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Ten Most Expensive Sapphires Sold at Auction

Ten Expensive Sapphires

In the last few years, exceptional sapphires have set numerous record sale prices at auction, only to be broken the following year or, in some cases, the next magnificent jewels sale.  Fine sapphires of Kashmir or Burmese origin typically fare well at auctions, but large, incredibly rare stones can sell for millions.

One of the most famous sapphires, the Rockefeller Sapphire made headlines for breaking a record sale price for a sapphire not once, but twice:  first in 1988, when it was sold in St. Moritz for $2,850,000, and then in 2001 in New York it broke its record with a new record sale price of $3,031,000.  The famous 62.02-carat Burmese stone held the record for six years until 2007, when a cushion cut 22.66-carat Kashmir sapphire pendant, circa 1885, barely topped the Rockefeller at a sale price of $3,064,000 in April 2007.

Since then, the record price for a sapphire sold at auction has been broken a number of times, with the latest record-setter kicking off the list of the Ten Most Expensive Sapphires Sold at Auction: 

1.  The Richelieu Sapphires – $8,358,520

Sotheby’s Geneva, November 2013

Set an auction record for sapphire jewels, a Kashmir sapphire and a record price per carat for a sapphire – $175,821 per carat

Richelieu Sapphires

The Richelieu Sapphires currently hold the auction record for sapphire jewels, a Kashmir sapphire and a record price per carat for a sapphire.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Each set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 26.66 and 20.88 carats respectively, suspended from a star surmount set with a cushion- and pear-shaped diamonds, post and hinged back fittings.

Accompanied by SSEF report no. 69008 and Gübelin reports no. 13050112 and no. 13050113, each stating that the sapphires are of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating, each with appendix letters expressing the rarity of these sapphires.

The following is taken from the Swiss Gemmological Institute appendix letter, dated 3 July 2013. “The two gemstones form a perfectly matching pair in size and shape, combined with an attractive velvety blue colour and a fine purity. The inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of sapphires from the reputed historic deposit in Kashmir, located in a remote part of the Himalayan Mountains in India. The velvety blue of these sapphires is due to very fine and subtle inclusions and a combination of well-balanced trace elements in these gemstones, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of Kashmir. In addition to these qualities, these sapphires have been spared exposure to heat treatment and their clarity and colour are thus all natural. A matching pair of natural sapphires from Kashmir of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional.”

 

2.  A 114.74-carat Unmounted Burmese Sapphire – $7,223,285

Sotheby’s Geneva, November 2013

A world auction record for a Burmese sapphire

Lot 355 - EXCEPTIONAL UNMOUNTED SAPPHIRE

This exceptional unmounted Burmerse “Royal Blue” sapphire weighing 114.74 carats set a world auction record for a Burmese sapphire.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

The unmounted oval sapphire weighing 114.73 carats.

Accompanied by SSEF report no. 69915 and Gübelin report no. 13100121, each stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin, ‘Royal Blue’ colour, with no indications of heating; both additionally accompanied by an appendix letter expressing the exceptional nature of this sapphire.

“Its saturated blue colour, poetically also referred to as ‘royal blue’, is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of Mogok, Burma. This sapphire has been perfectly cut from the rough crystal to show its colour at its best… A natural sapphire from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional and thus can be considered a true treasure of nature”, SSEF appendix letter, 25 September 2013.

 

3.  A 130.50-carat Burmese Sapphire and Diamond Brooch – $7,127,453

Christie’s Geneva, May 2011

an_impressive_sapphire_and_diamond_brooch_d5436556h

A cushion-cut Burmese sapphire of 130.50 carats achieved a new world record price for a sapphire at auction in 2011 until it was broken last November.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Set with a cushion-cut sapphire, weighing 130.50 carats, to the openwork rose-cut diamond surround and collet-set old-cut diamond frame, mounted in silver and gold, 6.0 cm

Accompanied by report no. 58361 dated 31 January 2011 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating; and a letter indicating that ‘Its saturated blue colour, poetically referred to as ‘royal blue’, is due to a combination of well balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of the Mogok gemstone tract’ and that ‘The described sapphire (..) exhibits (..) an outstanding purity’

 

4.  The Unique Sapphire and Mutli-Gem ‘Cote d’Azur’ Brooch, by Anna Hu – $4,569,684

Christie’s Geneva, November 2013

A world auction sales record for a contemporary jewelry artist; the highest auction price per carat for a Burmese sapphire – $78,396 per carat

ANNA HU HAUTE JOAILLERIE COTE D'AZUR BROOCH

The ‘Cote d’Azur’ Brooch by Anna Hu features a 58.29 Burmese sapphire.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Centering upon a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing approximately 58.29 carats, to the pavé-set diamond floral branch decorated with moonstones, coloured sapphires, tsavorites, tourmalines, spinel, coloured diamonds, carved sapphires, carved and drop-shaped emeralds, mounted in gold, 12.7 cm
Signed Anna Hu

Accompanied by report no. 57199 dated 31 August 2010 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the 58.29 carat sapphire is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating, and an additional letter for an ‘Exceptional sapphire’

