Bonhams’ London Fine Jewellery sale on Saturday December 5 set three new auction world records.
Jewellery from celebrated designers including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, along with a pair of exceptional Kashmir sapphires belonging to a European Princess, went under the hammer.
Bidders in the saleroom, online and on the telephones, competed for the two top lots, both of which exceeded their high estimates.
The sales’ fancy greyish-blue, 2.97cts step-cut diamond, set in a ring designed by the society jeweller Andrew Grima, achieved £1,482,500 against its pre-sale estimate of £500,000-700,000. This set a new world record price per carat for a fancy greyish-blue diamond and a new world record for a Grima creation. The other top lot – a pair of late 19th-century earrings set with two cushion-cut 7.92cts and 7.96cts Kashmir sapphires, which were the property of a European Princess, achieved £1,538,500, against its pre-sale estimate of £500,000 to £800,000.
Jean Ghika, director of Jewellery for UK and Europe at Bonhams, says: “These lots attracted interest from around the globe because of their exceptional quality and rarity. The prices achieved reflect the buoyancy of the market for coloured gem stones of the highest quality.”
Rubies from Burma and Madagascar (with no heat) also caught the eye of bidders in the December sale.
A Belle Époque ruby and diamond pendant circa 1915, set with an exceptional 3.83 cts Burmese ruby, sold for £128,500 to a telephone bidder, triple its high estimate of £40,000.
Ghika comments: “This ruby possessed all the hallmarks of a top-quality Burmese gem and was admired for its glowing vibrant red colour. Unheated Burmese rubies of this calibre are increasingly rare to find, hence the participation from international bidders from all four corners of the globe.”
In addition, a 10.28 cts Madagascan ruby single-stone ring sold for £236,500, setting a new world record price per carat.
With the continued appreciation and demand for natural pearls, competition to secure a pair of bouton-shaped natural pearl earrings was also fierce. Measuring approximately 14.63mm and 14.41mm, the pearls are beautifully matched in terms of colour, lustre and shape, and went under the hammer for £158,500, against a pre-sale low estimate of £100,000.
Signed jewellery from Cartier was very much in demand during the three-hour sale too. An innovative art deco diamond flexible bar brooch, circa 1934, which can be worn on a cuff, as a hairpiece, on the shoulder, on a collar or worn straight, sold for £84,100. This piece, a rare survivor from a limited period of pre-war production, was highly admired throughout pre-sale viewings in New York, Hong Kong and London.
The sale achieved £6.79 million, with 88 per cent of lots sold by value.
“The market is led by coloured stones and coloured diamonds of the finest quality. Our selected lots performed extremely well and we achieved some outstanding results,” adds Ghika. “We anticipate 2016 to be very much the year of colour. It is exciting to see such wonderful pieces being appreciated by a discerning international clientele.”
Daniel Struyf, senior international jewellery director, concludes: “It was excellent to end the 2015 London Fine Jewellery Sales with three new world records.
“Our last two sales in Hong Kong and London have demonstrated that the market is strong for coloured gemstones, signed jewellery and pearls. Next stop is our New York Fine Jewellery sale on Tuesday (December 8th), our last international auction of 2015, where we expect to achieve equally strong prices.”