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Christie's $25M Auction Includes Jewels from Lucille Ball's Estate, Master Jewelers

Sep 7, 2007 2:32 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Christie’s auction house will present its fall Magnificent Jewels sale on October 16 at Rockefeller Center. More than  $25 million worth of extraordinary jewels including rare colored stones, diamonds, and works of art by master jewelers spanning decades of jewelry design will comprise some 300 lots available.

The sale also includes property from the estate of actress Lucille Desiree Ball. The collection of 10 pieces features a number of signed jewelry  by Van Cleef & Arpels, including a suite of yellow sapphire and diamond jewelry that comprises a pendant necklace, a pair of ear clips and ring en suite (estimate: $25,000-$35,000.) A portion of the proceeds from this collection will benefit The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York.

In conjunction with the Magnificent Jewels sale, Christie’s will offer a separate sale of 40 highly important jewels from a distinguished private collection valued at $4 million.  The collection is particularly strong in pieces by  Harry Winston. Perhaps the highlight of this collection is a very important rectangular-cut, D, VVS2 Type IIa diamond ring of 23.14 carats by Harry Winston (estimate: $800,000-$1,200,000.) Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure and often have exceptional optical transparency. They were first identified as originating from India (particularly the Golconda region) but have since been recovered in all major diamond-producing regions in the world.

Also of note from Harry Winston are two stunning diamond bracelets: One designed as a pear-shaped diamond cluster band set with nine square-cut diamonds, each weighing approximately 4.44 to 5.73 carats (estimate: $800,000-$1,200,000,) and one featuring a central undulating line of circular-cut diamonds each weighing approximately 2.22 to 5.26 carats (estimate: $500,000-$700,000.)

Complementing the selection of Harry Winston jewelry are rarities from Van Cleef & Arpels, including a lovely sapphire and diamond bracelet (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) and a ruby and diamond brooch (estimate: $20,000-$30,000.) From Tiffany & Co. comes a unique aquamarine, diamond and gold Maltese Cross brooch featuring a bold ‘stained glass’ design (estimate: $15,000-$25,000.)

Of important diamonds Christie's lists, one D,VS1 diamond of 38.47 carats whose impressive size, captivating circular form, and luminous character place it amongst the more important diamonds offered at auction in recent years (estimate: $2,300,000-$2,500,000.) To cut a stone of nearly 40 carats, one has to start with a rough stone weighing approximately 90 to 100 carats. Circular-cut diamonds require very intricate cutting and the final yield of this shape is lower than other forms, making the 38.47 carat diamond not only rare because of the tremendous amount of sacrificed weight to cut this stone, but also because of the cutter’s precision and skill in achieving a finished grade of excellent polish and symmetry with perfect proportions.

A number of important colored diamonds will be also offered, including a pear-shaped fancy blue-gray diamond of 7.88 carats (estimate: $700,000-$1,000,000) and a pear-shaped fancy vivid orangy-yellow diamond of 12.55 carats, originally purchased as a wedding anniversary present in 1956 at Tiffany & Co. (estimate: $800,000-$1,200,000.) Another rare colored diamond, a fancy intense blue gem of 5.07 carats set in a delicate pavé-set pink diamond ring that is expected to realize in excess of $2.5 million.

Two important colored stones offered in the sale are of particular note, each standing apart in quality, size and rarity: A cushion-cut Ceylon sapphire of 71.54 carats and a rare cushioncut alexandrite of 19.05 carats.

From Sri Lanka – tellingly referred to as the “Jewel Box of the Indian Ocean” – comes an extraordinary 71.54 carat cushion-cut sapphire ring by Bulgari (estimate: $300,000-$500,000.) The impressive size coupled with the intensely rich color make this gem a true rarity.

One of the world’s most rare and fascinating gemstones is alexandrite, a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, which exhibits a beautiful phenomenon – it changes color from green in the daytime to red in incandescent light. The present cushion-cut alexandrite ring is a particularly fine specimen – one of the most superb gems of its kind to come to auction – not only for its remarkable size of 19.05 carats, but also for its exceptional color change that goes from a reddish-purple to a bluish-green (estimate: $550,000-$650,000.)

Other colored stones presented include an exceptional Burmese ruby ring of 10.02 carats within a diamond cluster surround (estimate: $500,000-$700,000,) as well as a very fine Colombian emerald ring of 20.76 carats by Harry Winston priced at $450,000.

The sale will also feature a wide variety of signed pieces, including a number of rare jewels by Louis Comfort Tiffany, among them a moonstone, enamel and gold pendant necklace circa 1910 (estimate: $40,000-$60,000.) An Art Nouveau diamond, sapphire and enamel bumblebee brooch from Boucheron adds a whimsical touch to the offerings (estimate: $60,000-$80,000.)

Contemporary jewelers will also be featured, including the undisputed master, JAR, whose pair of bombé-set zircon, sapphire and diamond earclips with their striking combination of color and design will no doubt be amongst the most highly coveted in this sale.

Viewing dates for the auction are set for October 11-15.


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Tags: Bulgari, Harry Winston, India, Jewelry, Tiffany
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