Pratt Institute’s 2013 Junior Jewelry Exhibition – Round 2

After spending the first half of my Monday at the sparkly and decadent Sotheby’s and Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction viewings, I made my way to Brooklyn for the opening night reception of the Pratt Institute Junior Jewelry Exhibition. This was round two for the students who are competing for The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Jewelry Design Scholarship, which provides one winning student with $25,000 of financial assistance in their senior year. A very exciting and prestigious prize!

If you don’t know Pratt, it is a private art college in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, NY. It also happens to be the college my Dad graduated from many years ago, so it has an inherent fondness for me! Take the G train into Brooklyn, and when you exit the subway car the platform greets you with a work of art:

clinton washington

At the auctions earlier in the day there were lush bouquets of cherry blossoms and tulips, brought in just for the events. Here at Pratt, the trees were also in full bloom:

tree blossoms

The jewelry exhibition took place at Steuben Hall. You can’t miss it:

steuben!

The room was packed to the gills with college students checking out the work and noshing on the free food. The students showcasing their work were at each table to discuss their pieces. An especially thrifty student brought in some daffodils and gave one to each of the presenters, so we could all tell who the artists were. Very helpful!

There were similar subjects in each student’s presentations, since the jewelry and art pieces were culled from assignments given throughout the school year, as well as from when they were sophmores. Student Odette Channell presented this lovely trio of silver flatware:

Odette's silverware

I absolutely love how post-apocolyptic they look. And the fact that the outside has a smooth satin finish while the inside is more textured gives them incredible depth. Odette also showcased this trio of silver rings that were given a patina treatment to achieve the yellow and orange hues:

Odette's rings

The reference to flames (and perhaps branches) really comes across, and although each ring would be cool on it’s own, I love the story they tell when shown together.

Two tables away was student Eden Daniell, who captured my heart with this root bracelet:

Eden's root bracelet

This piece is so evocative of ginger root, one of my absolute favorite things to eat. This bracelet was cast in bronze, and the detail is just incredible. Almost good enough to eat! She also had a white resin necklace up on the wall:

Eden's white necklace

Couldn’t you imagine this necklace on the slim neck of a fashion model on the runway? The resin gives a claymation effect, and the texture could be translated as feathers or even the curves of a pinecone. The brass points that hit the indent of your clavicle round out the horned-animal feel of this piece.

In the soft afternoon light by the window, student Lauren Pineda had prime real estate to show off her stunning copper and enamel winged piece:

Lauren upright

I loved everything about this. The femininity of the draped chains, the spritely fairy wing, the shoulder piece that has the strength of armor. She also placed a pin on the front and back of the piece, so you can pin it to your clothes for an even sturdier fit. This photo doesn’t show it well, but the top of the shoulder has colorful enamel work. I could imagine someone wearing this with a white tank top and jeans, or an edgy business suit in a creative workplace, or even nothing at all for a strong and sexy effect!

As you may have noticed by now the jewelry shown at this exhibition, by the young and bright designers of tomorrow, was completely different from the million dollar luxury pieces I viewed earlier in the day at the auctions. I purposely made a point to visit all three in the same day so I could really feel the contrast. These designers are passionate about drawing their inspiration from the organic world around them — there was a plethora of jewelry that referenced sticks, stones, bones, teeth, bodies, fur, animals, and bugs. Each student translated that in their own way. Look out world, there is some untraditional and amazing jewelry coming your way with the next generation of designers!

In a somewhat softer translation of the botanical world around us, student Young-Sun Song created this resin, acrylic, and brass necklace with embedded flowers:

Young-Sun necklace

You can see the delicate detail of the flowers:

Young-Sun close up

I love how she varied the size of the acrylic pieces, and how the brass has a satiny gold look. Wearing this would attract plenty of people to approach you to see the fine detail of the flowers. I think it would look especially pretty with a strapless floral summer dress!

And last, but most certainly not least, was student Shuoyuan Bai‘s winged ring:

Shuoyuan winged ring

In silver with a synthetic alexandrite in the center, this ring has a cool, tattooed vibe. But put the ring on your finger and you will find out the real magic of this ring. Shuoyuan put a mechanism in this ring attached to a second band — press the bottom of the ring, and the wings flap on your finger. I wish I had video to show you of it. The effect is awesome! So clever and fun.

Which are your favorite pieces? As you can tell, I am in love with the root bracelet and shoulder wing piece, but they really are all amazing. Yesterday was the final judging and announcement of the scholarship winner, who was Lauren Curry. Congrats Lauren! In addition to the scholarship from Tiffany & Co. there were three more prizes for students from various jewelry designers and jewelry supply stores. First place was a tie between Lauren Curry and Odette Channell for $1,500 from designer Kara Ross, second place went to Shuoyuan Bai from jewelry supplier Myron Toback, and third place went to Eden Daniell. Congrats to everyone!

P.S. Although I mention Pratt a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous jewelry created by awesome designers!

All photos were taken by me, but feature the work of incredible artists!

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Magnificent Jewels at Christie’s – April 2013 (With Results!)

