Posts by AnitaP

    Welcome guys! it's nice to be back after a long break.
    I just came across two Kashmir sapphires that featured at Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale - April 06, 2015.
    These are lots 1915 and 1707.

    Lot 1915 contains a medium-sized, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire weighing 11.21 carats mounted on a size 6 platinum ring and created a significant impact by becoming the 3rd highest selling lot of the sale, registering a hammer price of HKD 16.28 million (USD 2,099,794), which was above the estimated range of HKD 12-15 million (USD 1,547,760 — 1,934,700). The PPC-value of this Kashmir sapphire works out to US$ 187,314. As at April 06, 2015 this Kashmir sapphire has the 3rd highest ppc-value according to your list above.
    Lot 1707 is another Kashmir sapphire ring, but contains a much smaller sapphire weighing only 3.55 carats and sold for HKD 1,750,000 (US$ 225,715), slightly above the estimated range of HKD 1,400,000 — 1,600,000 (US$ 180,572 - 206,368).The ppc-value of this sapphire works out to US$ 63,581.The oval-cut sapphire was the centerpiece of a 18k white gold cluster ring, surrounded by eight oval diamonds and embellished by circular-cut diamonds extending to the shoulders.

    Sorry Philippa Evans to hear about your bitter experiences and disappointment in dealing with a jewelry store in Sri Lanka. Wonder if the store is accredited by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka, the body that oversees the Gem & Jewelry trade in Sri Lanka. If so, you could lay a complaint with them about the shabby treatment meted out to you by this dealer. Their contact address according to their website is No.25, Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. Alternatively, you may go to their website and open their contact us page and lay your complaint in the cage meant for Enquiry. Please click here to open this page :- [url]http://ngja.gov.lk/contact_us.php?osCsid=6cbaa30a1826c7f8febb2362952fc94c[/url]
    Hopefully, the authority will look into your complaint and try to rectify any injustice caused to you. You can also try to contact them over the phone numbers given in this page. Good Luck and God Bless you !!

    A short description of the above brooches are given below :-


    Lot 8 - The Diamond Bird Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels is modelled as a pavé-set diamond bird, mounted on platinum; the eye collett-set on yellow-gold with a cabochon emerald; the beak and claws of the bird and the branch on which it is perched also made of yellow gold. Signed Van Cleef & Arpels.


    Lot 33 - The Diamond Elephant Brooch designed around 1930 by an unknown designer, is pavé-set throughout with rows of circular-cut diamonds, except for the eye set with a circular-cut ruby. Total weight of the diamonds not known as it is not possible to dismount the diamonds from the setting.


    Lot 51 - Modelled as two bird brooches of different sizes, the larger bird brooch 8.5cm in height and the smaller one 4.0 cm high. The larger bird perched on a branch made of yellow-gold, is pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds on the beak and neck. The body is covered with textured gold feathers and the eye is collett-set with a navette-shaped ruby.
    The smaller bird brooch also perched on a yellow-gold branch is covered with textured gold feathers. Only the head of the bird is pavé-set with diamonds and the eyes are collett-set with navette-shaped rubies. The larger brooch is signed as Van Cleef & Arpels.


    Lot 62 - The Cartier Turquoise, Ruby and Diamond Bird Brooch designed by Cartier London around 1960, is modelled as a kingfisher with cabochon turquoise body, with textured yellow-gold feathers, perched on a branch also made of yellow-gold. The eye is collett-set with a triangular-shaped ruby and the feathers on the head are set with white diamonds. The piece is signed Cartier London.


    Lot 79 - The Diamond and Gem-Set Elephant Brooch by Charlton designed in the 1950s, is pavé-set all over with circular-cut diamonds. The saddle is set with calibre-cut rectangular-shaped rubies, with an oval-cut blue sapphire weighing 4.32 carats set at the center. The eye is set with navette-shaped black onyx. The brooch is signed as Charlton.


    Lot 119 - The Antique Diamond Dragonfly Brooch designed around 1900 by an unknown French designer is undoubtedly a masterpiece of the Art Nouveau period, during which the use of plant and animal motif jewelry designs reached a climax. The head and body of the dragonfly is set with a series of graduated old and rose-cut diamonds. The extended wings are pavé-set with diamonds of various shapes and sizes, mounted in platinum and gold.


    Lot 165 - A Pair of Art Deco Diamond Bird Brooches was designed by an unknown designer in the 1930s. The brooches are designed as two pavé-set diamond exotic birds perched on a baguette-cut diamond branch with curled tail feathers and coloured diamond eye detail, one seated contentedly, and the other preparing for flight.

