Rubies. Sapphires. Diamonds. Pearls. It seems as though a new record was set every time the gavel came down at Geneva-based auctions held earlier this week by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
At the Christie’s auction, 346 items were sold on Tuesday for a total of CHF 147.2 million, a sum exceeding that of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewel collection, which brought in USD 116 million in 2011.
The following day, eager bidders parted with an additional CHF 91.8 million for coloured gems at Sotheby’s Magnificent & Noble Jewels sale.
The pièce de résistance at Christie’s was the “Blue Belle of Asia”, a Ceylon sapphire, which sold for an unprecedented CHF 16.96 million Swiss francs.The cushion-shaped sapphire weighs 392.52 carats and is suspended on a diamond-tassel pendant,
Items sold at Sotheby’s included the Graff Ruby (CHF 8.3 million) which set the world record for a ruby, the most expensive Kashmire Sapphire ever sold (CHF 5.8 million), and anatural pearl and diamond necklace which sold for CHF 3.3 million.
English jeweller Laurence Graff won the bid for the “Graff Ruby” from the Collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis. The 8.62 carat cushion-shaped gemstone displays the coveted “pigeon blood” red colour associated with the finest rubies from Mogok in Burma, arguably the rarest of all gemstones. It is the second time that Graff has this ruby in his position. He sold it only eight years ago.
The necklace contains 111 natural pearls and has a rich history. It was formerly in the collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais,Queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-1876) and likely once the property of Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress of the French.
Edna Ayme is a writer and corporate communications specialist living in Geneva