World of Colors at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions

If you’ve been following recent color diamond and gemstone sales, you’ve likely captured a few intriguing developments. First of all, there’s a lively dynamism swirling around fancy color diamonds and gemstones right now. It’s nothing for the gavel to come down in the double-digit-million dollar range for these bright beauties.

Of course, many stones have splendid carat sizes that offer plenty of viewing opportunities to admire their color. But interestingly too. is the fact that not all the pricey stones are huge.

Size doesn’t always matter

With the cognoscenti---quality trumps size every time. Serious collectors know this and respond with their money to discovering a high-value stone that may never come around again. The well-worn phrase ‘money talks’ is clearly at work.

Large or smaller sized gemstones at auction look like a lively artist’s palette lately. Each vivid hue is getting some love these days. Yellow—green—blue--red and more are making a splash across the auction block, as collectors eagerly snatch them up. 

The way I see it

My own observations are these; the market has shown remarkable energy for colors, and prices are holding up fairly well in gemstones. Also the few top-tier fancy color diamonds have made strong prices too. You can see well-designed rings---even those with relatively small center stones like the Bulgari emerald and diamond ring sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong shown below. This fetched a full 50% over the pre-sale estimate at $60,000 US. 

A Bulgari Emerald ring Set with an octagonal step-cut emerald weighing 1.56 carats Columbian Emerald flanked by a pair of square emerald-cut diamonds weighing 1.54 and 1.50 carats, respectively, mounted in platinum, signed Bulgari, size 5 ¾. Accompanied by SSEF report no. 110553, dated 22 October 2019 and Gübelin report no. 23061198, dated 12 July 2023, stating that the emerald is of Colombian origin, with no indications of clarity. Also accompanied by two GIA reports no. 1467205456 and 7458924410, dated 3 April 2023 and 28 February 2023, stating that two diamonds each weighing 1.54 and 1.50 carat are both G Colour, VVS1 Clarity.

Bulgari Emerald Ring

All in all, gemstones and fancy color diamonds are holding strong, and their market share is growing. Take a look at this rainbow of brightly colored stones, each one is important for its species. 

Beauty is Priceless 

Beauty is the main event when it comes to colored gems. I like to say that beauty is priceless, especially if it’s a rare gem.  Because truthfully, what price can you put on an original treasure that will never be duplicated?  

Rare Kashmir Sapphire Ring

This rare Kashmir sapphire sold for $676K US at the same Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction. Kashmir sapphires are scarce in any carat size whatsoever. This one needs no explanation as to its value. Accompanied by SSEF report no. 127877, dated 13 March 2023, Gübelin report no. 22110004, dated 16 November 2022, stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating. Further accompanied by a gemmological report.

Set with a step-cut sapphire weighing 7.14 carats, accented with brilliant-cut diamonds on the shank, mounted in 18 karat white gold, size 6.
Accompanied by SSEF report no. 127877, dated 13 March 2023, Gübelin report no. 22110004, dated 16 November 2022, stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating. Further accompanied by a gemmological report.

Followed by the vivid red ruby ring, this one had admirers. Set with an oval ruby weighing 3.23 carats, decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum, size 5½, signed Cartier, numbered, French assay and maker’s marks, case stamped Cartier.

Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from Cartier.

Also accompanied by a gemmological report.Origin of the stone is Myamar- Burma.

Cartier | Ruby and Diamond Ring

No heat Burma or Mozembique Sapphires are extremely rare in the market and fetching exceptional prices. 


There was a sunny offering at Sotheby’s too with its cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing 18.08 carats, flanked by two half-moon shaped diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18K yellow gold. When the lively bidding settled, it had sold for roughly $1M US, making this stone sell for about $55.000 US per carat. Size 6. Accompanied by GIA report no. 1176495525, dated 13 October 2021, stating that the diamond is Fancy Vivid Yellow, Natural Colour, VVS2 Clarity.


18.08 Fancy Vivid Yellow
克拉 艷彩黃色鑽石 配 鑽石 戒指 

We at Leibish experience a strong demand for fancy intense and fancy vivid yellow diamond rings.

All of these breathtaking stones are memorable of course. But, for me, the most remarkable sale from that Sotheby’s Hong Kong sale in October 2023 was the “Infinite Blue”. This fancy vivid blue stone can track its provenance back to the Petra Diamonds iconic Cullinan Mine. That’s a stellar lineage for anyone’s money. It’s notable that not many blue diamonds over 10 carats have ever hit the auction block. 

11.28vt Fancy Vivid Blue

Lot 8001, The 11.28 ct Fancy vivid blue sold for $25M US which was slightly below expectations, but still delivered a big total for an 11-plus carat Vivid blue diamond.

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