The Market for Color Gemstones and Signed Jewelry is on Fire

Savvy diamond collectors made their voice clear with fancy color diamonds at Phillips, the venerable auction house whose roots date to London in 1796. 

Red & Pink

Phillips recently sold a pink diamond for US $12M at their second Geneva jewelry auction which also saw two world records set for a fancy-red. 

The 6.21 carat, fancy-vivid-pink, VS1-clarity, Type IIa diamond ring headlined the sale at their May 13 “Geneva Jewels Auction: Two”, Phillips reported. The rare pink stone that figured in at US $1.9M per carat, fell within its presale estimate.  

The 6.21 carat, fancy-vivid-pink
Exceptional Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ring Weighing 6.21 carats (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Another item that performed exceptionally well was the Argyle Phoenix, a 1.56 carat, fancy red round brilliant diamond ring. The piece, which nearly tripled its high estimate to bring in US $4.2M, scored a record for overall price of a fancy red diamond at auction, as well as per-carat price.

The Argyle Phoenix
The Argyle Phoenix (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

The stone, which originated from Rio Tinto’s famed Argyle mine in Australia, sold for US $2.7 million per carat to Laurence Graff, founder of Graff Diamonds.

In total, the sale achieved US $26.1 million, with 74% of the lots finding buyers. 

Lawrence Graff
Lawrence Graff

Paddles Up in Geneva

The Allnatt! Magnificent & Noble Jewels sale at Sotheby’s Geneva proved to be a magnet for enthusiastic color diamond and gemstone aficionados. Highlighting the important offerings were “pieces from private collections of signed jewels from across the twentieth century” the press release promised.

The name Allnatt refers to Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, a renowned 20th century British sportsman and all around bon vivant. His collections of art and gemstones were museum worthy and indeed were sometimes on loan to exhibition halls during his lifetime.
The Allnatt! Magnificent & Noble Jewels
The Allnatt! Magnificent & Noble Jewels (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

The highlight of that May 14 sale was “The Allnatt”, a 101.29 carat fancy vivid yellow diamond set in a Cartier brooch. Its presale estimate landed the sunny stone in the US $6.2—$7.2M range. The rare yellow diamond generated enormous interest. Yet at the last minute, the consigner pulled the diamond brooch from the sale.

Several other notable stones did make it to the block like the stylish Toi et Moi colored diamond ring. The sumptuous ring was set with a 3.03 carat pear shape intense blue diamond next to a 2.82 carat colorless pear shape stone. The ring was signed JdG (James Taffin de Givanchy). This one sold within its presale estimate for US $913,676.

Toi et Moi colored diamond ringToi et Moi colored diamond ring (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Color Sells

A notable gemstone lot – was an important 33.25 carat cushion cherry red spinel and diamond ring which doubled its presale estimate—thus setting a new record for a spinel auctioned by Sotheby’s. Selling at US $759,884, it eclipsed its highest estimate of US $500,000. The spinel flanked by demi-lune diamond shoulders bore a maker’s mark of Carvin French.
33.25 carat cushion cherry red spinel and diamond ring
33.25ct Red Spinel and Diamond Ring (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Sapphires held pride of place with a 17.29 carat cushion shape Kashmir beauty mounted in a ring set between two triangular diamonds. The rare jewel sold for US $3.8M, exceeding it’s more modest high presale estimate of US $885,452.
17.29 carat cushion shape Kashmir17.29 ct cushion shape Kashmir (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

A very complete sapphire and diamond parure consisting of a ring, a wristwatch, bracelet, earrings, and pendant necklace, boasted nearly 52 carats of sapphire in the neckpiece alone. It also exceeded its top estimate of US $1.2M, selling for US $1.4M.

Meanwhile at Christie’s Geneva, more news was unfolding on May 15  . According to Christie’s results report, “The Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva totaled US $54,215,662, with deep bidding from a full salesroom, on the phones and online, and was 97% sold by lot and 98% sold by value.”

The sale was led by the 202 carat Yellow Rose diamond which sold for US $6,710,595, the second highest price ever paid for a yellow stone above 200cts at Christie’s.

The Yellow Rose Diamond
The Yellow Rose Diamond (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Max Fawcett, Head of Jewels Europe commented: “There is nothing better as an auctioneer than a full and engaged sale room, and to achieve such strong results - 97% by lot and 140% of the low estimate - is remarkable. The market for colored gemstones and signed jewellery is on fire and I could not think of a better way to start the 2024 season. We now look forward to Hong Kong, New York, Paris, and London.” 

In addition to the spectacular fancy color diamonds, the auction sold a dazzling array of colored gemstones, including an important pink sapphire of 25.20ct selling for US $1,514,976 which tripled its presale estimate.

pink sapphire of 25.20ct
Pink Sapphire of 25.20ct (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Kashmir and Burmese stones are a always in scarce supply—and this auction offered some exceptionally large examples. A 11.03ct Kashmir blue sapphire and a cushion-shaped 5.03cts Burmese ruby each of which sold for US$1,381,755.

11.03ct Kashmir blue sapphire
11.03ct Kashmir Blue Sapphire (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

A Royal Provenance

Among the selection of emeralds was Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain’s early 20th century sugarloaf and oval-shaped cabochon emerald and diamond brooch, which sold for US$208,089.

Signature Please

Notably, top-named signed jewelry stole the spotlight with pieces by Buccellati, Cartier, Georges Fouquet, Tiffany & Co., Jean Schlumberger, Marina B, Van Cleef & Arpels, Sterlé and JAR.

Mid-century pieces from the 1960s to 70s by Van Cleef & Arpels were much sought-after with a suite of turquoise and diamond Liberté jewelry selling for US$860,101 against an estimate of US$242,100 – $352,000.  The Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger ‘Hedges and Rows’ necklace sold for US$1,381,755 exceeding by five times its presale estimate.

Animal Magnetism

Enthusiastic buyers for signed animal pieces proved these were popular too.
Bulgari – Lady’s Enamel and Diamond Wristwatch, ‘Serpente del Latte’
Bulgari ‘Serpente del Latte’ (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

Three fantastic lots sold, two signed by René Boivin and one by Cartier. Boivin’s spectacular lion shoulder brooch sold after ferocious bidding of less than 4 minutes, to a buyer in the room for US$554,904, while his elephant multi-gem necklace achieved US$277,000.

Cartier’s iconic signature diamond-onyx and emerald Panthère clip brooch sold for US$610,395. But more revolutionary designs from the Art Deco era signed by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mauboussin and Rubel Freres were much in demand. The attention getter was an early Art Deco diamond and onyx brooch signed by Cartier, fetching US$638,140. 

Cartier – Rare Gem-Set and Diamond Brooch, ‘Flamant’
Cartier – Rare Gem-Set and Diamond Brooch, ‘Flamant’ (Credit Image: Roskin Gem News Report)

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