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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

$29 Million Estimate For 24-Carat Blue Diamond At Christie’s


It’s just another jewelry auction that features another superb blue diamond.

This time it’s the “Cullinan Dream,” the largest fancy intense blue diamond ever offered at auction. It is the lead item at Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale on June 9 with an estimate of $23 - $29 million.

The 24.18-carat cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut gem is set on a platinum ring flanked with classic baguette-cut diamonds. It is nearly 10 carats larger than the “Oppenheimer Blue,” which sold for a world auction record of $57.5 million and is currently the largest blue diamond ever sold at auction.

The Cullinan Dream has a VS2 clarity grade (very slightly included with inclusions observed with effort under 10x magnification), two grades below flawless.


The Cullinan Dream is the largest of four blue diamonds cut from a 122.52-carat rough diamond discovered in 2014 at the legendary Cullinan mine, famous for yielding the 530.20 Cullinan I, the largest polished white diamond in existence and is part of the British Crown Jewels housed in the Tower of London.

In recent years, the Cullinan mine has been associated with some of the most significant blue and pink diamonds to come to market, including the 10.1-carat “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4,” that sold for $31.8 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in Spril; and the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon” that sold for $48.4 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2015, the second largest amount ever for a diamond at auction.

The Cullinan Dream is the top item in the 260 lots on offer at Christie’s New York sale. It includes fancy colored and colorless diamonds; colored gemstones; natural pearls; and signed jewels from Buccellati, Bulgari, Cartier, David Webb, Graff, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

‘Oppenheimer Blue’ Diamond Sells For $57.5 Million, Sets World Auction Record


It took only six months for a second blue diamond to sell for a world auction record. And it wasn't even close.

The 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue” sold for more than $57.5 million (including commission and fees), smashing the previous record for the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon of Josephine,” which sold in November 2015 for $48.4 million. The auction house originally listed the price, converted from Swiss francs to U.S. dollars, as $58.2 million.

Its hammer price (not including commission and fees) was approximately $51.3 million.

The rectangular-shaped gem, the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction, had a high estimate of $46.1 million. It was the lead item at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale Wednesday, which is still ongoing.

Bidding for the gem, led by Rahul Kadakia, Christie's international head of jewelry, started at 30 million Swiss francs and went agonizingly slow (approximately 30 minutes), with long silent pauses, nervous laughter, incremental bidding at 200,000 Swiss francs and applause after each million-franc milestone, as viewed through the auction house live stream.



Kadakia was happy to accept all bids no matter how small saying, “once in a lifetime we have a stone like this we have to take all bids.”

The bidders eventually dwindled down to two phone buyers who traded bids for about 10 minutes before Kadakia ended it. 

The diamond is set in a platinum ring flanked on either side by a trapeze-shaped diamond. Its VVS1 clarity grade is one step below Internally Flawless. The diamond was originally set in a "Five Blades" mounting by Verdura


A photograph of the Oppenheimer Blue in its original Verdura “Eight Blades” mounting. Photo courtesy of Verdura

The diamond was previously owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a member of the family that once controlled the De Beers Mining Company. He is credited with serving for 45 years as chairman of the Central Selling Organization, the sales cartel set up by De Beers to keep strict control over the diamond supply worldwide. Today he is remembered as the architect of creating stability in the international diamond chain and for his incomparable gem collection, which includes the Oppenheimer Blue.

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‘Unique Pink’ Sells For Record $31.5 Million At Sotheby’s


A 15.38-carat fancy vivid pink diamond sold for more than $31.5 million at Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva Tuesday, setting a record for a stone of its type. 

Called the “Unique Pink,” it achieved more than $2 million per carat. It is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever to come to auction.

It was sold by phone to a private Asian buyer, according to a source who requested anonymity. The buyer doesn’t appear to be Joseph Lau, the Hong Kong billionaire who has gained a reputation for paying exuberant sums at auction for diamonds and gems for his daughters, including the “Blue Moon, which set a world auction records for any diamond, gem or jewel. 

“It is difficult to imagine a diamond that better illustrates the term Vivid Pink than this outstanding stone,” David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said in a statement. “The color is simply astonishing and, for its size, it is in my experience truly unique.” 

The gem was sold by Cora International, a New York-based company that specializes in cutting and polishing rare important diamonds, including the Blue Moon. 

