Sotheby’s Important Jewels Auction – Sept 2013

Auction season is upon us, and I am delighted to get back into the fun of trying on jewelry up for sale. Last week Sotheby’s had their Important Jewels auction, along with a viewing of the jewelry a few days prior. These are public viewings that I attend — so if you are ever in the NYC area you should definitely check them out! The salespeople are so sweet, and they let you try on all kinds of fancy jewels. Let’s check out some of the pieces I really liked and what they ultimately sold for!

Lot # 461, “18 Karat White Gold, Amethyst and Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $30,000 USD:

Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

In a sea of diamond jewelry it is always fun to see a stellar colored gemstone piece like this one. The amethysts in this bracelet had a great hue — definitely purple, but with a hint of pinkish red to make it extra vibrant. Plus the faceting on these cut-corner squares was a bit like a radiant-cut. Rather than having straight facets that are parallel to the edges of the stone, they were in diagonal criss-crosses. Couldn’t help but try this one on. Isn’t it stunning?

Lot #461 S 9-2013 Insta copy

PRICE REALIZED: $22,500 USD

 

Lot #219, “Platinum, Diamond and Colored Stone ‘Rose’ Bracelet, Tiffany & Co.”, estimated at $150,000 – $200,000 USD:

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

As long as we’re talking about fun bracelets, this Tiffany & Co. bracelet had such a great visual tale. With it wrapped around your wrist you could trace the story from bottom to top — the growth of the rose with emerald leaves and stem up to the yellow diamond petals, all set against a sapphire blue sky and illuminated by the glistening diamond moon. A special piece!

PRICE REALIZED: $173,000 USD

 

Lot #203, “18 Karat Gold and Diamond ‘Quadrato” Wristwatch, Bulgari”, estimated at $30,000 – $50,000:

Lot #203 S 9-2013 Insta copySuch a sparkly watch! This Bulgari stunner was actually quite heavy on the wrist. Perhaps it was the 5.15 carats of diamonds and all that gold! Oddly enough this watch did not sell at auction. I guess it just hasn’t found the right new owner yet. Maybe next “time” (yes, that’s a watch pun, I couldn’t help it)!

PRICE REALIZED: LOT NOT SOLD

 

Lot #135, “Platinum and Diamond Ring, Van Cleef & Arpels”, estimated at $15,000 – $20,000 USD:

Lot #135 S 9-2013 Insta copyThere is always one piece of jewelry at every auction that I fall in love with. This time it was this lovely diamond ring. Isn’t it darling? I love how the surrounding diamonds are not all the same size. The three rounds towards the thumb are smaller, while the four to the right are larger. It’s a slight variation on the traditional symmetrical halo. Makes it special!

PRICE REALIZED: $26,250

 

Which is your favorite of the bunch? Perhaps the vibrant purple of the amethyst bracelet? Or maybe your everyday watch would enjoy an upgrade to the Bulgari piece? Looking forward to the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels viewing in a few weeks. I will post about it then!

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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And the Highest Bidder Is…

Yesterday I told you all about the magnificent jewels that I viewed (and tried on!) at the Sotheby’s exhibition. Today these stunning jewels were auctioned off to the highest bidders. What were the final bids? Let’s find out! (Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium).

Lot #144, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, France, Circa 1930” from the Estate of an East Coast Lady, estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $116,500 USD

Lot #142, “Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $125,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $92,500 USD

Lot #122, “Pair of Platinum, Tourmaline, and Diamond Pendant-Earrings, Tiffany & Co.”, estimated at $6,000 – $8,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $36,250 USD

Lot #73, “18 Karat White Gold, Keshi Pearl and Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $25,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $25,000 USD

Lot #333, “Pair of Diamond-Pendant Earrings, Circa 1910”, property from the estate of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $206,500 USD

Lot #428, “A Very Rare Platinum, Carved Emerald, Emerald and Sapphire Brooch, Cartier, New York, Circa 1920”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $482,500 USD

Lot #418, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from the estate of Nancy B. Hamon, estimated at $500,000 to $700,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $1,082,500 USD

Lot #103, “18 Karat Gold and Diamond Ring”, property of a Lady, estimated at $450,000 – $550,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $842,500 USD

Lot #183, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from a private collection, estimated at $30,000 – $50,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $86,500 USD

Lot #382, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $100,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $92,500 USD

Lot #421, “An Impressive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 USD:

PRICE REALIZED: $1,874,500 USD

Are you surprised by any of the final bids? Many of them sold within their estimated price range, while others tipped the scales quite a bit. Did you notice that Lot #333, the diamond pendant earrings I thought would look lovely with a wedding dress, sold for $206,500, a whopping $160,000+ more than the highest estimated amount? Some lucky bidder must have really wanted them!

