Jewelry Records Continue to Fall at Sotheby’s
Following record-breaking Jewelry sales at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October and Sotheby’s Geneva in November, yesterday’s auctions of Magnificent Jewels and Jewels from the Estate of William B. Dietrich achieved $53.2 million in total, the highest ever total for a day of jewelry sales at Sotheby’s New York.  Buyers responded to quality in the Magnificent Jewels sale, with each of the top ten lots bringing prices over $1 million. The day began with a ‘white glove’ auction–100% sold–of Jewels from The Estate of William B. Dietrich, which far surpassed its pre-sale high estimate to bring $4,125,002 (est. $2/2.7 million*).
“In many ways yesterday’s record sales were a strong statement about the global jewelry market at Sotheby’s,” commented Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, International Jewelry Division. “Buyers come to auction looking for variety, quality, rarity and value, and the success of our sale was a reflection of the depth and consistent quality of the pieces we offer in New York, whether stones or signed jewels.”
The sales saw strong results for rare and exquisite diamonds, led by a magnificent platinum and diamond pendant-necklace, Tiffany & Co. from a private collection that achieved $3,666,500.  The classic emerald-cut diamond weighing 27.19 carats is certified D color, Internally Flawless clarity, with excellent polish and excellent symmetry and type IIa classification.
Another highlight of the sales was a 54.20 carats, cut- cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow VS1 diamond ring which brought $2,322,500. Strong online participation in both sales was led by a platinum and diamond necklace, whose $1,082,500 result is now the highest price paid online at a live Sotheby’s auction. The necklace was designed as a graduated rivière with more than 140 carats of round and old European-cut diamonds.
In the wake of Sotheby’s record-shattering result for ‘The Graff Pink’ this November at Sotheby’s Geneva, yesterday’s sales saw more strong prices for exceptional pink diamonds. A rare Light Pink diamond ring featuring a diamond linked to the famed Golconda mines of India far surpassed its high estimate to sell for $2,226,500. The oval light pink diamond weighs 10.46 carats, is Internally Flawless and type IIa, and retains in its antique cut the charm and character of its time. 

A platinum and Fancy Intense Pink diamond ring featuring a pear shaped diamond weighing 6.32 carats, SI2 clarity achieved $1,650,500, also in excess of the high estimate.
The estate of William B. Dietrich was led by a platinum, 18 Karat pink gold and Fancy Pink diamond ring set with an oval diamond of 3.03 carats, which also sold above its high estimate for $482,500.

Another highlight from the day’s sales was the first jadeite jewel of major historical importance to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York in over 30 years. The Oei Tiong Ham Necklace: An historic Chinese Imperial Jadeite Bead Necklace sold for $1,986,500, within the pre-sale estimate. Oei Tiong Ham, a successful Chinese businessman, is said to have purchased two necklaces composed of beads from the leading jadeite dealer in Peking, who had reputedly obtained them from the family of Emperor Puyi. After descending through multiple generations of the family, the exceptional necklace was offered by a direct descendant of Oei Tiong Ham.
Gary Schuler, senior vice president and head of Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, commented “Top-quality colored gemstones were also highly sought after in yesterday’s auctions, as evidenced by the intense competition over the ‘Royal Blue’ Burmese Sapphire and the high price achieved by the Burmese Ruby mounted by Tiffany.”
Multiple bidders competed for a platinum, sapphire and diamond ring with a cushion shaped Burmese sapphire weighing 19.55 carats that was ultimately sold to an American private collector for $734,500. Another top colored stone in the sale was the platinum, 18 Karat Gold, ruby and diamond ring, Tiffany & Co. featuring an oval ruby weighing 9.65 carats which sold for $1,426,500.
Yesterday’s sales offered a remarkable and varied selection of signed and period jewels. A pair of pearl and diamond hoop earclips, JAR, 1987 that were included in Rosenthal’s 1987 exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York–marking the American debut of JAR’s work achieved $422,500.
A platinum, emerald, opal, diamond and enamel ring, Georges Fouquet, circa 1920 soared past its pre-sale high estimate of $20,000 to bring $218,500.
David Webb’s own interpretation of the much admired “Tutti-Frutti” style was represented by the platinum, 18 Karat white gold, carved colored stone, diamond and enamel bracelet and earclips, which sold for $386,500.
The ‘white glove’ auction of Jewels from the Estate of William B. Dietrich saw spirited bidding in the morning, which resulted in a number of pieces achieving many multiples of their high estimates: a platinum and diamond feather brooch, France, circa 1930, by Van Cleef & Arpels (unsigned) brought $248,500, more than seven times its high estimate.; a platinum, diamond and Natural Pearl Tassel Necklace, circa 1920 achieved $212,500, more than three times the high estimate; and a 18 Karat gold, platinum, opal, sapphire and garnet brooch, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany & Co., circa 1920 sold for $104,500, three times its high estimate.
The full proceeds of the sale will be contributed to the William B. Dietrich Foundation, an organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of art and architectural treasures in the Philadelphia area.
*Pre-sale estimates do not include Buyer’s Premium.
All images: Sotheby’s New York.  
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