    Apart from Lot 38, titled A Pair of Gem Set Lion Brooches, by Van Cleef & Arpels that appeared at Christie's "Jewels : The London Sale" held on June 10, 2009 and highlighted by gemlite on August 26, 2014, seven other "Animal and Plant Motif Jewelry" lots featured at the same auction. These Lots are :- 8, 33, 51, 62, 79, 119 and 165.


    Lot 8 - A Diamond Bird Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels; Estimate - US$4,848 - $6,464; Price realized - US$16,350.
    Lot 33 - A Diamond and Ruby Elephant Brooch - Estimate - US$9,696 - $12,928; Price realized - US$12,263.
    Lot 51 - A Diamond-Set KIngfisher Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels. - Estimate - US$2,909 - $4,040; Price-realized - US$9,810.
    Lot 62- A Turquoise, Ruby and Diamond Bird Brooch by Cartier - Estimate - US$2,424 - $3,232; Price realized - US$8,584.
    Lot 79 - A Diamond and Gem-Set Elephant Brooch by Charlton - Estimate - US$8,080 - $12,928; Price realized -US$26,569.
    Lot 119 - An Antique Diamond Dragonfly Brooch - Estimate - US$19,392 - $24,240. Price realized - US$24,525.
    Lot 165 - A Pair of Art Deco Diamond Bird Brooches - Estimate - US$8,080 - $12,928 - Price realized - US$13,898.

    The use of plant and animal motifs in jewelry designs is an ancient historic theme, prevalent since the time of ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and used during the various jewelry periods in history, reaching its climax during the Art Nouveau period at the turn of the 20th century between 1890 to 1905, and continued to prevail well into the 20th century, with modern jewelry designers like Jean Schlumberger, Paulding Farnham and others elevating the art to sophisticated and refined levels, receiving international acclamation. At every public auction conducted by the leading auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's such jewelry pieces incorporating plant and animal motifs, had featured and performed impressively. Creating a thread to bring together such impressive pieces following the success of the Kashmir sapphire, Ceylon sapphire, and Alexandrite threads, occurred to me as a regular participant in updating the successful threads.


    Lot 169 at Christie's Jewels at South Kensington Sale held on April 7, 2009 was a - Diamond, Emerald And Ruby Butterfly Brooch - from the late 19th-century Art Nouveau period. The butterfly designed with yellow gold was bezel set with a pear-shaped emerald on the thorax, three cushion-shaped old brilliant-cut diamonds on the abdomen, and two circular-cut rubies on the head, representing the eyes. The end of the yellow-gold antennae are set with small pear-shaped rubies. The wings of the butterfly are set with 3 or 4 rows of circular or cushion-shaped old brilliant-cut diamonds, and the edges of the wings are set with a single row of circular-cut rubies. The overall appearance of the setting looks like a natural butterfly, a living testimony to the perfection this art of jewelry designing had achieved during the Art Nouveau period. The lot sold above the pre-sale estimate of US$5,222 - $6,714 for US$19,320.

    The images of the two sapphires uploaded by shah - the 28.28-carat, cushion-cut, Ceylon sapphire and the 71.54-carat, cushion-cut, Ceylon sapphire - clearly show the violet-blue color of these sapphires - which is normally characteristic of Kashmir sapphires, but also found in blue sapphires originating from certain regions of Sri Lanka, such as Elahera and Rakwana, which some gem laboratories had mistakenly identified as Kashmir sapphires, when they were first discovered. The ideal hue, tone and saturation of these blue sapphires, their perfect cut and eye-clean clarity, would have given these sapphires a very high ppc-value, had the origin of the stones been certified as Kashmir. However, since the origin of the stones were determined to be Sri Lanka, the two sapphires had registered only moderate ppc-values of US$8,522 and US$4,710.

    More alexandrites featured at various Bonhams auctions. A 6.59-carat, cushion-cut, brazilian alexandrite mounted on a platinum ring, flanked on either side by pear-shaped diamonds, appeared at Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Sale, held on November 27, 2007 and sold for HK$ 696,000 (US$ 90,000). The PPC value of the stone is US$ 13,657. The lot was accompanied by a GGL certificate certifying the Brazilian origin of the stone, and the pronounced color change from bluish-green in natural daylight to purple in incandescent light. The image shown below was taken in incandescent light.


