Christies Important Jewels Sale New York 14 June 2011

Results of Christie's Important Jewels Sale 14 June 2011. A 46.51 carat VVS2 E colour diamond was the star of the show at US$ 4.2 million but plenty of other  delights.

Lot 31. A diamond, ruby, onyx and gold cuff, by Verdura. Estimate 20,000 - 30,000 U.S. dollars. SOLD FOR $32,500

Results of Christie's Important Jewels Sale 14 June 2011. A 46.51 carat VVS2 E colour diamond was the star of the show at US$ 4.2 million but plenty of other  delights. The sale of Important Jewels at Christie's New York on June 14 fetched US$ 11,727,625 (£7,150,991/€8,088,017) and was 94% sold by lot and 98% by value. The top lot was a magnificent oval-cut E-color diamond of 46.51 carats, which sold for US$ 4.2 million to an anonymous bidder on the phone. Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry at Christie's New York, commented: "After a spectacular season of auctions in Geneva, Hong Kong and London, our June 14 sale in New York capped the first half of 2011 with worldwide jewelry sales of $231.5 million - our highest total ever for a spring season - and re-confirmed Christie's position as the world's leading jewelry auction house for the 18th year in a row.  As expected, prices for exceptional diamonds continued to hold strong, as illustrated by the top price of $4.2 million for a magnificent E color oval diamond of 46.51 cts." Lot 125 (est $2,500,000 - $3,500,000) is a whopper of a diamond.  Big, colourless diamonds are always sought after and this is no exception. The clarity of a diamond is the degree to which the diamond is free from inclusions and blemishes, this is graded on a scale from Flawless (FL) to Imperfect (I). This diamond is VVS2, meaning very very slightly included, meaning that it is very difficult to see the inclusions. It is oval cut which is popular for a ladies' ring as it gives the illusion of elongating the finger. The top colour grades for diamonds are D,E and F, which means that these diamonds appear colourless on a white background. This is 'E' colour and weighs 46.51 carats. Important and impressive stones like this will always come with a report stating their colour, cut, clarity and carat weight. It is these '4 C's' that determine the value of the jewel, and with stones as large and impressive as this, the maker is not as crucial to the value as the actual stone. Lot 123 is an exquisite brooch by Tiffany & Co (est $3,000-$5,000). Interpreting flowers has always been Tiffany's forté (they are particularly known for their orchids) and here is a fine example of a beautiful execution of design. This brooch features a Lily of the Valley, a woodland flowering plant native to the cool climate of the Northern Hemisphere. The platinum stalks and circular cut diamond flower heads are elegant and naturalistic. It is evident looking at this graceful and lifelike brooch that the Lily of the Valley was studied thoroughly. The tsavorite garnets, that represent the leaves of the flower, are set in 18kt gold to enhance their colour. Tsavorite garnets were discovered in North Tanzania by the British geologist Campbell R Bridges who was looking for gemstones in the area. After testing a strange and intriguing looking rock formation he came across, Bridges found some beautiful green grains and crystal fragments. He was delighted to discover they were a mineral of the garnet family. These garnets are a stunning and extraordinary colour and have a good transparency. Tiffany & Co and other companies showed huge interest in these new stones but it was not possible to export stones from Tanzania at the time. Bridges persevered and discovered these garnets were also present in Kenya from where he was able to export them. The colourful Bridges is reported to have lived in a treehouse and guarded his stones with a python. The gemstone was only really known to specialists at the time but Tiffany saw the unique beauty in these stones and in 1874 began a broad promotion campaign which raised the tsavorite garnet to international recognition. It was the former president of Tiffany who suggested the name 'tsavorite', in honor of the Tsavo National Park and river. Lot 78 (est $20,000-$30,000) is one of the hugely recognizable and identifiable Cartier panther designs in the form of a ring. The platinum diamond pave panther with sapphire spots wraps around the finger and his front paws clutches a cushion-cut sapphire. He has a black enamel nose and pear shaped emerald eyes. Jeanne Toussaint took responsibility for the high jewellery department of Cartier in 1933. Toussaint was an intimate companion of Louis Cartier who was affectionately known as 'panthere'. Her apartment in Paris was scattered with animal skins reflecting her love for these wild creatures.  After the war the jewellery trade began to flourish again and Peter Lemarchand was gradually becoming the designer of the generation. He worked with Toussaint to design and create Cartier's iconic 'Great Cat' jewellery. He used to visit the zoo to study and draw the cats from life. Other jewellers have done animal jewellery but the way that Cartier pieces are so incredibly articulated and life-like makes them easily identifiable. Another fine Cartier piece is lot 49 (est $3,00-$5,000). This is an Art Deco brooch, circa 1925. Cartier is recognized for its use of just two colours as we can see here with the red enamel and diamonds. During the Art Deco period Cartier used a lot of rock crystal and this is a beautiful example of how this colourless stone can be used without interfering with the two-tone theme. It is really lovely to have a piece in its original case. Cases would have been made specifically for each jewel for a perfect fit. Cases reveal a lot about the history of a jewel by its case, revealing if say a necklace has been shortened or if it was part of a set. The stock number was written in penciI in the lining of Cartier cases that should correspond with the number engraved on the jewel. Lot 31 is an iconic onyx and gold cuff by Verdura (est $20,000-$30,000). The Duke of Verdura was of a noble and eccentric Sicilian family. In 1919 he collaborated with Coco Chanel in Paris and soon became the house head of jewellery design. This was a successful combination of creative characters resulting in many classics such as Chanel's signature bangle and the gemstone and enamel Maltese cross. This cuff is 2 inches wide and made of onyx. It has a sculpted gold plaque with circular cut diamonds and cabochon rubies. It is very typical style of Verdura, who often made cuffs like this in wood. Lot 10 is a beautiful brooch of diamonds, rubies and turquoise set in gold by John Rubel & Co, circa 1950 (est $12,000-$18,000). These colours are very 50's. John Rubel is best known for fantasy jewels and specifically the sought after series of ballerina brooches which are also associated with Van Cleef & Arpels. Spanish flamenco dancers iin a Greenwich village café were the source of Rubel's inspiration for these brooches which were then designed by Maurice Duvalet for both companies.  These John Rubel pieces are quite rare which is why this lot stands out. It is refreshing to see lots 95 (est  $2000-3,000) and 96 ($3,000-$5,000) that are two tourmaline rings by Tiffany and Co. We say refreshing as it is delightful to see gemstones other than the rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds being used by such a well known jewellery house. It is of interest to note that there a rather a lot of Tiffany & Co pieces in this sale. Interestingly, Charles Louis Tiffany and his partners John B Young and J.L Ellis actually began as a stationary shop in New York called 'Tiffany & Young' and expanded from stationary, articles and accessories into jewellery when Charles Louis Tiffany was on a routine buying trip to Europe and bought some gems. Since that special purchase, Tiffany & Co have been known for their innovative designs in silver and during the 19th century talented designers and gemologists thrust the Company forward. Lot 95 is a green tourmaline weighing approximately 5.63 carats. With this simple design of platinum ring, the tourmaline flanked by two diamonds, is given as much importance as an emerald would be given, and proves that a green stone ring does not have to be an emerald to be beautiful. It is a very simple design that is purely showing the beauty of the stone. Lot 96 is an oval cut rubellite tourmaline weighing 6.41 carats. One of the fantastic things about tourmalines is the incredible array of intense colours that they can be. This is a very vibrant stone of a beautiful deep pink colour. Christies New York


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