Auction house Bonhams sparkles as rare gemstone is expected to fetch around £200k




Auction house Bonhams is hoping to tap into the resurgence of coloured stones with the sale of a rare £200,000 gemstone that has not been put up for auction in a century.

The 50.13 carats octagonal-cut stone the size of a small plum is called the Hope Spinel and was part of the collection owned by wealthy merchant banker Henry Philip Hope.

Expert Tobias Kormind, managing director at 77 Diamonds, said: ‘As the number of ultra-wealthy are on the rise, investors and collectors are looking further afield than the obvious white diamond to the rare spectrum of coloured diamonds and gemstones including lesser known ones like spinel.’


Sotheby’s to Offer 11-ct. Fancy Pink Diamond

We publish courtesy of Forbes 

Author: Anthony DeMarco

A 10.99-ct. pink diamond that hasn’t been on the market for more than 30 years will be offered at the Magnificent & Noble Jewels sale, being held by Sotheby’s Geneva on May 17. It has a pre-auction estimate of $9 to $16 million.

The diamond features a classic emerald cut, normally associated with white diamonds. This type of cut is highly sought-after when found in rare colors such as pink and blue, Sotheby’s said. This gem, mounted as a ring, has been graded “fancy intense pink,” natural color and VS1 clarity. It’s further assessed to be type IIa, meaning it is almost or entirely devoid of impurities with extraordinary optical transparency. Less than 2 percent of all diamonds in the world are given this grade of purity and most of those diamonds are white.

It is being offered for sale from a private collection.

Colored diamonds are very desirable on the auction market right now. In November 2010, Sotheby’s Geneva set a world auction record for any diamond and any jewel when it sold the 24.78-ct. Graff Pink for $46.15 million.

“I do not remember the market for colored diamonds to have ever been as strong as it is today,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East.

Why Are Auction Diamond Sales Breaking Records?

We publish courtesy of JCK online

Author: Russell Shor, GIA senior industry analyst

Provided by the Gemological Institute of America.

The upcoming 2011 jewelry auction season promises more record-breaking large diamonds and top fancy colored diamonds.  Even as the world economy is still recovering from the economic crisis of 2008-9, it seems the wealthy cannot get enough of these stones. They helped Christie’s and Sotheby’s—which together account for nearly 90 percent of the top jewelry auction market—achieve record sales last year.

Christie’s reported its jewelry sales at $429 million in 2010, easily topping the previous record of $395 million set in 2007. Sotheby’s 2010 jewelry sales totaled $405 million, also a record. And the reach of this success was worldwide: Christie’s reported that North America ($130.5 million), Hong Kong ($163 million) and Europe ($135.5 million) were all records, as well.

The 2011 season began in earnest and details of several major stones coming up for sale are circulating. For example, a GIA-graded 10.09 carat Fancy Vivid purple pink diamond is estimated to bring $15 million— nearly $1.5 million per carat. And, an unmounted, 56.15-carat heart-shaped D color, Internally Flawless diamond, also graded by GIA, is expected to fetch between $9 million and $12 million.

When the financial crisis struck the world economy in the fall of 2008, the major auction houses, like every other business, pulled back to assess. As the crisis deepened in December 2008, however, the Wittelsbach Blue, then a 35.56 carat Fancy Deep grayish blue diamond,sold for $23.4 million at Christie’s—the highest price ever paid for a diamond at auction.

After that sale, Christie’s and Sotheby’s have achieved near-record and record prices for top fancy colored and colorless diamonds at numerous sales around the world.

Examples of record-breaking diamonds include:

  • 24.78-carat Fancy Intense pink diamond that doubled the all-time record set by the Wittelsbach (November 2010)
  • A five-carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond that set a per carat record price of $2.1 million (October 2009)
  • A square-cut 32.01 carat D Internally flawless that established a record per-carat price of $240,000 for a colorless diamond (October 2009)

Auction house executives and industry observers agree on a number of reasons why such diamonds can achieve record prices during a period of economic hardship: the international reach of the auction houses; the rarity of top gems and the greater number of private buyers going to auction.

