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Saturday, November 16, 2013

World Auction Records Set By Sotheby's Geneva

History is Made in Geneva 
The Magnificent Jewels Sale Totals 
$199,512,930 (CHF 183,054,500) 

The Pink Star renamed 'THE PINK DREAM' 
AT $83,187,381 (CHF 76,325,000) 

The 59.60-carat Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid, Pink Diamond 
was bought by famous New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf 
who renamed it "The Pink Dream" after the sale 

Among Other Auction Records Set Today: 
World Auction Record for a Jewel by Van Cleef & Arpels, 
A Pair of Colourless Diamonds, 
Sapphire Jewels, a Burmese and a Kashmir Sapphire 
& A Record Price Per Carat for a Sapphire 

David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery Division in Europe and the Middle East and
Chairman of Sotheby's Switzerland auctioneering the record-breaking Pink Star
This week, Sotheby's Geneva made history when it sold The Pink Star - a 59.60-carat oval cut pink diamond - for $83,187,381 (CHF 76,325,000), a world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel. This land mark price eclipsed the previous record at $46.2 million established three years ago by Sotheby's Geneva for the magnificent 'Graff Pink' - the 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond. 

Today's historic sale of Magnificent Jewels achieved $199,512,930 (CHF 183,054,500), the highest jewellery sale total in history (est. $121,635,591-165,432,534/ CHF 111,601,500- 151,785,500). 

Commenting on tonight's results, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery Division in Europe and the Middle East and Chairman of Sotheby's Switzerland, said: "The Pink Star is a true masterpiece of nature. Its immense importance was reflected tonight in the strength of the bidding and we are thrilled that the record price it achieved earned it a place in history. Today's record sale is a further testimony to the strength and depth of the diamond and jewellery market. " 
Four bidders competed for the Pink Star which is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded. The diamond was bought after nearly five minutes by by the famous diamond cutter Isaac Wolf who has renamed it 'The Pink Dream' after the sale. The diamond - lot 372 in the sale - received the highest colour and clarity grades from the GIA for pink diamonds, it has also been found to be part of the rare subgroup comprising less than 2 % of all gem diamonds - known as Type IIa: stones in this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency. Mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, the 132.5 carat rough diamond was painstakingly cut and polished over a period of two years and transformed into this stunning gemstone. This was the first time the diamond was presented at auction, with an estimate of $60 million. The landmark price achieved established a world auction record for a diamond (including for a pink diamond and any coloured diamond) and for any jewel.

The "Walska Briolette Diamond" Brooch 
Among the iconic jewels with important provenance presented was The "Walska Briolette Diamond" Brooch. Created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1971, this masterpiece of design showcases the historic "Walska Briolette Diamond'', a fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing 96.62 carats. On this night it achieved $10,555,778 - an auction record for a jewel by Van Cleef & Arpels (lot 373, est. in excess of $8 million), Once in the collection of opera singer and jewellery connoisseur, Ganna Walska (1887-1984), the briolette was subsequently mounted as a brooch and most recently exhibited at Van Cleef and Arpels retrospectives both at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, in 2011, and at the Palais Royal, Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, in 2012-13. 

Important Diamonds
Also included in this rich offering of white diamonds of D colour - the finest colour grading for white diamonds. Among them was a pair of magnificent earrings set with brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 23.77 and 23.78 carats respectively, which surpassed the pre-sale high estimate to sell for $9,213,009 - a record for a pair of colourless diamonds. Both diamonds were cut from the same 161 carat rough and form a perfectly matched pair (lot 354, est. CHF 6,600,000-7 ,500,000/ $7,250,000- 8,250,000).
Blue diamonds featured strongly. A magnificent rectangular mixed-cut fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 5.04 carats and mounted as a ring rose above estimate and achieved $6,649,541 (lot 349, est. CH F 5,100,000-5,700,000/ $5,600,000-6,300,000), while a 5.51 carat pear­ shaped fancy intense blue diamond ring realized $5,428,842 (lot 330, est. CHF 4,220,000-5 ,000,000/ $4,650,000-5 ,450,000).
A further highlight of this section was an outstanding 20.80 carat marquise-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond of exceptional hue, mounted as a ring which achieved $5,184,702, again well above its pre-sale high estimate (l ot 357, est. CH F 1,600 000- 2,500,000/ $1,750,000-2,750,000). 

