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Diamonds, Sapphires Exceed Estimates At Bonhams London Auction

The 19th century sapphire and diamond brooch

Diamonds and sapphires all exceeded their pre-sale estimates at the Bonhams London December Jewellery sale on December 5. Headlining the auction was a 24.31-carat D-IF Type IIa step-cut diamond, which sold for £1,868,750 ($2,387,105) or $98,194 per carat. The diamond’s final price was in excess of its pre-sale estimate of £1,300,000-£1,800,000 ($1,700,000-$2,300,000).

Bonhams UK Director of Jewellery Emily Barber said, “This magnificent gem was greatly admired during our previews in London, New York, LA and Hong Kong.  It attracted a lot of interest not only due to its significant size — top quality diamonds over 20 carats are very rare — but also due to its Internal Flawless clarity and its exceptional white colour. We’re delighted with how well it performed.”

The Bonhams London sale brought in a total of £5,201,000 ($6,643,656).
Sapphires from Kashmir also caught the eyes of buyers with two notable lots selling during the sale.  These included:

  • A late 19th century sapphire and diamond brooch featuring a 4.08-carat cushion-shaped sapphire, which sold for £248,750 ($317,748) or $77,880 per carat, beating its pre-sale estimate of £120,000-£180,000 ($160,000-$230,000).
  • A sapphire and diamond ring by Asprey featuring a 3.09-carat cushion-shaped sapphire, which sold for £87,500 ($114,625) or $37,095 per carat, also exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £60,000-£80,000 ($78,000-$100,000). 

Barber commented, “Kashmir sapphires have continued to be in high demand from Bonhams’ clients globally due to their rarity and because the finest specimens are the benchmark against which all other sapphires are judged.”

Also exceeding its pre-sale estimate was a fancy coloured diamond ring by Boodles. The 1.03-carat, VS1 marquise-cut fancy intense blue diamond smashed its pre-sale estimate of £150,000-£200,000 ($190,000-$260,000), selling for £284,750 ($363,734), translating to $353,139 per carat.

Buyers also snapped up jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels, notably:

  • Three gem-set bracelets which sold for £175,000 ($223,541). The trio of bracelets, made in 1926, are accompanied by three certificates of authenticity from Van Cleef & Arpels. The first bracelet is set with peridots and onyx, the second with amethysts and the third with citrines.
    Barber observed, “These remarkable bracelets – possibly a unique commission – were made by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1926 and are an extraordinary example of Van Cleef’s early Art Deco style.”
  • A pair of ‘mystery-set’ sapphire ‘Cosmos’ ear clips which sold for £81,250 ($103,787).  Dated circa 1991, the ear clips are designed as two invisibly-set calibré-cut sapphire flower heads, each with a brilliant-cut diamond pistil.
  • A ‘mystery-set’ sapphire ‘Cosmos’ brooch which sold for £68,750 ($87,819).  Dated circa 1989, the brooch is designed as an invisibly-set calibré-cut sapphire flower blossom with a brilliant-cut diamond pistil on a baguette-cut diamond  stem.

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