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Top Ten Most Expensive Jewels Sold At Auction – Jewels du Jour

I really like lists and what’s better than an inventory of the 10 costliest jewelry items bought at auction.

No. 10 – The Empress Eugenie Brooch – bought for $10.5 million – April 22nd, 2008

No. 10 – The Empress Eugenie Brooch – $10.5 million – April 22nd, 2008 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

Designed as an previous mine and previous European-cut diamond openwork sculpted bow, suspending two rose, previous mine and previous European-cut diamond tassels and 5 articulated graduated previous mine-cut diamond cascades set en pampille, mounted in silver-topped gold, circa 1855, 9 x 4½ ins., with maker’s mark, (pin detachable with screw again), in a pink leather fitted case, inscribed “Diamants de La Couronne de France”
By François Kramer

No. 9 – The Vivid Pink, by Graff – $11.8 million – December 1st, 2009

No. 9 – The Vivid Pink, by Graff – $11.eight million – December 1st, 2009 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

Set with a cushion-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 5.00 carats, flanked on both aspect by a shield-shaped diamond, mounted in platinum and 18okay rose gold, ring measurement 5

Signed Graff
Accompanied by report no. 12956371 dated 23 July 2009 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the 5.00 carat diamond is fancy vivid pink, natural colour, VS1 clarity; with a working diagram indicating that the readability is probably flawless

Also accompanied by a supplemental letter from the Gemological Institute of America stating the 5.00 carat diamond has been determined to be a kind IIa pink diamond. Sort IIa pink diamonds are very uncommon in nature, typically have comparatively few inclusions and are famous for their principally homogenous colour within the tough. In contrast to many different coloured diamonds, the color in pink diamonds cannot only be brought on by impurities, however it might also be a results of the diamond’s exposure to warmth and strain throughout transportation into the earth’s crust. Sort IIa pinks have been present in quite a lot of mining regions all over the world. Historically they have been present in India (notably from the Golconda area) and, in newer occasions, most notably from Brazil and Africa.

Amongst famous gem diamonds, the 70.39 carat Empress Rose and the 28.15 carat Agra are examples of sort IIa pinks

No. 8 – The Sun-Drop Diamond – $12.3 million – November 15th, 2011

No. eight – The Sun-Drop Diamond – $12.3 million – November 15th, 2011 – by way of Sotheby’s

Lot Description from Sotheby’s:

The most important recognized Fancy Vivid Yellow pear-shaped diamond at 110.03 carats.

Setting the “Vault Gallery” Ablaze in London

The Sun-Drop was unveiled to the world at London’s Pure Historical past Museum where it was exhibited in the famous ‘Vault Gallery’ from February by means of August  2011. The world’s press along with friends including Jerry Corridor, pictured left, have been thrilled to view such a uncommon and delightful diamond.  Traditionally vital with regard to its measurement and color, Alan Hart, head of collections for the Mineralogy Department, was delighted to display such a stone.  “When you look at a diamond like this”, he said within the Museum’s press launch, “you are not only looking at a unique piece of art, you are looking at the fascinating science that brought this stone to us.  The Sun-Drop diamond was formed deep within the Earth’s crust 1-3 billion years ago.  As it grew, it incorporated nitrogen into its carbon crystal structure.  It is these nitrogen impurities that give the diamond its yellow colour as they modify light, absorbing the blue part of the visible spectrum.  The diamond then travelled on a long journey upwards in a slushy rock magma.  After it was found within a kimberlite pipe (a type of volcanic rock), it was expertly studied and cut, bringing the diamond to life.”

The under is an excerpt from the GIA Monograph – The Solar-Drop Diamond – 2011, Gemological Institute of America, Inc.

The mystique of yellow diamonds is nothing new.  They have long been recognized and prized amongst collectors.  In 1676, French traveler and gem vendor Jean-Baptiste Tavernier talked about seeing a big 137.27 carat yellow diamond he referred to variously because the “Florentine,” the “Austrian Yellow,” and the “Grand Duke of Tuscany” in descriptions of a number of well-known diamonds he encountered throughout his travels in India.
For diamonds, a big crystal displaying a notable power of colour is sort of a rarity.  Accordingly, a sizable normal gem with a robust colour is much more uncommon given the paucity of rough materials.  Actually, polished diamonds over 100 carats of any shade, weak or robust, are fairly uncommon.  Given these issues, the impressiveness of the 110.03 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Solar-Drop comes into sharp focus.

With its giant measurement and strikingly rich shade, the Solar-Drop possesses a commanding presence positive to capture the attention and creativeness of all who view it.  While gazing at such a diamond, we should marvel what its future will hold.  It might certainly rank already with the historic diamonds of the past, and we will solely await the Solar-Drop’s story to be revealed.

