NEW YORK — Bonhams Fine Jewelry auction on October 17 totaled nearly $6.3 million, with a 5.85 carat classic Kashmir sapphire ring fetching an astounding $461,000. Coming from a private collection, the stunning piece ignited a phone bidding war, and the final price realized was more than four times the blue sparkler's pre-auction estimate.
The salesroom was brimming with attendees while bidders in more than 20 countries participated via telephone and live online. Interest was concentrated in the US, with Great Britain, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Italy and Australia particularly well represented. The top ten lots fell evenly between those on the phones and those in the room. The auction was sold 85% by lot and 86% by value.
Sapphires performed well overall, with a diamond, sapphire, and emerald bracelet attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, cruising past its estimate to reach $125,000. Coming from an important Russian collector, a Burmese sapphire art deco ring by Grogan more than doubled its pre-auction estimate, achieving $112,500. A Tiffany & Co. sapphire and diamond ring designed by Jean Schlumberger, one of nearly two dozen iconic pieces from the legendary designer on offer, doubled expectations to bring $93,750.
Natural pearls also proved popular, as demonstrated by a Tiffany & Co. belle époque natural pearl and diamond necklace that sold for $149,000, more than seven times its pre-auction estimate. An antique gem-set and diamond brooch designed by Gustave Baugrand depicting a peacock perched atop a cultured pearl reached $87,500, quadrupling expectations.
Diamond highlights included an 8.06 carat unmounted pear-shaped natural pink diamond that achieved $389,000 and an 8.45 carat diamond, platinum and eighteen karat gold ring that tripled its pre-auction estimate to sell for $293,000.
Susan Abeles, Bonhams Head of US Jewelry commented "We are delighted with the results of the October 17 auction, which saw a remarkably strong market response to sapphires of various origins."
"Signed and vintage pieces, particularly those from private estates, were also in high demand," added Virginia Salem, the Director of the Jewelry Department in New York. "Designs by Tiffany & Co., Jean Schlumberger, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels were especially popular."
Bonhams next Fine Jewelry auction in New York will take place on December 9. For more information, please visit www.bonhams.com/departments/JWL/
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com