“Pink diamonds are among the rarest in the world and they are increasingly being viewed as an investment, said Ehud Laniado, Cora International chairman. “Diamonds are beautiful and a treasure of nature, but more than this, they offer an economy of rarity that is making them increasingly attractive to savvy investors.”

It was the top lot of a sale that set a world record for any jewelry auction, achieving more than $175 million with 83 percent of items sold by lot and with 70 percent of lots sold above high estimate. Three lots sold for more than $10 million and six lots for more than $5 million.

In addition the auction set a new record for an online purchase during a live auction with the sale of a pear shaped fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings that sold for nearly $6 million, double its high estimate. 


Other records set at the auction held at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage are:

* An Alexandra Reza brooch featuring a 6.64-carat fancy intense blue diamond sold for more than 13.6 million, setting an auction record for a jewel sold by the famed Parisian designer. 

* An 18.51-carat fancy pink diamond pendant sold for more than $9.7 million ($528,021 per carat), setting an auction record for a fancy pink diamond.

* An 8.2-carat fancy purplish pink diamond ring sold for nearly$3.7 ($450,744 per carat), setting a record for a diamond of this color. 

There was a year-over-year 41 percent increase in the number of items sold online. In addition, the sale attracted bidders from 45 countries with 25 percent of bidders from Asia. 

Later today will be the sale of the 14.56-carat “Oppenheimer Blue,” the largest and finest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. If the results of Tuesday’s auction are any indication, it will have a chance to eclipse the “Blue Moon.”

The first of two sessions of the auction is underway and so far sales are brisk with several items selling above the high estimate. 

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Monday, May 16, 2016

‘Oppenheimer Blue,’ ‘Unique Pink’ Set For Auction In Geneva

The Oppenheimer Blue could fetch $45 million

Two rare statement colored diamonds will highlight the upcoming Sotheby’s and Christie’s jewelry auctions in Geneva this week. 

The item getting all the press (and for good reason) is the 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue,” which is the highlight of Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues on Wednesday. It is “the largest and finest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction,” according to the auction house. 

If it goes beyond its high estimate of $45 million, it could outpace the “Blue Moon of Josephine,” a 12.03-carat cushion-shaped fancy internally flawless vivid blue diamond that set a world auction record of $48.4 million in November, 2015.

The diamond was previously owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a member of the family that once controlled the De Beers Mining Company. He is credited with serving for 45 years as chairman of the Central Selling Organization, the sales cartel set up by De Beers to keep strict control over the diamond supply worldwide. He died in 1995 at the age of 83.


While the Oppenheimer Blue is the star of the Geneva jewelry auctions, there will be several other statement pieces on the auction block. In particular, the “Unique Pink,” (pictured above) which goes on sale at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage. The pear shaped 15.38-carat fancy vivid pink diamond has a high estimate of $38 million. It is the largest fancy vivid pink pear shaped diamond ever offered at auction, according to the auction house. “In my experience, such outstanding vivid Pink color in a stone over 15 carats is truly unique,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division.


At the same auction, a pear shaped 7.32-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring will be offered with a high estimate of $25 million (pictured above).


Meanwhile, Christie’s will be offering earrings with matching fancy vivid orange-yellow diamonds of 12.20 and 11.96 carats (above). One diamond with this color is extremely rare, let alone two matching diamonds. The high estimate for the pair, named “The Oriental Sunrise,” is $12.2 million. The origin of the diamonds is unknown or unavailable. 

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chopard Sparkles On The Cannes Red Carpet

Julianne Moore in emerald earrings from Chopard's Green Carpet Collection

The Cannes Film Festival red carpet is one of the world’s top fashion stages. It’s the only international red carpet presentation that I know of where the jewels are on a near equal footing with the gowns and the stars who wear them. Other companies use the stage to adorn the stars with their jewels and watches but the Cannes Film Festival is Chopard’s world.

It’s a world that began in 1998, when the film festival introduced the first Palme d’Or designed by Chopard. It's the trophy awarded to the best film of the festival. The Swiss luxury brand’s partnership broke new ground in 2007 when it introduced its Red Carpet Collection. The collection of one-of-a-kind jewels is unveiled every year during the festival is worn by the stars throughout the event. This year, the company introduced 69 jewels, which honors the 69th edition of the annual festival.

