Posts by Peter

    Another D-color, Flawless Clarity, round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 30.57 carats (Lot 1910), with excellent cut, polish and symmetry made a very significant impact at the Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale, held on April 7, 2014, by registering a price of USD6,585,744 within the pre-sale estimate of USD5,930,780 - 6,833,290. This works out to a price-per-carat value of USD215,431, much below the world record price-per-carat value of USD240,500 set an year earlier on April 8, 2013, and subsequently renewed on May 13, 2014 at Sotheby's Geneva by registering a ppc-value of USD246,710.

    Three animal motif lots appeared at Christie's Jewels : The Hong Kong Sale held on May 26, 2009. These lots are Lot 1505, Lot 1509, and Lot 1670.
    Lot 1505 was a signed piece by Van Cleef & Arpels and was characterized as a Multigem Clip Brooch. In fact the brooch was designed as a humming bird with various colored gemstones and diamonds mounted on different parts of its body, such as the wings, tail, body, neck and head. The wings were set with an upper row of marquise-cut, cabochon turquoise and a lower row of marquise-cut, cabochon sapphires. Likewise, the tail was set with an upper row of marquise-cut cabochon sapphires, a middle row of marquise-cut, cabochon turquoise, and a lower row of circular-cut white diamonds set in marquise-shaped motifs. The body is set with circular-cut rubies and the neck with brilliant-cut white diamonds. The head is set with circular-cut sapphires, the eye collet-set with a marquise-cut ruby and the beak made of yellow gold. The brooch designed around 1960 was made of platinum and yellow gold. Being a signed jewel by a reputed jewelry house the lot was assigned a higher pre-sale estimate of US $23,330 - $36,292 and sold within this estimate for US$32,404.


    Lot 1509 was another signed piece by Van Cleef & Arpels designed around the same period as lot 1505. The lot was titled A Chalcedony, Ruby and Diamond Clip Brooch and was designed as a textured 18k gold squirrel, with its body made up of a large green, oval-shaped, cabochon-cut, chrysoprase chalcedony. The eye of the squirrel is collet-set with a circular-cut ruby, further highlighted by five brilliant-cut diamonds. The lot was given a pre-sale estimate of US$3,111 - $4,536 and sold exactly at the upper estimated value of US$4,536.


    Lot 1670 titled A Colored Diamond Pendant Necklace was another unique piece, with a yellow-gold chain necklace suspending a teddy bear pendant made up of colored diamonds only. The head of the teddy bear is set with heart-shaped, fancy brownish-pink diamond weighing 1.46 carats; the body set with cushion-shaped, fancy brown-pink diamond weighing 0.84 carats; and the articulated arms and legs set with pear-shaped pink diamonds, mounted in 18k yellow and rose gold. The lot was accompanied by GIA reports certifying the 4Cs of the diamonds with a total weight of 3.69 carats. The lot sold for US$35,644 above the estimated range of US$20,738 - 32,403.




    Jean Michel Schlumberger (1907-1987) was a French jewelry designer well known for his work at Tiffany & Co. He was born to a well-to-do family involved in textile manufacturing in the town of Mulhouse in eastern France, close to the German border. He showed extraordinary artistic talents since his youth, which was continuously discouraged by his parents. Schlumberger began his career with Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli for whom he designed buttons in the 1930s and later costume jewelry. He fought with the French army in World War II, surviving Dunkirk in 1940; serving under General Charles de Gaulle in England and the Free French Forces in the Middle East.


    After World War II, Schlumberger relocated to New York where he began designing clothing for Chez Ninon. In 1946, he began designing his own jewelry, opening his first jewelry salon in partnership with Nicolas Bongard. Ten years later in 1956, Walter Hoving, the president of Tiffany & Co. who was impressed by Schlumberger's jewelry designs, persuaded him to join the Company as chief jewelry designer. He had his own workshop at the company until his retirement in the late 1970s as a Vice-President of the Company. For Schlumberger jewelry designing became a medium and outlet for the expression of his inborn artistic talents that were suppressed by his family at an early age. While at Tiffany his designs inspired by natural forms such as animals, plants and sea creatures, became famous for their creative features, given expression with materials such as yellow-gold, silver, white-gold, platinum, colored gemstones, pearls, corals and diamonds. Schlumberger was given the freedom to sign his own work by Tiffany's during his tenure as designer for the firm.


