Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale will take place in Hong Kong next April 6, where superb colourless and coloured diamonds, signed vintage and contemporary designs by renowned jewellers, together with splendid jadeite creations, will take the central stage.
Offering a total of 320 lots, estimated in excess of $99 million. Diamond is April’s birthstone. I cannot then but start with these truly exceptional diamonds which will be offered to the auctioneers and which will for sure reach sky-high final prices.
The first astonishing one is a 77.77 carat fancy vivid yellow diamond ring, and the second is a superb 23.15 carat DIF type IIa Golconda diamond ring, named “The Legend of Golconda”.
Yellow diamonds owe their colour to the presence of nitrogen in the diamond crystal structure. Pure yellow diamonds with no modifying hues are relatively rare and greatly sought after.
The world auction record for yellow diamonds was set twice at Sotheby’s Geneva in the past few years, first in 2011 with“The Sun-Drop Diamond” (also known as “The Lady Dalal”), a 110.03 carat pear-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond, for US$12,361,558 – one of the largest diamonds ever to appear at auction:
This fancy vivid yellow diamond ring is centring on a cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing 77.77 carats, flanked by two heart-shaped diamonds together weighing approximately 5.00 carats, to a brilliant-cut diamond-set shank, mounted in 18 karat white and yellow gold – the ring mount is detachable, with pendant fitting.
Note of curiosity: seven is an auspicious number for the Chinese and the luckiest number in the West representing wealth. This exceptional size is extremely rare for any diamond, and the fancy vivid yellow colour ranks this diamond among those stones with the finest saturation of colour.
As for the diamond known as “The Golconda Diamond”, this is a gem exceptional in its purity, and deserves some attention.
Europe’s passion for diamonds started as early as in the 17th century, when Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was among the first ones to visit India’s Golconda mines in 1640. Even King Louis XIV of France, le Roi Soleil, while admiring the unbelievable purity and beauty of the stones presented by Tavernier, described the diamonds as “pools of crystal water”.
Indeed, Golconda diamonds truly stand out from all others with their superb transparency, as they are Type IIa diamonds and therefore nitrogen-free and chemically pure.
The Legend of Golconda, a 23.15- carat D-colour Internally Flawless Type IIa Diamond Ring (Est. US$4.3 – 5 million), matches the treasures of Golconda’s qualities. Its antique cut demonstrates the balance of brilliance and dispersion that gives the diamond its distinct character and beauty. Its perfect crystalline structure places it among history’s most exceptional diamonds, such as the Koh-i-Noor and The Regent.
One of the rarest among fancy coloured diamonds, pink diamonds are highly coveted and their demand has driven prices to increasingly high levels: enough to say that throughout the history of auction, a total of eight pink diamonds sold for over a million US dollars per carat!
The latest example was a superb 8.41 carat fancy vivid purple-pink diamond sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong last October 2014 for US$17.77 million, setting a world record for fancy vivid pink diamonds in auction that still stands today:
This 4.57-carat Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond and Diamond Ring mounted by Carvin French (Est. US$6 – 7 million) earns itself a place among the greatest pink diamonds. “Fancy Vivid” is the highest grading by GIA for fancy coloured diamonds. As stated in Sotheby’s press release:
This heart-shaped stone demonstrates a subtle balance of hue and saturation akin to that of neon pink. Combined with Internally Flawless clarity which is rarely found in pink diamonds, this stone exemplifies the best of hue, saturation and clarity in a pink diamond and qualifies as a true miracle of Nature.
To complement the Carvin French ring is a rare and exquisite pair of 4.01 carat Fancy Intense Purple-Pink Diamond, 3.72 carat Fancy Intense Purplish-Pink Diamond and Diamond Pendent Earrings (Est. US$6-7 million):
Given their rarity, it is a considerable challenge to assemble two fancy intense pink diamonds of matching colour, size and cut and hardly any has appeared in the auction market in pairs since 2006. This pair of earrings would certainly be a magnificent addition to any jewellery collection.
Also present at this upcoming Spring Sale at Sotheby’s Hong kong is a selection of vintage and contemporary signed pieces by renowned jewellers, including Bulgari and Boucheron, as well as contemporary designers, such as Marina B. and Tamsen Z.
The economic boom after WWII saw a return to jewellery lavishly set with precious gemstones and, above all, diamonds.
This magnificent Diamond Necklace by Bulgari (Est. US$1-1.2 million), created circa in 1950s, fully epitomises the three-dimensional design of furled ribbons, so typical at that time.
Punctuated by large stones including a 7.04 carat pear-shaped DIF diamond, this necklace demonstrates purity of form and neat lines that was unprecedented, considering the strong Art Deco influence.
Bulgari was not afraid of setting important and boldly coloured gemstones, which were selected not only for their seductive hues, but also for their important sizes and fine quality.
The present pair of 7.80 and 7.10 carat Unheated Burmese Mogok Ruby and Diamond Pendent Earrings by Bulgari (Est. US$4.5-5 million) stands as a perfect legacy to the Italian master’s unrivaled artistry, as well as an epitome of Bulgari’s exclusive magnetic and eminent style.
