Ex­trav­a­gance – Each one of Christie’s ma­jor sales re­gions or­ches­trated auc­tions of some of the most sig­nif­i­cant di­a­monds in the global auc­tion mar­ket.

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As part of its year-end fig­ures an­nounce­ment, Christie’s re­cently re­ported a record-break­ing re­sult for global jew­ellery sales in 2013, with US$678.3 mil­lion ($AU779.30 mil­lion) – the high­est an­nual re­sult ever achieved for jew­ellery in the auc­tion house. The tally rep­re­sents an 18% in­crease over Christie’s 2012 to­tal, and beats its pre­vi­ous high­est an­nual record of US$600 mil­lion, set in 2011, which in­cluded The Collection of El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor – the most valu­able sale of jew­ellery in auc­tion his­tory. Upon ex­e­cut­ing the sale of The Win­ston Legacy in May and The Or­ange in Novem­ber, Christie’s Geneva led the com­pany’s jew­ellery sales with US$228.4 mil­lion to­tal.

Each one of Christie’s ma­jor sales re­gions or­ches­trated auc­tions of some of the most sig­nif­i­cant di­a­monds in the global auc­tion mar­ket, hold­ing six of the year’s top ten jewels sold at auc­tion in 2013. Over 120 jewels sold in ex­cess of US$1 mil­lion, four­teen lots sold above US$5 mil­lion, and five above US$10 mil­lion. Coloured and colour­less di­a­monds, nat­u­ral pearls, distin­guished pri­vate col­lec­tions, and three suc­cess­ful on­line-only jew­ellery auc­tions all con­trib­uted to this leap in Christie’s re­sults. With many new buy­ers in Europe, the US and Asia ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing at a high level, com­pe­ti­tion has be­come more in­tense than ever for rare jewels and gems of only the high­est qual­ity.

François Curiel, In­ter­na­tional Head of Jew­elry and Pres­i­dent of Christie’s Asia, notes: “In 1994, Christie’s world­wide jew­ellery sales to­taled US$190 mil­lion, with Geneva, Lon­don, and New York as our most im­por­tant cen­tres, where top-qual­ity gem­stones traded at US$80,000 per carat. In Novem­ber 2013, at Christie’s Geneva, we sold The Or­ange for a world record price of US$35.5 mil­lion at US$2.4 mil­lion per carat and achieved US$125.3 mil­lion in one sale. Last year, the prices achieved and the records set soared above all pre­vi­ous records and raised the jew­ellery auc­tion mar­ket to an en­tirely new level. The top ten jewels sold at Christie’s demon­strate jew­elry as art – gem­stones of such qual­ity they will per­haps only be seen once in a life­time.”

COLOURED DI­A­MONDS

The 16 April sale of Mag­nif­i­cent Jewels at Christie’s New York flag­ship Rock­e­feller Cen­ter sale­room led the year in coloured di­a­monds with the his­toric sale of The Prin­cie Di­a­mond. The cush­ion-cut Fancy In­tense Pink Gol­conda di­a­mond of 34.65 carats achieved a price of US$39,323,750 (US$1.1 mil­lion per carat) – es­tab­lish­ing a new world auc­tion record for a Gol­conda di­a­mond and as the most ex­pen­sive di­a­mond ev­ery sold at Christie’s and in the United States. Christie’s Geneva be­gan their spring auc­tion sea­son with an ex­ceed­ingly rare 1.92 carat rec­tan­gu­lar-cut Fancy Red, VS2 di­a­mond fetch­ing US$3,252,675 mil­lion (US$ 1.6 mil­lion per carat) and set­ting a new world auc­tion record for a red di­a­mond. The Or­ange, a pear­shaped Fancy Vivid Or­ange di­a­mond of 14.82 carats, was the su­perb fi­nale to

the Geneva jew­elry auc­tion sea­son re­al­iz­ing US$35,540,612 (US$2.4 mil­lion per carat) and es­tab­lish­ing a new world auc­tion record an or­ange di­a­mond. Sim­i­larly, in Hong Kong, a Fancy Vivid Orangy Pink, VVS1 di­a­mond of 12.85 carats achieved US$4,951,285 (US$385,000 per carat) and set­ting a new world auc­tion record for an or­ange-pink di­a­mond in the Novem­ber auc­tion.

COLOUR­LESS DI­A­MONDS

From start to fin­ish, 2013 saw ex­cep­tional re­sults achieved for colour­less di­a­monds at Christie’s. A rare treat oc­curred in the May auc­tion at Christie’s Geneva when Harry Win­ston ac­quired the high­light of the sale: a pear­shaped D-colour Flaw­less di­a­mond of 101.73 carats, named The Win­ston Legacy, which sold for US$26,737,913 (US$254,400 per carat). In Hong Kong, af­ter their 28 May auc­tion of Mag­nif­i­cent Jewels, Ms. Tif­fany Chen, vice chair­man of China Star En­ter­tain­ment Limited, named the star lot of the auc­tion The Star of China. The D-colour In­ter­nally Flaw­less Bri­o­lette di­a­mond of 75.36 carats fetched a price of US$11,151,245 (US$148,000 per carat) and set a new world auc­tion record for a bri­o­lette di­a­mond. Lastly, on De­cem­ber 10 in New York, a rec­tan­gu­lar-cut D-colour In­ter­nally Flaw­less Gol­conda di­a­mond of 52.58 carats re­alised US$10,917,000 (US$207,600 per carat).

RECORD-SET­TING PEARLS

The rar­ity, qual­ity, and prove­nance of the nat­u­ral pearls of­fered at Christie’s in 2013 led to fever­ish bid­ding from pri­vate col­lec­tors and trade clients from all over the world. In Geneva, a sin­gle-strand nat­u­ral pearl neck­lace, mea­sur­ing from 13.7 to 10.4 mm, re­alised US$8,457,945 (es­ti­mate: US$2,000,000 – 3,000,000) and set a new world auc­tion record for a sin­gle strand nat­u­ral pearl neck­lace. In ad­di­tion, in Hong Kong, a pair of nat­u­ral pearl and di­a­mond ear pen­dants achieved US$3,354,431 and es­tab­lished a new world auc­tion record for a pair of nat­u­ral pearl and di­a­mond ear pen­dants.

In to­tal, Christie’s achieved two of the top three prices for jewels at auc­tion in 2013. Pri­vate sales were also an im­por­tant fac­tor in Christie’s suc­cess in 2013 – a trend that is ex­pected to con­tinue in the New Year. This fa­cil­ity, led by In­ter­na­tional Di­rec­tor Julien-Vin­cent Brunie, is tai­lored to clients who pre­fer to buy or sell out­side the fixed auc­tion cal­en­dar, and to those seek­ing the rarest of gem­stones and jewels. Christie’s hosts 24 jew­elry auc­tions a year in Geneva, Hong Kong, Lon­don, New York, and Paris.

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