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May 07, 2014

Christie’s Puts Unparalleled Diamonds Up for Auction

By Sasha Levine | Jewelry

Christie’s Puts Unparalleled Diamonds Up for Auction
Courtesy of Christie’s

Pull out the auction paddles: On May 14, Christie’s will hold its Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues (Quai des Bergues 33; 41-22/908-7000; fourseasons.com), featuring more than 250 lots estimated to fetch roughly $80 million.

History is ready to be made. While the number itself is significant—just shy of a 20 percent increase over the $65 million pre-estimate sale in 2013—the reasons behind the uptick, points out Christie’s international head of jewelry Rahul Kadakia, are what truly deserve attention.

Two notable pieces, returning to Christie’s for the second time, include the Belle Époque Devant-de-Corsage brooch (pictured above; estimated at between $7 and $12 million), commissioned by Solomon Barnato Joel, director of De Beers Consolidated Diamond Mines, South Africa from 1901 to 1931. “He asked Cartier to mount his four best diamonds,” says Kadakia. “This brooch is one of few jewels that can boast magnificent diamonds, a delicate design, a remarkable make and a famous provenance.”

The other is the Rajah (estimated at between $3 and $5 million), a brilliant-cut diamond from the legendary Golconda mines in India. If the pedigree weren’t enough, the jewel once belonged to art patron Isabella Stewart Gardner, who wore it as a hairpiece.

Other highlights include the largest flawless fancy vivid blue diamond in the world—weighing in at 13.22 carats and projected to fetch between $21 and $26 million—and the largest fancy vivid blue-green diamond in existence, which will net between $7 and $9 million.

“This salesroom has seen diamonds reaching higher prices than works of art—which is unheard of,” says a Christie’s spokesperson. “It’s these types of stories, usually only found in museums, that make this auction so exceptional. We’re offering clients not just magnificent jewels, but jewels that cannot be found any longer. It’s a very unique opportunity. It’s really an event.” 41-22/319-1730; christies.com.