Transparencies from Golconda
2013 SOLD for $ 11M including premium by Christie's
2019 SOLD for $ 6.5M including premium
Gemmologists recognize through some exceptional qualities when a ruby comes from Mogok, a sapphire from Kashmir or a diamond from Golconda.
Type IIa diamonds are the brightest of all categories when they are pure. The top standardized grade for colorless gems is the D color. However the best Golconda diamonds also have an absolute transparency that exceeds the D grade. It is extremely rare for a diamond from another source to display such a purity and clarity.
For two millennia until the beginning of the 18th century, India was the only diamond producing country. Aware of this exceptional opportunity, local princes have long kept the best for their exclusive use.
Golconda was a network of mines. The best, the Kollur mine, produced among others the Koh-i-Noor, the Regent, the Orlov, which contributed to the prestige of Great Britain, France and Russia. Deserted after the depletion of the vein, Kollur was in ruins when its site was identified by a geologist in the 1880s.
Tastes have changed and technologies have improved. An ancient cutting is very often recognizable as such. A small grinding is encouraged if it helps a Potentially Flawless to reach the ultimate grade of clarity, Internally Flawless.
On June 19 in New York, Christie's sells two type IIa, D color diamonds, identified as Golconda by Gübelin.
The most important, an Internally Flawless weighing 52.58 carats, has no historical background but its elongated rectangular shape cannot be modern. It was sold for $ 11M including premium by Christie's on December 10, 2013 and is now estimated $ 7M, lot 229, with the name Mirror of Paradise.
The other Golconda in that auction, lot 98 estimated $ 2M, is a pear-shaped brilliant-cut. It was given in 1777 by the Nawab of Arcot to Queen Charlotte of Great Britain. To improve its symmetry and achieve perfection in color and clarity, its weight was reduced from 23.65 to the current 17.21 carats in two stages, the earlier of which by Harry Winston after 1959.
RESULTS including premium :
Lot 229 : SOLD for $ 6.5M
Lot 98 (illustrated in tweet below) : SOLD for $ 3.4M
1711 diamonds for peace
A parure commissioned by an Ottoman Sultan was traditionally composed with the diamonds owned about 160 years earlier by an empress of Russia. Although that provenance was not accompanied by in period documents there is not any reason to have a doubt.
Marta Helena was an illiterate daughter of a Lithuanian peasant. This pretty girl had an early life of adventure, between soldiers and prostitution. She managed to be sold to one of the closest courtiers of Peter the Great. In 1707 the Tsar married her secretly. In 1705 her name had been changed to Catherine Alexeyevna.
The Ottomans declared war on Russia in 1710. Peter and Catherine went to war. The campaign of Pruth, ill-prepared, turned to disaster in 1711 on Russian side.
Fully understanding the Oriental traditions, Catherine, without informing Peter, joined her diamonds to a message prepared by the Tsar to propose peace. This present was decisive and the treaty was concluded. Catherine married Peter officially in the following year and was his successor as Catherine I at his death in 1725.
The sultans had treasured this tribute and the Ottoman prince who was to become Sultan Abdul Hamid II had it assembled in a necklace, a pair of earrings and a brooch, probably in 1874. This suite is made of diamonds of various colors, the most important being a 4.46 carat fancy intense yellow.
The parure passed at auction on November 15, 2011 by Sotheby's in Geneva. The estimate was not in the catalog, certainly due to a very high reserve price. It comes back in the same auction room on November 16, lot 328 estimated US$ 3M. The story above is mostly copied from my 2011 discussion.
The Golconda Twins
2011 SOLD 72 MHK$ including premium
D-graded, the most exceptional white diamonds are of Type IIa. Their purity is due to a very slow geological process without nitrogen.
The pair of Golconda D-graded diamonds mounted in ear pendants for sale by Christie's in Hong Kong on May 31 is remarkable for the similarity of the two stones. Both cut in cushion shape, they weigh 23.49 and 23.11 carats respectively with the same "Potentially flawless" clarity.
The cut is ancient. May be they derived from the same gem.
The lot is shown on the press release shared by Artdaily. It is estimated HK $ 55M.
POST SALE COMMENT
Beautiful price, but within the range of estimates, for this beautiful pair: HK $ 72M including premium.
1832 A GREEN NECKLACE FOR THE ENGLISH ARISTOCRACY
In terms of jewelry, fashions change. Many parts can be disassembled and reconstructed, and the history of their gems may eventually be lost. Family traditions sometimes provide jewels with a prestigious origin.
From 1762 to 1765, the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire was at embassy in St. Petersburg at the court of Catherine the Great. In 1832, a group of Colombian emeralds weighing a total of 100 carats was mounted in a necklace for their owner the Marquess of Lothian. Old-cut diamonds were interspersed between the emeralds. The tradition that Catherine would have given these gems to the 2nd Earl is credible, and almost demonstrated by a series of inventories in the family.
The Lothian suite offered by Christie's in Geneva on November 20, Lot 269, is composed of this necklace, remained unchanged since 1832, and of a pair of ear pendants assembled at the same time. The necklace is Empire style (Napoleonic). The canons of elegance have changed, but the scarcity of unaltered pieces assembled in the early nineteenth century can possibly justify the estimated 1.8 MCHF.
I do not know the history of ancient jewelry. I therefore record from Christie's release the names of the jewelers of the court of England at the time of the coronation of William IV (1831): Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. They were the likely authors of this suite.
1878-1882 the devourers of diamonds
2007 SOLD for CHF 5.7m including premium and 4m including premium by sotheby's
Her wedding in 1851 to a Portuguese merchant bearing a false aristocratic title is a master hit. Having become La Païva, the new aristocrat declares on the next day to her husband that they have nothing in common and she dismisses him. The luxury in which La Païva lives and hosts is aiming to rival Empress Eugénie. According to the fashion of the time the jewels constitute the indicator of a high social position.
After the fall of the Empire the Païva marries a wealthy cousin of Chancellor Bismarck. For that time the love in the couple is reciprocal and sincere. Becoming Countess von Donnersmarck and resuming her fake name of Thérèse, La Païva receives as a wedding present a sumptuous necklace of three rows of diamonds which had belonged to the fallen empress.