Yesterday you heard all about my trip to the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction. Let’s continue the story! After seeing all those sparkly jewels uptown, I made my way down to the Diamond District, which Christie’s is nestled next to on 49th Street. Lovely gold detail on the wall as you enter the exhibition:

Christie's wall Insta

Christie’s was packed when I got there. Plenty of tourists as well as serious buyers were checking out the jewelry. Christie’s also took inspiration from the flowering trees in NYC and had lovely bouquets of cherry blossoms and white tulips. It really is such a nice touch!

Lot #199, “A Diamond Necklace, by William Goldberg”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

Lot #199 Insta

I love that there is every shape of diamond in this double-strand necklace — oval, emerald-cut, marquis, pear-shape, cushion, round, and heart-shape. And while just a single strand of this would be beautiful, the grace of the double strands makes this necklace even more special. A really beautiful piece!

PRICE REALIZED: $363,750 USD

 

Lot #22, “An Antique Gold Parure”, estimated at $10,000 – $15,000 USD:

Lot #22 Insta

This case, which was gorgeous in its own right, has a necklace, two bracelets, a brooch, a pair of ear pendants, and a tiara. The whole set was a work of art! You wouldn’t even need to wear the jewelry, just set out the case for people to swoon over. There were some spots where the metal was tarnished or worn away, but it didn’t matter. Still impressive!

PRICE REALIZED: $13,750 USD

 

Lot #98, “A Diamond Ring, by Harry Winston”, estimated at $250,000 – $350,000 USD:

Lot #98 Insta

Yep, that’s my hand. When I say I fell in love with this ring, it’s a complete understatement. Usually I just look at the jewelry when they take it out of the case, maybe try it on a little, and then go on my merry way to the next case. This one, I put it on my finger, and it fit perfectly. It felt like some Cinderella-glass-slipper magic. Plus, the proportions of it on my hand are perfect. Sigh. I actually took it off my finger quickly after taking this photo so that I wouldn’t get too attached. Oh, you probably want to know more about the actual diamond? This is a modified cushion-cut diamond weighing approximately 10.24 carats, is E color, with VS2 clarity. I really hope that the person who purchased it loves it and wears it as much as I wish I could!

PRICE REALIZED: $423,750 USD

 

Lot #40, “A Colored Diamond Ring”, estimated at $60,000 – $80,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

This heart-shaped light yellow diamond weighs approximately 8.86 carats, and is mounted in yellow and white gold. I love how wide the shoulders of the heart are — it gives the ring a young, fun, playful feel. The yellow hue was very striking in person.

PRICE REALIZED: $105,750 USD

 

Lot #70, “An Art Deco Diamond and Onyx Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

This diamond and onyx bracelet, set in platinum, was produced circa 1925. Isn’t it so fantastically graphic? It’s exactly what I imagine when I think of art-deco. It would look great with a flapper dress!

PRICE REALIZED: $43,750 USD

 

There are several pieces of jewelry that I want to show you that were on special display, but they are part of the Geneva Christie’s auction in May. So let’s save them for a few weeks from now, that way we have something to swoon over during the five month stretch until the next jewelry auction season in September!

The last, most amazing diamond of the auction was “The Princie” Diamond, Lot #295:

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

This extraordinary 34.65 carat cushion-cut Fancy Intense Pink diamond was the most buzzed about jewel of the entire auction. Heralding from the ancient Golconda mines in South Central India, this beauty was originally owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad. It was first auctioned in 1960 and purchased by Van Cleef & Arpels for £46,000 (the equivalent of $1.3 million USD today). It was named “The Princie” after the 14-year-old Prince of Baroda, India, who was in attendance at a Van Cleef party in their Paris store in 1960 with his mother. A fun phenomenon of this diamond is that it flouresces a bright orange color when exposed to UV radiation. Christie’s says this is the largest pink stone to display this characteristic. But let’s get to the part we’re all dying to know — how much did it sell for???

PRICE REALIZED: $39,323,750 USD (world auction record for a Golconda diamond)

This diamond was purchased by an anonymous bidder, and aside from breaking the Golconda diamond world record, it is also the most expensive diamond ever sold at Christie’s (the previous diamond being the Wittelsbach in 2008 for $24.3 million USD) and in the United States. That’s $1,135,000 USD per carat! Other fun facts about the auction are that 241 out of 294 lots were sold, and the entire auction brought in $81.3 million US dollars.

Which is your favorite piece from the auction? Would you love to wear that double strand necklace of mixed cuts? Or perhaps you think The Princie is the prettiest pink? You know my answer already — I will forever remember how great that cushion cut diamond ring felt on my hand. Until the next auction!

P.S. Although I mention the name Christie’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

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It’s Results Time! Sotheby’s – April 2013

Yesterday I told you all about the Magnificent Jewels I saw at the Sotheby’s auction viewing. If you missed that post, you can check it out here. Well, the results are in! (I will let you know what the pieces for sale in the May Geneva auction sell for next month!)

