Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Magnificent Jewels

Christie's New York, Jewels: The New York Sale; April 22, 2010.

Lot 192: A Colored Diamond Ring
Set with a cut-cornered rectangular-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond, weighing approximately 9.83 carats, flanked on either side by two graduated baguette-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18k gold.
Estimate: $700,000 – 1,000,000

by Wendy Moonan

Catherine the Great’s dazzling emerald and diamond brooch. Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Burmese ruby ring. Marlene Dietrich’s beloved diamond rose pin. These are a few of the jewels for sale this week in Manhattan.

If you like jewelry with provenance, it’s a good time to see it — and try it on — at New York’s auction houses, where the presale viewings continue through Tuesday morning at Sotheby’s, Wednesday morning at Phillips de Pury (at the Mark Hotel) and Wednesday afternoon at Christie’s.

On Tuesday afternoon (that's today, folks), Sotheby’s has scheduled two auctions with more than 800 lots. Of these, Patricia Kluge, the former wife of billionaire John Werner Kluge, has consigned 17. She is selling Albemarle House, their Virginia estate near Monticello, for $48 million, its contents and her jewelry in order to concentrate on her wine business.

Sotheby’s New York, Magnificent Jewels; April 20, 2010.

Patricia Kluge wearing Lot 581
Property from the Collection of
Patricia Kluge

A Pair of Platinum and Diamond Pendant-Earclips Set Throughout with Pear-Shaped Diamonds
Est. $600/800,000
Patricia Kluge is a beautiful woman, and the Sotheby’s catalog has vintage photos of her at various events, wearing spectacular platinum and diamond pendant ear clips set with almost 64 carats of pear-shaped diamonds (est.: $600,000 - $800,000), a ruby and diamond necklace ($150,000 - $200,000) and a large, showy pear-shaped diamond ring (only $150,000 - $200,000).

Also splendid are her fancy Intense Yellow diamond ring and yellow diamond earlaps. A diamond cat with sapphire “spots” cleverly conceals the watch face of her Cartier Panthère wristwatch, a 1985 model new to specialists at Sotheby’s.

Marlene Dietrich’s platinum and diamond rose brooch from 1930 is surprisingly delicate.

“We have sold a lot of Marlene’s jewels but none more personal or significant than this,” said Lisa Hubbard, chairman of the jewelry department at Sotheby’s. “The brooch turns out to have been her personal favorite. She got it at the beginning of her career and always treasured it.”

The auction houses comprise a small part of the jewelry market, but for jewelry lovers they seem more accessible than some of the stand-alone jewelry stores on Madison and Fifth Avenue.

Last Friday, Sotheby’s was packed with beautifully dressed women of many nationalities trying on necklaces, while scruffy looking dealers examined jewels under microscopes and special ultra-violet lights that Sotheby’s provided.

One popular necklace featured 42 yellow diamonds weighing a total of 100.17 carats. It is thought to be the first necklace set entirely with Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds to come to auction.
Sotheby’s New York, Magnificent Jewels; April 20, 2010.
Lot 565
Property from a Private Collection
A Magnificent Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Necklace
Set with 42 GIA-certified Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds weighing a total of 100.17 carats
Est. $2/3 million

Lot 560
Property of the Gardner Family, Formerly in the Collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner
Ruby and Diamond Ring
The cushion-shaped ruby weighing 8.66 carats, flanked by single-cut diamonds weighing approximately .12 carat
Est. $1/1.5 million

Lot 557
Fancy Intense Pinkish Orange Diamond Ring
set with a 7.67 carat, type IIa, cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut stone that is the largest flawless or internally flawless diamond of this pinkish orange color graded by the GIA to date
Est. $2.5/3.5 million
Sotheby’s New York, Magnificent Jewels; April 20, 2010.
Lot 559
Formerly in the Collection of Marlene Dietrich
Platinum and Diamond Brooch, circa 1930
Est. $30/50,000
Diamonds are popular, especially now that the Chinese have entered the market.
“The Chinese are beyond important,” said Hubbard. “Over the last couple of years we’ve seen Chinese mainland collectors making a huge impact. Diamonds are a major component.”

In this particular auction cycle, Christie’s has a much smaller sale, with 300 lots, though it claims to be the world market leader among the auction houses, with jewelry sales in 2009 totaling nearly $273 million.

Rahul Kadakia, the head of Christie’s jewelry department in New York, was asked about his Chinese clients.
Sotheby’s New York, Magnificent Jewels; April 20, 2010.
Lot 569
Property from the Collection of Patricia Kluge
Platinum, Diamond and Sapphire “Panthère” Wristwatch, Cartier, French, circa 1985

Est. $100/150,000
“The mainland Chinese are building jewelry collections,” he said. “They like D flawless diamonds. They want stones with polish and symmetry, and they prefer round stones over any other shape.”

