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.