Sotheby’s and Christie’s ended the 2022 auction season with Magnificent Jewels sales in New York in early December that totaled approximately $108.7 million. Fancy-colored diamonds received the most attention from collectors.
For Sotheby’s, its December 7 sale of 129 lots totaled $50 million, with 81% of lots sold, bringing Sotheby’s total of global jewelry sales to more than $450 million – a five-year high for the company.
The star of the auction was “The Golden Canary,” a 303.10-carat, the fancy deep brownish-yellow diamond that sold for $12.4 million, below estimates. It was the third most valuable yellow diamond ever sold at auction, also ranking among world’s largest known internally flawless diamonds.
Another highlight was the sale of a 5.27-carat Colombian emerald ring salvaged from the legendary Atocha shipwreck of 1622, which achieved more than 17 times its high estimate. A total of 18 collectors competed for the gem in a five-minute sale before being sold for $1.2 million. The gem was being offered by author and philanthropist Mitzi Perdue. It was a gift upon her engagement in 1988 by her late husband Frank Perdue. Its proceeds will go toward humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Other notable diamonds that were part of the sale include:
- A 25.03-carat emerald-cut D-color, internally flawless diamond that sold for $2.3 million, within estimates;
- A 10.67-carat emerald-cut diamond mounted by German high jeweler, Hemmerle, that sold for $1.1 million, below estimates but still setting an auction record for a fancy gray diamond; and
- A 3.69-carat unmounted cushion brilliant-cut fancy gray-blue diamond that achieved $1 million, besting its high estimate.
The sale also showcased a selection of Egyptian-themed jewels to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb. Eight of the nine lots from the curation found buyers, achieving a combined total of $1.8 million. Highlights from the Egyptomania results include:
- A Lacloche Frères colored stone and diamond bracelet that achieved $1.2, within estimates;
- A Lacloche Frères pair of Egyptian-revival colored stone and diamond pendant-earclips that fetched $352,800, within estimates; and
- A Gustav Manz for F. Walter Lawrence Egyptian-revival gold and ancient glass “Desert” brooch that achieved $44,100, nearly three times its high estimate.
Meanwhile, despite the top lot being unceremoniously pulled from Christie’s December 6 auction, its sale of 134 lots achieved $58.77 million. Nine of the top 10 lots were diamonds.
The top lot was a 31.62-carat fancy blue pear modified brilliant-cut with VVS1 clarity. It was presented as a pendant with a surround of pink diamonds and a backing of white diamonds set in platinum and rose gold. It sold for more than $11.8 million, within estimates.
Earrings, featuring a 2.04-carat fancy deep grayish blue heart modified brilliant-cut diamond, a 1.70-carat fancy intense yellow heart brilliant-cut diamond, a 1.67-carat fancy intense purplish pink heart brilliant-cut diamond, a 1.61-carat fancy vivid yellow heart brilliant-cut diamond, a 1.59 carat heart brilliant-cut diamond, and a heart-shaped black diamond, all set in platinum and yellow gold achieved $1.38 million, almost four times its high estimate.
Among colorless diamonds, a 51.60-carat oval brilliant-cut diamond of G color, VS2 clarity; and exhibiting excellent polish and symmetry fetched more than $2.4 million, within estimates.
An Art Deco diamond and platinum pendant, circa 1930, featuring an oval pyramidal cabochon Ceylon sapphire, surrounded by round diamonds set in platinum, was the top lot among colored gems, achieving an exceptional $1.38 million, more than five times its high estimate.
Among signed jewels, the top lot was a Van Cleef & Arpels “Mystery Set” Flower Brooch featuring caliber-cut rubies, emeralds and round diamonds. It fetched just under $1.2 million, nearly double its high estimate.
This was followed by a Cartier ring, circa 1960, featuring a 44.16-carat oval cabochon sapphire surrounded by round, baguette and tapered baguette-cut diamonds, set in platinum. It fetched $756,000, besting its high estimate.