THE HIGHEST TOTAL EVER FOR JEWELRY AT AUCTION WORLDWIDE
20 YEARS OF GLOBAL MARKET LEADERSHIP
Geneva/Hong Kong/New York – As part of its year-end figures announcement, Christie’s is pleased to report a record-breaking result for global jewelry sales in 2013, with US$678.3 million (£432 million) – the highest annual result ever achieved for jewelry in the auction house. The tally represents an 18% increase (20% in £) over Christie’s 2012 total, and beats its previous highest annual jewelry record of US$600 million, set in 2011, which included The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor – the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history. Upon executing the sale of The Winston Legacy in May and The Orange (illustrated above, left) in November, Christie’s Geneva led the company’s jewelry sales with US$228.4 million total.
Each one of Christie’s major sales regions orchestrated auctions of some of the most significant diamonds in the global auction market, holding six of the year’s top ten jewels sold at auction in 2013. Over one hundred twenty jewels sold in excess of US$1 million, fourteen lots sold above US$5 million, and five above US$10 million. Colored and colorless diamonds, natural pearls, distinguished private collections, and three successful online-only jewelry auctions all contributed to this tremendous leap in Christie’s results. With many new buyers in Europe, the U.S., and Asia actively participating at a high level, competition has become more intense than ever for rare jewels and gems of only the highest quality.
François Curiel, International Head of Jewelry and President of Christie’s Asia, notes: “In 1994, Christie’s worldwide jewelry sales totaled US$190 million, with Geneva, London, and New York as our most important centers, where top-quality gemstones traded at US$80,000 per carat. In November 2013, at Christie’s Geneva, we sold The Orange for a world record price of US$35.5 million at US$2.4 million per carat and achieved US$125.3 million in one sale. Last year, the prices achieved and the records set soared above all previous records and raised the jewelry auction market to an entirely new level. The top ten jewels sold at Christie’s demonstrate jewelry as art – gemstones of such quality they will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime.”
The April 16 sale of Magnificent Jewels at Christie’s New York flagship Rockefeller Center saleroom led the year in colored diamonds with the historic sale of The Princie Diamond (illustrated left). The cushion-cut Fancy Intense Pink Golconda diamond of 34.65 carats achieved a price of US$39,323,750 (US$1.1 million per carat) – establishing a new world auction record for a Golconda diamond and as the most expensive diamond every sold at Christie’s and in the United States. Christie’s Geneva began their spring auction season with an exceedingly rare 1.92 carat rectangular-cut Fancy Red, VS2 diamond fetching US$3,252,675 million (US$ 1.6 million per carat) and setting a new world auction record for a red diamond. The Orange, a pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Orange diamond of 14.82 carats, was the superb finale to the Geneva jewelry auction season realizing US$35,540,612 (US$2.4 million per carat) and establishing a new world auction record an orange diamond. Similarly, in Hong Kong, a Fancy Vivid Orangy Pink, VVS1 diamond of 12.85 carats achieved US$4,951,285 (US$385,000 per carat) and setting a new world auction record for an orange-pink diamond in the November auction.
From start to finish, 2013 saw exceptional results achieved for colorless diamonds at Christie’s. A rare treat occurred in the May auction at Christie’s Geneva when Harry Winston aquired the highlight of the sale: a pear-shaped D-color Flawless diamond of 101.73 carats, named The Winston Legacy (illustarted right) which sold for US$26,737,913 (US$254,400 per carat). In Hong Kong, after their May 28 auction of Magnificent Jewels, Ms. Tiffany Chen, Vice Chairman of China Star Entertainment Limited, named the star lot of the auction The Star of China (illustrated page one, right). The D-color Internally Flawless Briolette diamond of 75.36 carats fetched a price of US$11,151,245 (US$148,000 per carat) and set a new world auction record for a briolette diamond. Lastly, on December 10 in New York, a rectangular-cut D-color Internally Flawless Golconda diamond of 52.58 carats realized US$10,917,000 (US$207,600 per carat).
The rarity, quality, and provenance of the natural pearls offered at Christie’s in 2013 led to feverish bidding from private collectors and trade clients from all over the world. In Geneva, a single-strand natural pearl necklace, measuring from 13.7 to 10.4 mm, realized US$8,457,945 (estimate: US$2,000,000 – 3,000,000) and set a new world auction record for a single strand natural pearl necklace. In addition, in Hong Kong, a pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants achieved US$3,354,431 and established a new world auction record for a pair of natural pearl and diamond ear pendants.
In total, Christie’s achieved two of the top three prices for jewels at auction in 2013 (see separate list of the year’s Top Ten Jewels sold at Christie’s). Private sales were also an important factor in Christie’s success in 2013 – a trend that is expected to continue in the New Year. This facility, led by International Director Julien-Vincent Brunie, is tailored to clients who prefer to buy or sell outside the fixed auction calendar, and to those seeking the rarest of gemstones and jewels.
Christie’s hosts 24 jewelry auctions a year in Geneva, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Paris. Early highlights of the Magnificent Jewels auctions in New York and Geneva sales will be announced in the coming weeks.
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).
Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single charitable collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).
Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.
Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats.
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