    Another 4.10-carat, cushion-cut, brazilian alexandrite mounted on a platinum ring, and highlighted by a two-tiered pave-set diamond surround, and flanked on either side by pear-shaped diamonds, featured at Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Sale, held on May 30, 2008 and sold for HK$ 460,200 (US$ 60,000), PPC value US$14,634. A GGL report accompanying the lot, certified the Brazilian origin of the stone and its pronounced color change from green in daylight to purple in incandescent light.


    A 2.48-carat, oval-cut, brazilian alexandrite mounted as the centerpiece of a platinum ring, flanked on either side by two more oval-cut, brazilian alexandrites weighing 1.32 carats each, highlighted by brilliant-cut diamond surrounds, featured at Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Sale, held on November 28, 2009 and sold for HKD 300,000 (USD 40,000), PPC value US$16,129. Three lab reports issued by GGL certified that the three alexandrites are of Brazilian origin, with pronounced color change from green in daylight to purple in incandescent light.

    Several alexandrites have also appeared at Bonhams auctions held at auction centers around the world, such as Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong etc. A 29.97-carat, cushion modified brilliant-cut alexandrite, with a pronounced color change from yellowish-green in natural daylight to brownish-yellow in incandescent light appeared at Bonhams Los Angeles auctions on May 20, 2014. The gemstone was mounted as the centerpiece of a platinum ring with a baguette-cut diamond on each shoulder and sold for US$ 137,000. This works out to a PPC value of US$ 4,571.


    Another alexandrite and diamond ring assigned Lot 863, appeared at Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Sale held on May 30, 2008 and was sold for HK$ 912,000 (USD 117,640). The 7.65-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite was mounted on a platinum ring and was surrounded by a row of smaller, oval mixed-cut alexandrites, with small brilliant-cut diamonds set on the shoulders of the ring. The Lot was accompanied by a GGL report that certified the natural, untreated status of the stone and the country-of-origin as Brazil, with a pronounced color change from bluish-green in natural daylight to purple in incandescent light. The PPC value of this stone is US$ 15,378.


    Another Brazilian alexandrite with a pear-shaped cut, weighing 3.46 carats mounted on a platinum ring, and flanked on either side by brilliant and pear-shaped diamonds, featured at Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Sale on November 27, 2007. The lot was accompanied by a GGL report that certified the natural origin of the stone from Brazil, with a pronounced color change from bluish-green in natural daylight to purple in incandescent light. The Lot was sold for HK$ 768,000 equivalent to USD 100,000 approximately. The PPC value of the stone works out to US$ 28,902.

    Ceylon/Sri Lanka is the most ancient source of rubies and sapphires in the world. According to Sir Emerson Tennent King Solomon, is believed to have sent his ships regularly to the Island of Ceylon/Sri Lanka in the 10th century BC, to obtain supplies of rubies, sapphires, beryls, pearls apart from ivory, apes and peacocks, found abundantly on the island.
    Ptolemy, the 2nd-century A.D. Alexandrian-Roman astronomer and geographer, referred to Sri Lanka as the Island of Taprobane and wrote of the rich pearl fishing grounds near the Island of Epidorus (Mannar), and also about the variety of gemstones found in abundance in the Island, of which the most famous were the beryls, rubies and sapphires.


    Bernd Munsteiner was not only an accomplished gem sculptor from Idar-Oberstein, but also a master-cutter of gemstones. He invented the "fantasy cut" that redefined how precious stones can be faceted to best interact with light. The "fantasy cut" involves inward cuts, creating grooves on the back and front of the stone. The result is that each side reflects against the other, giving the piece even greater depth and vibrancy. One of his most dramatic pieces is entitled Envy - Reflections & Perspectives, and consists of a 114-carat verdelite tourmaline “fantasy cut” to highlight the stone’s rich bluish green hue.

    Two lots containing blue sapphires performed quite well at the Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Spring Sale 2014, held on April 7, 2014. These are Lot 1760 - An Exceptional Sapphire and Diamond Ring and Lot 1766 - An Impressive and Rare Sapphire and Diamond Necklace.
    Lot 1760 set with a 20.04-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir Sapphire sold for US$ 2,614,701 equivalent to US$ 130,474 per-carat.
    Lot 1766 - whose centerpiece was a top-quality, cushion-cut Sri Lanka sapphire, with a saturated even blue color and extraordinary clarity, weighing 102.61 carats, sold for US$ 4,203,118 equivalent to price-per-carat value of US$ 40,962

