RAPAPORT... Jewelry sales for Sotheby's in 2012 surged to a record $460.5 million. The auction house stated that revenue from its jewelry sales was propelled by the success of private collections, exceptional diamonds and gemstones and historical jewels with noble provenance. Sotheby’s jewelry auctions worldwide achieved an average of 84 percent sold by lot. Seventy-two lots sold for more than $1 million, with six surpassing the $5 million mark.
One highlight for the year came from a record sale of various-owner jewels at Sotheby’s Geneva, where the total achieved $108.4 million in May.
In the Americas, Sotheby’s experienced its highest single-day total for jewelry in December when its New York auction achieved $64.8 million. Sotheby’s annual total of $114.5 million in Hong Kong marked the company’s second-biggest year of jewelry and jadeite sales in Asia.
During the year, Sotheby's auctioned jewelry from the collections of Brooke Astor, Estée Lauder, Evelyn H. Lauder, Charles Wrightsman and others, along with two rare ''white glove'' auctions for private collections from Suzanne Belperron in Geneva in May, and a collection from Michael Wellby in London in December.
Specific highlights of lots sold included a 10.48-carat, deep blue briolette diamond (pictured), purchased by Laurence Graff for $10,860,146 or $1,036,273 per carat, and it achieved a world record price for any briolette diamond at auction. As part of its noble jewels sale, Sotheby's sold the Beau Sancy diamond (pictured below), a 34.98-carat, modified pear, double rose-cut stone with a history dating back 400 years for $9,699,618. The diamond was passed down through the royal families of France, England, Prussia and the House of Orange.
Another highlight of the year came from a Cartier bracelet that set a new auction record for a conch pearl jewel. It was formerly in the personal collection of Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain (1887 to 1969) – the grandmother of Juan Carlos, the present king – and this bracelet was one of the most important jewels created by Cartier in the inter-war period -- it sold for $3,461,146.
An important platinum, emerald and 22.84-carat emerald-cut diamond ring from the estate of Brooke Astor sold for $1,202,500, but a 6.54-carat, internally flawless pink diamond ring from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder sold for $8,594,500 in New York.
Sotheby's Hong Kong realized $12,720,000 for a highly important 8.01-carat, fancy vivid blue diamond ring, $5,100,000 for diamond necklace by Nirav Modi and $3,340,000 for a very important and rare 9.08-carat pigeon's blood Burmese ruby and diamond ring by Cartier.