Lot #124, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, Chaumet”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

PRICE REALIZED: DID NOT SELL

 

Lot #390, “Pair of 18 Karat Two-Color Gold, Fancy Color Diamond and Diamond Earrings”, estimated at $350,000 – $450,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

PRICE REALIZED: DID NOT SELL

 

Lot #387, “Exceptional Pear-Shaped Diamond”, estimated at $9,000,000 – $12,000,000:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Lot #387 CropPRICE REALIZED: $14,165,000 (this is an auction record for any white diamond sold in the Americas)

 

Five bidders vied for that pear-shaped diamond, but only one took it home. Are you amazed at that price? This stone was one of very few pear-shaped D-color diamonds over 50 carats to be auctioned in recent decades. I guess someone wanted to make sure they didn’t miss out on it! This sale at Sotheby’s brought in $53,490,938 in total, which was a new record sum for them for a spring jewelry auction in New York. Only 70 of the large collection of 397 pieces went unsold. I’m looking forward to seeing that adorable watch bracelet again at a future exhibition!

P.S. Although I mention the name Sotheby’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

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Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s – April 2013

It’s jewelry auction season! Yesterday I happily traveled to both Sotheby’s and Christie’s for their April 2013 Magnificent Jewels auction viewings. These exhibitions usually happen close together, but this year they were completely overlapped. And with the same name for the event, it can get quite confusing! Here is my experience at the Sotheby’s viewing. Come back tomorrow to see my posting about the Christie’s viewing!

If you haven’t read my earlier posts about these auctions, you can catch up here with results here, and here with results here. Sotheby’s is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and this year they had an awesome billboard on the side of the building. Makes you want to go in, right? Let’s!

sotheby's billboard

Lot #630 as part of the Geneva auction in May, “Fancy Light Purplish Pink Diamond Ring”, Property of a Gentleman, estimated at $1,200,000 – $1,800,00 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

This Fancy Light Purplish Pink Diamond weighs 12.85 carats and has VVS1 clarity. The faint pink color in person was really lovely — a real ballerina pink. Another great feature is the three rows of diamonds in the halo design. It gives it a real feeling of decadence.

Lot #636 as part of the Geneva auction in May, “Magnificent and Very Important Ring”, estimated at $4,000,000 – $6,000,000:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

What a photo, right? This cushion modified brilliant-cut diamond weighs 27.90 carats, is D color, and is Internally Flawless. Wow! The first thing I noticed about this diamond wasn’t that it was Internally Flawless, but that the shape of it was so gorgeous. Cushion cuts are not all the same dimensions, and some can be longer or wider, with more or less gradual curves to the corners. The shape of this one is really visually pleasing, and gives the diamond an air of sophistication. It was incredible to look into a diamond with no inclusions, and it was as sparkly as could be for a cushion cut. If I had to guess, this one will sell for more than the estimated high price!

Lot #501 as part of the Geneva auction in May, “Spectacular Diamond Bracelet, 1930’s”, Property of a Lady, estimated at $70,000 – $90,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

This bracelet was incredible to see and touch up close. It has SO many diamonds! The photo above doesn’t show it well, but the diamonds are set within a really interesting pattern of metalwork. Flipping it over was like looking up at stained glass windows within a church. This is the kind of bracelet where you don’t need to wear any other jewelry! It is also very wide, more like a cuff than a traditional deco bracelet. Here is a photo of it on my wrist to give you an idea of the scale:

Lot #501 Insta

Made me feel like Superwoman!

Lot #663 as part of the Gina Lollobrigida auction in Geneva in May, “Magnificent Diamond Necklace/Bracelet Combination, Bulgari, 1954”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

One of the magical things about this necklace is that it can be separated into four pieces, two of which can be worn as bracelets. Gina Lollobrigida, the legendary actress, was even known to wear it as a tiara, which she did when she received her 1961 Golden Globe:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

In person it’s refreshing to see that this necklace doesn’t sit completely flat — the edges of those floral elements pop up, which gives the piece such great movement. Very youthful and playful! (It is also important to note that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the 23 jewels from her collection will go to fund an international hospital for stem cell research.)

Since all the above pieces are part of the Geneva Sotheby’s auction in May, I will post an update for the results from them then. The rest of the jewelry I am going to cover now will be up for auction tomorrow here in New York.

To give you an idea of how beautiful the styling at Sotheby’s is for these auctions, they had vases full of lush and fragrant cherry blossoms in key spots in the viewing rooms. Such a lovely touch!

Sotheby's cherry blossoms

Lot #124, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, Chaumet”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

The diamonds in this darling bracelet weigh approximately 12.75 carats together, and the dial is even set with a small cabochon sapphire. It is a skinny bracelet, which means the face of the watch is teeny tiny. I’m surprised they got all the numbers in there! I think this is a fantastic way to design a bracelet. Make it sleek and elegant, and then add a small touch like the watch face to make it special. What girl wouldn’t want to be able to tell the time while looking fabulous?

Lot #390, “Pair of 18 Karat Two-Color Gold, Fancy Color Diamond and Diamond Earrings”, estimated at $350,000 – $450,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

These earrings are set with one round near colorless diamond weighing 5.02 carats and one round Fancy Intense Yellow diamond weighing 5.01 carats. Part of why I really enjoyed these earrings was because at the World Gold Council conference this past weekend there was a brief discussion about the fact that earrings don’t have to be identical as long as they are balanced. This is the perfect example of that. These earrings are the inversion of each other, not just in the color of the diamonds but in the color of the metals as well. Such a fun way to be elegant but also have some character!

