The auction market got a shot of adrenaline last night, as the Sotheby’s Geneva sale set a world record for any jewelry auction—and capped that with six more world records, almost all for colored stones.
The auction fetched $160.9 million, or 149.9 CHF (Swiss francs). That tops the previous record holder, the Christie’s November auction in Geneva, which fetched 147.2 million CHF. (Sotheby’s briefly claimed the title for its $199 million November 2013 sale, but that didn’t stand after an $83.1 million pink diamond sale was canceled.)
The sale gives a nice boost to the Sotheby’s jewelry sales, which were down two percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to its 10-Q.
The 25.59 ct. Burmese Sunrise Ruby sold for $30.3 million ($1.1 million a carat), doubling the low end of its $12 million to $18 million estimate. The stone set records for a ruby, both in total price and per-carat price; for any non-diamond jewel; and any stone by Cartier. The buyer was not named.
The blood-red stone was a favorite of Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry chairman David Bennett, who said last month: “I have remained in awe of the Sunrise Ruby since the first moment I set eyes on it. In over 40 years, I cannot recall ever having seen another Burmese ruby of this exceptional size possessing such outstanding color.”
The Sunrise sale significantly tops the ruby record set just six months ago by the 8.62 ct. Graff Ruby, which sold for $8.6 million at Christie’s Geneva in November 2014.
The Historic Pink Diamond, an 8.72 ct. fancy vivid pink, achieved $15.9 million, which fell within its $14 million to $18 million estimate, and also went to an unnamed buyer. The diamond is believed by the Gemological Institute of America to have been part of the outstanding collection of Princess Mathilde of Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece. It only recently resurfaced, having been kept in a bank vault since the 1940s.
The other records were set for sapphires and pearls:
- A pair of very fine Burmese sapphire and diamond ear clips with a combined weight of 32.67 cts. sold for $3.2 million, setting a world record price for a pair of Burmese sapphire earrings.
- A Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch weighing 30.23 cts. sold for $6.1 million, setting a record for a Kashmir sapphire (the previous record was set in November).
- A rare natural pearl and diamond necklace sold for $7 million, setting a record for a two-row natural pearl necklace.