By Brecken Branstrator
“The CTF Pink” became the most valuable diamond or gemstone at auction when it sold for $71.2 million at Sotheby’s this year.
New York--Sotheby’s and Christie’s are both having a very merry holiday season as the two auction houses reveal they raked in more than a combined $1 billion in jewelry sales in 2017.

Christie’s reported global jewelry auction sales of $556.7 million this year, while Sotheby’s said its worldwide jewelry sales reached $551.3 million for 2017.

Though neither auction house responded to requests for 2016 numbers by press time for comparison, Christie’s called 2017 a “stellar” year, and Sotheby’s said it was an “exceptionally successful year.”

For Christie’s final sales numbers, live auction sales represented about 98 percent of that. Though only about $8.9 million came from online sales, Christie’s noted that was “immense growth” for that category.

The auction house achieved a world auction record for any D-color flawless diamond when it sold “The Art of De Grisogono, Creation I,” a necklace that sparked a one-man protest over its origin, for $33.7 million in November.

It also set the world auction record price-per-carat for an emerald when Harry Winston bought the 18.04-carat octagonal step-cut Rockefeller Emerald for $5.5 million in June.

Meanwhile, “The Pink Promise” diamond, a 14.93-carat fancy vivid pink, sold for $31.9 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Hong Kong sale, nearly matching the price-per-carat record for a pink diamond.

The De Grisogono necklace and The Pink Promise also were among the top overall jewelry lots for Christie’s in 2017.

Rounding out the top five were La Légende,” a 92-carat heart-shaped diamond suspended from a string of cultured pearls by Boehmer et Bassenge that garnered almost $15 million; “Le Grand Mazarin,” a light pink diamond weighing 19.07 carats once belonging to a number of royals, which sold for $14.5 million; and an 8.67-carat rectangular-cut VVS1, potentially internally flawless fancy intense blue diamond that went for $13.2 million.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s said sales were strong at all of its salesroom locations, and noted that this year included a new Fine Jewels sale in Geneva and the scaling up of its online-only sales.

The auction house said that 23 percent of lots were purchased online in 2017.

This year, Sotheby’s set the world auction record for any diamond or gemstone with “The Pink Star,” later renamed the “The CTF Pink” by buyer Chow Tai Fook. The company paid $71.2 million for the 59.60-carat oval mixed-cut Type IIa pink diamond.

Sotheby’s also set a record for the most expensive earrings at auction with the pear-shaped “Apollo Blue” and “Artemis Pink” diamonds, weighing 14.54 carats and 16 carats, respectively. Sold as two separate lots and later renamed the “The Memory of Autumn Leaves” and “The Dream of Autumn Leaves,” the earrings sold for a combined total of $57.4 million.

The CTF Pink and the two earrings represented lots No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 in Sotheby’s list of the top five this year.

They were followed by an emerald-cut fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 5.69 carats, which garnered $15.1 million, and a Piaget ring featuring a modified rectangular brilliant-cut fancy intense purplish pink diamond weighing 7.04 carats that sold for $13.2 million.

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