Being widowed in 1884 the Count remarries. Two huge fancy intense yellow diamonds will be preserved in the descendance of the new wife.
They were separated at Sotheby's on May 17, 2007 in Geneva. The most beautiful, pear shaped, weighs 82.48 carats with a VS2 clarity. It was sold for CHF 5.7M including premium. The biggest, 102.54 carat in SI1 clarity and cushion shape, fetched CHF 4M including premium. Once again united and still unmounted, they come now for sale as a single lot by the same auction house on November 15, lot 357 estimated CHF 8.8M worth US $ 9M.
For objects as intimate as jewelry, traceability depends on later discoveries in archives. The 2007 catalog informed that these diamonds were assembled in two different jewels by Chaumet in 1878. In 2009 a historian found a record from the sale in 1882 of the cushion diamond by Boucheron to La Païva at that time Countess von Donnersmarck.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1880s A Velvety Sapphire
2014 SOLD 5.1 M$ including premium
The blue sapphire that comes for sale is weighing 28.18 carats. It has been certified as having the features of a Kashmir sapphire without heat treatment. Its color is saturated with the additional charm of a rare velvety texture.
This emerald-cut sapphire was mounted on a ring in an entourage of 32 baguette diamonds by Oscar Heyman & Brothers. The now centenarian age of this company based in New York does not make easy to identify the date of the creation of this piece that has already been auctioned by Sotheby's thirty years ago.
This jewel is estimated $ 4M, lot 458 in the catalog. It is sold for the benefit of a charitable foundation.
On 13 November 2013, Sotheby's sold for CHF 7.7 million including premium a pair of ear rings, each one consisting in a cushion cut sapphire hanging to a star of diamonds. The weight of these sapphires were respectively 26.66 and 20.84 carats.
On 20 November 2008, Christie's sold for CHF 4.2 million including premium a ring composed of a 42 carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
1881-1888 love, harmony and velvety
From the mineralogical and optical point of view, the velvety sapphire from Kashmir is an exceptional gem, welcoming all lightings. A small number of inclusions generates their color which is scattered throughout the volume of the crystal, bringing the illusion that the stone is illuminated from within.
The gems from that vein usually have a very high purity beyond the inclusions that generate the color. They are altogether saturated and translucent with a spectacular homogeneity around the royal blue. They compete in beauty with blue and pink diamonds and with the Mogok rubies.
Two of the finest sapphires sold by Sotheby's were previously discussed in this column. One of them weighing 28.18 carats was sold for $ 5.1 million including premium on 29 April 2014 and the other weighing 27.68 carats for HK $ 52M including premium on 7 October 2015. Both were emerald cut in a somewhat stifling surrounding of white diamonds.
On October 4 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells a sapphire of similar quality, lot 1799 estimated HK $ 30M. Weighing 20.22 carats, it is indeed smaller than the two prestigious examples listed above but its oval cut is superb and perfectly enhanced in its mounting on a ring between two triangular diamonds. It was named The Pride of Kashmir.
I invite you to admire this sapphire in the video shared by the auction house :
1920 THE SHADE OF CATHERINE THE GREAT BEHIND A PEARL NECKLACE
2008 SOLD for $ 600k including premium
Bonhams announced well in advance the sale of this necklace, surrounding it with a halo of mystery. Estimated 500 K$, it contains 224 pearls with two Cartier diamond clasps.
Its history and legend began in 1920, when Dodge, the founder of the car brand, bought it to Cartier with the selling argument that the pearls would have belonged to Catherine of Russia. Since then, the origin seems to have never been proven, but the legend followed the necklace in its wanderings.
It was originally composed of five strands, for a total of 389 pearls weighing 4305 grains. At the second generation of Dodges, each of the five strands was attributed to an heir. Three of them just grouped together to reconstitute the necklace in its current state with three strands, to put it into Bonhams' sale.
Times have changed, I doubt that buyers of jewellery are interested in the legendary origin, as Dodge had been. I think this necklace, if sold, will price its true jewel value, and no more. To get the answer, we need a little patience: the sale is on December 16, in New York, lot
POST SALE COMMENT
The necklace sold exactly at its low estimate, $ 500 K excl.
The market for old pearls seems to behave differently from other ancient jewels. The expert from Bonhams is right to say that "pearls are never out of fashion".
1925 Mughal Emeralds
2019 SOLD for $ 1.8M including premium
For Islam, green is the color of Paradise. The emerald is imported from Colombia through Goa. Around 1610 CE a British traveler estimates at more than 500,000 carats the weight of unmounted emeralds waiting at Agra in the imperial vaults. Emerald carving is a Mughal specialty with two main themes, the Qur'anic inscription and the floral motif. It is used as an amulet.
Known as the Mogul Mughal, an emerald weighing 217.80 carats inscribed with a prayer and dated 1107 AH, during the reign of Aurangzeb, was sold for £ 1.54M including premium by Christie's on September 27, 2001. The reverse is engraved with leaves and flowers.
Christie's auction in New York on June 19 includes several examples of carved emeralds.
The best of these gems in terms of purity, color and saturation weighs 84.63 carats. It is decorated with a radiant vegetal motif amidst two concentric polylobed figures. It is estimated $ 3M, lot 283.
Lot 388, estimated $ 1.5M, was the central piece of the Collier Bérénice exhibited in 1925 by Cartier at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs. Unsold, the necklace has been dismantled. The emerald named the Taj Mahal by Cartier was later assembled in a brooch by this jeweler. It was sold for $ 800K including premium by Christie's on October 21, 2009. It is hexagonal with a floral ornament and weighs 141.13 carats.
Lot 340, estimated $ 500K, was inscribed in the name of Shah Jahan in the 1620s before his accession to the throne. This cabochon emerald weighs 30.60 carats.
The Mughals also engraved diamonds. On December 13, 2011 in the auction of Elizabeth Taylor's collection, Christie's sold for $ 8.8M including premium over a lower estimate of $ 300K a necklace assembled by Cartier in 1972 for the 40th birthday of the actress. It is centered on a heart-shaped diamond inscribed in 1037 AH (1627-1628 CE) in the name of Shah Jahan's favorite wife for whom this emperor will later build the most sumptuous mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.
