Rapaport Magazine

Green Diamond Showstopper

Christie’s set a new world auction price record for a green diamond at its spring Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale.

By Mary Kavanagh
The Aurora Green, a 5.03-carat fancy vivid green, VS2 diamond ring with a pink diamond surround, sold for $16,818,981, or $3,343,733 per carat. It set a world record for a green diamond and price per carat for a green diamond. © 2016 Christie’s Images Limited.
Stones like the Aurora Green diamond do not appear on the market very often and this one happens to be the cream of the crop,” said Vickie Sek, deputy chairman Asia, director of jewelry and jadeite, Christie’s Asia, referencing the highlight of Christie’s 2016 spring Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction. “We expected it to fetch a top price and it did not disappoint,” she added. Not only did the 5.03-carat stone — the largest natural fancy vivid green diamond in the world, according to a Christie’s press release — fetch a top price, it set a new world auction price record for a green diamond at $16,818,981* or $3,343,733 per carat. The May 2016 sale achieved $60,676,998 in total. The 272 lots were 72 percent sold by lot and 73 percent sold by value. This compares to Christie’s autumn 2015 sale, which brought in a total of $96,904,062 and its spring 2015 sale, which achieved a total of $117,892,325, the highest total ever for any jewelry auction in Asia.

A Stellar Purchase
   The Aurora Green was bought by Chow Tai Fook (CTF), Hong Kong’s largest jewelry retailer by market value. “We are very happy it has been acquired by trade,” Sek said. “This is excellent proof that even top industry professionals agree with our judgement and share our confidence in this rare beauty.”
   This was not the first time CTF purchased a rare diamond. In 2010, they acquired the rare 507.55-carat rough diamond from the Cullinan diamond mine in South Africa and collaborated with Hong Kong jewelry artist, Wallace Chan, to create a unique necklace unveiled in September 2015. “We believe that the 5.03-carat superb colored diamond ring, set with a rectangular-cut fancy vivid green, VS2 diamond, is another piece of rare and precious jewelry with high collection value, after the purchase of the 507-carat Cullinan Heritage rough diamond in 2010,” a spokesperson for the company said. The previous record for a green diamond was set by Christie’s Geneva in mid-May of this year when the Ocean Dream, a 5.50-carat fancy vivid blue-green diamond, sold for $8,633,798, at $1,569,791 per carat.

Allure of Jadeite
   Jadeite usually attracts a lot of attention in Asia, but as Sek pointed out, “At this sale it stood out even more.” The fifth top lot of the sale was a highly contested magnificent jadeite and diamond bracelet from “The Treasure of Burma,” a private collection from that country, which was bought by Moussaieff Jewellers for $1,945,228, a step above the high presale estimate of $1,647,890. In other top lots, a jadeite and diamond ring and a rare sapphire and diamond ring were also highly contested and both bought by private collectors. The fourth top lot of the sale was a jadeite bangle, which sold for $2,022,830, also to a private collector. A pair of double-hoop jadeite ear pendants that did not make the top ten list was an undisputed highlight of the evening. They sparked a very exciting and competitive bidding process, including lots of in-room bidding, before finally being sold to a private collector for $470,787, more than three times the high presale estimate of $150,000.

Top Ten
   The top ten list featured diamonds, rubies, jadeite and a Colombian emerald. The second top lot of the evening was a Burmese ruby and diamond bracelet by Faidee, which was bought for $3,492,098, just below its presale estimate. Bidding was generally competitive throughout the sale and there was active participation among buyers in the packed auction room as well as by phone and online bidders. “The room was filled to the brim,” Sek said. “And even at the end, the room was still 70 percent full,” Sek added, noting the sale attracted 197 buyers from 19 countries across five continents.

Celebrating 30 Years in Asia
   To mark its thirtieth anniversary in Asia, Christie’s organized a specially curated cross-category sale as part of its overall spring auction offering, which was 100 percent sold. Five handpicked jewelry lots, strongly featuring Hong Kong jewelers, were up for grabs. Three of them achieved new world records. A rare Art Deco sapphire and diamond bracelet by Cartier set with seven cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphires, from the former collection of Lillian S. Timken, a famous American collector and benefactor, achieved $7,260,957, setting a new world auction price for a bracelet. Hong Kong– based Etcetera’s Burmese oval-shaped ruby ear pendants, 10.02 carats and 9.09 carats, respectively, sold for $11,608,216 or $607,053 per carat, setting a new world auction record for a pair of ruby earrings. A unique jadeite and multigem pendant necklace by Wallace Chan was bought for $967,783 setting a new world auction record for one of his creations. The other two lots — a pair of diamond and emerald earrings by Etcetera and a jadeite and diamond pendant/brooch mounted by Carvin French — both achieved $2,478,973.

   “The magic is in the curation,” Sek said. “Christie’s thirtieth anniversary is a very important milestone, and we were determined to put on a stunning show of the rarest and finest. Although we only had five lots, we tried to present an inclusive representation; the best in rubies, sapphires, emeralds and jadeite. Together they achieved almost $25,000,000. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”
*All prices include buyer’s premium.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2016. To subscribe click here.

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