Christie’s, which sold a 5-carat Vivid Pink diamond last fall in Hong Kong for a record-breaking $10.8 million, has some exceptional stones.

The top lot, expected to sell for over $3 million, is a platinum necklace with a D color, internally flawless, heart-shaped diamond pendant of 28.28 carats.
Sotheby’s New York, Magnificent Jewels; April 20, 2010.
Lot 365 (Pictured with Lot 364)
Diamond and Colored Stone Charm Necklace
The 18 karat gold link chain necklace supporting 16 charms, including an explosive device, cross, Yale man, signed Cartier, numbered 2827, cat, hunting dog, mother and child elephant, fleur de lis, tank, heart, man hanging the moon, pheasant, sphinx, house, panda, 5th Army emblem and duck, variously set with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, onyx and enamel, length 16 inches, chain signed King for Arthur King.

Est. $18/22,000
There is also a D color, internally flawless, cushion-cut diamond of 20.06 carats, which is mounted as a ring.

“Over 100 million carats of diamonds are sold per year, but only 10% is D color and only 1% is over 5 carats,” Kadakia said.

The most historic jewel is probably the cushion-shaped diamond of 39.55 carats that Emperor Maximilian of Mexico acquired in Brazil in 1860. Later in the 1860s he was assassinated by a firing squad in Mexico, supposedly wearing the diamond in a satchel tied around his neck. In 1983 Imelda Marcos, wife of the president of the Philippines, acquired it. It is expected to sell for $1 - $1.5 million.
Christie's New York, Jewels: The New York Sale; April 22, 2010.

Top: Lot 219, The Emperor Maximilian Diamond.
Set with a cushion-cut diamond, weighing approximately 39.55 carats, mounted in platinum.

Estimate: $1,000,000 – 1,500,000

Above: Lot 300, The Catherine The Great Emerald Brooch.
Centering upon a hexagonal-cut emerald, within an openwork two-tiered rose-cut diamond surround, bordered by old mine-cut diamonds, mounted in silver-topped gold, mid 18th century, (brooch stem may be detached and brooch may be worn as a pendant with additional pendant hoop).

Estimate: $1,000,000 – 1,500,000
Lot 212, An Art Deco Multi-Gem And Diamond "Tutti Frutti" Bracelet, By Cartier.
Designed as an old European-cut diamond undulating vine, set along the top and bottom with carved ruby, sapphire and emerald leaves, enhanced by emerald bead berries and collet-set old European-cut diamonds, to the pavé-set diamond buckle clasp, decorated with triangular and rectangular-cut black onyx geometric detail, mounted in platinum, circa 1930, 6 7/8 ins., in a S. J. Phillips Ltd. blue leather case. Signed Cartier, London.

Estimate: $600,000 - 800,000
“Provenance makes an enormous difference,” Kadakia said.

He recalled how, in 1999, Christie’s sold Marilyn Monroe’s platinum wedding band, a gift from her second husband Joe DiMaggio set with 35-baguette-cut diamonds, for more than $750,000. “It was estimated at $50,000,” he said.

“Last October we sold the Annenberg Diamond, a 32-carat D flawless diamond, for $7.7 million,” he continued. “The sale set a new per-carat record price for a colorless diamond at $240,000 per carat.”
Christie's New York, Jewels: The New York Sale; April 22, 2010.
Lot 117, A Pair Of Emerald And Diamond Ear Pendants.
Each suspending a briolette-cut emerald drop, held by circular-cut diamond prongs, from an old European-cut diamond link, to the larger old European-cut diamond surmount, mounted in silver-topped gold.

Estimate: $200,000 – 400,000
Lot 292, An Exceptional Colored Diamond Ring.
Set with a round-cornered rectangular-cut fancy vivid blue diamond, weighing approximately 3.43 carats, flanked on either side by a cut-cornered trapeze-cut diamond, mounted in platinum.

Estimate: $1,500,000 – 2,500,000
Catherine the Great’s brooch, which boasts a Colombian emerald weighing between 60 and 60 carats, has always been considered one of the outstanding jewels in the world. In 1776, Catherine gave it to Sophie Dorothea, Princess of Wurttemberg, as a wedding gift at the marriage of Catherine’s son and successor, Tsar Paul I. It passed down to the princess’s descendents and the Hohenzollern family. It is estimated to sell for $1 - $1.5 million.

Sotheby’s second sale, “Always in Style: 150 years of Artistic Jewels,” on April 20 has more affordable works from the 1840s through the 1950s. This includes 19th-century Roman micromosaics, art nouveau jewels, Art Deco pieces (including by Raymond Yard), and pieces designed by Boivin, Cartier, Oscar Heyman & Bros., Van Cleef, Schlumberger, Verdura, David Webb, Bulgari and Buccellati. All of them are well worth a look — and serious consideration.
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