And now, for the final and most impressive diamond of the auction, Lot #387, “Exceptional Pear-Shaped Diamond”, estimated at $9,000,000 – $12,000,000:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

This colossal diamond weighs 74.79 carats, is D color, and has VVS1 clarity with the potential to be Internally Flawless. Gazing at it in it’s case (this one doesn’t come out to touch), it must be about 2.5 inches long. It has this lovely true teardrop shape, long and slender. Here is another photo to show some bit of scale:

Lot #387 CropCan’t wait to see what this beauty goes for!

Which is your favorite piece of jewelry from the collection? If I could take any of them home, I think I would want that slim watch-bracelet. I could conceivably wear it on special occasions, as opposed to the 74.79 carat pear-shaped diamond! Come back on Thursday to find out what they all sell for!

P.S. Although I mention the name Sotheby’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

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Field Trip: American Museum of Natural History in NYC

If you grew up in New York City, you probably attended at least one school trip to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Maybe it was a fifth grade trip with a school bus full of excited classmates, or a trek on the subway with a friend to complete your high school science homework. AMNH is always there, right across from Central Park, but it’s easy to neglect it as you get older. Well, let’s fix that. Who’s up for a field trip?

Since I’m a gemologist, let’s visit two of my favorite parts of the museum, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Gem Hall. Both are located in a darkened part of the museum with very little overhead lighting, allowing you to really focus on the gems and minerals under their own spotlights. So forgive some of the dark photos!

One of the first specimens on the way to the Hall of Minerals is this amazing stibnite, which is the largest on public display in the world. It weighs almost half a ton, and was found in the Wuling Mine in southeastern China. If you are familiar with hematite, stibnite looks a lot like it in person, but has a lighter, almost blue-grey color.

Right near it is this amazing ammonite shell. Ammonite was a marine animal that went extinct around the same time as dinosaurs did, 65 million years ago. The incredible iridescent effect on the shell is created naturally over the course of millions of years due to high temperatures and high pressure. The colors are so beautiful in person — lots of orange and green!

Along the sides of the Hall of Minerals are some huge gems, like this amethyst. Doesn’t the display look futuristic, as if this amethyst is getting ready to travel to space?

In a nearby display case is an excellent array of opals from Ethiopia. This grouping showcases the various colors of opal so well. It’s also great to see pieces that are still surrounded by some of the host rock. The photo doesn’t show it well, but the middle white opal in the front row is incredibly sparkly. They all show such beautiful play of color!

Let’s move into the Hall of Gems. The pieces in this room are predominantly faceted and polished gems, which is a great transition after seeing so many gems in their more natural form. There are several walls just like this one which display varieties of a particular species of gemstone. Think of it like a family tree. In this photo it is the species beryl, with plenty of aquamarine, morganite, and other colorful variety examples. One of the other displays shows rare and unusual gems — such a great way to see items up close that, unless you’re a gemologist, you don’t normally get to view!

When I was there, a group of elementary school kids with their teacher piled into the Hall of Gems room, suddenly excited after what appeared to be a collective tired slump. All of the kids were frenetically looking on the walls to find their birthstones. Nothing like some gems to get people excited, young or old!

A great reason to visit AMNH on your own is to see some of the gems that I couldn’t get good photographs of (the dark lighting is great for ambiance, but not so great for catching the gemstones on camera!), like the Kazanjian Red Diamond, which at 5.05 carats is one of three red diamonds in the world known to exceed five carats, or the Star of India, which at 563 carats is the world’s largest blue star sapphire. There is also the Patricia Emerald, which at a whopping 632 carats is considered one of the greatest emerald crystals in the world.

A funny moment occurred at AMNH as I walked through the gift shop to the exhibit, as well as on the way out through the same route. The most popular spot in the gift shop was, hands down, the big box of dyed rocks. Maybe it’s the bright colors or the smooth feel of them in your hand, but people were crowded around, small black velvet bags in hand, fervently choosing their favorites from the bunch.

If you saw my teaser of this on Instagram and guessed correctly where I was, congrats!

Well, that ends our tour of the American Museum of Natural History. What was your favorite gem? Have you been there on a school trip as a kid too? Are you excited to go back now and see more of the minerals and gems on your own? I highly recommend it!

P.S. Although I mention the American Museum of Natural History plenty in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems!

All photos were taken by me.

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Guys, Don’t (Dis)miss Valentine’s Day!

Here’s the scenario, fellas: It’s February, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You’re tired of the commercial push for flowers, jewelry, and a fancy dinner for your loved one. You scoff at what the holiday has become and refuse to participate. When you tell your lady you just want to treat Valentine’s Day like any other day (since you already know you love each other) she agrees that you don’t have to do anything. You made a simple statement, you got a straight answer, case closed.

Nope. You still need to do something for her for Valentine’s Day.

Confusing, right? You thought she said it was cool, that you don’t need to get her anything or do anything special. Sorry, that was just her being nice and agreeable. Most likely she is hoping that your grouchiness is just a charade, so that when you do something special on Valentine’s Day for her it will be a surprise by contrast. This holiday might not have a special meaning to you, but I guarantee that it holds some meaning for her. For little girls, Valentine’s Day is  all about the excitement of giving and receiving Valentine’s cards. As teenagers, the focus is on crushes and whether boys will profess their adoration on this special day. As grown-ups, working in an office where other women are receiving bouquets of flowers at their desks, women wonder if their guy will make the effort too.

