The Auction That Smashed 7 Records: Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels May 2014

May 14th, 2014 by Noam Flint

When an auction is slated to include both extremely rare diamond jewels from private collections, some signed, a few exceeding 100 carats, and also historically significant gemstones with noble provenance, you can be sure it’s going to attract a lot of attention from buyers all around the world.

That’s just what the Magnificent & Noble Jewels sale did. Buzz about this breathtaking sale had been steadily growing, so on May 13, diamond investors, collectors and enthusiasts alike were clamoring to take home a piece of the collection. By the time the intense bidding ended, a whopping seven records had been broken. For one, Sotheby’s set a new world record for a jewelry sale at the Magnificent & Noble Jewels auction, raking in an impressive $141.5 million in total.

So what were the event’s colored diamond highlights?

Graff Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring

Graff 100.09 carat Vivid Yellow Diamond
Graff 100 carat Vivid Yellow Diamond

Arguably the most hyped and highly anticipated jewel was this yellow diamond ring. Weighing a whopping 100.09 carats, the stone features an unusual sunny hue perfectly appropriate for spring and summer that has been described as “daffodil.”

Not only is this gemstone one of the largest in the world with a fancy vivid yellow color, but it also boasts remarkable brilliance and fire. In fact, you can find this Graff sparkler in Ian Balfour’s reference book “Famous Diamonds,” and it’s one of the only yellow gems on the World’s Largest Cut Diamonds list that weighs more than 100 carats.

This stunning stone was expected to sell for between $15 million and $25 million, and unsurprisingly, it managed to fetch $14,501,000. Thus, the Graff yellow gem smashed the $12,361,558 record set by the Sun-Drop diamond (now the Lady Dalal) at a Sotheby’s auction in November 2011.

100 carats is a magical number when it comes to diamonds,” said David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland and Chairman of the Jewelry Department for Europe and the Middle East. “With its exceptional size and a superb daffodil color, the Graff Vivid Yellow is a truly extraordinary diamond with immense presence. These rare qualities led to the record price achieved tonight.”

Vivid Blue and Intense Blue Diamond Ring

At first glance, this ring is undeniably captivating, with a unique toi et moi design. Two pear-shaped stones, which are are set against one another between tapered baguette diamonds, one weighing 3.08 carats with a fancy vivid blue color, and the other weighing 2.83 carats with a fancy intense blue hue. Though varying in tone, both blue diamonds boast VVS1 clarity – and come with a diagram proving that they could potentially be Internally Flawless after polishing. So it makes sense that Sotheby’s expected the piece to fetch between $4 million and $7 million. In the end, though, the ring exceeded estimates and sold for a notable $6,499,230.

12ct Flawless Pink and Vivid Blue Diamond Rings
12ct Flawless Pink and Vivid Blue Diamond Rings

Fancy Pink Diamond Ring

There’s no doubt about it – the demand for pink diamonds has been gaining steam, and this ring showcases precisely the innate romance and enchantment that these colored stones have. Weighing 12.07 carats, the marquise-shaped brilliant fancy pink diamond is claw-set and has been graded Internally Flawless. While Sotheby’s predicted the ring would rake in between $3.57 million and $6.2 million, it surpassed those expectations, selling for $7,256,816 or $601,228 per carat. As such, the ring set a new record price paid per carat for a fancy pink diamond.

Fine Fancy Light Pink Diamond Ring

This ring only offers further proof that pink diamonds are highly sought-after. Weighing a modest 10.11 carats and graded VS2 clarity, this round brilliant fancy light pink diamond is claw-set between tapered baguette diamond shoulders. The dazzle doesn’t stop there, though. Even the eternity band, which is signed with the French assay mark Boucheron, is studded with brilliant-cut diamonds. Despite the fact that Sotheby’s only estimated the ring would get  $507,312 – $806,063, it ended up selling for eight times that price at $3,973,944. Thus, a new record was set for a fancy light pink diamond’s price per carat: $393.071. Previously, an unmounted 5.08- carat brilliant-cut fancy light pink diamond held this record, fetching $280,807 per carat at a Sotheby’s auction in 2012.

Harry Winston Yellow Diamond Collection

Each piece in this collection is astounding. It includes a signed and marked necklace with a graduated line of pear-shaped yellow diamonds and a massive detachable pendant set with two oval diamonds in a similar hue. Also in the matching set is a pair of signed and marked ear clips, a ring with a 16.03-carat pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond ring and a bracelet with pear-shaped yellow diamonds throughout. Once again, Sotheby’s had a low estimation of $806,063 -$1,240,096 for this sale. However, the collection ended up acquiring a jaw-dropping $2,440,735 in total, which is three times the initial prediction.