    The most stunning pieces in the Michael Scott Collection are without any doubt the numerous carvings and sculptures which he acquired from the renowned gem-carving villages of Idar-Oberstein in Germany, where the ancient tradition of gem-carving is believed to have existed since the period of the ancient Roman Empire. The collection includes 13 gem carvings by contemporary German artist Bernd Munsteiner and four intricate carvings of animals by German artist Gerd Dreher. However, the most striking of all the gem-carvings is "The Repose" by Gunter Petty of Idar-Oberstein executed in 1991, representing a nude male youth in the squatting position, carved out of an enormous quartz crystal, sitting on an obsidian base, with an 18-karat gold cloth draped over his lap; the whole sculpture weighing 9,000 carats.
    Another stunning piece by Gunter Petty is the "Magnolia Flower" carved out of natural Ametrine Quartz, which has shades of purple and yellow in the same crystal and also using yellow gold in the setting - total weight 1,250 carats.

    Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held on May 14, 2013, featured seven blue sapphires from the main sources countries Ceylon,Burma and Kashmir, set mainly in rings and at least one set as the centerpiece of a brooch. At least one of these blue sapphires fetched over a million dollars, two sapphires between half-a-million to one-million dollars and the remaining four sapphires between US$100,000 to US$500,000.
    The List of blue sapphires and the prices fetched by them are given below :-
    1) 25.51-carat, step-cut, Burmese sapphire set in a ring - USD 695,943
    2) 11.71-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir sapphire set in a ring - USD 1,110,370
    3) 43.27-carat, pear-shaped, Burmese or Ceylon sapphire set as the centerpiece of a pendant/brooch, surrounded by collet-set cushion-cut and circular-cut diamonds - USD 545,243
    4) 30.52-carat, rectangular step-cut Ceylon blue sapphire set in a ring, with baguette diamond shoulders - USD 168,492
    5) 6.90-carat, cushion-shaped Kashmir blue sapphire set in a Bulgari ring with marquise-cut diamond shoulders - USD 444,775 ppc
    6) 28.21-carat, oval-cut Ceylon blue sapphire set in a ring by Graff, with triangular diamond shoulders - USD 344,309
    7) 13.57-carat, rectangular step-cut, Burma blue sapphire set in a ring surrounded by a double row of brilliant-cut diamonds - USD 231,284

    I have found at least three more Kashmir sapphires that appeared at Public auctions but not listed above. One of these with a unique cabochon-cut, weighing 31.53 carats mounted in a gold and platinum ring and within a circular-cut diamond surround, was sold at the Christie's New York sale in April 2012 and fetched a price of US$2,658,500.
    The other two appeared at Sotheby's Geneva Sale in May 2013. One of this was an 11.71-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire set in a ring that was sold for US$1,110,370 and the other a 6.90-carat Kashmir sapphire also set in a ring with marquise-cut diamond shoulders that sold for US$444,775.

    If as you said several criteria are available for determining the source of a sapphire, such as identification of inclusions, the use of optical properties, growth characteristics and determination of chemical composition, why is it that renowned gem testing laboratories like the GIA do not issue origin reports on any gemstones including sapphires?

    Thanks for your detailed reply. However, I would like to know whether identifying the nature of inclusions is the only criteria used in determining the country of origin of a sapphire.

    There were two lab reports accompanying this lot- one by the GIA and the other by the GGL.
    The GIA reports bearing nos. 11030047 and 11030046, and dated March 25, 2011, state that the diamonds have weights of 23.49 and 23.11 carats, with a D-color and VVS1 clarity and a working diagram indicating that the clarity is potentially flawless.
    The GGL reports bearing nos. 11030047 and 11030046, and dated 14 March 2011, confirm that the diamonds have weights of 23.49 and 23.11 carats, and are D-color, but the clarity slightly lower - VS1. What's interesting are the contents of a note from the Gübelin Gemmological Laboratory that accompanied the reports, reproduced verbatim below so as not to dilute its flavor :-
    The diamonds possess an antique cutting style which is rarely encountered in the gem trade today. In addition, the diamonds are classified as type IIa (a chemically very pure type of natural diamond). They display a colour and degree of transparency which are particular to the finest of these unique gemstones. Diamonds of this type, exhibiting an antique cutting style as well as a superior quality, are very rare and will most certainly evoke references to the historic term of "Golconda". In addition, the occurrence of such a matching pair of Golconda diamonds, incredibly similar in size, cut and shape, while displaying identical colour and spectroscopic characteristics, is an exceptional coincidence in itself. When placed table against table in a symmetrically opposed fashion, these two pieces seems to form a nice "dipyramidal" shape, suggesting they might originate from one large single rough crystal.
    Such a well-matched pair of Golconda Diamonds reaching over 23 carats in size remains an undeniable rarity.