Naysayers of Valentine’s Day, you are completely right that the holiday has gotten out of hand, but only if you believe what all the advertising it telling you – BUY this, GIVE that, SPEND this or she won’t know you love her. It doesn’t have to be like that. It can be about showing your love and making her feel special. You might even disagree with the fact that you feel forced to do these special things on a very specific day of the year. Who cares? If you’re being sweet the other 364 days of the year, what’s one more day?

Doing something special doesn’t mean spending big bucks. All it involves is being thoughtful and caring in making this day different from every other. Is there a movie she always wants to rent, but you pass on it because it’s what you consider a chick flick? Is there a jewelry store in your neighborhood where she always stops to gaze in the window? Maybe there’s a recipe she emailed you in the past, with a note about how delicious it looks? Perhaps you work long hours, and you know all she really wants is to cuddle up on the couch with you for a few hours without the beeping of cell phones and email?

Skeptics of Valentine’s Day might also feel it’s unfair that society has put so much of the responsibility of present giving or romantic planning on the guy. Guys shouldn’t fall into the trap of that mindset. Making someone else feel special is completely worth it. It grows the bond between you and your loved one, and you will reap the benefits in the immediate as well as in the future.

Now, if you haven’t already, go think up something sweet that will make her smile!

Guys, do you always make sure to do something for her on Valentine’s Day? Have you ever skipped out on the holiday? Ladies, do you agree that it’s important to celebrate the day? What was the best thing a guy ever did for you on Valentine’s Day?

Card image found here.

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Bidding is Over For These Magnificent Jewels!

Monday was the Magnificent Jewels auction at Christie’s, and I am excited to let you all know the results on the items I blogged about! (Prices include buyer’s premium)

Lot #25, “A Sapphire and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $7,000 – $10,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $15,000 USD

Lot #47, “A Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $37,500 USD

Lot #131, “A Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $35,000 – $55,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $43,750 USD

Lot #250, “A Color-Change Sapphire and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $62,500 USD

Lot #275, “A Diamond Twin-Stone Ring”, estimated at $35,000 – $55,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $50,000 USD

Lot #318, “An Unmounted Circular-Cut Colored Diamond”, estimated at $700,000 – $1,200,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $2,098,500 USD (world auction record for a reddish-orange diamond, and a new per-carat record price of $666,200 USD)

Lot #278, “A Magnificent Diamond Ring, by Graff”, estimated at $7,000,000 – $10,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $8,370,500 USD, sold to Laurence Graff

What do you think of those prices? I am glad to see that the Color-Change Sapphire went for triple the estimated price, it really was a beautiful stone. And I am impressed that the fancy reddish orange natural colored diamond went for double it’s estimated price, setting a world record in auction price and per-carat price for a reddish-orange diamond. As for the final ring, the Magnificent Diamond Ring by Graff, my guess was right, and Laurence Graff is the owner once again! I actually found out that this is the third time he has owned the ring, and he paid $4,200,000 for it at auction back in 2005. I wonder if we’ll see it at auction again in 2019?

If you missed seeing this exhibition in person, there will be a whole new Magnificent Jewels auction at Christie’s in April 2013. Mark those calendars!

Lot #25 image found here, Lot #47 image found here, Lot #131 image found here, Lot #250 image found here, Lot #275 image found here, Lot #318 image found here, Lot #278 image found here.

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A Whole Different Set of Magnificent Jewels!

As if the Magnificent Jewels exhibition at Sotheby’s earlier this week wasn’t dazzling enough, Christie’s had their own Magnificent Jewels exhibition starting Friday, December 7th, here in NYC. It is hard not to compare the two, especially since they had the same names for the exhibition! My previous two viewings at Christie’s were for high-profile auctions — the Elizabeth Taylor auction at this time last year, and the Marilyn Monroe auction way back in 1999. For both of those auctions, there was jewelry as well as clothing and personal effects up for sale. The exhibitions had more of a museum-feel, since you weren’t allowed to touch any of the items. It was nice to be there for the current Magnificent Jewels exhibition since, by comparison to the past auctions, it was much more laid-back and personable. I didn’t even realize until two days ago that Christie’s allows you to try on almost all the jewelry, like Sotheby’s did earlier in the week. What fun!

Again, it is impossibly hard not to compare Sotheby’s and Christie’s jewelry exhibitions, given that they occurred in the same week. The items on display at Christie’s had estimated sale prices that I would consider much more attainable for the general public. Yes, I am going to discuss some very high-priced pieces that I saw there, but of the 300+ lots, there was definitely a good portion that could be purchased by a “regular” person. Meaning, not every piece will go for a million dollars at auction, and the lowest estimated price for a piece of jewelry is $500. Let’s take a look! (Unfortunately, the lighting at this exhibition was low, and although this created an elegant mood, it wasn’t conducive to taking great photos, so you won’t be seeing my own pictures of these pieces on me. I’ll just do my best to describe things well!)

Lot #25, “A Sapphire and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $7,000 – $10,000:

This square-cut sapphire is 7.97 carats, with shield-shaped diamonds on each side, set in platinum. The blue of the sapphire in this photo does not do it justice at all – in person it was a real bright royal blue color, with a little tinge of purple to it. It looked as if it was a man-made sapphire since the coloring was so even. This particular sapphire has been heat-treated to enhance its color, but these kinds of treatments are common with sapphires and are completely allowed as long as they are disclosed properly. A really wonderful sapphire!