On the first point, whether conducted in the main centers of Geneva, New York or Hong Kong, auctions now attract a worldwide clientele.

Indeed, Hong Kong, a niche venue a decade ago that specialized in jade and Chinese art, was Christie’s leading jewelry sales location in 2009 and 2010. In addition to the above-mentioned five-carat Vivid pink, a 5.16 carat Fancy Vivid blue, internally flawless diamond sold for $6.14 million. Many of the top lot buyers were Chinese business people venturing internationally for the first time.

The Geneva and New York sales also turned in record numbers. Sotheby’s Nov. 16, 2010 Geneva auction, which featured that $46 million pink diamond, was the first jewelry auction ever to top $100 million total. The renowned London jeweler Laurence Graff bought that legendary pink, but other lots went to buyers from 30 countries.

The Bulgari Blue, which included a triangular-cut 10.95 carat Fancy Vivid blue diamond, went to an Asian buyer for $15.7 million after a spirited battle between several bidders at Christie’s Oct. 20, 2010 New York sale.

And Sotheby’s New York sale in December 2010 sold 100 percent and brought in $53.2 million. All of its top 10 lots, which were diamonds, sold for more than $1 million each.

A second reason for the auction houses’ success is the perceived rarity of these top diamonds, especially fancy colored blues and pinks. Of the millions of diamonds mined each year, only .001 percent can qualify as fancy colors and only a handful can achieve the top grades of Intense and Vivid. An even smaller percent are larger than one carat, let alone five carats. So the auction houses deal in true rarities, whether newly mined diamonds or historical stones like the Wittelsbach, which was owned by Bavarian royalty and traced back almost 400 years to Moghul India.

A third reason is the rise of the individual buyer. In the past, dealers were the majority of top-lot buyers at jewelry auctions. Today, individuals account for more than half of such sales. Auction house executives say these buyers range from collector-connoisseurs who seek the very best stones, to investors who believe their extreme rarity, coupled with rising demand, will continue to push up the value.

“In this new climate, large colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, and signed jewels are attracting an ever-expanding community of collectors and investors from around the world,” François Curiel, international head of Christie’s jewelry department, noted recently.

There is a chance the Wittelsbach diamond may have another go at the record books. Graff, who also purchased that $46 million pink diamond (mentioned above), had the Wittelsbach recut down to 31.06 carats to improve its color, clarity and symmetry. He sent it back to GIA for grading nearly a year after he purchased it. The diamond, renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff, is now graded Fancy Deep blue and the clarity was improved to internally flawless. It is unlikely that Graff will sell the famed diamond at auction, preferring instead to meet his clients in the privacy of his New Bond Street salon.


Magnificent 720 ct Emerald crystal fetches record value

We publish courtesy of Diamond World

Emerald auction by Gemfields just concluded last week in Jo’burg. The top lot in the auction was an exceptionally rare and magnificent 720 carat emerald crystal which has set a new Gemfields record for value per carat. It is one the largest fine quality crystal ever to be appeared at the Kagem mine.

The crystal was acquired by renowned father-and-son dealers Raj Kumar and Rishabh Tongya of Precious Jewels Corpn, Jaipur, who have since named it “The Divine Green of Zambia” in reference to Rishabh’s fiance’s name Divya Modi.

The Gemfields auction fetched more than US$15 Million in 19 lots, as reported.


Christie’s lines up top-quality jewels for New York sale: The sale is expected to realise in excess of $25 million

The following article appears courtesy of Diamond World

Christie’s will be offering 300 jewels at its forthcoming Jewels: The New York Sale with The Catherine the Great Emerald Brooch and The Emperor Maximilian Diamond on April 22. All jewels on offer are of top-quality diamonds with rare historic legacy and there are atleast 10 such items valued at $1 million or higher. The total sale is expected to realise in excess of $25 million.

Attributes of the sale

Top Lot:

An Important Diamond Pendant Necklace with a D color, internally flawless heart-shaped diamond of 28.28 carats, set within a micro pavé diamond surround, and suspended from a kite-shaped diamond link and three rondelle spacers on a fine platinum chain finished with a heart-shaped pavé-set diamond clasp. Its expected sale price is in excess of $3,000,000.

