By Åse Anderson
A new world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire was set at the Magnificent Jewels Sale at Christie's Geneva this week. The 35.09ct cushion-cut sapphire mounted into a ring went under the hammer for $7.36 million, with the buyer paying $209,689 per carat for the velvety blue coloured gemstone, making it the most expensive Kasmir sapphire ever sold at auction.
The sale's star lot was a 5.18ct rectangular-cut fancy vivid pink diamond ring, which sold for $10.71 million. Diamonds and pearls performed particularly well at Christie's spring jewellery auction, with a pear-shaped, D-colour flawless diamond fetching the second highest price of the night at $9.03 million, and a 19th century natural pearl necklace selling for $3.89 million.
There was also fierce bidding from international collectors keen to get their hands on four pieces of JAR jewellery. High jewellery by the reclusive Paris-based designers always attract a flurry of interest, and the Christie's Geneva line-up included a pair of tourmaline and agate camellia brooches from 1985. Other signed pieces included a Bulgari diamond ring that fetched a final price of $2.06 million.
Buyers' appetite for coloured gemstones shows no sign of abating, with a pair of antique Colombian emerald bangles from the 1900s, which once belonged to an Indian Royal family, snapped up for $1.74 million. A 30.20ct cushion-shaped Burmese ruby ring also sold for $3.41 million.
Attended by 138 buyers from 24 different countries, Christie's annual Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva recorded total sales of $97.5 million.
Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie's Jewellery Department, said: "The inexorable rise in demand for coloured gemstones and pearls continued this evening. A 35.09 carat Kashmir sapphire established a new world record of more than $200,000 per carat. A single strand of natural pearls changed hands for $3.8 million, and a 5.18 carat vivid pink diamond sold for $10.7 million. We now look forward to exciting sales in Paris, Hong Kong, London and New York during the next month."