Additional reporting by Gretchen Friedrich, Jewelry News Network social media manager
The 25.59-carat “Sunrise Ruby” by Cartier smashes estimates to fetch $30.38 million, a world record for a price of a ruby at auction. It was the surprising top lot Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale held Tuesday at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage.
Known as the “Sunrise Ruby,” it’s described as a “unique treasure of nature” by the Swiss Gemmological Institute. The ruby didn’t receive any heat treatment and the color is described by that famous auction moniker for exceptional rubies, “pigeon’s blood” red: the rarest and most sought-after of hues.
The ruby was the high point in a jewelry auction that saw many highs, taking in approximately $134 million, with 93.5 percent of the 484 lots sold. The top ten results were a mix of colored gems and diamonds along with white diamonds, natural pearls and three other Cartier jewels.
Going into the auction, the top lot was expected to be the “Historic Pink,” (pictured above) an 8.72-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that the auction house described as “extremely rare and highly important.” This turned out to be the second highest lot of the sale, fetching $16 million, within its estimate. The jewel is believed to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde, the niece of Napoleon Bonaparte. The stone, which has VS2 clarity, is also distinguished by its classic non-modified cushion cut, unusual in a pink diamond, Sotheby’s said.
A custom-made diamond necklace of more than 190 carats by Cartier (pictured above) sold for $7.25 million. The piece was designed as a cascade of diamonds, the front accented with a floral motif and suspending a fringe of nine pear-shaped stones.
Despite an auction season that has had its share of high and lows, one category of jewelry that continues to see consistently higher prices are natural pearls. This auction didn’t disappoint as three pearl jewels were among the top 10 lots.
The first was a natural pearl and diamond necklace that has at least least some Cartier lineage (signed clasp and case stamp) that sold for $7 million (pictured above), well above its high estimate. It is composed of two graduated strands of 78 natural pearls on a clasp set with a marquise-shaped diamond weighing 4.39 carats.
In addition, a single strand necklace composed of a graduated row of natural pearls measuring from 7.95 to 12.40mm, on a barrel clasp set with brilliant-cut diamonds sold for $3.8 million, totally obliterating its high estimate of approximately $527,000.
The other Cartier pieces that sparkled at the auction were a brooch set with a 30.23-carat Kashmir sapphire that sold for $6.1 million; and sapphire and diamond earrings of the same design made with two Burmese Mogok sapphires of 15.77 and 16.90 carats. This sold for $3.43 million, well above its high estimate.
The other top lots are as follows:
* A 32-carat colorless diamond ring sold for more than $4 million. It was one of two colorless diamonds among the top 10 lots.
* The other was a pair of earrings each suspending a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 10.02 and 10.03 carats, from a line of single-cut diamonds, which sold for $3.2 million.
* Rounding out the top 10 was a natural pearl and diamond ear clips that sold for $3.2 million.
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