    One of the most famous pieces created by Schlumberger was the "Bird on a Rock" brooch that incorporated the 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond, which is still in the firm's collection. His clients included royalty and celebrites such as the Duchess of Windsor, Mona von Bismarck, the Duchess of Kent, Jacqueline Kennedy, Greta Garbo, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Diana Vreeland. He died in Paris in 1987.

    Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held on November 13, 2013 had six Sri Lanka blue sapphire lots on offer - These lots were Lot 55, Lot 184, Lot 187, Lot 232, Lot 247 and Lot 258. Out of these, the first four lots 55, 184, 187, and 232 have already been considered by Johnruby in his update of May 4, 2014. The remaining two lots, 247 and 258 are considered below :-


    Lot 247, a Sapphire and Diamond Ring from the collection of a member of the Princely House of Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, was set with a 49.47-carat, cut-cornered rectangular step-cut, Ceylon blue sapphire as centerpiece and the shoulders set with baguette-cut diamonds. The lot was accompanied by an SSEF report certifying the Ceylon origin of the stone with no indications of heating. The lot sold for USD 410,896 which was 3 times the lower estimate of USD 136,239 and twice the upper estimate of USD 201,633. The ppc value of the stone works out to USD 8,306.


    Another lot that incorporated a modified pear-shaped Ceylon blue sapphire weighing 9.18 carats and a similarly shaped brilliant-cut diamond weighing 4.93 carats in a "Toi et Moi" engagement ring, the shoulders set with baguette-cut diamonds, was Lot 258. Two GIA reports accomanied the diamond, one certifying the Ceylon origin of the sapphire, without heat enhancement and the other stating that the diamond is F-color and VS2 Clarity. A pre-sale estimate of USD 70,844 - 79,563 was placed on the lot, which sold for USD 115,803 which is almost 1.5 times the upper estimate.

    At Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Spring Sale held on April 8, 2013, three important Kashmir sapphire lots appeared at the sale and performed creditably well. These lots are 1655, 1810 and 1807.


    Lot 1655, titled "Fine Sapphire and Diamond Ring - by Harry Winston" was set with a 7.68-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir sapphire as centerpiece, with five round brilliant-cut-diamonds mounted on either side, and several baguette-cut diamonds mounted on the shoulders and hoop of the platinum ring. Two lab reports by GGL and SSEF certified the Kashmir origin of the blue sapphire with no evidence of heat enhancement. A pre-sale estimate of US$708,510 - 837,330 was placed on the lot, which sold above the upper estimate for US$932,657 - working out to a ppc-value of US$121,440.


    Lot 1810, A Rare Sapphire And Diamond Ring, set with a 11.06-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir blue sapphire mounted on platinum, is flanked by circular-cut diamonds on its shoulders. Two lab reports by AGL and GGL certify the Kashmir origin of the stone, with no evidence of heat enhancement. Pre-sale estimate placed on the lot was USD 618,336 - 772,920, but the lot sold much above the upper estimate for USD 932,657 -ppc value = USD 84,327.


    Lot 1807 was a Sapphire and Diamond Ring set with a 10.40-carat, sugar-loaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire mounted on platinum, and the foliate surround and shoulders set with circular-cut diamonds, with a pre-sale estimate of USD 322,050 - 386,460. GGL and AGL reports certified the Kashmir origin of the sapphire with no indications of heating. The lot sold above the upper estimate for USD 453,446 - ppc-value USD 43,600.

    Two more stunning Ceylon pink sapphires appeared at Sotheby's auctions and made a significant impact. One pink sapphire weighing 17.16 carats, with a perfect oval cut and good clarity set as the centerpiece of a platinum and yellow-gold ring, flanked by pear-shaped and baguette-cut diamonds appeared at the Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale held on October 8, 2007. A pre-sale estimate of US$ 141,779 - 167,557 was placed on this lot, but the lot remained unsold.