Lot #144 image found here, Lot #142 image found here, Lot #122 image found here, Lot #73 image found here, Lot #333 image found here, Lot #428 image found here, Lot #418 image found here, Lot #103 image found here, Lot #183 image found here, Lot #382 image found here, Lot #421 image found here.

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Magnificent Jewels!

Today I ventured to York Avenue on the Upper East Side of New York to see the last full-day viewing of the Magnificent Jewels Exhibition at Sotheby’s before the auction begins tomorrow. It was free of charge, open to the public, and featured jewels from various estate and private collections. The jewelry ranged from period pieces crafted two hundred years ago to creations by the most heralded designers of the 20th century. There were diamonds, pearls, and colored gemstones in all shapes and sizes. Settle in while I show you several of the most amazing pieces!

Having never been to Sotheby’s before, I was struck by how friendly and laid back the whole establishment is. The concierge at the front desk was jovial and quite delighted to greet me, and the employees behind the jewelry counters were happy to take out jewelry to see. Yes, I actually got the chance to try on some of the amazing pieces up for auction. What a thrill!

The crowd was mixed, and there was an area off to the side with designated tables and jeweler’s lamps for true buyers who were being assisted by staff in inspecting the pieces. There was even a school group of adults on a trip to see all the sparkly baubles. Unlike the Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s back in December, the pieces in this exhibition varied quite a lot in style and elegance. There were several pieces that I considered to be a bit tacky, and others I adored, but that was the beauty of it. There was definitely something for everyone there!

Enough talk, let’s get to the beautiful photos!

One of my favorites, and one of the first pieces I walked in to see, was Lot #144, “Platinum and Diamond Bracelet, France, Circa 1930” from the Estate of an East Coast Lady (yep, that’s the real description from the website), estimated at $80,000 – $120,000 USD:

The bracelet is an amazing Art Deco design, and the diamonds have a colorful fire reminiscent of a rhinestone. Since the photo doesn’t show scale very well, the round diamonds that are in the center portions are a large 3.00, 3.00, and 2.90 carats each. Just one of them alone would make a stunning engagement ring! One of the other elements I noticed about this design was the diamond baguettes in the outer sections. They have one long baguette, and then two on each side that are each slightly shorter than the next.

Immediately made me think of the photos that UsWeekly had up yesterday of Angelina Jolie’s new engagement ring that Brad Pitt designed for her!

A beautiful design in both pieces of jewelry!

Lot #142, “Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $125,000 USD:

As with some of the emeralds at the Elizabeth Taylor auction, this 5.59 carat emerald looks unreal. And by unreal I mean it truly looked looks it is a synthetic, manmade stone. It has a greenish blue hue, but the inclusion in the center of the stone gives it away that it is natural. Can you see it in the picture above? It almost looks like a little feather. The inclusion was actually a bit distracting when looking at the stone, but you have to forgive it, since it isn’t often an emerald of this quality and size can be cut from rough material.

Lot #122, “Pair of Platinum, Tourmaline, and Diamond Pendant-Earrings, Tiffany & Co.”, estimated at $6,000 – $8,000 USD:

The tourmalines in these earrings are absolutely gorgeous. They looked to be about 12×10 millimeters each (with a total carat weight of 24.83), and they have that real vibrant Caribbean blue ocean hue. I could have stared at them all day!

Lot #73, “18 Karat White Gold, Keshi Pearl and Diamond Bracelet”, estimated at $20,000 – $25,000 USD:

The design of this bracelet was so amazing in person. The dark color and shape of the pearls makes them look like small pebbles, and the diamonds weaving in and out give the effect of water running in a stream. A really lovely, artistic piece!

Lot #333, “Pair of Diamond-Pendant Earrings, Circa 1910”, property from the estate of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, estimated at $30,000 – $40,000 USD:

These earrings are so incredibly elegant in person. Again, the photo doesn’t show the scale well, because the center pear-shaped diamonds in each earring could easily make anyone happy as a solitaire engagement ring, weighing in at 4.99 and 4.23 carats each. These earrings would look wonderful with a bridal gown!

Lot #428, “A Very Rare Platinum, Carved Emerald, Emerald and Sapphire Brooch, Cartier, New York, Circa 1920”, estimated at $300,000 – $500,000 USD:

The carving work on this emerald, depicting a Mughal flower motif, is so incredibly intricate. The emerald part is about two inches across, and maybe a quarter of an inch thick. I have no idea how the emerald didn’t break during the carving process, since it looks to be all one piece. You could see through the emerald a bit in certain parts, causing lighter and darker areas in the stone. It was really just stunning to behold.