Lot #47, “A Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000:

The center of this ring holds a 2.02 carat fancy yellow diamond, followed by oval-cut pink diamonds and then oval-cut diamonds around the outside. What is always magical to me about attending these exhibitions is that when you get to hold a piece of jewelry, and not just view it at a specified angle in a glass case, it gives you the opportunity to see things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. With this ring, if you turn it to the side, you can see lovely detailed scrollwork in the basket of the setting. When you turn the ring completely upside down so that you are looking at it through the bottom of the basket, you see this fantastic little secret. Where the band joins together, there is a little pink heart-shaped diamond that is bezel-set in gold. The diamond is small and adorable, and is a great little touch that only the wearer knows about, almost like a secret inscription. Such a lovely touch!

Lot #131, “A Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $35,000 – $55,000:

This diamond bracelet has nine strands of briolette-cut diamonds in platinum. As with the briolette-cut ring at the Sotheby’s auction earlier this week, it was great to see briolettes again here. They provided such a wonderful sparkle that really can’t be depicted in a photo. Another pretty feature of this bracelet was the hook clasp, which was completely covered in single-cut diamonds. It matched that overall sparkle and made sure that even if the bracelet moved on your wrist, the clasp side would sparkle as well.

Lot #250, “A Color-Change Sapphire and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000:

This magnificent 18.02 carat modified cushion-cut color-change sapphire set in pink gold made me giddy as soon as I saw it. At auction exhibitions, although every piece is beautiful and special in its own way, diamond after diamond can become…redundant. That sounds terrible to say! They are beautiful, but similar. Getting to see a gemstone like this with such a special phenomenon adds that extra bit of excitement. In the case and on my finger, this sapphire presented as a rich purple hue. Combined with the rose gold it was completely exotic. I wish I had a penlight with me at the auction so I could have seen the color-change to blue, since gemstones like this show color differently depending on the light source. The color in the photo above is how I imagine it would have looked when showing as blue. It’s like two rings in one!

Lot #275, “A Diamond Twin-Stone Ring”, estimated at $35,000 – $55,000:

This platinum ring with two old European-cut diamonds, weighing approximately 7.59 and 6.26 carats respectively, caught my eye for the same reason the earlier color-change sapphire did. It was nice to see a ring that was a little less ordinary, with a design featuring older cut diamonds. It is not a delicate design, and on my finger it had the chunky shape of a men’s ring. My surprise when looking at these diamonds closely was to find that one was heavily included with carbon, and the other was relatively free of inclusions. If you haven’t seen a diamond with carbon inclusions, they look like black spots and flecks in the stone. Whenever this ring was created I’m sure it was more important to find two large diamonds to put in the ring rather than to make sure their clarity matched perfectly. But in the ring, up close, it’s hard not to be distracted by the contrast.

Lot #318, “An Unmounted Circular-Cut Colored Diamond”, estimated at $700,000 – $1,200,000:

This 3.15 carat circular-cut fancy reddish orange diamond is the largest fancy reddish orange natural colored diamond to ever be graded at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), as well as to ever be offered for sale at auction. Red and orange colored diamonds get their coloring from naturally occurring nitrogen and hydrogen during growth. The size of this diamond was not enormous in person, but the color was quite intense. The color very much resembled a garnet. Quite a specimen to behold!

Let’s talk about our last piece, the highest estimated price lot of the auction. Lot #278, “A Magnificent Diamond Ring, by Graff”, estimated at $7,000,000 – $10,000,000:

This rectangular-cut diamond weighs 50.01 carats, is D color (the finest color grade a diamond can have), VVS2 clarity (Very Very Slightly Included), and comes with a working diagram that shows the diamond may potentially be internally flawless. First off, can you imagine being the setter who set that diamond in the ring? He or she must have been scared that one false move could crack or damage the diamond! This ring was showcased at the exhibition in its own case, right next to the area where buyers were meeting with Christie’s staff to discuss potential pieces to buy. This diamond is enormous. All I could do was stare. It’s actually so large that it doesn’t seem like a ring you could wear, kind of like when clothing designers show off crazy avant-garde pieces — they’re not functional, but they represent an idea. There was no trying on this ring, but wow, it was impressive.

The Christie’s auction for this collection starts at 10am tomorrow (Monday). I will be back tomorrow night to let you know the results!

What is your favorite piece from the items I described above? Or are there other pieces of jewelry from the exhibition you fell in love with? While the style of the Colored Diamond and Diamond ring might not be for everyone, I adored the little secret heart in the inside band. I am also interested to see who purchases the 50.01 carat Graff diamond ring. Laurence Graff has bought up a lot of high-priced and famous diamonds lately, and he has been known to buy back his own pieces at auction. This ring is listed as being “jewels from an important private collection”, so unless that person is him, it’s a totally plausible idea. We shall see!

P.S. Although I mention the name Christie’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

Lot #25 image found here, Lot #47 image found here, Lot #131 image found here, Lot #250 image found here, Lot #275 image found here, Lot #318 image found here, Lot #278 image found here.