    The second pink sapphire weighing 24.54 carats with an elongated cushion-shape and purplish-pink color with good clarity, set as the centerpiece of a gold and platinum brooch, within an openwork frame set with 2 larger marquise-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 2.35 carats, and 2 smaller marquise-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 1.65 carats, accented by old European-cut and single-cut diamonds weighing approximately 1.40 carats, appeared at Sotheby's New York, Important Jewels sale held on September 20, 2011. The lot was accompanied by an AGL report certifying the purplish-pink sapphire is of Sri Lankan origin with no evidence of heat enhancement. The antique brooch designed by McKee Graham in 1904 had a pre-sale estimate of US$ 80,000 - 120,000 placed on it, but sold for a a much enhanced price of US$ 254,500 which was three times the lower estimate and twice the upper estimate. The price-per-carat value of this sapphire is US$ 10,370.

    Another Ceylon pink sapphire weighing 11.90 carats with a perfect oval-cut, good clarity and characteristic purplish-pink color of Ceylon pink sapphires, mounted on a platinum and 18k yellow and white-gold ring, flanked on either side by a trilliant-cut yellow diamond, designed by Mauboussin appeared at Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale held on October 5, 2011. A pre-sale estimate of US$ 96,361 - 109,209 was placed on this ring which sold for US$ 141,328 equivalent to a price-per-carat value of US$ 11,876. The lot was accompanied by a GGL report certifying the Ceylon origin of the stone and its natural credentials free of thermal enhancement.

    It's surprising that the 3.95-carat alexandrite of possible Russian origin sold for only USD 26,200, when an alexandrite of almost similar size, weighing 4.50-carat and certified by AGL as of Russian origin, sold for USD 170,500 at Sotheby's New York in December 2012. However, the pre-sale estimate placed on the 4.50-carat alexandrite was only USD 25,000 to 35,000. What are the possible causes for this disparity ?

    Several alexandrites appeared at Sotheby's auctions in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Two alexandrites featured in 2010, one at Sotheby's New York Magnificent Jewels Sale in April 2010 and the other also at Sotheby's New York in December 2010. In October 2011, another alexandrite appeared at Sotheby's Hong Kong, Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale and again in December 2012 at Sotheby's New York, Magnificent Jewels Sale.


    The alexandrite that featured at Sotheby's New York in April 2010 is a 15.86-carat, cushion antique modified mixed-cut Sri Lanka alexandrite, mounted on a platinum ring and flanked on either side by a modified shield-shaped diamond. AGL certified that the stone is a natural Sri Lanka alexandrite with a strong color change. The lot sold for USD 104,500 which was 2.3 times the lower estimate of USD 45,000 and 1.9 times the upper estimate of USD 55,000.


    At Sotheby's New York in December 2010, another Sri Lanka alexandrite, oval-shaped and weighing 10.16 carats featured as Lot 356. The rare gemstone was set as the centerpiece of a platinum ring designed by Oscar Heyman & Bros.and was surrounded by a row of oval-cut diamonds. A pre-sale estimate of USD 50,000-70,000 was placed on the lot, which sold exactly at the lower estimate of USD 50,000. AGL certified the Sri Lankan origin of the stone and rated the quality of color change from very good to excellent.


    The alexandrite that appeared at Sotheby's Hong Kong Jewels & Jadeite Sale in October 2011, was a 12.00-carat, oval-cut stone of unknown country-of-origin. The alexandrite was set as the centerpiece of a white and yellow gold ring with a butterfly and floral motif surround, set with brilliant-cut colorless, yellow and brown diamonds totaling 1.40 carats. A GRS report certified the natural origin of the stone and its prominent color change from greenish-blue in natural daylight to red in incandescent light. A special comment in the report read as follows :- "very rare combination of size, excellent colour-change, very good clarity and brilliance." The report however, did not specify the country-of-origin of the alexandrite. The lot sold for USD 203,794 within the estimated range of USD 167,679 - 206,374.