It has to be one of the great marketing coups by a jewelry and watch company.

In recent years the collection included the “Green Carpet Collection” of jewels, which are crafted with Fairmined gold. This year for the first time the collection includes emeralds, mined in a responsible sustainable manner by Gemfields, a colored gemstone mining and marketing company, from its mine in Zambia.

The following stars appeared on the Cannes Red Carpet Wednesday wearing Chopard Red Carpet, Green Carpet and High Jewellery collections.


Julianne Moore wore earrings from the Green Carpet Collection in 18k white Fairmined gold set with two pear-shaped emeralds (10 and 11 carats each) and marquise-cut diamonds; and a ring from the Green Carpet Collection in 18k white Fairmined gold adorned with a 10.3-carat cushion shaped emerald and set with marquise-cut diamonds (top photo and above). All emeralds are responsibly mined at Gemfields’ Kagem mine in Zambia. All diamonds are sourced from a producer who is an RJC certified member.


Chinese Actress Zhao Tao chose a necklace in 18k rose gold set with rubies (131.5 carats) and diamonds (31.34 carats), a pair of earrings in 18k rose gold set with rubies (24.97 carats) and diamonds (2.84 carats) and a bracelet in 18k rose gold set with rubies (20.09 carats) and diamonds (20.15 carats, all from the Red Carpet Collection.


Victoria Beckham wore two bracelets in 18k white gold set with diamonds and a ring in 18k white gold set with a 8.88 carats of cushion-cut diamonds, all from the High Jewellery Collection. Caroline Scheufele, Chopard co-president and artistic director, walked the red carpet with Beckham in Chopard.


Kirsten Dunst, wore a pair of earrings in 18k white gold with diamonds (20.24 carats), a bracelet in platinum set with diamonds (9.12 carats) and a bracelet in 18k white gold set with diamonds (18.27 carats), all from the High Jewellery Collection.


Italian Actress Valeria Golino, wore a pair of pink spinel and diamond earrings and pale pink spinel ring, all from the High Jewellery Collection.


Thai Actress Araya Hargate wore an 18k white gold necklace set with 76.5 carats of conch pearls and 90.76 carats of diamonds. She also word diamond stud earrings in 18k white gold set with brilliant cut diamonds and a ring in 18k white gold with 5.21 carats of diamonds, all from the High Jewellery Collection.


French singer Line Renaud wore an 18k white gold necklace with 82.48 carats of diamonds, all from the High Jewellery Collection.


Italian Model Bianca Balti shined in a pair of earrings in 18k white gold set with sapphires and diamonds and a bracelet in 18k white gold set with sapphires and diamonds, all from the High Jewellery Collection.


French Actress Frédérique Bel wore a pair of 18k white gold earrings featuring diamonds and rubies and bracelet featuring rubies and diamonds, all from the High Jewellery Collection. 

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cartier Necklace Could Fetch $60,000 At Bidsquare Online Jewelry Auction

Cartier bib necklace with moonstone, diamonds, and sapphire

Signed jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Hermes, Chanel, Tiffany and David Webb are among the items that will be presented at a live online auction Tuesday hosted by Bidsquare

The "Spring Jewels: Fine Estate & Signed Jewelry" sale is by Fortuna Auction, a New York-based auction house, but registration and bidding can be done online through Bidsquare, a New York-based online auction site. 

A total of 397 lots will be presented with the top lot being a Cartier bib necklace with moonstone, diamonds, and sapphire (top photo). This has an estimate of $50,000 - $60,000 with an opening bid set at $45,000. 
   


But it is far from the only quality item in this diverse selection of jewels. For example, natural pearls are among the hottest items at auction in recent years and this sale features a 14.90-carat beauty that measures 14.20" x 11.13" (with SSEF certificate) set in a platinum and diamond ring (pictured above). Its estimate is $40,000 - $50,000. 


There are even some surprising items, such as timepieces, objets d'art and handbags. In fact one of the top lots is a Hermès patent black porosus crocodile Kelly bag in new condition (pictured above). This has an estimate of $22,000 - $25,000. 


A fun jewel being presented is an 18k, two-tone, diamond, enamel “Humpty Dumpty” brooch by Donlad Claflin for Tiffany & Co. with an estimate of $20,000 - $24,000. 