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Strike the Gavel, the Bidding is Over!

Yesterday I let you know all about the Magnificent Jewels I viewed (and tried on!) at Sotheby’s on Tuesday. Today those stunning pieces were auctioned off, and now it’s time to find out what the final bids were! (Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium).

Lot #346, “Fine Platinum, Gold, Ruby and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $500,000 – $700,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: NO BIDS – NOT SOLD

Lot #356, “Platinum, Natural Pearl and Diamond Ring, JAR, Paris”, estimated at $50,000 – $75,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $152,500 USD

Lot #359, “Platinum and Briolette Diamond Ring, JAR, Paris”, estimated at $250,000 – $350,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $566,500 USD

Lot #87, “Pair of 18 Karat White Gold and Diamond Earclips, with Interchangeable Pendants”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $25,000 USD

Lot #175, “18 Karat White Gold, Diamond and Emerald Snake Bangle-Bracelet, Boucheron”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $68,500 USD

Lot #316, “Fancy Pink-Brown Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,300,000 – $1,600,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $1,426,500 USD

Lot #441, “Magnificent Diamond and Platinum Ring, Graff”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $3,000,000 – $4,000,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $3,442,500 USD, sold to Laurence Graff

Lot #420, “Magnificent Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond and Diamond Pendant-Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels, New York, 1978”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $2,546,500 USD

Lot #442, “Magnificent Platinum, Fancy Intense Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring, Oscar Heyman & Bros”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $4,000,000 – $5,000,000:

PRICE REALIZED: $8,594,500 USD (highest sale price of the entire auction), sold to Laurence Graff

What do you think of the results? Anything you’re surprised by? I literally guffawed when I saw the final bid price for the Fancy Intense Pink Diamond from Evelyn Lauder’s collection.  That is so much more than the estimated price! I’m not surprised that the Fancy Intense Yellow Heart-Shaped Diamond sold for $2,546,500, given that it would be appealing to collectors of the Duchess of Windsor’s pieces, Evelyn Lauder’s pieces, and colored diamonds, let alone the fact that all the proceeds from that sale are going to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. But I am puzzled that the oval ruby ring with the four pear-shaped diamonds didn’t sell at all. It was beautiful in person, and had such a high estimated bid value.

Sad that you missed seeing this jewelry in person? Don’t fret, if you are in NYC you will have a chance to check out more pieces at the Important Jewels exhibition at Sotheby’s in Feb 2013, or another new Magnificent Jewels exhibition at Sotheby’s in April 2013. Mark those calendars!

Lot #346 image found here, Lot #356 image found here, Lot #359 image found here, Lot #87 image found here, Lot #316 image found here, Lot #441 image found here, Lot #420 image found here, Lot #442 image found here.

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More Magnificent Jewels!

Back in April I attended the Magnificent Jewels Exhibition at Sotheby’s here in New York City. You can read all about what beautiful jewelry I viewed there, or just skip straight to the final bid prices. Yesterday I went back for their second new viewing this year of Magnificent Jewels. As always it was open to the public and free to attend. Plus, you’re allowed to touch and try on all the luxurious pieces whether you are a serious buyer or just a fan of beautiful gemstones. One of the highlights of this particular exhibition was the collection from Mrs. Charles Wrightsman. Known for her philanthropy and dedication to providing The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with exceptional collections, the auction here contained 63 lots with pieces ranging from mid-19th century to contemporary. The displays at the exhibition were lovely, with flowers and photos of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman:

Let’s start with some of the most striking pieces from her collection.

Lot #346, “Fine Platinum, Gold, Ruby and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $500,000 – $700,000 USD:

The center ruby in this ring weighs in at a large 9.40 carats, with four modified pear-shaped diamonds (two on each side) weighing approximately 2.0 carats. The first thing I noticed when holding this ring was that the center diamond is such a lovely color. It has a bit of a pinkish hue to it, which makes it brighter than a regular red. You could see some inclusions in the ruby, but as I have found with these spectacular large gemstones, it doesn’t matter a bit visually. The overall effect is what is powerful. Also, the diamonds on the sides are set with the heads (the rounded portion at the bottom) against the belly of the oval, with the points aimed towards the band of the ring. Usually you see modern rings with just one pear-shaped diamond on each side set this way — doubling up gives a lovely symmetry with the large ruby in the center.

Lot #356, “Platinum, Natural Pearl and Diamond Ring, JAR, Paris”, estimated at $50,000 – $75,000 USD:

My love for this ring started immediately with the braided shank set with diamonds all the way around. The design and fine detail were beautiful against the simplicity of the 13.9 millimeter pearl. When on the hand, you realize how tall that pearl really is, at 11.2 millimeters. Keep in mind Mrs. Wrightsman’s ring size is an incredibly small 3.75 (to give perspective, the average woman’s ring size is a 6-7), so it only fit on my pinkie:

Lot #359, “Platinum and Briolette Diamond Ring, JAR, Paris”, estimated at $250,000 – $350,000 USD:

This ring, with a briolette diamond weighing 10.28 carats hanging from the band, was so unusual and fascinating. It’s not often you see rings with, for lack of a better word, a “charm” hanging from the band. Plus, the 20 rose-cut diamonds along the center of the band poke out like a studded belt. Instead of the flat facet at the top of the diamond, it is the pointed pavilion and culet that stick out. Almost rock and roll! The odd thing was, when it’s on your hand, the hanging briolette definitely gets in the way a bit. Until you shake your pinkie and it sparkles in the light. Then that snazzy briolette makes sense when you’re trying to catch someone’s eye!