    The alexandrite that featured at Sotheby's New York in December 2012, was a relatively small stone weighing only 4.50 carats, but certified as Russian origin, set as the centerpiece of a platinum ring by Raymond Yard circa 1925, flanked by four trapezoid shaped diamonds and 16 round diamonds. AGL certified the stone as of Russian origin with a strong color change. A pre-sale estimate of only USD 25,000 to 35,000 was placed on the ring which sold for a much enhanced price of USD 170,500 in keeping with its Russian origin.


    Another Ceylon Pink Sapphire, oval-cut and weighing 13.06 carats, mounted on a platinum ring with pave-set diamond shoulders, appeared at the Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale on May 14, 2014. A pre-sale estimate of USD 130,000 - 160,000 was placed on this ring, which sold within the estimate for USD 154,618. The color and clarity of this pink sapphire appears to be exceptional in keeping with its Ceylon origin, even though the sapphire sold for a moderate sum of only USD 154,618, equivalent to a price-per-carat value of USD 11,839.

    Another stunning Ceylon pink sapphire ring appeared at the Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale held on November 27, 2012, set with an oval-cut Ceylon pink sapphire weighing 26.19 carats, flanked by step-cut diamonds and mounted in platinum. The AGL certified that the pink sapphire weighing 26.19 carats is a natural Ceylon pink sapphire, with no evidence of heating, with a vivid intense purplish-pink color, complemented by a fine cut and uncharacteristically high clarity that imparts a superior degree of transparency. A pre-sale estimate of US$ 518,698 – 842,884 was placed on this lot, which sold slightly above the upper estimate for US$ 858,168. This works out to a price-per-carat value of US$ 32,767

    I have heard about the "Ceylon Sin Flower" in the Michael Scott Collection, but has never seen an image of this in the internet. Could someone please upload an image of this if you had come across one in the internet. Does anyone have any idea why this jewelry creation was christened the "Sin Flower" ?

    Hi everybody ! I think I have stumbled upon another Kashmir sapphire, perhaps the largest of such sapphires, weighing 42.28 carats, a cushion-shaped stone mounted on an 18k white-gold ring with half-moon diamond shoulders, that sold for US$ 3,458,420 at Christie's Geneva Sale 1359, JEWELS: THE GENEVA SALE held on November 20, 2008. The lot was accompanied by three reports, one by the SSEF, another by GGL and a third report by C.Dunaigre Consulting GmbH, all confirming that the sapphire is a natural Kashmir blue sapphire, with no indications of heating. I am sure this finding will undoubtedly have a bearing on the list of most expensive Kashmir blue sapphires. An image of the blue sapphire ring is uploaded below for the benefit of participants in this discussion.

    In fact there had been two lab reports accompanying this lot - one from the GIA and the other from the Gübelin Gem Lab.
    The GIA reports, nos. 14287350 and 14287352 dated February 23, 2005, pertaining to the two diamonds state, that the diamonds are old-mine cut, pear-shaped, D-color, VS1 clarity but potentially flawless.
    the GGL reports, nos. 0503120 and 0503119 dated 16 March 2005, state that the diamonds are Type IIa, D-color, VS1 clarity but potentially flawless, possess an antique cutting style rarely encountered in the gem trade today.
    The lot description further states- "The diamonds display a colour and degree of transparency which are particular to these unique gemstones. Diamonds of this type, exhibiting an antique cutting style as well as a fine quality, are very rare and will most certainly evoke references to the historic term of "Golconda"'.

    I stumbled upon this pair of rare magnificent, old-mine cut, pear-shaped Golconda diamonds, with ear pendant mounts weighing 27.72 carats and 33.83 carats, that appeared at the Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale 1327, held at Hotel Richemond on May 19, 2005. The pair of diamonds sold for US $4.07 million, above the upper pre-sale estimate of US $3.95 million.


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    We seem to have missed another important perfectly spherical, yellowish-orange melo pearl, weighing 195.82 carats, suspended as a pendant by a diamond-set spiral mount from a fine-link diamond neckchain, 45.1 cm. long, that appeared at the Christie's inaugural Contemporary Jewels & Watches Sale, held in Dubai on January 31, 2007, and made quite an impression by registering a sale price of US $251,200, above the pre-sale estimate of US $150,000 to $200,000.
    The following is a thumbnail of the melo pearl with the diamond set spiral mount :-