Lot 388 (Cartier 1925) SOLD for $ 1.8M including premium
Lot 340 SOLD for $ 560K including premium
Lot 283 unsold
(previous sale 1937) The Grey Pearls
2015 SOLD for HK$ 41M including premium
The former Cowdray collection of grey pearls is another great example.
The natural saltwater grey pearl is a rarity. It is formed by the accumulation of successive layers of nacre that can create various shapes. Unlike gemstones, it is not cut. The assembly of a large quantity of perfect pieces of homogeneous hue and luster seems to be impossible now.
The Cowdray necklace, auctioned by Sotheby's in London in 1937 as a necklace of 43 pearls totaling approximately 882 grains, is a set with no known equivalent. It was sold for £ 2,17M including premium by Christie's on June 13, 2012. It was then made up of 38 pearls.
This necklace was recently enhanced by the integration of four more pearls of the same quality of which two had been in the original necklace, for a new total of 42 round pearls graduated between 12.9 and 6.6 mm. The necklace comes with a pair of diamond earclips centered by a button shaped pearl. This suite is estimated HK $ 35M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 7, lot 1870.
A pearl of same nature but of phenomenal size, button shaped 21.2 x 21.1 x 12.0 mm, assembled on a brooch in a surrounding of diamonds, was sold for $ 1,87M including premium by Sotheby's on December 5, 2012.
Note that the jewelry auctions earlier this year have shown a growing interest from the buyers for cultured pearls, which allows to predict a result of high level for the natural Cowdray pearls.
1940 the blue bird
Shirley Temple was the star child of the cinema. In 1934, feature films are already specially conceived for the best use of her amazing acting skills. She is 6 years old. In 1940, The Blue Bird is an attempt by 20th Century Fox to thwart the success of the Wizard of Oz. Shirley is against her own nature in the role of a selfish little girl. The audience will not like it.
The blue bird of the film is a symbol of happiness. Shirley's father has the very nice idea to offer to his daughter a ring with a blue diamond. The price of this purchase is known : $ 7,210.
In 1940, colored diamonds attracted little attention. Shirley's diamond is nevertheless a truly exceptional stone. She loved this gem and kept and used it throughout her life. It is currently mounted on an Art Deco Tiffany ring dated 1972.
The best blue diamonds are divided into three hues : fancy vivid blue, fancy intense blue and fancy deep blue. The fancy vivids are frequently discussed in this column, at the high end of the price range. Shirley's stone is a Fancy Deep Blue cushion cut diamond weighing 9.54 carats in a potentially internally flawless VVS2 clarity.
Here is an auction result assessing the quality and rarity of fancy deep blues of significant weight : a diamond weighing 5.30 carats mounted on a ring by Bulgari around 1965 was sold for £ 6.2M including premium by Bonhams on April 24, 2013 over a lower estimate of £ 1M. The price which was a record per carat for that time corresponded to $ 1.8 million per carat despite a clarity only graded VS2. The buyer was Graff Diamonds.
I invite you to watch the short video in which Sotheby's announces the sale by showing the prodigy child and her diamond.
2011 SOLD 8.8 M$ including premium
The best known was the Taylor Burton Diamond, weighing 69 carats, purchased by Richard Burton in 1969. It was the first diamond over one million dollars. Liz sold it for the benefit of a charity at the time of her divorce from Richard.
The other, which is the subject of this article, was called the Krupp Diamond before being bought at auction by Richard Burton in 1968. It became the favorite diamond of Liz Taylor, which is a great compliment since the actress was an expert in that field and loved to wear her jewelry. Its name was changed to Elizabeth Taylor Diamond.
Technically, it is a diamond of D color, type IIa, clarity VS1 that can be reworked to potentially internally flawless. Its unusual shape is close to the Asscher cut, a variant of the emerald cut with more balanced proportions. It is mounted on a platinum ring.
It only weighs 33.19 carats, but when it shines in all its glory it is one of the finest diamonds in the world.
Estimated $ 2.5 million, it is the star lot of the Taylor collection, for sale by Christie's in New York on December 13. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond can now claim to be the most beautiful white diamond in the world. It was sold for $ 8.8 million including premium.
Its price per carat is $ 265K. By comparison, the Annenberg Diamond, 32 carats in Asscher cut, was sold for $ 240K per carat by Christie's on October 21, 2009.
1995 THE VERSACE TIARA
In 1995, Gianni Versace wants to extend his range of luxury products and is interested in fine jewelry. For the launch of this new activity, he had made a tiara of diamonds by his ateliers. This type of jewelry was perfectly appropriate to his project. Large, well placed on a hair, it is more visible in society than a necklace, a brooch or a ring. Versace signed, there will always be beautiful celebrities to wear it.
Who is discussing diamonds immediately thinks De Beers. De Beers Diamonds seconded Versace with their 1996 international award attributed to this jewel composed of 1,200 diamonds totaling 101 carats. Gianni Versace was murdered in 1997, which ended the entrance of his business into the market for luxury jewelry.
It was recently purchased by the jeweler Bidz.com, who is selling it on the web with a starting bid of $ 699 K and said he could be worth $ 3 million. The auction will begin on March 23.
This is an opportunity for the company to ensure a vigorous promotion through the media. A website dedicated to the sale of this lot shows the certificates of the largest diamonds and of the tiara as a whole. A part of the revenues from the sale will go to a charity in the fight against AIDS, and we expect an active participation in this promotion by Carol Channing, known as an interpreter of the song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friends".
POST SALE COMMENT
With a starting price of $ 499 K, this jewel ended with no bid.
2001 The Oval Tourmaline
Mined in 2001 in Mozambique, a raw gemstone was immediately removed from the production line for its exceptional properties, thus escaping the heating process : it weighed 262 carats, its greenish-blue color is rare and pleasant and its clarity is excellent. It was cut in Mozambique into a beautifully balanced faceted oval weighing 100.59 carats, for 33.2 x 23.6 x 16.4 mm. This shape especially emphasizes color and brilliance.
