Back-to-back sales of Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s and Christie’s Geneva this week demonstrated that the demand for precious gemstones and colored diamonds is at an all-time high. The May 12 and May 13 auctions set several records, including the highest-ever total for a jewelry auction (Sotheby’s), the world-record price for a ruby (Sotheby’s), and the world-record price for a Kashmir sapphire (Christie’s).
“The market for colored diamonds and precious gemstones has never been stronger, and pink diamonds rank among the rarest of all,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.
Click here for video highlights from Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels, narrated by David Bennett, Sotheby’s Worldwide Chairman for Jewelry.
Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels
The Sotheby’s May 12 sale featured highly collectible signed pieces as well as extraordinarily rare gems. The highlight of the evening was the ‘Sunrise Ruby’, an exceptionally rare ‘Pigeon Blood’ Burmese ruby which fetched $30.3 million — a new world record for a ruby, a ruby per carat ($1,185,451 per carat), and a jewel by Cartier. It had been estimated at $12-$18 million.
The next highest lot was the ‘Historic Pink Diamond’, a recut stone whose provenance includes ownership by the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark and Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, the niece of Napoleon Bonaparte. The 8.72-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond achieved a total of $15.9 million.
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels
The top lot of the May 13 sale at Christie’s was a 5.18-carat rectangular-cut Fancy Vivid Pink diamond set on a ring that sold for $10.7 million (more than $2 million per carat). The next highest ranking lot was a 55.52-carat pear-shaped D-color, Flawless diamond that sold for just over $9 million.
A cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 35.09 carats sold for a world auction record price of $7.35 million ($209,689 per carat).
One of the most talked-about lots in the sale was a set of ruby ear clips and matching ruby ring, both by Van Cleef & Arpels. The jewels were wedding gifts from Aristotle Onassis to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1968. They sold for $301,959.
Note: The historically significant Maria Christina Royal Devant-de-Corsage brooch, which had an estimate of $1.5 to $2 million, was pulled from the auction.