The Geneva and Hong Kong Results! Magnificent Jewels at Christie’s – May 2013

Yes, you read that right, I am finally getting a chance to post about the items up for sale at the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva as well as the Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong that both occurred back in May. You may remember my post about the jewelry I saw that sold in their US auction back in April. Consider this a summer bonus post! There aren’t any auctions to cover again until September, so this is a fun way to enjoy these amazing pieces a little longer. Let’s dive in!

Lot #1736, “A Sapphire and Diamond Necklace/Brooch, by Cartier”, estimated at $543,664 – $776,634 USD (Hong Kong auction):

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

The loop detail on this necklace is such a great touch, since it is wrapped around the innermost “strand” of the necklace. This gives it an amazing three dimensional quality, as opposed to a necklace that just sits flat against your neck. You can see a bit more of the detail here:

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

One of the other magnificent aspects of this necklace is the fact that the center area with the sapphire is actually a detachable brooch:

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

This 17.95 carat sapphire, of Sri Lankan origin, has also never been heat treated. That gorgeous blue color is completely natural.  Such a beautiful piece!

PRICE REALIZED: $625,176 USD

 

Lot #1611, “An Exceptional Padparadscha and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,035,223 – $1,552,835 USD (Hong Kong auction):

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

The 73.98 carat padparadscha in this ring was enormous! I couldn’t take any millimeter measurements of it, but it was definitely larger than a quarter. Padparadscha, which gets its name from the lotus flowers of Sri Lanka, is a member of the corundum family, which includes sapphires and rubies. The peachy-brown color of this particular piece was just stunning in person. It was perfectly paired with the rose gold setting, which only enhanced the pink color.

PRICE REALIZED: LOT NOT SOLD

 

Lot #288, (official description not available), estimated at $6,500,000 – $8,500,000 USD (Geneva auction):

Lot #288 Christie's GenevaThis huge 76.91 carat diamond was amazing to breathe on! With an F color and VVS1 clarity, it was great to get to see it unmounted, rather than set in a piece of jewelry as many of the others were at the auction. The culet on this diamond, which is the either pointed or flat facet at the bottom of the stone, parallel to the table (top facet), was flat and quite large. If you look closely at the photo above, in the center of the diamond you can see a large darker circle. When viewed from the top it was very apparent, but it worked well with the rest of the way that the diamond was faceted. So much fun to get to see it out of the case!

PRICE REALIZED: LOT NOT SOLD

 

Lot #283, “A Spectacular and Highly Important Diamond”, estimate “in the region of $20 million” (Geneva auction):

Image courtesy of Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie’s

This 101.73 carat pear-shaped diamond, named “Absolute Perfection”, is the largest D color Flawless clarity diamond to be offered for sale. It was discovered in De Beer’s Jwaneng mine in a 236 carat piece of rough that took a whopping 27 months to polish! At the NYC viewing that I attended this diamond had its own black tent set up in the room, complete with a velvet rope and a guard. No photos were allowed and I couldn’t get very close, but the diamond shone bright in the special lighting and black background. It would have still been Flawless even if I could have gotten close enough to inspect it!

PRICE REALIZED: $26,737,913 USD (world auction record for a colorless diamond)

Harry Winston is the new owner of this diamond, and has since renamed it “Winston Legacy”. Another fun fact is that the Geneva sale totaled $102.1 million USD, the highest result ever for a various-owner jewelry auction at Christie’s.

 

Wasn’t that a nice distraction from all the record-breaking temperatures here in NYC this week? Which lot did you like the best? I loved the loops of the sapphire and diamond necklace, along with the fact that it could be converted to just a brooch. At that price it’s nice to have two pieces of jewelry in one! I was also a bit surprised that the padparadscha ring and the 76.91 carat unmounted diamond didn’t sell. They were both such beautiful pieces. Perhaps we will see them again at a future 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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The Geneva Results! Magnificent Jewels at Sotheby’s – May 2013

A few weeks ago you read all about my trip to the Magnificent Jewels exhibition viewing at Sotheby’s, and the results. Today the additional jewels I wrote about were sold at the Geneva Sotheby’s auction. Let’s find out what they went for!

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

PRICE REALIZED: $1,512,236.00 USD

 

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

PRICE REALIZED: $4,450,892.00 USD

 

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

Lot #501 Insta

PRICE REALIZED: $160,485.00 USD

 

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

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

PRICE REALIZED: $783,851.00 USD

 

Are you surprised by any of the results? These were all such gorgeous pieces, especially the necklace that was part of the Gina Lollobrigida collection. And the 1930’s bracelet I tried on had such intricate detail. These bidders are all taking home some amazing pieces!

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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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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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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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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The Results Are In!