Marina Bulgari, granddaughter of Sotirio Bulgari (the founder of the Bulgari dynasty), created her signature brand in 1977, by integrating striking geometric patterns, carved from colour-blocking gemstones and sparkling diamonds, into Greek and Italian inspired designs, which would take hints from mythology, the natural worlds, objects d’art and architecture.
The present pair of Unheated Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Pendent Earrings, by Marina B. (Est. US$650,000-740,000) is set with 18 sapphires of matching colour and quality from the fabled Kasmir mine, for a total of 38.56 carats. These are suspended from a geometric surmount characterized by the greatest precision in form and proportion. This combination of rarity and creativity makes this a true treasure of timeless glamour.
Arguably one of the most beloved and celebrated sopranos of our times, Renée Fleming was a recipient of both the National Medals of Arts and Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo in 2013.
Her consummate artistry, grace and beauty are encapsulated in an arresting Gem-Set and Diamond “Renée Fleming Iris” Brooch, Tamsen Z by Ann Ziff (Est. US$80,000-100,000), who is known for her audacious mix of colours that heightens modernity and opulence. This unique brooch is modelled, after a charming breed of iris, which was exclusively created by hybridiser Heather Pryor, and named after Renée Fleming in 2004.
Also noteworthy is a 65.33 carat Colombian Emerald and Diamond Necklace, by Boucheron, circa 1930s (Est. US$320,000-410,000).
The shining diamond collar, highlighted by the Colombian emerald of stunning proportions, radiates captivating glamour reminiscent of the Roaring Thirties.
Burmese rubies have been highly coveted in recent years, fetching astonishing prices in auction rooms worldwide.
The finest above all are rubies from Burma. Apart from displaying extremely fiery colour intensity due to a saturated crimson body colour and a strong red fluorescence, the tiny needles inclusions typically found in Burmese rubies scatter light onto facets and give the gems a velvety and hypnotic soft glow.
Among Burmese rubies, the specific red colour named “Pigeon’s Blood”, primarily found in rubies from the famed Mogok Valley, is considered the most superior.
As natural unheated Burmese rubies become increasingly rare, the importance of this Unheated Burmese Pigeon’s Blood Ruby and Diamond Necklace and Pair of Matching Earrings, Faidee (Est. US$2.6-30 million), set with rubies totalling 124.8 carats and diamonds totalling 59.25 carats is at its highest. Every gem was carefully handpicked, cut and polished to perfection for this necklace, even if that meant inevitable weight loss in the process.
Each ruby was cleverly set to conceal the metal mount, which affords an air of purity to its unique design. The collection of these well-matched Burmese unheated rubies took more than two decades to complete and the idea of creating another ruby suite of comparable quality today is practically unimaginable. The rarest among the rarest.
Complementing the fiery ruby suite is a 10.02 carat Colombial No Oil Emerald and Diamond Ring (Est. US$590,000-700,000) of amazing proportions:
Completely free from clarity enhancement, the captivating natural beauty of the Colombian emerald is accentuated by the dazzling diamonds and the linear design of the setting.
The timeless elegance and charming sophistication of natural pearls find their expressions in their sheer simplicity and pure form. It takes approximately ten thousand oysters in nature to yield a single pearl and only a minority of these pearls will be of desirable quality to be used in jewellery.
Strung with 137 pearls measuring 14.10 to 6.20mm in diametre, of matching colours, shapes and mirror-like lustre, this Triple Strand Natural Pearl and Sapphire Necklace (Est. US$3.3-3.8 million) is the result of an exceedingly difficult collection process. it is no doubt a true treasure of subtle extravagance and extreme rarity.
With a scarce supply and increasing demand, top-quality natural jadeite jewels have achieved remarkable results at auction in recent years.
A set of two jadeite bead necklaces from the Republican period sourced from an overseas Chinese collection achieved US$5.47 million in 2013, before the famous Hutton-Mdivani necklace was purchased by the Cartier Collection for a staggering US$30.6 million in 2014, setting world auction records for any jadeite jewellery and a Cartier jewel.
This Spring Sotheby’s is very pleased to present a Jadeite Bead and Diamond Necklace (Est. US$5.8-7 million), featuring 67 jadeite beads measuring approximately 11.07 to 9.32 mm.
Of matching fine texture and intensely saturated green colour, the beads would have to be carved from a single boulder of significant size – something extremely rare.
Also offered is a Jadeite and Diamond Necklace (Est. US$2 – 2.25 million) set with eighteen “laokeng” (old mine) jadeite pieces in classic cabochon form, which accentuates its mesmerising colour and beautiful translucency, flanked by dazzling diamonds.
Jadeite connoisseurs will also be delighted by a sleek and refined bangle, which is one of the most prevalent forms of jadeite jewellery.
Of an inner diameter and thickness of approximately 56.68 and 12.15 mm respectively, this Jadeite Bangle (Est. US$2.8-3.3 million) glows with a translucent and fascinating lumionous green hue.
Another highlight is a Jadeite “Eggplant”, Yellow Diamond and Diamond Pendant (Est. US$950,000-1.1 million) of exceptional translucency.
Of an impressive thickness of over 10 mm such translucency can be defined as a real miracle obtained by both Nature and the excellence craftmanship in cutting and polishing. Combined with a vibrant Emerald green colour, its appeal will certainly captivate the eye of the jadeite connoisseur!
To say goodbye, here is a small gallery of additional personal highlights out of this Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale: