The Geneva sales are just around the corner and Sotheby’s May 12 Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale sets the bar high before its rival’s sale the following day. With over 500 lots, the sale is virtual treasure chest full of exceptional jewels.
Leading the highlights is a Fancy Vivid pink diamond that is believed to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I. The diamond, weighing 9.00 carats, last sold at Christie’s for $15.7 million in April 2012 along with other jewels formerly the property of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. The current owner recut the stone to 8.72 carats, which improved its clarity from SI1 to VS2 and color from Fancy Vivid purplish pink to Fancy Vivid pink. The estimate for the renamed “Historic Pink” diamond is $14 to 18 million.
Even more impressive, and perhaps more rare, is the extraordinary “Sunrise Ruby” (more on the stone later). At 25.59 carats, this rare Burmese ruby is the desirable ‘pigeon’s blood’ red hue with outstanding depth of color and saturation, rendering it one of the most exceptional rubies ever to come up for auction. As jewelry specialist Quig Bruning said to me this morning at the Sotheby’s preview of the New York sale, “There is no superlative that comes close to describing this ruby.” The red rarity is expecting to achieve between $12 to 18 million, which – if it sells – will set a new record price for a ruby. Presently, the 8.62-carat Graff Ruby currently holds the record price for a ruby as well as the price per carat for a ruby after it sold for $8.6 million, or $997,727 per carat, at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2014.
A collection comprising a dazzling diamond necklace and a suite of diamond and sapphire jewels by Cartier is yet another exciting highlight of the sale. A cascade of more than 190 carats of diamonds sparkle in the exquisite Ivresse necklace by Cartier, estimated at $6 to 10 million, followed by a brooch featuring a 30.23-carat Kashmir sapphire surrounded by a flair of marquise and pear-cut diamonds.
The brooch (est. $3.5 to 6 million) is accompanied by a matching pair of earrings (est. $800,000 to 1.2 million) set with two well-matched Burmese Mogok sapphires weighing 15.77 and 16.90 carats, respectively.
What makes the Geneva sale so exciting, in my opinion, are the Noble Jewels and this sale has fine examples of the most noble kind of jewel – the tiara. From the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, granddaughter of Rothschild heiress Hannah and British Prime Minister the Earl of Rosebery, three regal tiaras will be offered in the sale. Exemplary of the geometric Art Deco design, a Cartier diamond tiara, circa 1930s, is perhaps the most striking of the three.
The second tiara, dating from the 19th century, is no less stunning with its fleur de lys and confronting scroll motifs executed in spectacular diamonds. What’s more, the latter tiara converts into a necklace. Both diamond tiaras are each estimated to fetch $300,000 to 500,000. A delicate ruby and diamond tiara (est. $80,000 – 100,000) will also be offered in the sale.
Superb natural pearls also feature prominently in the sale, including a a rare double-strand natural pearl necklace (est. $3 – 5 million) strung with 78 superior specimens.
Of course, the sale offers plenty of signed jewels spanning the early 19th and 20th centuries. Spectacular pieces by Cartier, Boucheron, Schlumberger and JAR most prominent among them.