Earlier this week, I filled you in on all the fabulous jewelry I viewed at the Elizabeth Taylor gallery auction at Christies. This week these stunning jewels were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Let’s see the results! (Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits).

Lot #233, Two Unmounted Heart-Shaped Rubies, estimated at $4,000 – $6,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $80,500 USD

 

Lot #869, Amethyst Geode with Calcite Inclusions, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $20,000 USD

 

Lot #7, Diamond and Sapphire Ring, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $722,500 USD

 

Lot #60, A Set of Sapphire, Diamond, and Gold Jewelry, by Mouawad, estimated at $120,000 – $150,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $386,500 USD

 

Lot #56, The Taj Mahal, an Indian Diamond and Jade Pendant Necklace with a Ruby and Gold Chain, by Cartier, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $8,818,500 USD

 

Lot #26, Emerald and Diamond Ring by Bulgari, estimated at $600,000 – $800,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $3,330,500 USD

 

Lot #20, The Burton Cognac Ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels, estimated at $180,000 – $200,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $2,322,500 USD

 

One of the biggest sales of the night was Le Peregrina, a natural pearl, diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace (not mentioned in my original post). This pearl is one of the most famous in the world, and has a history dating back to the 16th century. The original estimate for this necklace was $2,000,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $11,842,500 USD

That is the highest price ever paid for a pearl at auction. I watched the auction live streaming on the Christies website on Tuesday night, and it was intense! After hearing that, I was at the edge of my seat when the final auction of the night was up, the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond ring. Wouldn’t it have to sell for more than La Peregrina??? At one point when the bidding for the ring was slowing down, the auctioneer was actually reminding the audience that this is THE Elizabeth Taylor Diamond!

Lot #80, The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond Ring, estimated at $2,500,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED = $8,818,500 USD

Shocking! I would have sworn that based on the other sales of the night, this ring would have sold for more than it did. Of course, it is still a whole lot of money, but this is the ring that she wore almost every day of her life.

Wondering who the winning bidders were for some of these auctions? People magazine’s Style Watch has a great breakdown of who bought what here (even Kim Kardshian walked away with something from the collection!). Word is that a Korean hotel conglomerate called E-Land purchased the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond and has plans to feature it at their E-World theme park in Daegu. So at least the public will be able to view it again!

Were you shocked by any of the final prices? Can’t wait to see the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond when it is unveiled in South Korea? Have a favorite piece you wish you could have bid on?

Heart-shaped rubies image found here, Amethyst geode image found here, Pear-shaped diamond ring image found here, Sapphire necklace and earrings image found here, Taj Mahal necklace image found here, Emerald ring image found here, Burton Cognac ring image found here, La Peregrina necklace image found hereElizabeth Taylor diamond ring image found here.

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The Elizabeth Taylor Collection

“It would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a great big ring on Elizabeth Taylor’s finger.” — Andy Warhol

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing the Elizabeth Taylor Collection at Christies on it’s final day of viewing. The auction began today and will continue in various categories over the next few months. It consists of fine jewelry, costume jewelry, clothing, handbags, luggage, paintings, and much more. Walking into the gallery, I was struck by how many female guests arrived in their finest jewelry, in homage to the late Elizabeth Taylor. I even overheard one older woman relishing a security guard with stories of the time she met and spoke to Elizabeth Taylor long, long ago.

If you didn’t get to see the collection for yourself, let me take you for a guided tour. First off, one of the Christies employees confirmed that the prices listed for each piece were determined as if they did not belong to Elizabeth Taylor. There is no way for them to know what the pieces will actually gather at auction, since bidders may have a fondness for Elizabeth Taylor that is beyond the technical value of the piece.

Imagine room after room filled with women who are excited and slightly pushy, each making jokes about the prices of the pieces and how their husbands should be buying them gems like these. There were plenty of fine and costume pieces in the collection that would be considered tacky to today’s modern woman. Many women I walked past could be overheard muttering the same thing. In turn, it made the pieces that were created in timeless styles that much more stunning.

One of the most delightful things about the auction was the books of “paper jewelry” on sale for $25. It was four panels containing photos of key pieces of jewelry from the auction, perforated around the edges like you would see in a book of paper dolls. You could simply detach the paper and wear these “jewels” around your neck, wrist, or finger. Or as some of the Christies staff so cleverly improvised, you could take your regular pair of stud earrings, poke a hole through one of the “paper” earrings, and wear them as if they were real. It was quite adorable, and was inspired by some paper jewels that Malcolm Forbes gifted to Elizabeth Taylor.