 

5.  A 26.41-carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Brooch – $3,838,508

Christie’s Hong Kong, November 2011

an_exceptional_sapphire_and_diamond_brooch_d5508268h

This 26.41-carat cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch sold for $3,838,508 in November 2011 at Christie’s Hong Kong.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

The cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 26.41 carats, within a two-tiered old European-cut diamond surround, mounted in 18k white, rose and yellow gold ,3.7 cm long

Accompanied by report no. 60825 dated 26 September 2011 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the 26.41 carat sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating

 

6.  A 47.15-carat Burmese Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, by Mellerio – $3,648,894

Christie’s Geneva, May 2012

Previously held the record price per carat for a Burmese sapphire at auction – $77,390

A Sapphire Brooch by Mellerio

An octagonal-cut Burmese sapphire brooch of 47.15 carats, by Mellerio, sold for $3,648,894 at Christie’s Geneva in May 2012, setting a record price per carat for a Burmese sapphire at auction until last year.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Centering upon an octagonal-cut sapphire, weighing approximately 47.15 carats, in an old-mine cut diamond frame, to the baguette, single and brilliant-cut diamond ribbon detail, 5.3 cm, with French assay marks for platinum and gold
Signed and with maker’s mark for Mellerio, no. 17838

Accompanied by report no. 61461 dated 5 December 2011 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating

 

7.  The Star of Kashmir – $3,484,142

Christie’s Geneva, May 2013

Previously held the world auction record price per carat for a sapphire – $175,259 per carat

Lot 247 - THE STAR OF KASHMIR- AN EXCEPTIONAL SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING

The Star of Kashmir is a cushion-shaped sapphire of 19.88 carats, which sold for a world auction record per carat for a sapphire at $175,259 per carat.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing approximately 19.88 carats, flanked on either side with cushion-shaped diamonds, weighing approximately 3.02 and 2.72 carats, to the graduated diamond line shoulders and engraved sides, mounted in platinum, ring size 5¾

Accompanied by report no. 66221 dated 11 December 2012 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating, and a Premium Appendix stating that ‘A natural Kashmir sapphire of this size and purity is extremely rare and thus, the described gemstone with its combination of outstanding characteristics is a very exceptional treasure.’

 

8.  A 42.28-carat Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring – $3,458,420

Christie’s Geneva, November 2008

Previously held the world auction record for a sapphire

A Kashmir Sapphire 2008 Christie's

A 42.48-carat Kashmir sapphire previously held the world auction record for a sapphire when it sold at Christie’s Geneva in November 2008.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 42.28 carats, to the half-moon diamond shoulders, mounted in 18k white gold, ring size 6½

Accompanied by report no. 51716 dated 25 June 2008 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating

 

9.  A 21.42-carat Kashmir Sapphire Ring – $3,231,584

Sotheby’s Geneva, November 2013

A fine KAshmir Sapphire Sotheby's 2013

A fine 21.42-carat Kashmir sapphire ring from the Estate of a European Royal Princess sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2013.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Claw-set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 21.42 carats, size 55 1/2.

Accompanied by SSEF report no. 69922 and Gübelin report no. 13100090, each stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating, the SSEF report also stating ‘Royal Blue’ colour, each with an additional appendix letter expressing the rarity of this sapphire.

 

10.  An Antique 22.66 Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Pendant – $3,064,000

Christie’s New York, April 2007

Previously held the world auction record for a sapphire and for price per carat – $135,000 per carat

An Antique Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Christie's 2007

An antique sapphire and diamond pendant, circa 1886, featuring a 22.66 Kashmir sapphire, sold for $3,064,000 at Christie’s New York in April 2007.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Set with a cushion-cut sapphire, weighing approximately 22.66 carats, within an old European-cut diamond surround, mounted in gold, circa 1886

With report 0702554 dated 20 February 2007 from the Gübelin Gemmological Laboratory stating that gemmological testing revealed characteristics consistent with those of sapphires originating from Kashmir. No indications of heating

 

Honorable Mention:  The Rockefeller Sapphire – $3,031,000

Christie’s New York, April 2001

Previously held the world auction record for a sapphire at auction

THE ROCKEFELLER SAPPHIRE A MAGNIFICENT SAPPHIRE SINGLE-STONE RING - Photo courtesy of Christie's

The Rockefeller Sapphire sold for a record price of $3,031,000 at Christie’s New York in April 2001.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

The rectangular-cut sapphire weighing approximately 62.02 carats, flanked by cut-cornered triangular-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum
Signed Tiffany & Co.

With special report 0101030 from Gubelin stating that the origin of the sapphire is Burma (Myanmar) as well as extensive additional notes discussing the exceptional rarity of the stone

 

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    dex
    February 5, 2014 at 9:55 am

    i love the color of the sapphires! and the amazing design!

  • Reply
    Aseem.
    March 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Great collection.

  • Reply
    Mogok Chit
    July 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    love mogok sapphire

  • Leave a Reply