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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spectacular Results for Sotheby’s ‘Magnificent Jewels’ Sale

This 30.52-ct. emerald-cut diamond sold for more than $3.38 million.

Sotheby's New York on Thursday achieved more than $39.3 million in its “Magnificent Jewels” sale, representing the highest-ever total for a spring auction of jewelry at the Sotheby’s headquarters, and marking it the highest total for any jewelry sale in New York thus far this season. The auction of diamonds, colored stones and designer jewelry beat the pre-sale high estimate of $35.6 million. More than 84 items were sold by lot with 93 percent sold by value.

Leading the way for this sale were five fancy colored diamonds, one white diamond and an emerald, all exceeding the million-dollar mark with four items smashing top pre-sale estimates.

“Collectors are willing to pay a premium for diamonds with charm, and that was a hallmark of today’s sale,” said Gary Schuler, Sotheby’s director of Jewelry in New York. “Whether they feature old-world cuts or magnificent and unique colors, the opportunity to compete for these stones is exactly why buyers come to auction.”

The top item at the sale was a 30.52-ct. emerald-cut diamond (top photo) with D color, VVSI clarity, and excellent polish and symmetry that sold for more than $3.3 million, including buyers’ premium.

This was followed by a 3.18-ct. internally flawless marquise-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ring that fetched more than $3.2 million. The diamond is set within a contemporary openwork diamond mounting designed as a flower.

The international auction house said competition was especially fierce for a “Distinguished Family Collection” that included romantic diamonds and Cartier designs from the firm’s creative peak that brought in more than $7.8 million, more than double its high estimate.

“Today’s results reflect the continued appetite for well-design jewels, from period pieces by Cartier to contemporary designs by JAR and Taffin,” said Lisa Hubbard, Sotheby’s chairman, North & South America, International Jewelry Division. “Nowhere was that more evident that in the spectacular prices achieved by the Distinguished Family Collection, which featured diamonds evocative of the Belle Époque era, as well as signed pieced by two of the best designers of the period: Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.”

A platinum and diamond pendant from the family collection, circa 1915 set with a D color, VS2 clarity, type IIa pear-shaped diamond of 20.74 carats was purchased for $2.15 million, nearly doubling its pre-auction high estimate of $1.2 million.

From the same collection, Sotheby’s said at least 10 bidders fought for a diamond Jabot Pin, circa 1920, with a Cartier and Tiffany & Co. pedigree. It features a pear-shaped D color, type IIa diamond of 15.31 cts. and VVS2 clarity before. It eventually achieved $1.98 million, more than double the pre-sale high estimate of $800,000.

A 3.64-ct. cushion-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond with VVS1 clarity sold for $1.87 million. The diamond is surrounded with small round diamonds and mounted on 18k white gold.

Comfortably nestled in among all the diamonds is a platinum, emerald and diamond ring by Harry Winston that sold for $1.87 million, more than double the pre-sale low estimate of $800,000. The property of a private collector, the 16.93-ct. square Columbian emerald is flanked by tapered baguette diamonds. It comes with a signed box and a copy of proof of purchase from Harry Winston, dated May 23, 1980.

Rounding out the top seven items was a fancy vivid yellow diamond ring designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. in 1972 with a whimsical “bee” motif mounting. The item sparked a bidding war in the morning session, leading to a $1.08 million result that was more than twice the low estimate. The ring is set with a 11.13-ct. cushion shaped diamond of fancy vivid yellow color and VS2 clarity. It came from a private collection.

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