It has been acquired by a collector of unprocessed natural gems who prospects directly from the mines all around the world. Named the Flawless Jena Blue, it is estimated $ 700K for sale by Heritage in Dallas on October 5, lot 72111. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The exceptional characteristics of this specimen have been confirmed by the GIA and the Smithsonian.
The Paraiba tourmaline is increasingly popular in jewelry. Here are two auction results on jewels based on Brazilian gems.
A pair of ear pendants with pear-shaped tourmalines, 7.46 and 6.81 carats respectively, in diamond surrounds, was sold for HK $ 21.7M including premium by Christie's on May 29, 2018 from a lower estimate of HK $ 12.8M. Their blue color had been brightened by heat treatment.
A Tiffany ring made of a 9.70 carat tourmaline in an entourage of diamonds was sold for $ 720K including premium by Christie's on April 26, 2017 from a lower estimate of $ 200K. Its color is certainly the result of a thermal improvement.
An exceptionally rare and flawless 100.59-carat unheated "Paraíba-Type" Tourmaline gemstone may make history at Heritage Auctions Oct. 5.— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) September 21, 2020
Referred to as the "Flawless Jena Blue," the incomparable oval-shaped Tourmaline is estimated to sell for $1 million.https://t.co/M1mntryTDs pic.twitter.com/g9aRT0iuWX
(previous purchase 2005) The Art of Graff
2012 SOLD 8.4 M$ including premium
One of his famous operations was to polish one of the most amazing historic diamonds, the Blaue Wittelsbacher bought at auction by him in 2008, now the Wittelsbach-Graff. This diamond, which previously weighed 35 carats with clarity VS2 has lost 4.45 carats to reach the perfect clarity, Internally Flawless.
Another of his famous purchases at auction, a pink diamond of 24.78 carats, is now known as the Graff pink.
I now introduce a diamond processed by his company.
On 12 April 2005, Christie's sold $ 4.2 million including premium a platinum ring signed by Graff with a diamond of 50.01 carats between two small baguette diamonds, which corresponds to a price of $ 84K per carat. From D color that corresponds to the best type (IIa) this rectangular-cut diamond is flawless, with excellent polish and symmetry.
The Graff ring for sale by Christie's in New York on December 10 has the same description and a quite comparable photo which enables to suggest that it is the same piece, classified VVS2 and potentially flawless in a new report issued in 2012. Here is the link to the catalog.
Whether or not the same piece, the comparison of prices will measure the change since 2005. It comes with a lower estimate of $ 7M, corresponding to $ 140K per carat.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold $ 8.4 million including premium, this diamond has reached the price expected by the estimate, and a great gain consistent with the evolution of the market for best diamonds.
2010 Birth of a Yellow Diamond
2011 SOLD 11.3 MCHF including premium
Pear cut by Cora International, this diamond of 110 carats has a VVS1 purity, an exceptional feature for a piece of such size. Only white or yellow diamonds can achieve these remarkable properties. It is classified Fancy Vivid Yellow, the best variety of this color.
The newly created artworks do not go directly to museums. This diamond has done the opposite, since it had been exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London. Named the Sun-Drop, it is for sale on November 15 in Geneva by Sotheby's.
A diamond does not need to have a history for being desirable. It is estimated CHF 10.2 million, corresponding to US$ 100K per carat.
By comparison, the perfect diamond of similar shape and color weighing 32 carats sold by Christie's on October 18 had reached US$ 200K per carat, 6.6 million including premium.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Sun Drop has reached the expected price, CHF 11.3 million including premium, slightly more than $ 100K per carat. For this diamond which has not yet a history, a surprise was indeed unlikely.
2014 DIAMOND NECKLACES BY NIRAV MODI
The diamond mines of Golconda promoted the India of the Maharajas to become a symbol of luxury. They were closed long time ago, but a 43 year old designer based in Mumbai now holds the diamond tradition of his country.
Nirav Modi, son and grandson of diamantaires, was trained in Antwerp. His specialty is dazzling : he assembles pieces of jewelry with type IIa white diamonds, the highest possible category that also represents the best tradition of Golconda.
His necklaces begin to regularly come to auction. With the complex shape of a perforated pattern, one of his creations was sold for HK $ 27M including premium at Christie's on November 29, 2010. Its total weight was 87 carats of white diamonds plus 23 carats of pink diamonds.
On October 9, 2012, Sotheby's sold for HK $ 40M including premium a riviere of white diamonds with a total weight of 89 carats.
A new masterpiece is for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 7, lot 1921 in the catalog, estimated HK $ 57M.Completed early in current year, it had demanded two years for sourcing the diamonds and 1500 hours of working time. It is the last lot in the sale, which is the place of honor in this specialty.
This necklace 42 cm long mounted in platinum is entirely composed of white diamonds. 17 brilliants whose larger one is weighing 10.51 carats hang at regular intervals under a line of 40 smaller diamonds. Their total weight is 85.33 carats. All are perfect : D color and Internally Flawless (IF) or Flawless (FL) clarity.
2015 the pink king
The Raj Pink was extracted in 2015 in South Africa. Its weight record is not surprising for such a recent diamond that benefits the yield improvements through increasingly detailed non-destructive analyses of the rough crystal before cutting. This one is a cushion modified brilliant cut.
Its weight is only slightly exceeding the Princie, a much earlier Fancy Intense Pink weighing 34.65 carats in cushion cut whose clarity VS2 is in the category just below. It was sold for $ 39.3M including premium by Christie's on April 16, 2013.
Among the diamonds of better clarity than the Raj Pink, remind the Graff Pink weighing 24.78 carats in VVS2 clarity. It was sold for CHF 45.4M including premium by Sotheby's on November 16, 2010. With its $ 1.86M including premium per carat, it is the most expensive Fancy Intense Pink both in absolute and per carat.
However we must be cautious in the comparisons between pink diamonds. The price also depends on the saturation and the purity of the color. The GIA observes that the Raj Pink is exceptional because a deep hue is very rare for such big diamonds.
