Coloured gemstone prices soar at Bonhams London first Fine Jewellery sale of 2015
Period jewellery by Chanel hotly contested with buyers bidding around the world

Coloured gemstones reigned supreme at Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale this week (22 April 2015).

Rubies, sapphires and emeralds are this year's must-have gems according to Bonhams and its first London sale of 2015 demonstrated the huge appetite for coloured stones with fierce bidding taking place in the saleroom, on the telephone and online from buyers across the globe.

Bonhams sells more jewellery lots each year than any other international house and has more dedicated jewellery auctions annually. It has tracked a significant increase in the price per carat achieved for coloured gemstones in its auctions over the last decade and has proclaimed 2015 as the year of the coloured gemstone.

The Fine Jewellery sale achieved £4.34 million, with 83% sold by value and 128 lots going to new owners.

Highlights of the sale included:

• A 21.27 carats sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring with a pre-sale estimate of £50,000 to £80,000 sold for £290,500, more than three times its estimate.
• A 17.97 carats Burmese sapphire and diamond ring also sold for three times its pre-sale estimate of £40,000 to £60,000, achieving a final selling price of £182,500.
• A diamond pear-shaped single-stone ring by Harry Winston. Weighing 9.05 carats, the diamond is D colour, VS1 clarity, and after a strong bidding war in Bonhams New Bond Street sales room and on the telephones, it sold for £350,5000 to a US bidder.
• A 7.10 carats fancy-coloured pear-shaped diamond single-stone ring was the subject of a bidding war between two telephone bidders. The Fancy Light Pinkish Brown, natural colour ring sold for more than five times its pre-sale estimate of £15,000-£20,000 and achieved a final price of £117,700.
• A 4.54 carats Burmese ruby single-stone ring with a pre-sale estimate of £25,000-£35,000 sold for £134,500. Another Ruby three-stone ring achieved more than seven times its pre-sale estimate of £8,000 to £12,000 with a final hammer price of £76,900.
• An emerald and diamond dress ring, circa 1950, sold to an online bidder for £68,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-£18,000. The emerald is of Colombian origin and weighs 3.25 carats.
• A pair of sapphire and diamond earpendants, circa 1950, sold for £92,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £30,000-£40,000. Each earpendant is set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing 10.50 and 9.50 carats. The sapphires are of Sri Lankan origin, with no indication of heating.

Another star performer at the auction was an exceptionally rare retro citrine-set twist necklace by Chanel (circa 1954-71). The signed piece was hotly contested with buyers from the UK, Europe and the US fighting it out in the sale room, online and on the telephone. The highly desirable collectors' piece outstripped its pre-sale estimate by more than ten times selling for £68,500 to Hancocks, London, the well-established jeweller that specialises in rare and collectible jewels.

Jewellery from the 1970s by Andrew Grima continues to be very much in demand by collectors and private buyers. Two pieces by Andrew Grima featured in the auction. A gold and diamond-set 'super shell' necklace sold for £15,000 and an 18 carat gold, wood opal and diamond pendant and ring (circa 1972/73) sold for £8,750.

Jean Ghika, Bonhams Head of Jewellery for UK and Europe, says: "We achieved outstanding results across the board which underlines the buoyancy of the market.

"The sale performed exceptionally well and generated strong interest from buyers in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia. I was particularly delighted to see many of our coloured gemstones sell so well, some by up to 10 times their pre-sale estimate, which is an excellent indication of how strong the market is.

"The sale also reinforced the enduring appeal and strong demand for good quality, signed pieces of jewellery such as the Chanel necklace which sold for more than ten times its pre-sale estimate."

Bonhams is now expecting the strong market to be reflected during its next two Fine Jewellery sales in Hong Kong on 3 June and New York on 22 June.


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

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