This blue diamond ring led Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York City this week.
New York—Blue diamonds continued to prove their popularity at Sotheby’s Wednesday during the auction house’s Magnificent Jewels sale.

A ring with a fancy intense blue diamond center stone weighing 3.24 carats and of VVS1 clarity sold for just under its $2.5-$3 million estimate, garnering $2.3 million at the jewelry auction.

Signed jewelry also topped the sale, with a much-Instagrammed 40-inch Bulgari “Serpenti” necklace that provides a plethora of styling options—it can be worn as a long Y-necklace, a multi-strand necklace, or even a belt—and features 260 carats of white diamonds commanding $920,000.

20190418 Sothebys Serpenti

Sotheby’s Luxury Division Sales Director Frank Everett said in a press release: “Bulgari has been reinventing the ‘Serpenti’ jewels for decades, first with the gold tubogas watches that wrap and climb the wrist, later with colored enamel ‘scales,’ and now in fully-pavéd diamond contemporary pieces.

“It strikes me that no matter how often the Serpenti appears on the red carpet, the most famous and beautiful women in the world are happy to be seen in these pieces again and again. That’s the very definition of timeless and iconic.”

20190418 Sothebys TiffanyBrooch wraptext

A diamond, coral, emerald and seed pearl pendeloque brooch from Tiffany & Co., seen at right, more than doubled its highest pre-sale estimate, $350,000, to garner $824,000 in the jewelry auction.

Dating from the Art Deco era, the design was inspired by an Indian sarpech, or turban pin, meant to dangle like a tassel over the eyebrow.

Another Tiffany & Co. creation—this one with a fascinating historical provenance—smashed its $200,000-$300,000 pre-sale estimate following what Sotheby’s called “intense competition” from five online bidders. It sold for $500,000.

The exceptionally rare enamel and diamond sautoir and pair of earrings were designed by American jeweler Paulding Farnham, who, at the turn of the 20th century, was Tiffany’s director of jewelry and pre-eminent designer, according to Sotheby’s.

The sautoir and earrings were first exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, which celebrated the 1803 anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.  

Gary Schuler, chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Division, Americas, said, “The timeless appeal of exceptionally rare signed jewelry was reasserted today in New York, with masterworks by Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier—created over the course of a century—capturing the attention of international collectors.

“It was a thrill to bring the hammer down on these objects, which have been the subject of so much interest and attention over the last months, and to see that attention translate into such strong bidding competition.

20190418 Sothebys Betteridge

Other sale highlights included the above 30.4-carat, H color, VS2 clarity round brilliant diamond ring from Betteridge, which sold for $1.16 million, and a pair of Harry Winston emerald and diamond pendant ear clips that feature two pear-shaped emeralds weighing more than 10 carats each. It sold for $764,000.

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale generated a total of $17.7 million and its concurrent Fine Jewels sale garnered $3.9 million for a total of $21.6 million.

The Fine Jewels sale was led by the below emerald and diamond brooch that toppled its $30,000-$50,000 estimate, selling for $250,000.

Kendall Reed, Sotheby’s head of Fine Jewels and global head of Online Jewels, said: “We are incredibly pleased with the results of this afternoon’s sale, which neared our high estimate and had a strong 82 percent of lots sold.

“Similar to what we saw (at Magnificent Jewels), this result was driven by strong competition for signed pieces by celebrated makers like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co., in addition to colored stones and diamonds. We continue to see enthusiastic bidding for fashionable, wearable jewelry offered at a variety of price points.”

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