The Purple-Pink of Sotheby's Diamonds
2014 SOLD for HK$ 138M including premium
Diacore performs the processing of exceptional diamonds, such as the Pink Star of 59.60 carats internally flawless, whose come back at auction is expected after a default by its purchaser. It had been auctioned at CHF 76M including premium on November 13, 2013 at Sotheby's, corresponding to US $ 1.4 million including premium per carat.
Internally flawless pink diamonds are extremely rare, which further increases the uniqueness of the Pink Star.
Another diamond of similar quality, smaller but in a more delicate shade, is for sale at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 7, lot 1941. Its history is similar to the Pink Star's : extracted by De Beers and processed by Diacore. It is mounted on a pavé-set platinum ring signed by Sotheby's Diamonds.
This fancy vivid purple-pink internally flawless pear-shaped diamond weighing 8.41 carats is exceptional both for its clarity and for its rich color saturation. It is estimated HK $ 100 million, corresponding to US $ 1,53M per carat excluding fees.
Remind that the Vivid Pink, a 5.00 carat fancy vivid pink VS1 sold for HK$ 83M including premium on December 1, 2009 by Christie's had then recorded US $ 2.1 million including premium per carat.
the green flash
2016 sold for hk$ 130m including premium
Thus the Blue Moon weighing 12.03 carats, sold for CHF 49M including premium by Sotheby's on 11 November 2015, is not just a fancy vivid blue, the most prestigious hue among the blue diamonds. Its total purity generates a phosphorescence after exposure to UV that had never been observed from a blue diamond of similar size.
The fancy vivid green is another extreme rarity caused by an exposure to radiation during the formation phase of the crystal. One of them weighing 2.52 carats was sold for CHF 3.1 million including premium by Sotheby's on November 17, 2009.
The fancy vivid green named Aurora Green is a wonder of nature. It is estimated HK $ 125M for sale by Christie's in Hong Kong on May 31, lot 2073.
Like the above referred diamond sold in 2009, the Aurora Green has a perfect green with no other color shade. It is the largest fancy vivid green known to the GIA with a weight of 5.03 carats after cut. The GIA notes that it has no fluorescence. This feature is perhaps unique for a diamond of this highly rare color.
The Aurora Green is rectangular with cut corners. Its clarity is VS2. It is mounted on a ring in a circle of small pink diamonds.
Vivid Pink for Hong Kong
2009 SOLD 83 MHK$ including premium
Remember also for once an unsold, which had unfortunately been presented in Geneva by Sotheby's on 19 November 2008. That day, the economic crisis hit the auctions of diamonds, including one exceptional dark red of 1.92 carats which had been estimated 2.8 MCHF.
Christie's wants to establish itself as the leader of this market, and puts forward for sale in Hong Kong on December 1 a new exceptional gem. It is a perfect fancy pink diamond (potentially flawless), cushion cut at exactly 5 carats, set in a ring by Graff. It is also outstanding for a pink diamond to display an absolutely pure color, with no trace of secondary shade.
The estimate, 39 MHK$, is exactly at 1 MUS$ per carat. The press release reminds four results of the auction house on fancy pink diamonds, between 6 and 7.5 MUS$, recorded between 1989 and 2005. The smallest of the four was already weighing 20 carats. None of them had the same level of "potentially flawless".
POST SALE COMMENT
The price of top quality diamonds continues to rise. The Vivid Pink reached HK $ 83M including premium, which is a sensational price of U.S. $ 2.1 million per carat. It is mounted on a Graff ring.
It is a brilliant success for Christie's, and for Hong Kong.
Here is its image shared before the sale by the New York Times.
The Pure Heart of Christie's
2011 SOLD 9.6 MCHF including premium
It is in D color: exceptional white of the upper category. We can not imagine better.
It weighs 56.15 carats.
Just remember another D, the Annenberg diamond, sold $ 7.7 million including premium by Christie's on October 21, 2009. Emerald cut, it only weighed 32 carats. The price per carat, $ 240K, was sensational.
Coming back to our heart. It is pure, of class IF (Internally Flawless), meaning that no inclusion is visible at x 10 magnification. It is remarkable for a diamond of this size. We can not have better.
It is also of type IIa, meaning a slow geological formation that excluded nitrogen. This feature, which affects less than 1% of diamonds, is the cause for its exceptional transparency. If in addition there had been traces of boron, it would be blue or gray.
Among the ten most common diamond shapes, the heart is the only one that provides a concave surface. It is a technical feat.
Unmounted in a jewel, this marvel is estimated CHF 9M, for sale in Geneva on May 18, corresponding to $ 160K per carat.
POST SALE COMMENT
It is a magnificent specimen of white diamond. It was sold CHF 9.6M including premium.
As Blue as the Sky
2011 SOLD 79 MHK$ including premium
Blue diamonds weighing 5 carats or more are a specialty of the jewelry sales in Hong Kong for a few years.
On October 8, 2007, Sotheby's sold for HK $ 62M including premium a fancy vivid blue weighing 6.04 carats. The press release announced that it was the highest price per carat recorded on a gem stone.
Since that time, other blue diamonds got similar results, and the best pink diamonds have done better.
Maybe they do not have the same use. Best pinks are gems of top class, while the blue is inviting to design composed jewels. The Bulgari Blue is a famous example. This toi-et-moi ring made of a very large blue diamond of10.95 carats and a white diamond of similar size was sold for $ 15.7M including premium by Christie's onOctober 20, 2010.
A fancy vivid blue cushion-shaped weighing 6.01 carats is coming on October 5 at Sotheby's in Hong Kong. It is flanked on a ring with two small fancy vivid pinks that help showcasing its beautiful saturated blue sky color. This jewel is estimated HK $ 70M.
Here is the link to the catalogue shared by Sotheby's.
POST SALE COMMENT
This very nicely composed jewel deserved its price : HK$ 79M including premium.
EMERALD CUT FOR PINK DIAMONDS
2011 SOLD 9.6 MCHF INCLUDING PREMIUM
A few weeks ago, I summarized some results concerning pink diamonds. I publish this text again with some additions on cut and clarity.
Several varieties are to be considered for pink diamonds.
