Fancy colored diamonds make up the top five lots for Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels auction to be held December 9. In keeping with the holiday spirit, three of these diamonds boast heart shapes.
The live sale will not be open to the public, which is mandated under state and city restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, Sotheby’s will continue with its recently adopted hybrid platform, with online bids being taken prior to live sales. Online bidding has begun for the jewelry auction with many of the 210 lots receiving initial bids. In addition, the auction house will accept absentee bids prior to the live sale. Live bids during the auction will be accepted by phone and Internet.
Three heart-shaped diamonds, just in time for the holiday gifting season are as follows:
* A 1.71-carat heart-shaped fancy red diamond with SI2 clarity surrounded by white diamonds and mounted on an 18k white and pink gold pendant for a necklace. Its estimate is $2.5 million – $3.5 million.
* A ring centered with a 2.28-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, encircled by round yellow and framed by white diamonds with an estimate of $2.25 million – $3.25 million; and
* An 18k white and pink gold ring centered with a 2-carat fancy vivid orange diamond framed and accented by round diamonds with an estimate of $1 million – $1.5 million.
The top lot in the sale is a pink gold and platinum ring set with a 5.03-carat cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy vivid pink diamond, accented with two cut-cornered triangular step-cut fancy intense blue diamonds. Its estimate is $9 million – $12 million.
The other important fancy colored diamond lot is a 3.67-carat fancy intense blue diamond in a cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut. The stone is flanked by two emerald-cut diamonds and mounted on an 18k white gold ring. Its estimate is $2.5 million – $3.5 million.
Private collections are an important part of this 210-lot sale and two assemblages from New York socialites and philanthropists standout. The first is Cecile Zilkha, best known for her lifelong interest in the arts, particularly The Metropolitan Opera. Her collections include important pieces from Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston. Among the most notable are a silver-topped gold, emerald and diamond pendant-brooch (estimate $200,000 – $300,000), created in 1840 as a wedding gift for Lady Frances Vane, wife of John Winston, 7th Duke of Marlborough. Other pieces from various periods include a 19th-century silver-topped gold, sapphire and diamond brooch (estimate $200,000 – $300,000), a 1930s diamond rivière by Bulgari (estimate $300,000 – $500,000) and a mid-20th-century emerald and diamond flower clip-brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate $80,000 – $120,000) centered by an 85-carat emerald.
Zilkha’s affection for colored gemstones is demonstrated in the sale with several emerald, ruby and sapphire pieces, most notably a 21.86-carat emerald and diamond ring by Cartier (estimate $750,000 – $1 million); emerald and diamond earclips by Bulgari (estimate $350,000 – $550,000) with opposing emerald and diamond drops; a ruby and diamond bracelet by Harry Winston (estimate $175,000 – $275,000); and a heavenly diamond feather clip-brooch by Cartier (estimate $60,000 – $80,000).
The other important collection is from Marylou Whitney, the philanthropist, thoroughbred breeder, arts patron and society hostess. This group includes important pieces by Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and David Webb from whom she acquired a spectacular emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamond Mughal-inspired necklace (estimate $75,000 – $100,000) as well as several bespoke pieces.
Of particular importance from Whitney’s collection are two jewels believed to be from royal collections. The first – a silver-topped gold, ruby and diamond tiara – possibly linked to Empress Elisabeth of Austria (estimate $100,000 – $200,000); and a rare natural pearl and diamond necklace believed to have appeared from the collection of Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoléon III (estimate $300,000 – $500,000).
Also on offer is a rich selection of mid-20th century jewels by French jewelers René Boivin and Suzanne Belperron. Among the Bovin pieces are a diamond, colored diamond, sapphire, emerald and enamel tiger brooch, circa 1960s (estimate $200,000 -$300,000); an example of the house’s iconic Starfish design with lapis lazuli and sapphire (estimate $35,000 – $55,000); and an aquamarine necklace and earclips from the 1940s (estimate $180,000 – $220,000).
Among Belperron’s pieces in the sale is a cabochon ruby and diamond necklace, which captures her skill of using combinations of materials and gemstones to create sculptural and abstract works of art (estimate $500,000 – $750,000).
The sale is part of a two-week program by Sotheby’s called “Festival of Wonder,” that features special exhibitions by appointment as well as online and live auctions of jewels, watches, wines, handbags, sneakers and books. There’s also a diverse group of items that can be purchased immediately.
One of the feature sales is a special online charity auction, “Love EMC,” that benefits “Every Mother Counts,” a charity founded by American model, charity-founder, campaigner, and filmmaker, Christy Turlington. Items range from art pieces and sculptures jewels and handbags, to special experiences that include an African Safari, a wine country tour and luxury resort holidays. This sale ends Monday.
The highlight of the Festival of Wonder is an exclusive contemporary interpretation of the Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet. The original performance was created by NYCB soloist and choreographer, Peter Walker. It features NYCB soloist, Sebastian Villarini-Velez, and Corps de Ballet member, India Bradley, who will be wearing jewels and watches from the upcoming auctions as they dance in the Sotheby’s galleries. The performance is available across all Sotheby’s digital platforms, including its website.