By the way, did you notice the iPad in the background in this photo? Sotheby’s has a wonderful iPad app to go along with this and many other auctions. You can watch videos, check out photos, and get more info about Mrs. Charles Wrightman, all with the ability to take notes or send emails about particular items. If you didn’t get a chance to go to the auction, it is a perfect way to feel like you were there.

Let’s move on to some of the other lots at the exhibition. Mrs. Wrightsman’s collection was in its own room, and the rest of the jewelry could be found in a larger adjacent room.

Lot #87, “Pair of 18 Karat White Gold and Diamond Earclips, with Interchangeable Pendants”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000:

Upon first glance in the case, I almost didn’t realize what the purpose of these earrings were. To have interchangeable pendants at the bottom of the earring (in this case, pink, turquoise, and amber hued portions) was so cool. With the yellow diamonds it’s red carpet ready. With the turquoise hue, it’s laid back (well, perhaps for someone accustomed to wearing 19.70 carats of diamonds on their ears).

Lot #175, “18 Karat White Gold, Diamond and Emerald Snake Bangle-Bracelet, Boucheron”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000:

This bracelet was fantastic. There is so much movement in the piece, with the two snakes wrapping and looping around each other. I can imagine someone wearing a simple little black dress with this snake bracelet — you wouldn’t need anything else!

Lot #316, “Fancy Pink-Brown Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,300,000 – $1,600,000:

This Fancy Pink-Brown diamond weighs a whopping 26.96 carats, and is set in rose gold with diamonds. First off, the color of the diamond in person was gorgeous. It was a mixture of champagne, peach, and gold all in one. The way it reflected light was beautiful, and the rose gold complemented it perfectly. For a top-heavy ring on such a thin band you would think it would be sagging down towards the wrist. But the craftsmanship in the setting featured a lovely swirl of metal, almost like a spiral staircase, to give it stability:

So often pear-shaped stones are set in a ring with the point towards the tip of the finger. It was fun to see this ring, with its swirls and details, set horizontally with the point towards to pinkie. A truly delicate and completely stunning ring!

Along with the collection from Mrs. Charles Wrightman, there were pieces up for auction from the collections of Evelyn H. Lauder and Estée Lauder. Evelyn Lauder founded the The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993, and proceeds from this auction will be going to that foundation.

Lot #441, “Magnificent Diamond and Platinum Ring, Graff”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $3,000,000 – $4,000,000:

The emerald-cut diamond in this ring weighs 22.16 carats, and it is flanked by baguettes on each side. The center stone is a D Color (which is colorless, and the best grade a diamond can receive in color), and has potentially Flawless clarity. It was absolutely incredible to try on this ring.

The baguettes on the sides made a huge difference visually. They balanced out the fact that this emerald-cut diamond is so long. Notice how much of my finger is taken up by that one diamond? It was fun peering into it to look for inclusions and not finding any!

Lot #420, “Magnificent Platinum, 18 Karat Gold, Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond and Diamond Pendant-Necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels, New York, 1978”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000:

This necklace has a rich history. In 1987 Sotheby’s had an auction of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels in Geneva, but one of the items missing from that auction was a heart-shaped yellow diamond ring, which was purchased by the Duke and Duchess from Harry Winston in 1951. Evelyn Lauder had in fact purchased the ring from her friend the Duchess in the early 1970’s, and took it lto Van Cleef & Arpels to have the ring converted to a pendant. The heart-shaped diamond is 47.14 carats, and in person has a wonderful bright yellow color. The necklace is very flexible, and is set with approximately 95.00 carats of round diamonds. Holding it in my hand, it felt and looked like something a princess would own:

And now, for the last and possibly the most impressive pieces in the auction. Lot #442, “Magnificent Platinum, Fancy Intense Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring, Oscar Heyman & Bros”, from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder, sold to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, estimated at $4,000,000 – $5,000,000:

Evelyn Lauder’s husband, Leonard, bought this ring for her, and looking at the pink color of the center diamond you can’t help but be reminded of her quest for breast cancer awareness. The oval-shaped Fancy Intense pink diamond is 6.54 carats, and is Internally Flawless. In person the color of the pink is sweet and delicate. I can’t wait to see how much the final bid price is for this one!

All of the jewelry listed above will be up for auction from 10am to 8pm today. You can watch it all happen live on the Sotheby’s website. I will be following the results and will let you know in a separate blog post how much the items sell for in the end. It was such a pleasure just to get to see them and try them on!

Did any of you get to visit the Sotheby’s exhibition in person? Are there any pieces here, or ones I didn’t mention, that you fell in love with? My personal favorite was the Fancy Pink-Brown Diamond Ring. So chic!

P.S. Although I mention the name Sotheby’s a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous gems, especially the ones that I get to try on!

Lot #346 image found here, Lot #356 image found here, Lot #359 image found here, Lot #87 image found here, Lot #316 image found here, Lot #441 image found here, Lot #420 image found here, Lot #442 image found here.

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