│Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels, James Christie Room, November 27, 2012, 1:30pm│
Hong Kong – Christie’s Hong Kong will present its autumn sale of Magnificent Jewels on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. With a pre-sale estimate of approximately HK$580 million/US$70 million, this season’s sale will present collectors with a diverse selection of over 300 jewels in line with current collecting tastes. Highlights extend to a Burmese pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond necklace by James W. Currens, an assortment of diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires from the world’s legendary mines, and natural seawater pearls and jadeite jewellery, exhibiting a level of quality seldom available for sale. Also on offer is a collection of contemporary creations from select international jewellery designers.
Spectacular Pigeon’s Blood Rubies from Burma
Leading the sale is a strand of Burmese no heat pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond necklace, and a pair of oval-shaped Burmese no heat pigeon’s blood ruby and diamond earrings (lot 1904, illustrated left, necklace est. HK$28,000,000-44,000,000/ US$3,500,000-5,500,000; lot 1903, illustrated left, earrings est. HK$18,000,000-28,000,000 /US$2,500,000-3,500,000) by world-renowned jewellery designer James W. Currens for Faidee. For more than 800 years, the Mogok Stone Tract in Upper Burma has remained the source for the finest quality ‘pigeon’s blood’ rubies. Combining the glowing red material with a great degree of transparency, pigeon’s blood rubies exist only in very limited quantities, and are the benchmark by which all rubies are judged.
Designed as twenty-six graduated oval-shaped rubies weighing between 5.38 and 1.27 carats, each ruby comprising the necklace titled Red Scarlet is accented by a cluster of marquise and pear-shaped diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18k yellow gold. Every ruby contains flawless crystalline structures accentuating its high degree of transparency. The present pair of earrings are titled the Red Butterflies for their shape, and each feature a pair of Burmese rubies over 7 carats. Natural Burmese rubies of this size, colour and level of clarity infrequently come up for sale.
The collection of jadeite this season is highlighted by works of exemplary clarity and rich colour saturation. A strand of lavender jadeite bead necklace (lot 1851, illustrated right, est. HK$8,000,000-12,000,000/US$ 1,000,000-1,500,000) leads the selection. Consisting of sixty-three slightly graduated jadeite beads measuring from 8.8 to 11.3 mm, and a jadeite cabochon and diamond clasp mounted in 18k white gold, the necklace exhibits a particularly vivid lavender hue that seldom occurs in nature.
Each spherical bead is evenly shaped and richly coloured throughout the entire strand, representing a paradigm of homogenous colour. Imparting an optimal combination of colour, translucency and texture, lavender jadeite of this caliber exists in exceedingly minimal quantities. The amount of pure jadeite material required to produce an entire strand of jadeite beads involves a large quantity of rough, which generates significant waste. The complexity of the jadeite cutting process makes the creation of a jadeite bead necklace both costly and risky.
This season’s jadeite highlights also extend to a jadeite bangle (lot 1809, illustrated left, est. HK$8,000,000-12,000,000/US$1,000,000-1,500,000). This cylindrical bangle is saturated with a vibrant emerald green colour and carries white streaks intermittently throughout. The work features a high level of translucency and an even saturation of colour free of impurities.
Radiant Coloured Gemstones
The sale’s selection of coloured gems is highlighted by Columbian emeralds and Kashmir saphhires sourced from the world’s most legendary mines. Underscoring the collection of emeralds is a pair of 23.34 ct/23.18ct pear-shaped emerald, pearl and diamond earrings in platinum (lot 1898, illustrated right, est. HK$28,000,000-38,000,000/US$3,500,000-4,800,000), named The Grand Muzos to commemorate their land of origin. In the world of emeralds, those from Columbian reign supreme, owing to their unrivaled colour, fire and intensity, with the most expensive emeralds mined from the Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor regions. As a pair, the emeralds are especially well-matched and possess an ununusal level of clarity, as the unique geology responsible for emerald formation creates a high likelihood of inclusions.
The Crown of Colombia, a 15.99ct Colombian no oil cushion-shaped emerald and diamond ring, also underscores the selection of emeralds on offer (lot 1897, illustrated left, est. HK$8,000,000-12,000,000/US$1,000,000-1,500,000). Significantly sized, each of these emerald highlights were cut from a particularly high quality piece of rough. The facets of each specimen feature a refined and well-proportioned cut, creating optimal brilliance and light return. Exemplary of their type, owing to their substantial size, high clarity, meticulous level of craftmanship, and intense colour, emeralds of this caliber seldom appear on the market.
Sapphires on offer this autumn are led by a 10.66ct cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring (lot 1896, illustrated left, est. HK$6,800,000-9,500,000/US$ 850,000-1,200,000). This specimen exemplifies the optimal ‘cornflower blue’ colour, which is the hallmark of the world-renowned Kashmir mine. This rich blue is homogenously distributed throughout the stone, and the expert cushion faceting and superior degree of transparency allow for many internal reflections to be observed.
Also underscoring the jewellery sale is a diverse array of flawless colourless diamonds and large coloured diamonds. Highlighting the selection is a pair of 6.76ct/6.06ct pear-shaped diamond and pearl earrings from Golconda (lot 1899, illustrated left, est. HK$9,500,000-12,000,000/US$1,200,000-1,900,000). The present pair of diamonds traces their origin to the Golconda mine in India, which no longer exists. Representing less than 2% of the world’s production, Type IIa Golconda diamonds are classified as the most chemically pure type of diamond, recognized for their unusual optical transparency. To find such a well-matched pair from Golconda is uncommon, and these earrings possess an antique style of faceting not often encountered in the gem trade.
Leading the selection of coloured diamonds is a 36.58ct fancy brown diamond ring (lot 1735, illustrated right, est. HK$8,000,000-12,000,000/US$1,000,000-1,500,000). The conditions necessary to colour a diamond occur infrequently, and the colour exhibited in this specimen is strong and with lively scintillation afforded by the expert faceting. Prices for large coloured diamonds continue to realize top prices at auction indicating the untapped potential for growth of this collecting category.
A 10.13ct Fancy Vivid Yellow/VS1 rectangular-shaped diamond and diamond ring highlights the selection of yellow diamonds on offer, with its excellent polish and symmetry of cut (lot 1836, illustrated left, est. HK$6,000,000-8,000,000/US$750,000-1,000,000). Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds are the most celebrated in their colour group due to their strong saturation and high level of clarity. The Fancy Yellow range of diamonds represents less than 1% of the entire world’s supply, emphasizing the scarcity of those graded as Fancy Vivid.
Luminous Natural Pearls
The traditional pearling industry has nearly ceased to exist in the Middle East, rendering the sale of natural saltwater pearls of considerable size and quality at auction a significant event for the jewellery industry. Standing apart in the selection of natural pearl jewels offered this season is a strand of natural pearl and diamond necklace (lot 1879, illustrated right, est. HK$9,500,000-12,000,000/US$1,200,000-1,500,000). Assembling such a well-matched selection of natural pearls of this size and quality is an endeavor that likely took several decades.
Signed Jewels by World-Renowned Designers
An array of jeweled works by the world’s celebrated jewellery designers comprises a cornerstone of Christie’s Hong Kong jewellery sales each season. The selection is led by a 8.59ct fancy pink cut-cornered rectangular-cut diamond and sapphire ring, by JAR, a Paris-based American jeweler celebrated for his meticulous craftmanship and propensity for incorporating unusual gemstones into his creations (lot 1828, illustrated left, est. HK$24,000,000-35,000,000/US$3,000,000-4,500,000).
The intensity of the pink diamond set against the pale blue sapphires creates a extraordinary contrast, evocative of jewellery styles from the 18th and 19th centuries. One of the world’s most influential jewellery designers, Joel Arthur Rosenthal founded JAR in 1977. Visiting the discreet, by-appointment-only boutique on Place Vendôme in Paris, JAR’s clients appreciate not only the distinctive design, the intricacy in craftsmanship, and the quality the gemstones used, but also the perfection sought in each one-of-a-kind – and often made-to-order – jewel. Whenever JAR creations come up at auction, they are swiftly purchased, as only a limited number of pieces are created each year.
Also highlighting this season’s coveted contemporary creations are works by jewellery designer Wallace Chan. Known for his innovative designs and incorporation of an unusual assortment of gemstones in his works, the designer garners interest from collectors across Asia and beyond. Of note is a diamond and multi-gem cicada brooch, (lot 1768, illustrated above, est. HK$800,000-1,200,000/US$100,000-150,000), and a pink sapphire and diamond brooch, (lot 1767, illustrated left, est. HK$800,000-1,200,000/US$100,000-150,000).