The May Geneva Jewellery Auctions

The May Geneva jewellery auctions are now over and this week it was Christie’s that came out on top with sales of $62m against Sotheby’s of $42m.


Highlights from the Christie’s sale included $315,000 per carat for a superb 22.86 carat cushion-shaped Burmese ruby by Harry Winston. An exceptionally large fancy yellow diamond weighing 118.05 carats exceeded expectations by selling for $60,000 per carat. It was bought by The SIBA Corporation in memory of Sam Abram, the firm’s founder, who died last week.


Lot 243: Exceptional Ruby and Diamond Ring, Harry Winston. Estimate: CHF 2,000,000-3,000,000. Lot sold: CHF 7,198,500

© Christie’s Images LTD. 2019

Lot 233: Impressive Unmounted Coloured Diamond. Estimate: CHF 2,500,000-3,500,000. Lot sold: CHF 7,085,000

© Christie’s Images LTD. 2019

A top quality sautoir of 110 natural pearls sold for $5.7m but I estimate that it would have fetched $10 million just a few years ago, as pearls of this quality and size, 14.75 to 7.45mm, are exceptionally rare. The steam has definitely gone out of the pearl market and also unexceptional white diamonds are soft. However when a special jewel comes fresh to the market there is always a frisson of excitement as shown by the aquamarine and diamond tiara that had belonged to the Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and had been featured in many books on Russian jewellery. It was made by Carl Faberge in 1904 and found a new home for just over a million dollars.

Lot 271: Exceptional Natural Pearl Sautoir. Estimate: CHF 2,500,000-3,500,000. Lot sold: CHF 5,723,000

© Christie’s Images LTD. 2019

Lot 267: Rare Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara, Fabergé. Estimate CHF 230,000-340,000. Lot sold: CHF 1,035,000

© Christie’s Images LTD. 2019


The 448 lot sale at Sotheby’s was more subdued than usual indicating that at the moment the two big auction houses are finding it more difficult to attract top lots for auction, compared with previous years. Their highlight was a very rare perfect 36.57 carat circular-cut diamond that was D colour, Flawless and Type11a, it sold for $138,000 per carat which is lower than it would have fetched just a few years ago.



Lot 443: Brilliant-cut diamond ring weighing 36.57 carats, D Colour, Type IIa
Estimate: CHF 4,495,000 – 5,490,000 / USD 4,500,000 – 5,500,000 |
Lot sold: CHF 5,047,8000 ($5,011,405)

© Sotheby’s 

An important Colombian emerald and diamond necklace from the collection of the American socialite Helene Beaumont sold for $3,620,000, while unsigned it was most likely made by Van Cleef and Arpels in the mid 1930s.

Lot 448: Formerly from the Collection of Hélène Beaumont. Magnificent and highly important emerald and diamond necklace, circa 1935. Estimate: CHF 2,985,000 – 3,980,000 / USD 3,000,000 – 4,000,000 | Lot sold: CHF 3,620,000 ($3,593,900)

© Sotheby’s 

A fine Kashmir sapphire weighing 8.35 carats sold for $644,000 and a 5.14  Burmese ruby by Bulgari fetched  $330,000 per carat, showing that the finest coloured gemstones are still keenly sought after. Signed jewellery was noticeably more popular than pieces lacking a signature as people do like the confidence of a name.

Lot 446: Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring weighing 8.35 carats . Estimate: CHF 450,000 – 650,000 / USD 450,000 – 650,000. Lot sold: CHF 644,000 ($639,357)

© Sotheby’s 

Lot 431: Burmese ruby and diamond ring, Bulgari, weighing 5.14 carats. Estimate: CHF 1,125,000-1,350,000/ USD 1,250,000-1,350,000. Lot sold: CHF 1,700,000 ($1,687,743) 

© Sotheby’s 

Cover image: © Christie’s Images LTD. 2019

Author: Raymond Sancroft-Baker 

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