Bonhams sets three new world records

ended Result
Dec 2015
  • London (United Kingdom)

  • address: 101 New Bond Street - W1S 1SR
  • tube: Bond Street

Bonhams Fine Jewellery auction sets three new world records, including the highest price paid per carat for a ruby. 

Auction summary

Christmas came early at Bonhams London this week with three new world records set at the last fine jewellery auction of 2015.

A step-cut 2.97ct greyish-blue diamond ring by society jeweller Andrew Grima attracted frantic bidding from buyers not only in the auction room, but online and over the phone, which saw the final price soar to £1,482,500. This figure was more than twice the £500,000-700,000 pre-sale estimate and also set a new world record for a Fancy greyish-blue diamond. It also achieved a second world record as the highest sum ever paid for a Grima jewel.

Read more about other record-breaking diamond auctions

The second top lot, a pair of late 19th century sapphire earrings with royal provenance, achieved a final selling price of £1,538,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £500,000-800,000. Set with two cushion-cut Kashmir sapphires, weighing 7.92ct and 7.96ct respectively, the earrings once belonged to an unnamed European princess. Speaking about the jewellery auction results, Jean Ghika, director of jewellery for UK and Europe at Bonhams, said: “These lots attracted interest from around the globe because of their exceptional quality and rarity. The prices achieved reflect the buoyancy of the market for coloured gemstones of the highest quality.”

Non-heat-treated rubies from Burma and Madagascar are always in high demand and buyers clamoured to get their hands on some spectacular ruby jewellery at Saturday’s auction. Bidders from all over the world helped drive up the final price of a diamond and ruby pendant necklace to £128,000 - more than triple its pre-sale estimate. Set with a 3.83ct Burmese ruby, the necklace dates back to the Belle Époque era and was said by Jean Ghika to be a top quality gemstone with a vibrant red colour.

The third world record of the night was set by a 10.28ct Madagascan ruby ring that sold for £236,500 - the highest price paid per carat for a ruby at auction, a record that was broken less than a week ago at Christie's Hong Kong by the Crimson Flame ruby.

Read more about the record-breaking Crimson Flame ruby

Signed Cartier jewellery also attracted a lot of interest during the three-hour sale, with an Art Deco diamond brooch, which can be worn in multiple ways, going under the hammer for £84,100. A number of other jewels by Andrew Grima also appeared on the auction block, notably a gold, tourmaline and diamond necklace and earclip suite, which fetched £68,500 - a figure well above the estimated £20,000-25,000.

While a 4.79ct cushion-cut ruby and diamond ring by Graff failed to sell, along with a 5.02ct internally flawless cushion-cut diamond ring signed by Marchak, Paris, in total the auction fetched an impressive £6.79m.

Reflecting on the final London jewellery auction of 2015 and looking forward into next year, Daniel Struyf, senior international jewellery director, concluded: “It was excellent to end the 2015 London Fine Jewellery Sales with three new world records. Our last two sales in Hong Kong and London have demonstrated that the market is strong for coloured gemstones, signed jewellery and pearls. Next stop is our New York Fine Jewellery Sale on Tuesday 8 December - our last international auction of 2015.”

The celebrated designers and regal owners of some of the gemstones in the upcoming Bonhams auction are destined to up the ante when the jewellery lots go under the hammer on 5 December. 

In pride of place is Lot 135 featuring a Fancy greyish-blue 2.97 carat step-cut diamond ring by Andrew Grima - society jeweller to the royals and stars of the 1960s and 70s. Made in 1971, the central blue diamond is surrounded by square-cut sapphires and diamonds in stepped formation, set in a white gold mount and estimated at £500,000-700,000. There are also a number of other pieces by Grima, including a fabulous gold, tourmaline and diamond necklace and earclip ensemble estimated at £20,000-25,000.

Read more about record-breaking diamond auctions

Lot 136 is no less spectacular: a pair of late 19th century earrings set with two cushion-cut Kashmir sapphires belonging to a European princess. Estimated at £500,000-800,000, the intense corn blue sapphires - weighing 7.92 carats and 7.96 carats - show no evidence of heat treatment and are set within a border of old brilliant-cut diamonds. 

Two exceptional white diamond rings will also be auctioned by Bonhams London. The first is an Asscher-cut 14.23 carat splendour estimated at £250,000-350,000, while the second is a cushion-shaped 5.02 carat diamond ring signed by Marchak, Paris. The D-colour internally flawless stone is estimated at £220,000-280,000.

Burmese rubies will also go under the hammer: a splendid 4.79 carat cushion-cut ruby and diamond ring by British jeweller Laurence Graff, estimated at £150,000-250,000. This is followed by a Belle Époque ruby and diamond pendant weighing 3.83 carats and estimated at £30,000-40,000.

Read more about the record-breaking Crimson Flame ruby

Signed jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier are always popular at auction, and a highly unusual and rare example of Art Deco Cartier jewellery will kick off the sale. Lot 1 is composed of a flexible diamond bar brooch circa 1934 and is a rare example of Cartier’s novelty jewels, which could either be worn as a clip, bracelet, epaulette or hair ornament. The platinum bar is set with old brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds and is estimated at £15,000-20,000.


A greyish-blue step-cut diamond ring by Andrew Grima more than doubled its pre-sale estimate, selling for almost £1.5m and setting two new world records at Bonhams Fine Jewellery auction.


  • London: United Kingdom
  • address: 101 New Bond Street
  • tube: Bond Street

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