Magnificent Jewels Fetch Big Bucks at Auctions

By Carrie Soucy
Associate Editor

a 30-carat diamondNew York - The highlight of the fall auctions in October, the sale of a private collector’s 46 pieces by Sotheby’s brought in nearly $11 million.

With bidders representing both the private and dealer sectors across the globe, the special auction concluded the four-day auction series at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. All but one of the 46 lots sold, many at prices higher than pre-auction estimates.

"The sale was a collector’s dream," said John Block, executive vice president and head of Sotheby’s jewelry and precious objects division. "A very active salesroom was dominated by bidders from the United States, Asia and the Middle East."

Christie’s, which launched its two-day jewelry auction amid a stock market slump and speculation, sold the two highest-priced pieces. A magnificent square-cut diamond ring sold for more than $1.93 million to Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Fitaihi, and an Art Deco emerald and diamond pendant necklace by Chaumet sold for about $1.4 million to buyer Robert Mouawad.

a 21.91-carat diamond"In a week where billions of dollars worth of stock was at stake, $28 million of jewelry changed hands," said Simon Teakle, senior vice president and head of Christie’s jewelry department for North and South America. "The market proved its resilience in an extraordinary week and buying was strong from private and trade buyers alike."

Sotheby’s regular two-day jewelry auction, meanwhile, sold an additional $26 million in jewels, including an extremely rare, 5.54-carat, fancy vivid orange diamond for $1.32 million to Harry Winston. The sale set a record—$238,000 per carat—for an orange diamond.

The highest demand at the fall auctions at both houses was for signed pieces and period jewelry, especially Art Deco pieces.

Christie’s sold 473 lots, about 74% of the 637 offered. Sales totaled $28.38 million.

Highlights of the sale:

Sotheby’s Highlights

At Sotheby’s, the special private collection auction and the various owners auction combined brought in a total of $37 million, with 74% of the lots offered sold.

Highlights at Sotheby’s: