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Magnificent Jewels Auctions Command Strong Diamond Prices

New York Jewelry Auction Totals Top $97M

Dec 12, 2012 7:00 PM   By Rapaport News
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Sotheby’s December sale of Magnificent Jewels tallied up an impressive $64,765,013, the highest-ever total for a day of jewelry sales at its New York  location. This breaks the previous record of $53,327,840 set in December 2010.

This sale also profited from two great collections — The Collection of Estee  Lauder and Evelyn H. Lauder, which was sold to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® and the Collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman. The jewels of Estee Lauder and her daughter-in-law Evelyn H. Lauder were an eclectic assortment of very fine diamonds and signed jewelry. The collection contributed $22,248,250 to the day’s final sale total, the net proceeds of which were donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BRCF) created by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993.

The top lot of the day was the 6.54 carat, internally flawless, fancy intense pink diamond ring by Oscar Heyman that belonged to Evelyn H. Lauder and sold for $8,594,500, or $1,313,144 per carat. There was much competition for the ring, but in the end it was purchased by London-based jeweler pink diamonds

The Wrightsman Collection, which had its own catalog, was filled with unusual designer signed pieces, including items from Suzanne Belperron, Verdura, Bulgari, Cartier and JAR. The Wrightsman collection accounted for $15,541,188 of the day's total.

Many pieces in the Wrightsman  Collection sold for shockingly high prices as bidders vied aggressively to own fine, unique jewelry that will never be made again. A world-record price for a single natural gray pearl at auction was set for a natural gray pearl and diamond brooch, which sold for $1,874,500 to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous.

White diamonds followed the 10-carat rule: If the stone was over 10-carats, it sold regardless of quality; anything under the 10-carat mark passed. Dealers noted that white diamond prices are high right now with little room for profit and larger diamonds sold due to their rarity and for investment purposed because psychologically people feel that these larger stones are protected from price fluctuations. --Amber Michelle

Christie’s December sale of Magnificent Jewels experienced a stellar finale to its fall auction season on December 10, with a 300-lot sale realizing a total of $32,541,625 with strong sell-through rates of 84 percent by lot.

The top lot was a 50.01-carat, D, potentially flawless, rectangular-cut diamond ring by Graff that sold to Laurence Graff  for $8,370,500  or $167,400 per carat.

Graff said, “This is the third time that I have owned this beautiful diamond and I am as thrilled today as I was the first time. Diamonds of this exceptional caliber have a life and legacy that carries on beyond us all. This is one of the finest D-color diamonds in the world and I am delighted to have it back again.”

Christie’s also realized a new per-carat record for a Kashmir sapphire at auction, with the sale of a superb 8.91-carat sapphire for $1,370,500 or $154,000 per carat. The final lot of the season was an exceedingly rare fancy reddish-orange diamond of 3.15 carats, the largest reddish orange diamond ever graded at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Exhibiting two of the rarest hues in the world of diamonds, this rarity soared beyond its low estimate of $700,000 to sell for $2,098,500, setting a new world auction record for a reddish-orange diamond and a new per-carat record price of $666,200.

For the year in New York, Christie’s sold 29 jewels over the $1 million mark, four of which  achieved over $7 million.

Rahul Kadakia, the head of jewelry at Christie’s Americas and Switzerland, said, “A D color diamond of 50.01 carats last sold by Christie’s New York in 2005 and purchased by Laurence Graff for $4.2 million has once again been purchased by Mr. Graff for $8.4 million, demonstrating the increasing strength and stability of the global diamond market. Over $163 million of superb jewels sold under our gavel this year at Christie’s New York, with new and established collectors competing at the very highest levels.”  --Christie's New York

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