The highest price per carat, U.S. $ 2.1M, is being held by the Vivid Pink. Weighing 5.00 carats, classified as 'fancyvivid pink', internally flawless and mounted by Graff, it was sold HK $ 83.5 million including premium by Christie's on December 1, 2009.
The 'fancy intense pink' is a great color that characterized two exceptional diamonds sold in 2010. The largest,weighing 24.78 carats, was sold CHF 45.4 million including premium by Sotheby's on November 16. On November 29, Christie's achieved U.S. $ 1.6 million per carat on the Perfect Pink, a diamond of 14.23 carats sold HK $ 180Mincluding premium.
These two emerald cut diamonds were classified VVS2. The emerald cut is prestigious for blue or pink diamonds,because it insures that the gem has not been modified.
The third shade of pink diamonds is the 'fancy vivid purple pink'. At Christie's, one of them has reached U.S. $ 1M per carat on December 7, 2010: U.S. $ 6.9 million including premium for a weight of 6.89 carats.
A 'fancy intense pink' emerald cut diamond weighing 10.99 carats is for sale by Sotheby's in Geneva on May 17,illustrated in the page shared by Bloomberg. Its clarity is VS1, the category just below VVS2, and its lower estimate,CHF 8.3 million, remains reasonably below the million dollars per carat.
My previous article had focused on a cushion cut diamond estimated over a million per carat despite a lesser clarity, SI1. It is logical that it remained unsold.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price, CHF 9.6 million including premium, went just shy of one million dollars per carat. Because of the clarity that was only VS1, it is a very good result.
32 Carats, D Color, Flawless, ex Annenberg
2009 SOLD 7.7 M$ including premium
This 32.01 carat diamond was mounted on a ring and flanked by two small pear shaped diamonds by David Webb, a jeweler in New York. It is perfectly clear. The color is coded as D, which indicates an exceptional transparency. Its square emerald cut is one of the most appreciated by specialists.
In its press release, Christie's said that they sold in April a pear shaped diamond of comparable weight, also perfect. It reached the price of 130 K$ per carat. The estimate of the Annenberg diamond is logical, in relation to this reference: $ 3 million.
POST SALE COMMENT
This diamond had all the qualities, well announced by Christie's. It gets a great price, $ 7.7 million including premium, then 240 K$ per carat. Congratulations to the auction house.
Closer to Perfection
2012 SOLD 7.5 M$ including premium
In this category, I like to take as a reference the Annenberg diamond, sold $ 7.7 million including premium by Christie's on 21 October 2009. Weighing 32.01 carats, this nice gift that Mrs. Annenberg offered to herself in 2007 on her 90th birthday had been mounted by David Webb in Beverly Hills. Its Asscher cut, a variant of the emerald cut, is certainly the most prestigious.
Beautiful diamonds regularly arrive on the market. Often they have no history. Undoubtedly, technical progress enables better than ever to cut to perfection the best gems. A heart cut diamond weighing 56.15 carats was sold CHF 9.6 million including premium at Christie's on May 18, 2011.
The diamond for sale on April 17 by Christie's in New York weighs 44.09 carats. It is emerald cut with perfect symmetry, excellent polish and no fluorescence. It is mounted on a platinum ring between two small diamonds. The estimate is not published, which probably means that the reserve price is high.
Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold $ 7.5M including premium, this diamond with no history has almost reached the price of the Annenberg diamond.
The sale was very successful, with a total of sold lots at $ 70M including premium. A "belle époque" fancy vivid purplish pink diamond weighing 9 carats mounted on a platinum ring around 1910 was sold for $ 15.8 million including premium. Here is the link to the catalogue.
AS YELLOW AS THE SUN
2011 SOLD 6.6 M$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
Large yellow diamonds are common, but they are pale. I recently discussed in this group a more interestingspecimen: a Fancy intense yellow of 43.5 carats of perfect clarity, which reached $ 66K per carat.
The diamond that I introduce today is top class. I had never seen a photo of a diamond of similar color, and first of all I invite you to admire it on the press release shared by AuctionPublicity.
This yellow diamond for sale by Christie's in New York on October 18 is graded Fancy Vivid Yellow, which is already very rare for such a big diamond, 32.77 carats. Its particularly saturated color makes it looking like a sun.Even the experts of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) agree that it is of the utmost rarity.
It is pear-shaped cut with a beautiful symmetry, and presented unmounted.
It is estimated $ 6M, slightly less than $ 200K per carat. Data provided by the auction house shows that this price per carat is comparable to the Golden Drop, almost half its size, sold in June 1990 by Christie's in London. It is an elegant way to imply that nothing similar has appeared on the market for over twenty years.
POST SALE COMMENT
This diamond reached the expected price, $ 200K per carat. It is a remarkable average when considering its weight, 32 carats.
It was sold $ 6.6 million including premium.
The Jade Necklace
2010 SOLD 43 MHK$ including premium
Highly appreciated in the Far East, jade is able to compete with diamond. This mineral rock can be carved, which is not the case of the diamond which is cut. Jade is a generic term that applies to jadeite and nephrite.
On April 7, Sotheby's is selling as lot 1457 a necklace 53 cm long, assembled with 35 jadeite beads, selected for their homogeneous emerald green color and for their similar size, between 12.5 and 15 mm. This piece is equipped with a clasp in platinum and diamonds signed by Cartier.
Such a collecting of jade beads from natural origin is a technical feat. In support of the estimated HK $ 38 million, the press release indicates that the jadeite is revered as a symbol of virtue and immortality.
POST SALE COMMENT
Yes! The jade can generate an interest equal to that of diamond in top jewelry sales.
Three lots in a similar range of estimates were proposed in this auction. A pear shaped vivid blue diamond weighing 5.16 carat has been sold HK $ 50 million. A necklace with 107 carats of white diamonds was sold HK $ 52 million.
And the jade necklace was sold HK $ 43 million, around its low estimate.
These prices include premium.
Beads in Emerald Green Jadeite
2019 sold for HK$ 25m before fees
The simplicity of the shapes requires an exceptional know-how and skill which culminated during the reign of Qianlong. In the next century the Empress Dowager Cixi was fond of them. Bead collections have often been assembled, or re-assembled, into necklaces in the 20th century, with diamond clasps.
