A Natural Pearl Pendant sells for $1.45m at Bonhams New York Fine Jewelry sale, the highest price paid for a natural pearl at auction in the last six years
Online bidder buys Zsa Zsa Gabor diamond rivière necklace for $1.27 million

A Natural Pearl and Diamond Drop Pendant from the Estate of American philanthropist Mary Clark Thompson was the top performer at Bonhams Fine Jewelry sale in New York this week.

Composed of a single drop pearl, measuring 14.1mm, to a rose-cut diamond surmount, the pearl became the subject of a frenzied bidding war and it finally went under the hammer for US $1,452,500, making it the highest price paid for a natural pearl at auction in the last six years and also the third most valuable single natural pearl drop ever sold at auction.

The pearl is accompanied by a GIA report and also an SSEF report and Appendix Letter stating: "A natural pearl of this size and quality can be considered rare and exceptional."

Susan Abeles, Head of Jewelry for Bonhams US, commented: "Really good examples of natural pearls of exceptional quality where their size, symmetry, rich lustre and blemish-free skins do not appear on the market as often as they used to. Indeed, pearls such as this are a rare commodity and it is nearly impossible to find these gems. As a result, we were pleased to be able to offer this important pearl to our global client base and we were delighted at how well it performed in the sale."

The top performing diamond lot in the sale was also one of the most talked about pre-sale: A Harry Winston Magnificent Diamond Riviera Necklace, formerly owned by Hollywood icon Zsa Zsa Gabor. The necklace, created by Harry Winston in 1964, features 45 graduated round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing a total of 66 carats, sold for US $1,272,500 to a buyer online.

Susan Abeles said: "It is amazing that a piece that is so elementary in design and elegant can still be so show stopping. During the previews, it was one of the most tried on pieces of jewelry. Undoubtedly, the new owner will have as much enjoyment as Zsa Zsa Gabor did when she wore it. The provenance and Harry Winston signature ensures the necklace will feature as one of the central pieces in a notable jewelry collection."

Elsewhere in the sale, two other important diamonds lots performed well. The first, A Magnificent Diamond Ring by Graff, featuring a square-shaped emerald-cut diamond, weighing 16.53 carats, sold for US $660,500 (pictured right). The second, An Important Diamond Ring, centering a pear-shaped brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 8.22 carats, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds, sold for US $225,000.

Sapphires continue to soar in 2017

Kashmir sapphires performed well during the three-hour sale. Notable lots included:

- A Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, centering an octagonal-shaped step-cut sapphire, weighing 23.86 carats, sold for US $262,500 against its pre-sale estimate of US $80,000 - 120,000. The sapphire, accompanied by an AGL report, is of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) origin with no indications of heat or clarity enhancement.
- A Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring featuring an oval-shaped sapphire, weighing 4.57 carats, within a pave-set and baguette diamond mounting. This sold for US $110,000 against its pre-sale estimate of US $65,000 - 85,000.

Jewelry from key eras and makers achieve strong prices

Highlights included:

- An Exquisite Edwardian Diamond Bracelet, circa 1910, estimated at US $50,000-70,000, pictured above, sold for US $137,500. The bracelet was part of the Estate of Mary Clark Thompson, one of the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and also a great benefactor to the Bronx Zoo and Woman's Hospital.
- An Art Deco Emerald And Diamond Bracelet, circa 1925, sold for US $70,000 against its pre-sale estimate of US$ 30,000 - 50,000.
- A Diamond and Platinum 'Escalier' Bracelet, signed Boucheron, with its fluid stepped design, known as the 'moving staircase', sold for US $37,500 against its pre-sale estimate of US $20,000 - 30,000.
- An Art Deco Jadeite Jade, Diamond and Enamel Jabot Pin, signed Cartier, circa 1925, sold for US $30,000, five times its pre-sale low estimate of US$ 6,000 - 8,000.

Follow Bonhams Fine Jewelry on Instagram on @BonhamsJewels.

The next Bonhams Fine Jewelry sale in London takes place on Thursday 7 December 2017.


For more information, images and interviews, please contact:
Maria Boyle, MB Communications Ltd Alice Lok, Bonhams Press Office
T: +44 (0) 20 8876 8444 / + 44 (0)788 764 7855 T: +1 (917) 206-1692
[email protected] [email protected]

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