Color Grading The Sun-Drop: for fancy-color diamonds, colour far outweighs the other “Cs” (clarity, minimize, and carat weight) when establishing value.  Subsequently, it is essential to know colour appearances and the way they have an effect on shade grades and descriptions.

Accurately describing shade in diamonds is not any simple activity, given the wide selection of potential hues. Moreover, variations in brilliance and bright-dark contrast patterns additionally complicate the assessment.  In 1995, GIA refined its shade grading system, including grades to raised define uncommon depths of colour that weren’t generally seen in years previous.  With the addition of Fancy Vivid, GIA was capable of spotlight these rare, extremely saturated diamonds in all hues.  Since that point, very few diamonds passing by means of the Lab earn this distinction.  In a 1998 sampling of yellow diamonds, GIA famous that only four% have been graded Fancy Vivid, no matter measurement.  Equally, a 2003 sampling indicated that solely 6% acquired a grade of Fancy Vivid.  This already small quantity is lowered to a mere fraction as measurement increases.  Few individuals will ever see such an opulent shade in a diamond the dimensions of the Solar-Drop.”

No. 7 – Wallis Simpson’s Cartier Panther Bracelet – $12.four million – November 30th, 2010

No. 7 – Wallis Simpson’s Cartier Panther Bracelet – $12.four million – November 30th, 2010 – by way of Sotheby’s

Catalogue Notes & Provenance from Sotheby’s:

Cartier’s celebrated ‘Great Cat’ jewels have been inspired by Jeanne Toussaint, (1887-1978), whose association with the firm started in 1915.  The cats are amongst her most famous animal jewels.  Jeanne was an intimate companion of Louis Cartier, (1874-1942), by whom she was affectionately often known as ‘Pantherè‘.  She indulged her ardour for the animal by scattering her condominium in Paris with animal skins and jewelled objects adorned with panthers.  In 1933 she turned answerable for the Haute-Joaillerie of the firm by Louis Cartier, and shortly afterwards began conferring with the Duke of Windsor on many jewellery tasks.

Jeanne Toussaint oversaw the entire panther vary collaborating with the firm’s designers, most notably Peter Lemarchand, (1906–1970).  He established the panther silhouette within the 1940s and subsequently the looks of lifelike panther and tiger jewels in each type of pose.  Lemarchand was very fast at putting his ideas onto paper.  He would visit the zoo at Vincennes to attract the cats from life, learning their distinctive feline movement and bodily structure.

The first three-dimensional panthère brooch made in the Cartier workshops was created for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in 1948.  It depicted a gold panther adorned with black enamel spots outstretched on a cabochon emerald, weighing 116.74 carats, which was from the Duke’s personal collection of stones, (Lot 55 from 2nd April 1987 public sale at Sotheby’s).  Other well-known house owners of ‘cat‘ jewels embrace Barbara Hutton, Princess Nina Aga Khan and Daisy Fellowes.

The Duchess of Windsor had several ‘cat’ jewels in her assortment which started with the emerald brooch in 1948 and this specific space of her assortment was continued to be added to over the subsequent almost twenty years.  In 1949 the Duke bought a panther clip with sapphire spots seated on a Kashmir cabochon sapphire weighing 152.35 carats.  This specific onyx and diamond bracelet within the form of an outstretched panther was purchased from Cartier in December 1952; the sale is recorded unusually as being by the Duchess herself and not to their excellent shopper S.A.R Le Duc de Windsor.  Probably the most hanging thing about this piece isn’t solely the lifelike design however its supple highly articulated linking allowing it to move very elegantly; the matching brooch to this jewel was not bought until 1966.  Different cat jewels included an unusual pair of lorgnettes, the handle designed as a tiger with a raised paw which was purchased in 1954.  A pair of Cartier tiger jewels set with onyx and fancy yellow diamonds within the type of a bracelet was acquired in 1956 and the matching clip in 1959.

No. 6 – Katharina Henckel Von Donnersmarck’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.7 million – Might 17th, 2011

No. 6 – Katharina Henckel Von Donnersmarck’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.7 million – Might 17th, 2011 – by way of Sotheby’s

Literature from Sotheby’s:

This magnificent emerald and diamond tiara is probably an important to have appeared at public sale in over 30 years – since in truth it was bought at Sotheby’s Zurich in 1979. It’s also in all probability the grandest tiara to exist outdoors Royal, State and museum collections.