The variance of the natural colors and the fineness of the texture make it possible to distinguish if the elements came or not from a single piece of stone. The best sets should be homogeneous with comparable dimensions of the beads. They must be translucent, in a vivid green.
The four examples of necklaces listed below are among the best emerald green jadeite necklaces.
In auction history the absolute star in this category is the Barbara Hutton necklace, sold for HK $ 214M including premium by Sotheby's on April 7, 2014. It is composed of 27 highly reflective green beads from 15.40 to 19.20 mm.
On April 7, 2010, Sotheby's sold for HK $ 43M including premium a necklace of 35 vivid green beads from 12.55 to 15.04 mm.
On October 6 in Hong Kong, Poly sells as lot 2133 a necklace of 25 vivid green beads from 16.80 to 17.82 mm. The catalog indicates a high crystalline density and a homogeneous and saturated color with high translucency. The small dispersion of the dimensions is remarkable.
On October 7, also in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells a necklace of 47 intense green beads from 10.48 to 12.02 mm, lot 1803 estimated HK $ 25M.
Poly : SOLD for HK$ 25M before fees
Sotheby's : UNSOLD
THE GREEN DIAMOND
2009 SOLD 3.1 MCHF INCLUDING PREMIUM
The color diamonds are very looked after. The vivid blue diamonds reach interesting sizes, and it is not reasonable to detail in this column each one of these beautiful gems that appear at auction.
Considering the price per carat, two very rare varieties can overcome the blue: vivid red and vivid green.
A red diamond weighing more than one carat is exceptional. Sotheby's had one for sale, at 1.92 carats, on November 19, 2008 in Geneva. Alas, the market feared recession on that particular day. Estimated 2.8 MCHF, it had not been sold.
The situation is probably better now, at least hopefully. On November 17 the same sales room offers a vivid green diamond of 2.52 carats, estimated 3.3 MCHF.
From a scientific perspective, this gem is exceptional in its weight and in the quality of its color. It is very rare that a diamond is pure green, without a shade of blue, gray or yellow.
The catalog of the auction house teaches that this result is the culmination of a process of natural irradiation that lasted several million years, and has changed its characteristics of light absorption.
Do not discuss a diamond without describing its shape: this one, which has never been mounted in a jewel, has a cushion modified brilliant cut.
POST SALE COMMENT
The market remains cautious. In this sale, a magnificent blue diamond of 5.96 carats, estimated 5.6 million CHF, has not been sold.
The green diamond has managed to sell, but without reaching its estimate, at 3.1 MCHF including premium.
THE YELLOW EYE OF POLICE
2011 SOLD 2.85 M$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
Diamond is a status symbol, and Marilyn was not the only one to know that. A gangster is looking to sell a diamond to drug traffickers. He is caught, his interlocutors were actually FBI agents.
And a fabulous piece, whose previous history is completely unknown, then comes out of hiding.
It is a yellow diamond weighing 43.51 carats, cushion-cut, 26 x 18 mm, with no enhancements, graded Internally Flawless. But that is not all. The yellow diamonds are common and often not worth more than a white diamond if all other qualities are equal, but this one has an amazing shade, a particularly pure canary classified fancy intenseyellow.
Now called the Golden Eye, it is for sale in Cleveland on September 8 by Bid4assets, an auction house specializing in police seizures.
Small variants of color can dramatically change the price of a diamond. Today, no one can really predict the price of this exceptional piece. The proceeds will be split between different police services, local and federal.
Precisely, in a release published today by Reuters about the forthcoming sale of another diamond, Christie'sreported that the Golden Drop, weighing 18.49 carats, was sold for $ 203K per carat in London in 1990.
POST SALE COMMENT
The sale is successful: $ 2.85 million including premium.
Coming back to the Golden Eye, I invite you to play the video shared by Bid4Assets:
2011 SOLD 17.5 MHK$ including premium
The largest rubies are far from achieving the size of the biggest white diamonds. Thus, this cabochon ruby of 27.67carats to be sold at Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 6 is an exceptional gem, extracted from the mines of Mogokin Myanmar (Burma).
In a pigeon's blood color which is the most desirable in its category, without heat treatment, it is flanked by threecarats of white diamonds on a ring in platinum and yellow gold signed by Bulgari. It is reasonably estimated HK $12M.
On May 2, 2005, the same auction house had sold HK $ 19.4 million including premium a ring featuring an oval 18 carats Burmese ruby in a daisy shaped surrounding of three carats of white diamonds.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result, HK $ 17.5 million including premium, is in the range of estimates.
COME BACK OF THE CHAMELEON
2009 SOLD 987 KCHF INCLUDING PREMIUM
Christie's is selling on November 18 in Geneva a chameleon diamond 19.13 carats mounted as a pendant on a necklace. The catalog indicates that it is the largest diamond of its kind in briolette cut. It is therefore the same as I presented in this group a few months ago, and which had not been sold. It is now estimated KCHF 420.
Here is what I wrote at that time:
The colored diamonds join science. An extremely rare variety known as "chameleon" was first described in 1943. The guarantee of natural diamond is still ensured by the fact that its properties have not been explained and can not be replicated in the laboratory.
It is a green diamond with color changing after a prolonged stay in the dark or when it is slightly heated. It then comes back to its original color.
The gem that Christie's will sell on April 22, 2009 in New York is important: 19.13 carats. This is the biggest briolette shaped chameleon diamond ever analyzed by the Gemological Institute of America. This curiosity of nature has been made a pendant for a necklace, and is estimated 800 K$.
POST SALE COMMENT
Successful come back. The estimate was conservative, as it can be understood in my article. The result, 987 KCHF including premium, is very close to the estimate that was published before the New York sale.
A perfect ring
The rarity and beauty of the jadeite made it a prerogative of the emperors. Its shaping requires a detailed observation of the rough stone and a long patience. Its emerald green color and its transparency can be marred by cracks that will expand during grinding or carving, or by chemical impurities that will cancel the visual homogeneity of the piece.
The use of jadeite in high jewelry finds its culmination during the reign of Qianlong. The lacking of new deposits of sufficient quality made its process regressing despite an undeniable easier practice offered by modern machine tools.
