Sotheby's sale of Magnificent Jewels in New York last week totaled US$43.2 million, marking the highest-ever total for a spring sale of jewelry at Sotheby's New York and topping last April's then-record result of US$39.4 million. The sale achieved a sell-through rate by lot of 88.2 percent and exceeded the auction's US$31.1 million high estimate. The auction's estate jewels, white and colored diamonds, precious gems and natural pearls realized notable prices, with seven pieces bringing more than US$1 million.
"The sophistication and depth of the market cannot be overstated, with participation from international collectors, the jewelry trade, and new buyers drawn in by a sale that offered wonderful pieces for every taste," says Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby's International Jewelry Division. "This was especially evident in the outstanding performance of the important estate collections on offer, which brought $14 million in total and doubled their cumulative high estimate."
According to Gary Schuler, Head of Sotheby's Jewelry department in New York, both white and colored diamonds brought strong prices, led by a Fancy Blue Diamond Ring, Tiffany & Co. that sold for US$2.4 million, exceeding its pre-sale estimate of US$500,000. Additionally, a 23-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring was sold for US$1.9 million. Among the colored stones that sold was a Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring mounted by Cartier that achieved US$1.1 million, and two Gold and Cabochon Emerald Rings, circa 1900, both from the same family collection, brought US$632,500 and US$692,500 respectively, surpassing their US$225,000 pre-sale estimates. Natural pearls also bested pre-sale expectations, especially for a Cartier necklace formerly in the collection of Mrs. Georges Lurcy that sold for US$1.3 million, nearly four times its pre-sale estimate.
"We were especially pleased with the performance of the estate jewels on offer yesterday, led by the wonderful collection from the estate of Eunice Joyce Gardiner that featured both period jewels and contemporary David Webb pieces," adds Schuler. "All 47 lots found buyers, demonstrating that collectors remain eager for jewels with great design and great provenance."
Next month, Sotheby's Geneva will be holding the sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, which includes the personal collection of 20th century jewelry designer Suzanne Belperron and the historic 34.98-carat Beau Sancy Diamond.