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Friday, December 12, 2014

Colorless Diamonds and Celebrated Collections Lead Sotheby’s Jewelry Sales


A platinum-topped gold and diamond necklace presented to Helen Hay on the occasion of her marriage to Payne Whitney in 1902 was the top lot at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale. 

The necklace (pictured above) features four diamonds ranging from F to H color, and weighing 27.48, 15.53, 13.08 and 8.91 carats respectively, the necklace sold for nearly $3.2 million. The marriage of Hay and Whitney was a society event that made headlines across the United States. All seven jewels from the estate of Helen Hay Whitney were sold for $4.8 million. 

In addition to the Helen Hay Whitney estate, collection from Estée Lauder, Evelyn H. Lauder and Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia were among the most sought after jewels from bidders, which included a world record price for a Cartier “Tutti Frutti” bracelet

Jewels from the collections of Estée Lauder and Mrs. Evelyn H. Lauder together achieved $3.9 million, with more than 80 percent of the pieces on offer fetching prices above their high estimates.


Thirty-two jewels from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder—sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation—were led by a “Tutti Frutti” bracelet by Cartier, circa 1928 (pictured above), that sold for more than $2.1 million (more than double its high estimate), marking a new world auction record for any Tutti Frutti bracelet by Cartier.

Ten pieces from the Estée Lauder collection sold to benefit the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation were led by a pair of fancy brown-yellow diamond and diamond earclips by Van Cleef & Arpels that fetched $233,000.


A pair of platinum, emerald and diamond pendant-earclips (pictured above) that originally belonged to the legendary collection of Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia sold for more than $1 million. After being smuggled out of Russia by an English friend of the Duchess following the abdication of the Tsar in 1917, the emeralds descended to the Duchess’s daughter and granddaughter, and were acquired at auction at Sotheby’s Geneva in 1987 for Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, the auction house said. 

From the collection of Marlene Dietrich—the legendary actress, singer and cabaret star—a 14k tri-color gold and lapis lazuli bracelet, Cartier circa 1940, sold for $179,000, nearly six times above its high estimate. The bracelet was a gift from longtime friend Erich Maria Remarque, author of “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Two platinum and diamond rings were among the top four lots of the auction, showing that despite the trend toward colored diamonds, statement colorless diamonds can still bring in world-class prices. 


The first featured a 25.44-carat emerald-cut diamond of D color, VVS1 clarity and potentially Internally Flawless. It sold for $2.96 million, or $116,548 per carat (pictured above).

The second featured a 47.48- carat, round brilliant-cut diamond of K color, VVS1 clarity that sold for $1.8 million. 

Other highlights of the auction were:

* A platinum and diamond ring centered by a 3.02 emerald-cut fancy grayish blue diamond with VVS2 clarity, circa 1930, sold for $1.4 million, or $478,476 per carat, well above its high estimate.

* A platinum, fancy intense purplish pink diamond and diamond ring, 3.07 carats, SI2 clarity, sold for $1.2 million ($392,508 per carat).

* Platinum and diamond earclips by Harry Winston, 10.20 carats, G color, VVS2 clarity and 9.53 carats, G color,VS1 clarity, sold for $1.08 million ($54,992 per carat).

* Egyptian-revival platinum, diamond and colored stone bracelet, LaCloche Frères, Paris, sold for $1.5 million. 

The December 9 auction achieved more than $44.1 million in sales, with 75.8 percent sold by lot and 81.1 percent sold by value. It raised Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry sales in 2014 to $597.5 million, already surpassing the record $529.3 million the company achieved in 2013 in this category. This is without including Sotheby’s London jewelry sale held Thursday. The auction house estimates that sales for 2014 will exceed $600 million.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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