Sotheby's

A Sign of the Times after Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale

Sotheby's HK April Results

The first Magnificent Jewels sale of the season proved to be less than stellar as Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale achieved a total of $37.5 million – just over a third of the sale’s $99 million estimate. The disappointing results echo the current economic state of the world and its effect on wealthy buyers.

China’s recent sharper-than-expected economic slowdown has had the most notable effect on the high-end jewelry market, while recent reports show that Chinese demand for large diamonds and high-end pieces has softened in conjunction with Beijing’s campaign against corruption and conspicuous consumption. Additional hits on buying power have resulted from a Russian ruble worth 40% less than the previous year; a dramatic drop in oil prices; and a weakened Euro against the Swiss Franc and strengthening U.S. Dollar.

As for what this sale’s results mean for the industry as a whole, only time and the remaining sales of this season will tell, but I do not suspect this is an isolated event.

Fine Diamond Necklace, Bulgari, circa 1950s

Fine Diamond Necklace, Bulgari, circa 1950s

Of the 21 lots with high estimates over $1million, only eight of them sold, the most noteworthy of which include:

A pair of diamond pendant earrings set with D, Flawless 12.87 and D, IF 12.77-carat round brilliant diamonds (est. $2.3 - 2.8 million) sold for $2.56 million

A pair of diamond pendant earrings set with D, Flawless 12.87 and D, IF 12.77-carat round brilliant diamonds (est. $2.3 – 2.8 million) sold for $2.56 million

 

The most surprising pieces, which accounted for many of the sale’s highlights, that did not sell were:

Very Rare Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond & Diamond Ring, Mounted by Carvin French

Very Rare Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond & Diamond Ring, Mounted by Carvin French

Exceptional Pair of Ruby & Diamond Pendant Ear Clips, Bulgari

Exceptional Pair of Ruby & Diamond Pendant Ear Clips, Bulgari

Though the sale on a whole fell short of its expectations, there were some bright spots throughout. Pieces with estimates under $100,000 faired well particularly signed jewels under $50,000. My favorite lot in the sale, an emerald drop and diamond collar necklace, by Boucheron, circa 1930s, did sell, achieving a total just over its estimate at $474,646.

Emerald & Diamond Necklace, Boucheron, circa 1930s

Emerald & Diamond Necklace, Boucheron, circa 1930s

Next up is Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on April 16th, where hopefully the market is warmer than it was in Hong Kong today.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary Max
    April 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the econ lesson!

    Despite it’s estimate tag, I’m surprised the pink heart diamond ring didn’t sell.

    • Reply
      Kelli
      May 23, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      That pink heart diamond is certainly fit for a queen!

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