Bonhams Auction House in London is one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today it operates out of major salerooms in London, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. It is now the largest global player, selling more jewelry through auction houses than any other firm.
In their first major jewelry sale of 2015 on April 22nd, colored gemstones reigned supreme. We knew the rise of colored jewelry was a work in progress, but what took everyone by surprise was the much larger than expected appetite for colored stones with fierce bidding taking place in the saleroom, on the phone and online from buyers across the globe. Some items achieved prices in excess of three times their estimated sale price – Phenomenal.In total a staggering $ 6.54 million was spent across the sale (128 lots).
Understandably this has set the cat among the pigeons in the gem market. Bonhams have tracked a significant increase in the price per carat achieved for colored stones in its auctions over the last decade and has now proclaimed 2015 as the year of the colored gemstone. Can’t wait to see how this progresses.Let’s examine three of the highlight purchases of the day – Sales that will make your eyes water.
A Pair of Sapphire and Diamond Pendent Earrings
These super elegant earrings were created in 1960, and sold for over $140,000 (inc premium).The wing-shaped surmounts are set with baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds, each with a principal diamond weighing 2.47 or 2.29 carats, suspending detachable pendants set with a single cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 9.50 or 10.50 carats, within brilliant and baguette-cut diamond borders, remaining diamonds approximately 5.60 carats total. The earrings are 2 inches in length and come in a fitted case by Chaumet. The earrings are accompanied by a report from GCS stating that the sapphires are of Sri Lankan origin, and have no indications of heating.The second item made an even more staggering impression.
A 21.27 carats Sugar-Loaf Cabochon Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond ring
With a pre-sale estimate of $80,000 to $120,000 this ring sold for over $440,000; more than three times its estimate.This fabulous sapphire and diamond ring was created in 1925. Kashmir sapphires are the most highly prized sapphires, in part due to their exceptional deep corn blue color, but also due to their scarcity – the fabled mines are now closed and yielded a limited amount of rough. To find one in excess of 20 carats is in itself remarkable.
A 17.97-carat Burmese Sapphire and Diamond Ring
This very classical ring achieved a final selling price of $274,182. Also smashing it’s pre-sale estimate by three times.The cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 17.97 carats, set between stepped baguette-cut diamond shoulders, the wire-work gallery with single-cut diamond accents, diamonds of approximately 1.30 carats total. The ring was accompanied by reports from independent identification agencies stating that the sapphire is of Burmese origin with no indications of it being heated.
Our Very Own Auction Worthy Piece
Within all this taking place it makes us at the Natural Sapphire Company wonder about our greatest prize, a 69.35 carat Oval Blue Sapphire. This massive, natural Ceylonese thriller is the largest sapphire currently available in the USA. We estimate it’s value to be in the region of $2 million!
Want Your Own Auction Worthy Gem ?
The fine jewelry sale on April 22nd achieved total receipts in excess of $6.5 million. Bonhams’ next major Jewelry auction sales are in Hong Kong on June 3 and New York on June 22. To say the least, it will be fascinating to see what happens then. Sapphires, are quite clearly this year’s must-have gems – And not just the big ones! If you would like one of these beautiful colored stones, on its own, or adorning an item of jewelry, please contact us. We will be only too happy to assist.