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December 10, 2009updated Feb 13, 2013

Sotheby’s Exceeds $30 Million At Jewelry Auction

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

NEW YORK, NY – Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels brought a total of $30,582,751, exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $20/26 million* and achieving the second highest total for a various owners sale of Jewelry at Sotheby’s
New York since 1995, according to a press release received by Elite Traveler.

The sale was 88.4% sold by lot and 91.9% sold by value, with white diamonds dominating the top ten prices of the sale and nearly 79% of sold lots selling for prices above their high estimates. The top price of the day was achieved by The Perfect Gift, a Magnificent and Rare Oval Diamond, weighing 30.48 carats, D color, with flawless clarity and type IIa ‘‘Golconda-like’’ classification, which sold for $4,114,500 ($134,990 per carat), above the high estimate (lot 231, est. $3.3/3.8 million).

Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North and South America, of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Department, commented, “Special pieces achieved special prices today. After a worldwide highlights tour in which we met many new collectors, we were pleased to see so much competition in the saleroom. Almost 79% of the lots sold brought prices over their high estimates to achieve a New York sale total second only to that achieved at the height of the market in 2007. It has been my privilege this fall to work with the magnificent jewels from Lúcia Moreira Salles, a collection of great style and beauty and a collection which drew many new buyers into our saleroom. As the top ten lots show, Asians are active at the high end of the market but Americans were out in full force buying at all levels of the market.”

Among the high points of the day was the offering of magnificent jewels from the collection of former Brazilian model and philanthropist Lúcia Moreira Salles, which brought an outstanding $5,884,688, surpassing a pre-sale estimate of $2.6/3.6 million and with every single lot finding a buyer. Salles’ career began in Paris at the end of the 1950s, and in the 1960s-70s she became a muse for both Valentino and Coco Chanel, at one point working as Chanel’s exclusive house model. Among the top jewels of the collection were three exquisite gem stones mounted by revered Paris designer JAR – a Diamond ‘‘String’’ Ring set with an oval diamond weighing 16.04 carats, F color, SI1 clarity, and type IIa, within a platinum and diamond mounting achieved $722,400 ($45,044 per carat) (lot 278, est. $350/450,000); an Emerald and Diamond Ring, set with a cabochon Colombian emerald weighing approximately 27 carats mounted in platinum and purportedly formerly in the private collection of King Farouk of Egypt totaled $524,500 (lot 277, est. $400/600,000); and a Ruby and Diamond Ring set with a sugarloaf cabochon Burmese ruby weighing approximately 16.30 carats mounted in platinum brought $410,500 (lot 276, est. $150/200,000).

Among the highlights from the group of spectacular natural pearls were the elegant Single Strand Natural Pearl and Diamond Necklace, which sold for $602,500 (lot 274, est. $250/350,000); a Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendant Earrings which brought $230,500 (lot 273, est. $75/100,000); and a stunning Natural Pearl and Diamond Ring that more than quadrupled the high estimate of $50,000 to sell for $218,500 (lot 270, est. $30/50,000). Six bidders competed for a Double-Strand Diamond Necklace weighing approximately 90 carats from the late 19th Century driving the final price to $458,500 (lot 266, est. $200/300,000).

Gary Schuler, Director of New York Jewelry, said, “Today’s results are a continuation of the demand we have seen for spectacular white stones so far this season in New York, Hong Kong and Geneva. The demand was global, with multiple international bidders vying for every stone. While trade bidding was very strong, private collectors from around the world won the majority of diamonds, both at the top end of the market as well as those wearable stones 10 carats and under.”

Top quality white diamonds were highly sought after as multiple stones elicited bids from as many as nine different potential buyers. The sale’s top price was commanded by The Perfect Gift, a Magnificent and Rare Oval Diamond, weighing 30.48 carats, D color, with flawless clarity and type IIa ‘‘Golconda-like’’ classification, which climbed to $4,114,500 ($134,990 per carat), above the high estimate of $3.8 million (lot 231, est. $3.3/3.8 million). The last lot of the first session, a Pear-Shaped Diamond, the Property of a Lady, the stone weighing 25.47 carats, H color, VS2 clarity, mounted in platinum also surpassed the high estimate of $700,000 to sell for $1,142,500 ($44,857 per carat) (lot 137, est. $600/700,000). An 18.11 carat Important Round Diamond, H color, Flawless, with excellent cut, polish and symmetry brought $1,058,500 ($58,448 per carat) (lot 226, est. $750,000/1 million), while a Square Emerald-Cut Diamond weighing 9.69 carats, type IIa and in the sought-after Asscher cut, was pursued by at least nine bidders and sold for $890,500 ($91,899 per carat) (lot 215, est. $350/450,000). A Pear-Shaped Diamond from a Distinguished Private Collection, weighing 13.85 carats, D color, VS2 clarity, was the subject of intense competition, finally selling for $1,070,500 ($77,292 per carat), double the high estimate (lot 224, est. $400/500,000).

Two seminal Cartier works of art formerly in the collection of Mrs. Cole Porter and Russian Princess Natalie Paley were also among the highlights of today’s sale. An Egyptian-Style Jeweled Scarab Belt Buckle created by Cartier in Paris in 1926 sold for $302,500 (lot 229, est. $250/350,000) and a Cartier Egyptian-Style Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise, Diamond, Black Onyx and Enamel Bracelet made in Paris and dating to 1929 totaled $242,500 (lot 230, est. $75/100,000).

A superb array of colored precious stones offered included two exceptional Cartier bracelets from a Distinguished Private Collection: A Cabochon Emerald and Diamond Bracelet, Cartier, New York, 1923 featuring Colombian cabochon emeralds weighing approximately 70 carats and old European-cut diamonds weighing approximately 9.50 carats, mounted in 18 karat gold and platinum, which totaled $458,500 (lot 223, est. $250/350,000); and a Ruby and Diamond Bracelet, Cartier, circa 1925, reminiscent of jewels from the collections of the Duchess of Windsor and Helene Beaumont, set with cushion-shaped and oval Burmese rubies weighing approximately 62 carats and diamonds weighing almost 10 carats, which sold for $590,500 (lot 225, est. $200/300,000).

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An iconic American jewel with an exemplary stone, the Rare and Important Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond and Emerald Ring, Tiffany & Co., designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany circa 1915-1920 more than doubled its presale high estimate to achieve $818,500 after a lengthy battle between multiple bidders (lot 222, est. $200/300,000).

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