If the year started slowly for jewelry auctions, you would not have known it after yesterday’s wildly successful Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale at Sotheby’s in Geneva. With 93.6% sold by lot, the sale achieved a total of $160.9 million and set a new record for the highest ever total for a jewelry auction.
The sale was loaded from the get-go with highly collectible signed pieces as well as exceptionally rare gems.
Speaking after the sale, David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, commented: “Tonight’s record result is the reflection of the outstanding quality of the pieces in the sale across the board. The ‘Sunrise Ruby’ captivated me from the moment I saw it – such an exquisite stone truly deserved the multiple-record-breaking price this evening. The exceptional results achieved for the other Cartier jewels in the sale – including two world auction records for sapphires – and for ‘The Historic Pink Diamond’ are evidence that the market for exceptional jewels is going from strength to strength. The galleries have been brimming with collectors during our worldwide exhibitions, and this translated into lively bidding throughout the sale tonight with truly global demand for the finest diamonds, gemstones and signed pieces of the very highest order.”
The star of the evening was the “Sunrise Ruby”, which reeled in a winning bid of $30.3 million which set a new world record for a ruby, a ruby per carat ($1,185,451 per carat), and a jewel by Cartier. The immeasurably rare ‘Pigeon’s Blood’ Burmese ruby blasted the previous record for a ruby and ruby per carat formerly held by the 8.62-carat ‘Graff Ruby’, which sold for $8.6 million at Sotheby’s in November 2014.
The next highest earning lot was the ‘Historic Pink Diamond’, which is the recut pink stone once owned by reclusive heiress Huguette Clark and supposedly Princess Mathilde of Bonaparte. The 8.72-carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond fetched a total of $15.9 million.
Three additional lots by Cartier from the same collection as the ‘Sunrise Ruby’ also brought in sensational numbers:
- The diamond ‘Ivresse’ necklace – $7.2 million
- A 30.23-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch – $6.1 million (setting a new record for a Kashmir sapphire jewel)
- A pair of Burmese sapphire and diamond earrings – $3.4 million (setting a new record for a pair of Burmese sapphire earrings)
All 17 pieces from the Estate of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe sold and contributed just over $8 million to the sale total, six times the pre-sale low estimate. Highlights include:
- An Art Deco tiara by Cartier, circa 1930s – $2.6 million
- A 19th century diamond tiara – $848,326
The demand for natural pearls remains fiercely strong as a two-row natural pearl necklace sold for $7 million, setting a world auction record for a two-row natural pearl necklace.