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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sotheby’s Sees Red in Upcoming Hong Kong Jewelry Auction

1.92-carat VS2 fancy red diamond ring.

China now has 115 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine, and it appears Sotheby’s is making every possible effort to attract these super-rich residents as well as other high-net-worth individuals from the Asian countries with its Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale 2011 in Hong Kong.

The international auction house is presenting a display of colored diamonds, colored gemstones, jadeite and luxury jewelry from several periods for its April 6 sale at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre—promising that buyers will be seeing plenty of red. The sale will offer 329 lots, with an estimated value of more than $60 million. (All prices are in U.S. dollars and don’t include the buyer’s premium.).

“This auction provides a colorful variety for Asian and global collectors who have discerning taste for truly exceptional gems,” said Quek Chin Yeow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman and head of its jewelry department.

Despite all the color, the top two lots of this sale are expected to be for white diamonds. The first is a pair of D color internally flawless diamond pendent earrings totaling 36.48 cts. by Harry Winston (left), each suspending a pear-shaped diamond weighing over 14 cts., surmounted by an oval diamond weighing 4.01 cts., all D color and internally flawless (auction estimate $4.1 – 4.8 million).

This is followed by a 25.50-ct. brilliant-cut unmounted D-color flawless diamond (auction estimate $3.8 – 4.8 million) with excellent cut, polish and symmetry and Type IIa chemical purity (left). 

The third big item being offered is a jadeite bead necklace (Est. $3.8 – 4.5 million) comprising 53 graduated fine natural jadeite beads of luscious translucency, imperial emerald green color and great consistency. Measuring approximately 12.36 to 9.92 mm, the necklace is further adorned with a clasp set with rubies, sapphires and diamonds.

The Hong Kong auction is introducing what it calls the “Red Sale,” led by three stunners. The first is a 1.92-carat VS2 fancy red diamond ring (top picture). It is among the most unusual and rarest color in diamonds, Sotheby’s said. Few red diamonds exist in the world, most are of SI or below in clarity and rarely weigh more than 1 carat (auction estimate $2.5 – 3 million).

Next is a 27.67-ct. Burmese ruby and diamond ring from Bulgari (left). The auction house says its “pigeon’s blood” color “is the largest gem-quality unheated Burmese ruby from the legendary mines of Mogok, famous for producing the world’s best rubies to appear at auction in recent years.” Rubies exceeding 10 carats without thermal enhancement are extremely rare and are irreplaceable as the mines no longer produce rubies of such a significant size and quality (estimate $1.5 - 2.5 million).

Finally, there’s a Burmese ruby and diamond necklace, and pair of matching pendent earrings, totaling 29 rubies weighing 75.56 cts. (left), also from the Mogok mines (estimate $1.4 - 1.9 million).

The top colored diamond being offered is a 12.72-ct. pear-shaped internally flawless fancy pink diamond and diamond ring by Indian jewelry designer Nirav Modi (Est.$3.2 – 4 million). Also featured in the sale is a 25.26-ct. fancy vivid yellow diamond and diamond ring (Est. $1.7 - 2 million); and a 1.13-ct. fancy vivid yellowish green diamond ring (Est. $500,000 – 580,000).

Colored gemstone offerings are led by a 23.19-ct. Brazilian cat’s-eye alexandrite on a diamond ring (Est. $1.3 – 1.6 million). The color changes from reddish purple in incandescent light to bluish green in daylight (pictured left). This combined with a well-centered and pronounced chatoyancy (or cat’s-eye effect), makes the gem is extremely unusual and among the finest to exist in the current market in both quality and size, Sotheby’s said.

Other natural gemstones include a 29.20-ct. Burmese sapphire and diamond ring ($400,000 – 600,000) and a pair of 9.10 and 8.56-ct. Burmese sapphire and diamond earrings ($190,000 – 230,000), both natural, unheated and of noble “Royal Blue,” color, the most desirable in Burmese sapphires, Sotheby’s said. In addition, there’s a pair of 10.73 and 9.52-ct. Colombian emerald and diamond pendent earrings (pictured left) with natural untreated Colombian emeralds ($800,000 – 1 million).

Chinese and Chinese inspired jewelry designs include a 7.31-ct. cushion-shaped F-color diamond, amethyst and pink Sapphire ring, by renowned Hong Kong contemporary jewelry, Wallace Chan (Est. $85,000 - 120,000). Another highly sculptural piece is a diamond and gem-set “Azalea” solstice cuff by Cindy Chao (pictured left). Centering on a 7.02-ct. fancy light yellow diamond, the bangle is modeled as a blooming azalea and adorned with diamonds and gemstones of more than 30 colors, together weighing approximately 124 carats (Est. $150,000 – 190,000). There’s also the "endless-cut" diamond bangle by Nirav Modi (Est. $60,000 – 80,000), weighing approximately 16.80 cts. (pictured left) It features Modi’s signature diamond cutting and setting technique known as “Enigma setting.” It requires diamonds of a particular shape substantially different from ordinary diamond cuts. The result is an endless ring of brilliance, without beginning or end.

Classic period jewels include a Burmese ruby and diamond “Foliage” bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1959 (Est. $400,000 – 480,000), made of natural and unheated Burmese rubies weighing approximately 29.60 cts. and diamonds weighing about 20 cts., mounted on a lithe and graceful bracelet that curls naturally around the wearer’s wrist (left). There’s also a Kashmir sapphire and diamond clip brooch from Cartier London (Est. $50,000 – 60,000). The Art Deco creation centers on a 3.04-ct. hexagonal natural unheated Kashmir sapphire, surrounded by sapphires totaling approximately 7.50 cts. 

Then there’s a Jadeite “Huaigu” ruby and diamond necklace and pair of matching pendent earrings by American jewelry designer Carvin French, circa 1996. The Chinese-inspired suite comprises 33 highly translucent jadeite “huaigus”—one of the most iconic forms in traditional Chinese jewelry – each centering on a cabochon ruby. The necklace is accompanied by pendent earrings each set with two jadeite “huaigus” (Est. $490,000 – 640,000).

Finally, there’s a pair of Jadeite “8” and diamond pendent earrings (Est. $320,000 – 380,000), of vivid emerald green color and outstanding translucency. The number 8 is an auspicious symbol in traditional Chinese culture that bestows good fortune upon its wearer.

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