The Emperor Maximilian Diamond – a 39.55 carat cushion-cut diamond with an estimate sale price of: $1,000,000-1,500,000), and the Catherine the Great Emerald and Diamond Brooch which centers on a hexagonal-cut Colombian emerald of 60-70 carats and carries an estimated sale price of between $1,000,000-1,500,000; both will be up for public viewing for the first time in decades.

Some of the coloured diamonds

An exceptional rectangular-cut Fancy Vivid Blue diamond of 3.43 carats, mounted as a ring and flanked on either side by trapeze-cut diamonds set in platinum (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000)

A rectangular-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond of 9.83 carats mounted as a ring, and offset by two graduated baguette-cut diamonds (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000).

Some top-quality D-color diamonds

A magnificent D color, internally flawless, cushion-cut diamond of 20.06 carats mounted as a ring (estimate: $1,600,000-2,000,000).

A pair of diamond ear pendants, by Harry Winston, each suspending a pear-shaped D colour, internally flawless diamond of 7.13 and 7.05 carats, respectively and each bearing a circular-cut E color, VS2 clarity diamond surmount of approximately 1.50 carats each (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000).

A diamond ring by Tiffany & Co., set with a rectangular-cut D color, internally flawless diamond of 10.97 carats, signed and mounted in platinum (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000).

A pair of diamond ear clips by Harry Winston, with pear and marquise-cut D color, internally flawless diamonds ranging in size from 2.67 to 1.28 carats, with a total weight of approximately 50.48 carats (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000).

A pear-shaped D color, VVS1 clarity diamond pendant of approximately 11.12 carats, mounted in platinum (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000).

A D color, VS1 clarity pear-shaped diamond of 13.01 carats mounted as a ring, with tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders (estimate: $500,000-700,000).

An F color, VS1 clarity circular-cut diamond of 10.87 carats, mounted as a ring by Cartier and flanked on either side by rectangular-cut diamonds (estimate: $600,000-800,000).

Some Rare Gemstones

A cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire of 13.86 carats mounted as a ring with French-cut diamond accents (estimate: $1,000,000-$1,500,000).

A hexagonal-cut Burmese sapphire of 24.70 carats, mounted as a ring by Cartier, and flanked by kite-shaped diamonds (estimate: $100,000- 150,000).

A cushion-cut yellow sapphire of 109.49 carats, mounted as a ring in 18K gold, with diamond accents (estimate: $70,000-100,000).

An elegant antique sapphire and diamond pendant from the personal collection of legendary Irish designer Eileen Gray, dating from circa 1890, set with a cushion-cut sapphire of 27.07 carats and mounted within an old Europeancut diamond surround (estimate: $50,000-70,000).

Some Signed pieces

A collection of signed pieces from top jewellery houses like Bhagat, Buccellati, BULGARI, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others.

A trio of Art Deco era bracelets by Cartier, including a custom-designed diamond bracelet circa 1940 (estimate: $200,000-300,000), a sapphire and diamond bracelet circa 1930, (estimate: $220,000-280,000), a diamond and multi-gem “Tutti Frutti” bracelet circa 1930 (estimate: $600,000-800,000). The ‘Tutti Frutti’ creations are one of the most celebrated pieces of Jacques Cartier’s early 20th century designs.

A “Ballerina” brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels, created in the 1940s in collaboration with choreographer George Balanchine.

A gold, turquoise, diamond and ruby ballerina from 1956, with a rose-cut diamond face and horizontal rows of cabochon turquoise decorating the dancer’s polished gold tutu (estimate: $10,000-15,000). Also from Van Cleef & Arpels, is a selection of “mystery-set” jewels. The sale includes a stunning pair of ruby and diamond “flower” ear clips (estimate: $40,000-60,000) and a coordinating ruby and diamond ring, from 1965 (estimate: $20,000-30,000).

Viewing of these jewels is slated at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries between April 17 – 21, 2010.