Let’s start with one of my favorites, Lot #233, Two Unmounted Heart-Shaped Rubies, estimated at $4,000 – $6,000 USD:

Perhaps it is my love of colored gemstones, or my gemological upbringing, but these two stones were just stunning. They contained inclusions, but that was part of their charm. Their color was a rich deep red, and their size was equally impressive. I wonder if the final bidder will mount them into a piece of jewelry, or leave their beauty as is?

Lot #869, Amethyst Geode with Calcite Inclusions, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000 USD:

This geode was quite large at 14 inches high, 24 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. The rich purple hue and sheer grandiosity made me wonder when she began collecting such raw gemstones. A real stunner!

Lot #7, Diamond and Sapphire Ring, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

The photo above doesn’t do justice to the approximately 16.98 carats of this yellow pear-shaped center stone, or the small sapphires and pear-shaped diamonds surrounding it. This ring was a gift to Elizabeth Taylor from Michael Jackson, and it is the color and size of the center stone that is most impressive about this piece. It has a lovely light yellow hue to it, and is extremely impressive in person. What a generous and lovely gift for one friend to give to another!

Let’s take a moment to talk about one of the non-jewelry auction pieces that I was surprised to see there. In a separate room were featured works of art from her personal collection. There was only one security guard in the large room, and the paintings were on the wall with no glass or cases to protect them. I am consistently impressed by the level of trust that galleries and museums give to their patrons! My favorite painting was a beautiful piece by Vincent Van Gogh, estimated at £5,000,000 – £7,000,000 (approximately $7,800,000 – $10,900,000 in US dollars):

Upon first glance it was obviously a painting by Van Gogh, but what struck me most about this one was the subtle pink color in the sky. Van Gogh was able to capture the fleeting color of an afternoon sky with just a few brushstrokes. I was honored to see this painting up close and personal. For the art enthusiasts out there, there were also some stunning works by Renoir, Degas, and Pissaro on display at the auction as well.

And now back to the sparklies with Lot #60, A Set of Sapphire, Diamond, and Gold Jewelry, by Mouawad, estimated at $120,000 – $150,000 USD:

The sapphires in this collection were absolutely gorgeous. Their color was reminiscent of a tanzanite, but with a bit of a light “cornflower” blue hue to them. Both are amazing pieces that I am sure went together splendidly with Elizabeth Taylor’s famous blue eyes.

Lot #56, The Taj Mahal, an Indian Diamond and Jade Pendant Necklace with a Ruby and Gold Chain, by Cartier, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

This necklace was a gift to Elizabeth Taylor on her 40th birthday from Richard Burton. It is set with an inscribed heart-shaped table-cut diamond bearing the Islamic date 1037. Admittedly I am not an expert on the history of this famous necklace. It wasn’t beautiful in quite the same way as the more traditional fine jewelry in the collection, but it was impressive nonetheless, simply because it was so unique.

Lot #26, Emerald and Diamond Ring by Bulgari, estimated at $600,000 – $800,000 USD:

One of the only ways I can describe this ring is that it was so free of inclusions, it practically looked manmade. It was so incredibly large (I wish they listed the carat weight) and impressive. A truly amazing ring.

Lot #20, The Burton Cognac Ring, by Van Cleef & Arpels, estimated at $180,000 – $200,000 USD:

This pear-shaped diamond, a whopping 32.14 carats in a fancy deep brownish orangy yellow, is quite a sight. The color changes in the light as you view it from the front and the side. As the name of it indicates, this is another gift to Elizabeth Taylor from Richard Burton. That man sure knew how to buy a girl some jewelry!

And saving the best for last, there was Lot #80, The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond Ring, estimated at $2,500,000 – $3,000,000 USD:

This ring was a gift from Richard Burton, and was purchased from Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York on May 16th, 1968. It weighs approximately 33.19 carats, is mounted in platinum, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has determined it may be potentially internally flawless. The center diamond is out of this world. Looking at it in the glass case, it was hard to focus on it, simply because my eyes kept looking for flaws they weren’t going to find. It is the kind of diamond where I am thankful to have seen it in person once in my life. I wonder which bidder will win at the end of this auction, and what they will decide to do with it. Donate it to a museum, for all to see? Or lock it away, to be swooned over in the privacy of their home? One can only hope this won’t be the last we see of it. I can’t wait to find out where the final bid will fall on this one!

All of the jewelry listed above will be up for auction today and tomorrow. 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. Exciting!

Did you get a chance to check out the auction? Feel the same about the gallery show as I did? Any pieces I missed that you were in love with?

Elizabeth Taylor image found here, Heartshape rubies image found here, Amethyst geode image found here, Pear-shaped diamond ring image found here, Vincent Van Gogh painting image found here, Sapphire necklace and earrings image found here, Taj Mahal necklace image found here, Emerald ring image found here, Burton Cognac ring image found here, Elizabeth Taylor diamond ring image found here.

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