Impressive Gemstones 
A group of impressive gemstones, led by a magnificent Burmese "Royal Blue" sapphire weighing 114.74 carats which almost quadrupled its pre-sale low estimate and sold for $7,137,821 - a world auction record for a Burmese sapphire (lot 355, est. CH F 1,650,000- 2,600,000/ $1,800,000-2,800,000). According to the SSE F, "a natural sapphire from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional and thus can be considered a true treasure of nature ".
Another fine example of Kashmir sapphire was found in a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 21.42 carats, mounted as a ring and coming from the Estate of a European Royal Princess. The gemstone achieved$3,231,583), again four times its pre-sale estimate (lot 332, est. CHF 680,000- 910,000/ $750,000-1,000,000) . 
Burmese sapphires were also sought after, with a pair of very fine sapphire and diamond ear clips, each set with a Burmese sugarloaf cabochon weighing 32.47 and 36.80 carats respectively surpassed the pre-sale estimate and sold for $816,343 (lot 322, est. CHF 455,000-725,000/ $500,000-800 ,000). 

A cushion-shaped cabochon ruby weighing 31.30 carats and mounted as a ring by Cartier generated alot of attention. It almost tripled the pre-sale low estimate, selling for $1,077,921 (lot 314, est. 365,000-545,000/ $400,000-600,000)

Natural pearls - the rising stars of all gemstones - achieved strong prices. An extremely fine and highly important natural pearl necklace realized $5,672,982, almost four times its pre-sale estimate (lot 356, est. CH F 1,320,000-2,250,000/ $1,450,000- 2,450,000) . It was designed as a graduated row of fifty-two pearls measuring from approximately 7.95 to 12.50mm with a length of approximately 525 mm. 

Jewels with Important Provenance 

Continuing Sotheby's long tradition of offering jewels with noble and important provenance, the sale presented jewels from th e Collection of Odile de Richelieu (1879-1974), Countess Gabriel de La Rochefoucauld , Princess de La Rochefoucauld, daughter of the Duke of Richelieu and descendant to the family of the Cardinal de Richelieu, Louis XIII's chief minister and eminence grise. Sold in aid of a charitable foundation , the collection included The Richelieu Sapphires, a pair of rare and magnificent Kashmir sapphires weighing a total of 47 carats, mounted with diamonds as earrings which generated a lot of enthusiasm and sold for $8,358,520 - an auction record for sapphire jewels, a Kashmir sapphire and a record price per carat for a sapphire (lot 371, est. CHF 2,300,000-4,200,000/ $2,500,000- 4,500,000, photo below).

The sale was further distinguished with jewels from the Estate of the late Gunter Sachs (1932-2011), including a gem-set and diamond parure "Tutti Frutti" by Cartier which achieved $607,080 (lot 337, est. CH F 230,000-365,000/ $250,000- 400,000). A superb Art Deco bracelet from the 1930s, centering on a marquise-shaped diamond weighing 9.38 carats, which can also be worn as a choker realized $1,051,763, four times its pre-sale low estimate (lot 338, est. CHF 230,000-365,000/ $250,000-400,000).

The auction also featured a magnificent jewel that once belonged to Lily Pons (1898-1976), the celebrated international opera singer. Th is emerald and diamond necklace made by Van Cleef & Arpels circa 1948 almost doubled the pre-sale expectation and sold for $450,133 (lot 336, est. CH F 230,000- 320,000/ $250,000-350,000).

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world‐class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 8 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris, and Geneva and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids in real‐time from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full‐service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, gallery arm of Sotheby's Contemporary Art department, as well as Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine.
Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

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