By Lenore Fedow
David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti have left Sotheby’s after four decades of working on its jewelry auctions. (Images courtesy of Sotheby’s)
New York—Two leaders of Sotheby’s jewelry department have stepped down.

David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti have departed after four decades with the auction house.

Bennett, its chief auctioneer and worldwide jewelry chairman, retired this summer after 42 years.

Gary Schuler, former jewelry chairman for the Americas, will step in as worldwide chairman for the jewelry division, Sotheby’s told Rapaport.

“While David has officially decided to retire, he assures us his interest in jewelry will never wane, so he will almost certainly remain a presence in our world,” a Sotheby’s spokesperson said in a statement to National Jeweler.

Bennett was appointed to the newly created role of worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division in 2015 but has been at the auction block since 1978, overseeing several record-breaking sales.

Dubbed the “100-Carat Man,” he has presided over the sales of seven 100-carat diamonds during his tenure.

At a recent auction of royal jewels from the Bourbon-Parma family, he oversaw a sale that set a record for royal and antique jewels at $53.1 million and for a natural pearl at $36.2 million.

He was also auctioneering at the sale of three of the five most expensive jewels in auction history, according to his Sotheby’s biography, including the CTF Pink Star, a 59.60-carat fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond, and the Blue Moon of Josephine, a 12.03-carat fancy vivid blue diamond.

Bennett was at the helm when a world record was set for jewelry sales in May 2016, garnering $175.1 million for Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva.
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The record price for a ruby and for a ruby per carat with the $30.3 million sale of 25.59-carat “Sunrise Ruby,” and the record for a jewel by Cartier, were also set under Bennett.

Bennett has built a reputation as a trusted source in precious stones and jewelry.

Art + Auction named him one of the top 10 most powerful people in the art world in a December 2013 issue. He was considered one of the top 50 most influential people in Switzerland by magazine Bilan.

He is a co-author of “Celebrating Jewellery” and reference book “Understanding Jewelry,” both written with Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby’s senior director and chairman of jewelry for Europe.

Mascetti will also be retiring after 40 years with the auction house.

She joined the company in 1980, as per her Sotheby’s biography, opening its jewelry department in Milan.

She is a noted scholar in the history of jewelry, lending her research expertise to the sales of jewelry from the Bourbon-Parma family, including a pendant belonging to Queen Marie Antoinette, the Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor and the collections of Thurn und Taxis, Elton John and Gina Lollobrigida.

In retirement, she will dedicate more time to her scholarly pursuits, a Sotheby’s spokesperson said.

Mascetti graduated with a degree in archaeology from the University of Milan, learning to date, research, and value historical jewels.

She helped research jewelry for the “Castellani & Giuliano: The Judith H. Siegel Collection” in New York, which Sotheby’s described as a “landmark event” that “reinvigorated the interest in and demand for revivalist jewels.”

Mascetti is also the author of “Bulgari, The Necklace from Antiquity to the Present and Earrings from Antiquity to the Present,” alongside jewelry historian Amanda Triossi.

“Having been with us for over 40 years, David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti have decided it’s time for a new chapter,” Sotheby’s said. “We will miss them both and wish them much happiness.”

TAGS:   Auctions
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