When this tiara was first provided at public sale at Sotheby’s in Zurich, on 15th November 1979, lot 823, the catalogue footnote said that household custom linked the eleven pear-shaped emerald drops to the French Imperial Crown Jewels. In Paris in 1887, seventeen years after the fall of the monarchy, the French authorities bought the Crown Jewels at public public sale. Although Empress Eugénie adored emeralds, there were only a few jewels set with emeralds within the illustrated catalogue of the sale, and none set with stones just like the pear-shaped drops of this tiara. Nevertheless, in 1872, the sale of Empress Eugénie personal assortment of jewels had included 25 polished emerald drops. An annotated copy of the sale catalogue is held on the Victoria & Albert Museum in London the place the customer of every lot is identified. At the time of the sale nobody single buyer purchased enough emerald drops to create this tiara, but it is solely attainable that at a later stage a gaggle of 11 emeralds initially bought on the 1872 sale, was put together to crown this excellent jewel commissioned by Rely Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck for his second wife Katharina Wassilievna de Slepzoff. The Imperial provenance of the stones would have been a perfect fit to the grandeur of the fee and the status of the Donnersmarcks: as it is recognized Rely Henckel von Donnersmarck also purchased Empress Eugénie’s pearls for his wife La Païva by way of two totally different brokers on the occasion of their marriage in 1871.

The eleven exceptionally rare emerald drops are really outstanding Colombian specimens of excellent color and measurement. They might initially have been drilled and polished in India, in all probability through the 17th or 18th century, and would virtually definitely, have adorned the neck of a Maharaja.

The tiara is just not signed and doesn’t bear any mark, nevertheless in quality of design and manufacture, it’s consistent with the most effective creations of the good Parisian Maisons of the time. Boucheron and Chaumet have been the favoured jewellers of fin de siècle European nobility and the Henckel von Donnersmarck have been patrons of each companies. Chaumet particularly, in 1896,  had been commissioned by Rely Henckel von Donnersmarck to supply a crown of diamond leaves and ribbons which could possibly be surmounted by 5 emeralds or pearls, and is completely attainable that the same firm created the  tiara provided right here, with its line of laurel leaves, swags and lily-of-the-valley motifs.

No. 5 – The Bulgari Blue – $15.7 million – October 20th, 2010

No. 5 – The Bulgari Blue – $15.7 million – October 20th, 2010 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

Set with a triangular-cut fancy vivid blue diamond, weighing approximately 10.95 carats, and a triangular-cut diamond, weighing roughly 9.87 carats, to the baguette-cut diamond half-hoop, mounted in gold, circa 1972, in an unique BVLGARI black silk field

Article on The Bulgari Blue from Christie’s

No. four – The Martian Pink by Harry Winston – $17.four million – Might 29th, 2012

No. 4 – The Martian Pink by Harry Winston – $17.four million – Might 29th, 2012 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

Set with a brilliant-cut fancy intense pink weighing 12.04 carats, mounted in 18okay gold, ring measurement 7

Accompanied by report no. 1132447626 dated 19 Might 2011 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the 12.04 carat diamond is fancy intense pink, natural color, VS1 readability

Also accompanied by a supplemental letter from the Gemological Institute of America stating the 12.04 carat diamond has been determined to be sort IIa, pure, with nearly no nitrogen in its crystal construction

No. three – The Good Pink – $23.2 million – November 29, 2010

No. three – The Good Pink – $23.2 million – November 29, 2010 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

Set with a rectangular-shaped fancy intense pink diamond weighing 14.23 carats, flanked on both aspect by a rectangular-shaped diamond weighing 1.73 and 1.67 carats, mounted in 18okay rose and white gold, ring measurement 5½

Accompanied by report no. 14432611 dated 16 Might 2005 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the 14.23 carat diamond is fancy intense pink, pure colour, VVS2 clarity, with wonderful symmetry

Accompanied by a observe no. 1009543 dated 24 September 2010 from Gübelin Gemmological Laboratory stating that diamonds are categorised into two elementary groups based mostly on the relative presence or absence of nitrogen included into the crystal structure, as determined by the infrared spectrum. Sort I diamonds incorporates appreciable concentrations of nitrogen, whereas sort II diamonds are chemically very pure and don’t reveal infrared absorption characteristics associated to nitrogen. An extra separation of these two teams consists of sort Ia (nitrogen atoms present in pairs or groups), sort Ib (remoted nitrogen atoms), sort IIa (no measurable traces of nitrogen) and sort IIb (traces of boron). Based mostly on its infrared spectrum, the diamond of 14.23 carats is assessed as a kind IIa diamond

Also accompanied by two stories no. 2125332554 dated 21 July 2010 and 17550927 dated three August 2010 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the 1.73 and 1.67 carat diamonds are D colour, internally flawless clarity

No. 2 – The Wittelsbach Diamond – $24.three million – December 10th, 2008

No. 2 – The Wittelsbach Diamond – $24.three million – December 10th, 2008 – by way of Christie’s

Lot Description from Christie’s:

An historic cushion-shaped fancy deep grayish blue diamond weighing 35.56 carats to the plain mount (illustrated unmounted)
Accompanied by report no 17794002 dated 24 September 2008 from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) stating that the diamond is Fancy Deep Grayish Blue color, VS2 readability

Together with a Diamond Sort Classification Report stating that the diamond is Sort IIb and a letter from the Gemological Institute of America confirming the rarity and importance of this distinctive stone

No. 1 – The Graff Pink – $46.2 million – November 16th, 2010

No. 1 – The Graff Pink – $46.2 million – November 16th, 2010 – by way of Sotheby’s

Catalogue Notes & Provenance from Sotheby’s:

This stone is being provided on the market from a personal assortment. Based on the consignor the stone has not appeared on the open market because it was first purchased some 60 years in the past from Harry Winston himself.

This sublimely lovely stone is doubtless one of the essential diamonds ever to seem at public sale and its appearance is a serious event on the earth of high-quality gems.

All connoisseurs will agree that it shows probably the most good pure pink color, which has been graded ‘fancy intense pink’ by the GIA with no secondary color modifier. In addition the GIA state that the stone could also be probably flawless after sprucing away some minor surface defects, that are mainly because of put on and the age of the stone.

This distinctive diamond has additionally been found to be a part of the uncommon subgroup – comprising less than 2 % of all gem diamonds – often known as sort IIa: stones on this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and sometimes have extraordinary optical transparency.

What makes this diamond stand out as a very rare gemstone nevertheless is the mixture of this distinctive colour and purity with the basic emerald minimize –  a method of slicing usually associated with white diamonds and immensely sought-after when found within the uncommon colours similar to pink and blue. The shape is additional enhanced by the gently rounded corners which impart a singular softness and appeal to this really outstanding gemstone.


The Romance of Pink Diamonds
By Ian Balfour

Traditionally, probably the most well-known pink diamonds have come from India. Of these, satisfaction and place have to be given to the rectangular, step-cut ‘Darya-i-Nur’ (Sea of Mild), one of many great diamonds of history. The ‘Darya-i-Nur’ is estimated to weigh between 175 and 195 carats. It’s the principal gem in the Crown Jewels of Iran and together with the ‘Nur ul-Ain’ (Mild of the Eye), an oval sensible of around 60 carats, once constituted the most important part of the ‘Great Table’ diamond. In 1642 Tavernier saw, and tried unsuccessfully to buy, this legendary stone from a merchant in Golconda.

One other historic Indian diamond is the ‘Agra’ which weighs simply over 32 carats. Its early history hyperlinks it with Babur, the primary of the Mogul rulers. Later it got here into the possession of the eccentric Duke of Brunswick, one of the 19th century’s most necessary collectors of bizarre diamonds: he paid 348,00zero francs for the gem. In the direction of the top of the century Edwin Streeter, the London jeweller and writer of several books on gems, acquired the ‘Agra’. The Agra was bought at public sale in London in 1990.

The ‘Hortense’, weighing 20.53 carats, is a somewhat flat, rectangular-shaped diamond which was listed within the 1691 inventory of the Crown Jewels of France. The gem is known as after Hortense de Beauharnais, the Queen of Holland and stepdaughter of Napoleon. It was one of the jewels stolen from the Garde-Meuble in Paris in 1792 however was recovered a yr later. On account of its historic curiosity the ‘Hortense’ was among the gadgets excluded from the sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887. The stone is now in the Louvre collection

The cushion-cut ‘Princie’ diamond, weighing 34.64 carats, might formerly have been a part of the State jewels of Turkey. In 1960 it was bought at an public sale in London: shortly after the stone was christened ‘Princie’ in honour of the fourteen-year-old son of the Maharanee of Baroda whose pet family identify was ‘Princie’.

Probably the most celebrated pink diamond is the ‘Williamson’. The rough stone was found within the Williamson Mine, situated near Mwadui in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in October 1947. Dr. John Williamson, the discoverer and proprietor of the mine, was an ardent Royalist so that he gave the diamond as a marriage present to the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth. Curiously the ‘Williamson’ proved to be an remoted find, no different pink diamond having come type this supply. The stone was minimize in London into an excellent of 23.60 carats, which was later set within the centre of a flower spray brooch. It’s rumoured that the Queen has a special affection for this jewel: proof of that is provided by the fact that Her Majesty wore the brooch on the wedding ceremony of the Duke of Kent in 1961 and that of the Prince of Wales twenty years later. Since hundreds of thousands of viewers watched the latter ceremony on tv it’s protected to imagine that no famous diamond has ever been seen by so many people at the similar time.

And eventually a cool infographic as an example the superb information about 5 of the aforementioned jewels – by way of the Three Graces, suppliers of vintage property jewelry and antique engagement rings.

(This text was meant to be posted yesterday.)