A Celebration of Jewelry and the Business Behind the Beauty
Leibish & Co
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Emerald and Diamond Tiara Fetches $12.7M, Pink Diamond Sells for $10.8M
An emerald and diamond tiara, circa 1900, formerly in the collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck, sold for a staggering $12.7 million, setting the stage for a glittering night at Sotheby’sMagnificent and Noble Jewels Sale, held Thursday night in Geneva.
Sotheby’s said that this tiara was the most important to have appeared at auction in more than 30 years and apparently those assembled at the auction Hôtel Beau-Rivage agreed as the bejeweled headpiece sold for more than $2 million above its high estimate. It is composed of 11 rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops, which weigh over 500 cts. in total and may well have originally adorned the neck of a Maharajah. These emeralds are also believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugénie.
The tiara was commissioned circa 1900, possibly from Chaumet, the Parisian jewelry house, by Guido Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck, for his second wife Princess Katharina, Sotheby’s said. It was worn whenever royalty was present.
Another highlight of the evening was a 10.99-ct. rare pink diamond that hasn’t appeared on the market for more than 30 years. It sold for $10.8 million, the third highest price for a pink diamond at auction.
The diamond features a classic emerald cut, normally associated with white diamonds, Sotheby’s said. This gem, mounted as a ring, has been graded “fancy intense pink,” natural color and VS1 clarity. It’s further assessed to be type IIa, meaning it is almost or entirely devoid of impurities with extraordinary optical transparency. Fewer than 2 percent of all diamonds in the world are given this grade of purity and most of those diamonds are white.
These were the two headline pieces on a night that totaled $89.1 million sales, the third highest for a sale of jewelry at auction. More than 90 percent of the 479 lots were sold, with 97.5 percent of its total estimated value achieved.
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I am a freelance writer and editor who covers the luxury jewelry and watch industry for several publications, including Forbes.com the Financial Times, Hong Kong-based JewelleryNetAsiaand the Italian jewelry magazine, VO+. In addition, I have my own blog covering the jewelry and watch industry, Jewelry News Network.