.41 carats, highlighted by a row of circular-cut diamonds of near-colorless and pink hues, with a total weight of 1.15 carats. The lot sold within the pre-sale estimate for US$1.93 million, working out to a price-per-carat value of US$169,150 for the fancy light-pink diamond.
Lot 365 – A Superb Platinum, Sapphire and Diamond Ring by Cartier, New York, designed around 1915, led the colored gemstone lots at the sale, registering a price of US$1.93 million, above the estimated range of US$1.4-1.8 million. The centerpiece of this platinum ring was a 11.90-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire, accented by Old-European and single-cut diamonds on the hoop of the ring. The price-per-carat value of the Kashmir blue sapphire works out to US$162,185.
Lot 356 – titled, “Iconic Platinum, Emerald, Ruby, Diamond and Enamel Tutti-Frutti Bracelet, Cartier, New York,” was designed by Cartier, circa 1928. A pre-sale estimate of USD1.3-1.8 million was placed on this bracelet, inspired by Indian craftsmanship and designed as a flexible openwork foliate band; the stem set with old-European and single-cut diamonds; the leaves set with carved rubies; fruits set with carved emeralds; enhanced with black enamel bordering the stem and the leaves and the terminals of the bracelet and the clasp decorated with chevron motifs and cabochon rubies, and set with old-European and single-cut diamonds. The lot was sold to an Asian private collector within the pre-sale estimate for US$1.63 million.
Lot 151 – A Platinum and Diamond Ring with a pre-sale estimate of US$0.95-1.10 million was sold slightly above the upper esimate for US$1.15 million, working out to a price-per-carat value of US$80,251. The centerpiece of this platinum ring is a 14.33-carat, marquise-cut, D-color, VVS1-clarity, Type IIa diamond, flanked by two triangle-shaped diamonds, weighing approximately 1.40 carats.
Lot 170 is another Kashmir sapphire lot from the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, titled “18k-Gold, Platinum, Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, designed by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., France,” around the year 1960, and with a pre-sale estimate of US$750,000-1,000,000. The brooch designed as a stylized flower has as its centerpiece an octagonal-shaped mixed-cut Kashmir blue sapphire weighing 17.00 carats. The petals of the flower are set with numerous circular-cut diamonds weighing approximately 8.00 carats. The lot sold slightly above the upper estimate for US$1,030,000, working out to a price-per-carat value of US$60,588.