Hands down the “hottest” area in the auction was cases 14 and 15, where all the engagement-like diamond rings were displayed. They contained Lots #418, #103, #183, #382, and #421.

Lot #418, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from the estate of Nancy B. Hamon, estimated at $500,000 to $700,000 USD:

This marquise diamond, E color and VS1 clarity, weighing in at 12.64 carats, is absolutely gorgeous in person. The photo here doesn’t do it justice. It is incredibly sparkly, and you don’t see any imperfections to the naked eye. It was so lovely to see a less popular shape like a marquise featured in the auction.

Lot #103, “18 Karat Gold and Diamond Ring”, property of a Lady, estimated at $450,000 – $550,000 USD:

In the photo above, the yellow gold prongs and setting look much more apparent than they do in person. In real life, you barely notice the gold at all, you just see the breathtaking 11.08 carat pear-shaped diamond. Like the marquise ring before it, this F color, VVS2 clarity diamond is just mesmerizing, because of the sheer size as well as its complete lack of inclusions to the naked eye.

Lot #183, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, property from a private collection, estimated at $30,000 – $50,000 USD:

I was drawn to this ring because the design was unlike any of the other rings at the auction, and the 9.99 carat emerald cut center stone was simply stunning. It has a slight yellowish milky color to it, and although it is hard to tell in that kind of jewelry lighting, I would have guessed it had some fluorescence to it. This is one of the rings that I actually had the chance to try on. I knew that Sotheby’s allows people to touch and look at the jewelry, but somehow when I was making small talk with the employee behind the counter I kept stumbling over my words. I guess a diamond ring going for $50,000 on your hand can do that to a girl?

That emerald cut diamond takes up all the space on my pinky finger, from my hand to my first knuckle!

Lot #382, “Platinum and Diamond Ring”, estimated at $75,000 – $100,000 USD:

This ring wound up being my favorite of all the diamond rings I saw at the exhibition. Admittedly, I am a sucker for a cushion cut diamond with a halo setting, and this one weighs in at a lovely 5.02 carats. The band looked to be on the thin side, to the point where I would worry about the stability of the center setting, but when the Sotheby’s employee took it out of the case, I was able to see that from the front view the band looked thin, but it actually had some thickness to it depth-wise. This diamond is a D color, with an SI2 clarity, which I was really surprised by. After taking a very close look, I could see the inclusions that made it an SI2, but somehow they didn’t matter at all, and weren’t distracting in the least. It is always amazing to me how some diamonds can have a lower clarity, but if the inclusions are placed well and the diamond is designed for a beautiful ring, you don’t even notice them. What do you think — should I buy it for a cool $100K tomorrow?

I think I’m in love! ♥

And last, but most certainly not least, is Lot #421, “An Impressive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring”, estimated at $1,500,000 – $2,000,000 USD:

Sotheby’s showcased this ring on a small rotating glass table within the case, so you could really see all sides of the ring. This naturally fancy vivid yellow colored diamond is a whopping 23.02 carats, with VVS1 clarity. When you see it up close you don’t even notice the half-moon shaped diamonds on the sides, because the center stone is just so incredible. It felt almost out of this world, it was so unlike anything else.

All of the jewelry listed above will be up for auction starting at 10am tomorrow. You can watch it all happen live on the Sotheby’s website. Also, if you really want to see some of these amazing jewels in person, you have one last chance to get to Sotheby’s tomorrow morning from 10am to 12pm, although you will only be able to see the items that are part of Session 2 (since Session 1 will be auctioning at that time). Or, if you can’t make it to either of those, Sotheby’s has an amazing iPad app that lets you zoom in on the photos, watch videos, and take notes (birthday gift wish list, anyone?). Very handy for drooling over gorgeous gems on the go! Or you can check out their e-catalogue online. I will be following the results tomorrow and will let you know in a separate blog post how much the items sell for in the end. What fun!

Did you get to visit the Sotheby’s auction as well, either in person or online? See any pieces that you adored that I didn’t mention here? Are you as in love with that cushion cut 5.02 carat diamond ring as I am? Sigh 🙂

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 #144 image found here, Angelina Jolie image found here, Lot #142 image found here, Lot #122 image found here, Lot #73 image found here, Lot #333 image found here, Lot #428 image found here, Lot #418 image found here, Lot #103 image found here, Lot #183 image found here, Lot #382 image found here, Lot #421 image found here.

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