Large stones were used for bracelets and beads. A collection of jade beads with a homogeneous visual effect from a single original boulder may create fabulous necklaces. One of them assembled by Cartier in 1933 was sold for HK $ 214M including premium by Sotheby's on April 7, 2014.
The rigid bracelets uninterrupted by a clasp are even more a mark of opulence when considering the losses of material by the central hollowing. These jewels could not maintain the desired perfection in large size and the emperors reserved them for the little wrists of their wives. An oval piece 55.45 to 47.30 mm in internal diameter with a beautiful thickness of 13.41 mm probably realized under Qianlong by imitation of the antique taste was sold for HK $ 44M including premium by Sotheby's in the same auction as the Cartier necklace.
The preferred shape under Qianlong is however the circle, symbol of the perfection of the heavens. Jade takes a role similar as the lotus in the link between the earthly soil and the mystic sky. A brilliant emerald green piece with a very good transparency and homogeneity measuring 56.86 mm internal diameter and 11.62 mm thick is estimated HK $ 80M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 3, lot 1771.
As with pink diamonds, very subtle differences significantly change the price and a direct inspection remains highly recommended. I previously discussed in this chronicle a circular bangle whose color was identified as intense, 55.91 mm in internal diameter and 10.66 mm thick, which remained unsold at Sotheby's on October 4, 2016 from a lower estimate of HK $ 50M.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's to introduce the bangle of the next sale.
THE BLUE BRILLIANT
Among the diamonds of top clarity, the Fancy vivid blue color is one of the most extraordinary but these pieces do not reach the weight of the largest pink diamonds. Weighing 10.95 carats, the Fancy vivid blue adorning the toi et moi named Bulgari Blue was exceptional. This composed jewel was sold for $ 15.7 million including premium bySotheby's on 20 October 2010.
The Fancy vivid blue for sale on October 7 by Sotheby's in Hong Kong is smaller, with 7.59 carats, but it isespecially remarkable for its brilliant shape.
The round cut diamond, also named brilliant, is universally admired and appreciated when it applies to white diamonds, but it is an extreme rarity for colored diamonds.
The reason is simple. The raw gem should have about the double weight of the finished round diamond. The jeweller must be sure of the mastery of his art before taking the risk of attacking a perfect stone with such an important loss.
This diamond is the largest in its color and size to have been graded by the Gemological Institute of America.Sotheby's hope that this piece will get the highest price per carat for a diamond in all categories.
It is expected at around HK $ 150 million, corresponding to U.S. $ 2.5 million per carat. Its Internally flawlessclarity is also very rare for colored diamonds in its size range and helps to justify such an exceptional ambition.
It received the name of The Premier Blue, and is illustrated in the post shared by Blouin Artinfo.
THE GOLCONDA PINK
Some recent sales allowed us to familiarize in this group with the best qualities of a pink diamond. The Golconda Pink, for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 5, has them all!
All, and more. The most prestigious diamonds are those from Golconda. Of chemical Class IIa, they have the bestclarity but are generally colorless. The Golconda Pink is described as an outstanding example of large size Golconda-type color diamond.
It is graded fancy vivid pink, the prestigious color that enabled a diamond of perfect clarity named Vivid Pink to record US$ 2.1 million per carat at Christie's in Hong Kong on 1 December 2009.
Weighing 9.27 carats, the Golconda Pink is almost twice bigger than the Vivid Pink. It is emerald-cut, a shape providing assurance that the gem has not been modified.
This diamond is estimated HK $ 100M, equivalent to US$ 1.4 million per carat.
Here is the link to the catalogue shared by Sotheby's.
BLUE WHITE RED
2008 UNSOLD (3 LOTS)
Three exceptional diamonds will be sold by Sotheby's in Geneva on November 19, two of them displaying extremely rare colors.
Start with the deep blue. Weighing 10.48 carats, it is an exceptional size for this color. The press release says that the deep blue color is due to the replacement of carbon atoms by boron in the diamond crystal. It is naturally flawless, and perfect in its cut, both for polish and symmetry. In addition, I can assure you that its shape named briolette (a variant of the pear shape) is particularly aesthetic. For this perfect stone, prepare $ 6 million (6.72 MCHF).
The red diamond is a rarity, and those of more than one carat are virtually impossible to find. With 1.92 carat, Sotheby's knows that this gem, mounted on a ring, is truly exceptional. Here the color resulted from the combination of a deformation of the crystal and a small supply of nitrogen. For this marvel of natural history, the estimate is $ 2.5 million (2.8 MCHF).
Let us finish this tricolor article by a white diamond that was already famous long before its arrival at Sotheby's. In 1967, a rough gem of 600 carats was discovered by a couple of diamond researchers in Lesotho. Beautiful diamonds were carved out in the hands of Harry Winston. The example that comes up for sale is the Lesotho I. Cut in emerald shape, it weighs 71 carats. It expects $ 3 million (3.36 MCHF). Lovers of people informations will be delighted to know of a smaller offspring of the same rough gem, Lesotho III, that served as an engagement gift to Jacqueline Onassis.
Royal Blue from Burma
Burmese sapphires have been the delight of Asian princes for about a millennium. The classic form is the cushion. The royal blue, intense and very saturated, is perfectly highlighted in an entourage of diamonds. It does not have the velvety texture of Kashmir blue sapphires, but silky-looking inclusions also brighten up its luminosity.
On October 7 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells as lot 1755 a pendant set with a cushion shaped Burmese sapphire weighing 118.88 carats surrounded by 16 carats of pear shaped diamonds. This size is considered exceptional by experts. Its purity and homogeneity are excellent. It had no heat treatment.
A necklace by Boucheron composed of a cut cornered rectangular Burmese sapphire weighing 91.95 carats in a garland of 48 carats of diamonds was sold for HK $ 29.5M including premium by Poly on April 7, 2015.
A ring set with an unheated Burmese cushion sapphire weighing 49.06 carats surrounded by 10 carats of tapered diamonds was sold for HK $ 16.2M including premium by China Guardian on March 31, 2019. Its color is cornflower blue but it can turn royal blue under some lighting conditions.