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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

‘Blue Belle of Asia’ Sapphire Fetches World Auction Record $17.3 Million

Blue Belle of Asia

A 392.52-carat cushion shaped Ceylon sapphire sold for nearly $17.3 million at Christie’s Geneva sale of Magnificent jewels Tuesday—a world record for any sapphire sold at auction. Known as the 'Blue Belle of Asia,' the gem shattered its high estimate of $10 million. 

The gem, considered the world’s fourth largest faceted sapphire, was discovered in 1926 at Pelmadula, Ratnapura (‘The City of Gems’), in Ceylon and was sold to British motor magnate Lord Nuffield (1877-1963), according to the auction house. It was rumored that he purchased the sapphire to present it to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, on her Coronation Day. The gem is suspended on a diamond tassel pendant and attached to a diamond neckchain mounted in gold.

It was one of several big ticket items at the auction, which achieved more than $150.2 million, with 89 percent sold by lot and 94 percent sold by value. Christie’s said it was “the highest total for any Magnificent Jewels sale in the world.” 

Fancy colored diamond ear pendants

World renowned diamond jeweler, Laurence Graff, acquired a pair of ear pendants, featuring a 6.95-carat, pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond, and a 6.79-carat, pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond, for more than $15.8 million. Previously known as “A Bulgari Masterpiece,” the fancy colored diamonds are topped with marquise and pear-shaped diamond clusters weighing approximately 19.28 carats. The high estimate for the item was $15 million.

Empress Eugenie’s Feuilles De Groseillier Brooch

One of the more anticipated lots was the “Feuilles de Groseillier” brooch, commissioned in 1855 by Empress Eugenie of France (1826-1920) to French jeweler Alfred Bapst. It was part of the French Crown Jewels. It sold for more than $2.3 million, within its estimate of $2 to $3 million.

Christie’s said more than 600 persons from 30 countries registered for the auction.

Other notable sales included the JAR “Parrot Tulip” bangle bracelet that realized more than $3.5 million, nearly ten times its estimate and the second highest price for a creation by JAR; and an Art Deco natural pearl and diamond necklace from the private collection of the Baroness Edouard de Rothschild that sold for nearly $5.2 million.

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