Christie’s staged an auction of Magnificent Jewels in Hong Kong with great success on Tuesday evening. The sale, part of a week long series held in the Eastern city-state, blew past estimates and earned over $110 million.
Over 300 lots were offered for sale, and featured exceptional rubies from Burma, emeralds from the Old Mines of Colombia, and a plethora of signed pieces, including 20 lots by Harry Winston. Also offered were numerous lots of fine jadeite jewelry, without which it seems no Hong Kong auction would ever be complete.
The sale, held in the Grand Hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, was expected to earn $90 million, including the buyers’ premium.
The Regal Ruby
Tuesday’s sale was dominated by lots of exceptional rubies, most originating in Burma (Myanmar today) and most without any trace of heat.
Leading the 27-lot charge was a unique Suite of Ruby and Diamond Jewelry, by Buccellati ($64,800 – $103,700), designed as clusters of ruby grapes hanging from diamond and gold leaves. The suite sold for $152,900, exceeding the pre-auction estimate.
A Rare Ruby and Diamond Ring, by Harry Winston ($1,749,000 – $2,332,000), also beat predictions as it sold for $3,934,000. The ring features a 8.99 carat cushion-cut ruby from the ancient ruby mines in the Mogok valley in Burma. The stone is of exceptional quality and shows no sign of heat treatment.
Also up for sale was the Important Ruby and Diamond “Flora” Necklace by Bulgari ($3,628,000 – $5,831,000) designed as an openwork bib of thirty oval-shaped no-heat Burmese rubies linked by diamonds. Featured in a new book by the jewelry house, the necklace sold for $3,789,000.
A Superb Ruby and Diamond Ring ($4,870,000 – $7,250,000) also sold within estimate for $5,965,000. This 13.21 carat no-heat Burmese ruby, named “The Regal Ruby” flanked by half-moon diamonds, might be one of the finest specimens to ever come from the Mogok Valley mines.
Capping off the evening was the sale of a Magnificent Ruby and Diamond Necklace, by Etcetera ($4,800,000 – $7,250,000) with 87.78 carats of the finest no-heat Burmese rubies set in diamond swags. The necklace earned $6,401,000 as part of the “Christmas Garland Suite” along with the matching pair of earrings, which fetched $1,871,000 on their own.
Not willing to let the rubies take all the glory, Christie’s also offered up a rare and impressive selection of emerald lots, including this Emerald and Diamond Ring, by Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co. ($103,700 – $155,500) with a natural 4.89 carat Colombian emerald in a classic openwork bombe mounting. This ring sold for $129,600.
One of the most impressive lots offered was a Rare Pair of Emerald and Diamond Ear Pendants ($1,231,000 – $1,555,000) with an incredibly rare matched pair of exceptional “Old Mine” emeralds from the Muzo mining district in Colombia. The earrings fetched $1,482,000, within the pre-sale estimate.
A highly anticipated Pair of Emerald and Diamond Ear Clips, by Harry Winston ($700,000 – $1,000,000) failed to find a buyer on Tuesday; one of the evening’s rare misses. This disappointment was soon forgotten, however, with the excitement over a Superb Emerald and Diamond Ring ($1,300,000 – $1,900,000), which sold within estimate for $1,436,000. This ring features an exceptional 24.59 carat rectangular-shaped emerald from the Muzo district in Colombia. This emerald, one of the finest ever offered at auction, shows no indications of any clarity enhancement.
Diamonds and Colored Diamonds
As was expected, diamonds and colored diamonds continued to do well in Tuesday’s sale. Although some notable lots have missed their mark in recent months, diamonds of this size and caliber are widely considered to be valuable investment pieces, and do well on the auction block. Some successes include this Important Colored Diamond Ring ($388,700 – $647,800), an unusual 26.63 carat Old Mine-cut Fancy Yellow diamond mounted in platinum that sold within estimate for $564,900.
Another highly advertised lot was a Rare Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring, ($4,200,000 – $6,250,000) with a 12.85 carat oval-shaped Fancy Intense Orangy Pink diamond in a diamond surround. Christie’s has done well with orange diamonds recently, and the trend certainly continued here as this ring sold within estimate for $4,950,000.
White diamonds were also strong on Tuesday night with the sale of A Superb Diamond Riviere ($7,000,000 – $9,000,000) for $8,142,000. The necklace contains with 52 matched and graduated D- Flawless and D-Internally Flawless diamonds weighing 104.84 carats total.
The final diamond lot offered, a Magnificent Diamond Necklace, by Harry Winston ($4,300,000 – $6,250,000), is composed of alternating pear and brilliant-cut diamonds and a fringe of pear-shaped diamonds, and sold for $5,095,000.
While tiaras are fairly common on the auction block, it is quite rare to see two examples at the same sale that veer so far outside the normal profile.
The first tiara offered, a Rare Ruby and Diamond Tiara/Brooch ($62,000 – $84,200) designed as an undulating ribbon of old-cut diamonds and rubies set in gold and silver, sold for $77,700.The second example, a Unique Diamond Tiara/Brooches ($84,200 – $123,00) designed as two detachable diamond wings, sold for $105,300.
Other Notable Lots
A Set of Gold and Silver Jewelry, by Bucellati ($6,800) designed as incredibly life-like thistles.
A Sapphire and Diamond Ring ($137,300) with heart-shaped stones in a unique take on the “Toi et Moi” design.
Two Jadeite and Diamond Pendants ($6,500 – $10,400) of portly, laughing Buddhas carved from icy translucent jade. Unique and fun. The pendants sold for $22,700, more double the pre-auction estimate.
A Blue Topaz, Diamond, Cultured Pearl and Ruby Necklace/Brooch ($10,400 – $15,500) with an unusual vintage-inspired carved blue topaz flanked by two diamond panthers with ruby eyes. Topaz signed Wallace Chan. The necklace sold for $74,500, almost five times the pre-auction estimate.
Two alexandrite and diamond rings, one with a 17.00 carat natural Ceylon stone with moderate color change ($71,300) and the other with a natural 14.03 carat stone with pronounced color change ($116,600). It is highly unusual to find multiple alexandrite specimens of this size in one sale.
Two lots of padparadscha sapphires including a Pair of Colored Diamond, Padparadscha Sapphire and Diamond Ear Pendants ($52,900), and a Pair of Padparadscha Sapphire and Diamond Ear Pendants ($77,700). As with the alexandrites, it is very rare to see two padparadscha lots in one sale.