The name Josephine reigns in the kingdom of colored diamonds. Following the sale of the Sweet Josephine pink at Christie’s, the magnificently rare Blue Moon diamond has been renamed The Blue Moon of Josephine after selling to a private collector (reportedly Hong Kong’s sixth richest man Joseph Lau, who also bought the Sweet Josephine pink diamond at Christie’s) yesterday at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale. Selling for $48.5 million, the once in a ‘Blue Moon’ stone, a Fancy Vivid blue diamond of 12.03 carats, became the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, setting new records for any diamond of any color, or any gemstone, price-per-carat for any diamond, or any gemstone, and for any jewel.
The remarkable diamond bested the Graff Pink, which held the record price for any diamond when it sold for $46.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010. The icy blue bauble also set a new record price-per-carat at just over $4 million, a record previously held by The Zoe Diamond when it sold for $3.3 million per carat at Sotheby’s New York last year. The diamond’s record-breaking price helped the sale total reach $139 million with 82.8 percent sold by lot.
“I am absolutely delighted with this evening’s record result – this show-stopping blue diamond surely is a once-in-a-lifetime stone. I’m also pleased to say that tonight’s sale takes our total in Geneva for this year to an unprecedented 300 million dollars, following our record-breaking sale in May. The star of the evening, the ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ was discovered at the Cullinan Mine, which is owned by Petra Diamonds, and was polished to perfection by Cora International. It now takes its place among the world’s greatest diamonds.”– David Bennett, Sotheby’s Worldwide Chairman of Jewellery
Also setting a record, a 15.20-carat Fancy orangy-pink diamond pendant from the collection of Sir Sean Connery set a world auction record for a Fancy orangy pink diamond when it sold for $4 million.
The sale’s second highest earning lot, however, was a Fancy Vivid purple-pink diamond of 8.24 carats that achieved a total of $13.9 million; and the catalogue cover lot – a magnificent emerald and diamond necklace, by Harry Winston, circa 1959 – sold for $3.8 million.
Two of the three important tiaras in the sale faired well, the first – a seed pearl and diamond tiara, by Cartier, circa 1909, that survived the sinking of the Lusitania – selling for $799,265 (almost double the high estimate). The second, a rare steel and diamond tiara, by Cartier, circa 1912, fetched $536,165, well within its estimate. The third tiara, a natural pearl and diamond tiara estimated at $2 to 4 million, did not find a new home.
Unfortunately, the sale’s other major highlight after the Blue Moon diamond – the Queen Maria-José ruby ring – did not reach its lot estimate of $6 million and was thus unsold.
Proving the market for jewels by JAR remains as strong as ever, three pairs of earrings by the brilliant contemporary designer achieved a combined total of $1,148,072. For two of the three pairs, this is their second time on the auction block.
- Pair of important sapphire and diamond ear clips, JAR (est. $488,329 – 777,340) sold for $584,002. These earrings were formerly in the collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman and sold for $446,500 at Sotheby’s auction of her jewelry in December 2013.
- Pair of attractive spinel and diamond ear clips, JAR (est. $145,502 – 245,161) sold for $291,004
- Pair of attractive beryl, tourmaline and diamond earclips, JAR (est. 145,502 – 245,161) sold for $273,066. These earrings previously sold at Christie’s Geneva in 2012 for $155,791.
Additional sale highlights include:
- A natural pearl, emerald and diamond jabot pin, Cartier, 1920s, (est. $109,625 – 219,250) sold for $428,534.
- A 62.44-carat Burmese sapphire ring (est. $29,898 – 48,833) sold for $1,086,283.
- A citrine and diamond necklace, Cartier, circa 1940, (est. $58,799 – 87,700) sold for $273,066.
- A topaz bangle, Suzanne Belperron, circa 1935, (est. $38,867 – 58,799) sold for $211,775.
- A sapphire, diamond, enamel and gold bangle, Jacques Lacloche, circa 1935, (est. $145,502 – 244,165) sold for $199,318.
- A citrine bangle, ‘Tranche’, René Boivin, circa 1934, (est. $29,898 – 48,833) sold for $186,861.