Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale is jam-packed with incredible jewel after incredible jewel. Leading the 500-lot sale is the exceedingly rare and outrageously beautiful Blue Moon diamond. This rare wonder, graded Fancy Vivid Blue and Internally Flawless, was unearthed at the Premier Mine at Cullinan – owned by Petra Diamonds – in South Africa, the only known mine today for producing blue diamonds with some regularity. In fact, out of the eighteen million tons mined and five million carats recovered from the mine, only five world-class blue diamonds have emerged from Cullinan, or less than 0.1 percent of the mine’s annual yield.
The 29.62-carat rough found in January 2014 was expertly cut by Cora International, one of the world’s leading firms specializing in cutting large important diamonds. The resulting stone, a cushion-cut 12.03-carat diamond of perfect proportions, is a masterpiece of mother nature enhanced by the hands of man. The Blue Moon is expected to fetch between $35.5 and $56 million.
Opposite in color but no less exceptional, the Queen Maria-José ruby ring is a fiery wonder of impeccable provenance. Formerly part of the personal collection of the last Queen of Italy, Maria-José, the historic ruby was a gift from the Italian bibliophile Tammaro de Marinis on the occasion of Maria-José’s wedding to Crown Prince Umberto in 1930. The Burmese ruby weighs 8.48 carats and is noted to have the coveted ‘pigeon’s blood’ red hue. The rare ruby is estimated at $6 to 9 million.
Sotheby’s has a knack for record-breaking rubies in the past year. In November 2014, the auction house sold the ‘Graff Ruby’ for $8.6 million, a new world record for a ruby at the time. Then, in May of this year, Sotheby’s Geneva bested the world record for a ruby again with the sale of the ‘Sunrise Ruby’, an exquisite 25.59-carat Burmese ruby that sold for $30.3 million – more than three times the previous record.
Another important stone in the sale is a pear-shaped 8.24-carat Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink diamond, estimated at $12.6 to 16.6 million. Last year, in October, Sotheby’s Hong Kong offered a 8.41 carat Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink diamond, which sold for $17,778,247, a world auction record price for a fancy vivid pink diamond.
While the sale boasts a bevy of remarkably rare gems, it also offers a plentitude of highly collectible jewels, including hree magnificent tiaras. Cartier is well represented in the sale, with terrific examples illustrating the breadth and talent of the maison throughout the 20th century: from a delicate 1920s natural pearl, emerald and diamond jabot pin, its design inspired by a traditional Indian sarpech, a turban ornament, to a more modern emerald, ruby, mother-of-pearl and diamond ‘New Khandy’ parrot brooch and everything in between.
A number of Cartier pieces from the 1940s and 1950s display the creative spirit during and after World War II. A citrine suite in particular is a stunning illustration of beautiful jewelry made during the wartime rationing, during which the more precious materials were strictly limited.
The sale also includes beautiful pieces by renown jewelers such as René Lalique, Suzanne Belperron, René Boivin, and Jacques Lacloche as well as notable jewels from the world’s most prestigious jewelry houses, including Bulgari, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. For connoisseurs looking to add contemporary pieces to their collections, the sale offers stunning jewels by JAR, Alexandre Reza and Hemmerle.