While the live auction date is May 17, people can place absentee bids anytime online up to the day of the live auction. 

“This is ideal for users that may not be available on the 17th but can still place their maximum bid,” said Allis Ghim, Bidsquare president and CEO. “Once they place their max bid online, the system automatically bids on their behalf up to their max bid on the day of the live sale.”

Go to the Bidsquare website to register for the live online sale or to bid in advance. 

Marilyn Cooperman Large Emerald and Kunzite Star Brooch. Estimate $20,000 - $25,000

Bidsquare is an auction website that sells merchandise from established auction houses. It was launched when six auction houses (Cowan’s Auctions, Rago, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Skinner, Pook & Pook and Brunk Auctions) joined forces. Bidsquare auctions range from fine art to estate jewels, to modern design and historical artifacts, all vetted by America’s foremost auction houses. The site also boasts a free, searchable database of more than a million auction records.

Jewelry News Network has been featuring items from the auction daily on its social media sites and will continue to do so until May 17. 

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19% Decline In Gold Jewelry Demand


Higher prices for gold and market-specific difficulties led to a steep decline in gold jewelry demand for the first quarter of 2016, according to the World Gold Council. 

Global gold jewelry demand fell 19 percent, year-over-year, to 481.9 tons for the period (a four-year low) led by large declines in demand in India and China, the two largest gold markets, the WGC said in its quarterly “Gold Demand Trends” report.

But the decline in demand spread worldwide as a 122 percent increase in gold investment demand led to a surge in the price of the precious metal. The WGC attributed this increase in demand to a “swirling uncertainty" created by a "mix of factors" that "undermined confidence in traditional asset classes.” This included Negative Interest Rate Policies implemented by the central banks of Japan and Europe, China’s devaluation of the yuan fueling fears over the country’s economic health, and the expected slowing pace of interest rate rises in the U.S. 

This resulting increase in the price of the precious metal slowed jewelry making activity in much of the world. There were few bright spots. 

India’s jewelry manufacturing operations “virtually ground to a halt” in March due to “a combination of surging prices and industrial action in protest at government policy,” the WGC said. The protests erupted with the India’s government announced plans to impose a 1 percent excise tax on jewelry manufacturing. Jewelry stores throughout much of the country closed for the entire month of March and into April. 

The result was that first quarter gold jewelry demand fell 41 percent to 88.4 tons in India, a seven-year low. However the WGC added that it believes business will soon return to normal as most stores re-opened in the second half of April for the Akshaya Tritiya festival in early May and the start of the wedding season. 

Meanwhile, China saw a 17 percent decline in gold jewelry demand year-over-year to 179.4 tons due to “sharply rising gold price against a background of continued economic slowdown,” the WGC said.

The high price of gold took its toll in other Asian markets. Malaysia (-23%) and Indonesia (-10%) were the weakest performers. 

Vietnam was an exception to the depressed regional market, with jewelry demand 6 percent higher year-over-year. However, the WGC warned that at least some of this growth could be attributed to investment demand. 

The US proved to be one of the few bright spots in the world as demand for gold jewelry continues to grow. In the first quarter demand increased 2 percent year-over-year to 22.6 tons, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year gains, “impressive for a market where economic growth has remained relatively anemic,” the WGC said. 

Some retailers were re-entering the gold jewelry market after slashing or completely eradicating their gold product offerings, WGC said. In addition, double digit gains in gold jewelry imports in January and February “was a clear indication of US consumers’ continued desire for gold jewelry.” 

The lone bright spot in the Middle East was Iran where gold jewelry demand rallied by 10 percent year-over-year to 9.9 tons as the market continues to feel the benefit of the lifting of Western sanctions. However, the WGC added that this growth was tempered by the impact of 9 percent VAT. 

The remaining Middle Eastern markets uniformly saw double-digit losses in the first quarter as the region is beset with low oil prices and weak tourism revenues, in addition to the high price of gold. Egypt was the worst casualty as demand fell 18 percent to 7.7 tons.

In Turkey, gold jewelry demand declined 18 percent to 8.5 tons as the high price of gold, a struggling domestic economy and terrorist activities weighed on sentiment, the WGC said.

In Europe, gold jewelry demand was lackluster with a 1 percent increase to 12.7 tons. 

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