One Week, Two World Records: 2012 Jewelry Auction Highlights

Have you ever been to a jewelry auction? They are fascinating to watch, even if you’re not bidding. Auctions are a great way to find vintage fine jewelry and costume collectibles, so be sure to check out auction house schedules and estate sales where you live.

Christie's Auction House

And for a real thrill head to world-famous Christie’s or Sotheby’s international auction houses the next time you’re in New York City. If you can’t catch an actual jewelry auction (they are free of charge), you can usually preview a sale preceding the event.

Auction News

Christie’s and Sotheby’s both broke world records for diamonds sold at auction last month at their annual November sales of Magnificent Jewels in Geneva. And they did it on consecutive nights!

On Tuesday, November 13, Christie’s sold the legendary 76-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond for a world-record $21.5 million, or $282,485 per carat. The internally flawless colorless diamond originated in the Golconda mines of India, where diamonds were discovered some 3,000 years ago. Its value was enhanced by its royal “provenance,” or history, having once been owned by the Archduke Joseph August of Austria, a Hapsburg prince.

Jewelry historian Vivienne Becker, who wrote about the Archduke Joseph for the Christie’s catalogue, told our editors, “The appeal of the stone and its hypnotic beauty reach way beyond the usual classifications…beyond its physical perfection: The Archduke Joseph possesses a strong personality, intriguing, rich and deep…showing the intense individuality, charisma and character that are so much part of the greatest diamonds in history.”

On Wednesday, November 14, Sotheby’s Geneva sold an extremely rare, flawless “Fancy Deep Blue” diamond for $10.86 million, or $1.04 per carat. The 10.48-carat stone, about the size of an almond, sold “over the phone” for twice its pre-sale estimate.

Fancy Color Diamonds, or Natural Colored Diamonds, are much rarer than colorless diamonds and command higher prices per carat. Only one in 10,000 diamonds mined possesses enough color to be classified as a Fancy Color Diamond.

“It is certainly a world-record price per carat for a Deep Blue diamond,” David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry department, told Reuters news service.”It is an extraordinary stone, a very, very mystical deep blue.”

Watch Online

Want to watch a jewelry auction online? Go online to or for their schedules of sales. Then register at no charge and log on to monitor an auction in real time. You’ll learn a lot about important estate and vintage jewelry, and, who knows, you may even be tempted to bid!

To read the Christie’s e-catalogue on the Archduke Joseph Diamond click here:

To see footage of the Archduke Joseph Diamond auction click here:


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