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Monday, April 7, 2014

Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace Fetches World Record $27.4 Million


For once diamonds wasn’t the top seller at a major jewelry auction.

A Cartier jadeite bead, ruby and diamond necklace owned by Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton sold for more than $27.4 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction. The sale set world auction records for a Jadeite jewel and for a Cartier jewel, the auction house said. It was also sold for more than double its estimate of HK100 million. 

The item was purchased by The Cartier Collection, which acquires its most precious jewels and exhibits them around the world. 

The piece is composed of 27 graduated jadeite beads of what the auction house describes as “highly translucent bright emerald green color,” completed by a clasp set with caliber-cut rubies and baguette diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18k yellow gold. The jadeite beads run from approximately 19.20 to 15.40mm.

The necklace was presented as a wedding gift to Hutton from her father, Frank Winfield Woolworth, on the occasion of her marriage to Prince Mdivani, Sotheby’s said. It was first worn publically by Barbara Hutton at her 21st birthday party, and remained in the Mdivani family for over five decades until it was first sold at auction in 1988 for $2 million, which at the time was considered to be the most expensive piece of jadeite jewelry in the world. Six years later in 1994 it was offered at auction again in Hong Kong, this time selling for $4.2 million.

Sotheby's called the piece the “greatest jadeite bead necklace of historical importance.”

Two more auction records were set in Hong Kong. 


The “Red Emperor,” Burmese ruby and diamond necklace by high jewelry designer James W. Currens for Fai Dee sold for more than $9.9 million—a world record for a ruby and diamond necklace sold at auction. Fai Dee is a Hong Kong company that specializes in acquiring and cutting Burmese rubies.

The graduating fringe necklace is set with 30 heart-shaped and 30 pear-shaped “Pigeon’s Blood” rubies weighing 104.51 carats. Between each ruby are brilliant-cut, pear-shaped and oval diamonds together weighing approximately 59.05 carats, mounted in platinum and 18k yellow gold. 


A 29.62-carat oval Burmese ruby and diamond ring, mounted by Cartier sold for more than $7.3 million, setting a world record for a ruby sold at auction. The stylized platinum mount for the ring is set with brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 2.50 carats.

The three pieces were among the highest sellers at the auction, which took in more than $106.6 million, with 82.2 percent of the items sold by lot and 80.6 sold by value. 

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