The Jubilee Ruby or Yellow Diamonds Will Give Christie’s the Edge?

April 19th, 2016 by Noam Flint

Not to be outshone by Sotheby’s who made the announcement a few weeks ago that they would be featuring two incredible blue diamonds at auction, one in New York and one in Hong Kong, Christie’s has announced that the headline jewel of their New York auction will be the Jubilee Ruby.

The Jubiliee RubyThe Jubiliee Ruby

In keeping with recent trends of the last two years, Christie’s is hoping that the gemstone will break record prices per carat due to its beauty and rarity. Coupled with some amazing fancy color diamond jewelry like yellow diamond rings, yellow diamond earrings, and pink diamond rings, Christie’s will be doing its best to prove that it has what it takes to stand next to Sotheby’s incredible offerings this auction season. The star of the auction is there 15.99 carat ruby named the ‘Jubilee Ruby’, which will be the first notable gemstone at auction this year and possibly set a trend for the rest of the year!

Noteworthy Yellow Diamond Rings

39.12ct intense yellow diamond ring39.12ct intense yellow diamond ring

The first lot of the morning session is the 39.12 carat Fancy Intense Yellow IF diamond ring valued at between $800k to $1.2 million, or $20.5k to $30.7k per carat. Seasoned diamond buyers and sellers will notice that this valuation is modest rather than the usual optimistic estimate that auction houses take. It is possible that they went this route because they felt that the color was weak for a Fancy Intense Yellow diamond, or because Christie’s is trying to theatrically shatter its high estimate to get into the media.

We will note here that this is not the only piece of diamond jewelry at auction that Christie’s chose to value in this way, probably for the same 2 reasons.

The other particularly noteworthy yellow diamond ring is Lot #169; a rectangular 30.48 carat VS2 Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring. It is valued at $1 million to $1.4 million, or $32k to $46k per carat, which is again a modest price for a Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond of this size and caliber. Like we noted previously, perhaps the color is weak or Christie’s is looking to make a splash with the price.

30ct vivid yellow diamond ring
30.48 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring

That being said, there is another interesting point to note. The GIA certificate that accompanies the diamond is dated January 6, 2016, making it either a newly cut diamond, or even possibly a re-cut diamond. Occasionally, diamonds are re-cut or re-polished to improve the color or clarity, which may have been the case for this diamond (and would explain its weak Fancy Vivid color). The date also indicates that this ring is a recent addition to the auction inventory, as the certificates are issued when the auction house sends the pieces in for evaluation.

Yellow Diamond Earrings

Among the auction listings we also found two interesting pairs of yellow diamond earrings worth mentioning. The first is Lot #48, a pair of Fancy Intense Yellow diamond earrings. One center diamond is a 16.48 carat Fancy Intense Yellow IF modified cushion shaped diamond and the other 16.04 carat Fancy Intense Yellow VS2 modified cushion shaped diamond. Together, their value is estimated between $650k and $750k, or $20k to $23k per carat. Again we see that the GIA certificates are dated December 24, 2015 and January 6th, 2016, meaning that Christie’s only took possession of the earrings relatively soon before the auction. This was significant to point out twice because it shows a distinct change from years past. Formerly, auction houses took possession of the items at least 6 months before the auction date in order to give them time to properly evaluate and promote the jewelry. As of late, auction houses are publishing their catalogs at most 30 days before the date of the auction! This indicates the scarcity of fancy color diamonds that are worthy of auctioning. They are in such high demand that their owners are not willing to sell them and there aren’t enough of them to sell at every auction in every auction house throughout the year. This simple fact is yet more proof that fancy color diamonds, from pink diamonds to yellow diamonds, blue diamonds, and beyond, are in higher demand than ever, and only increasing.

Our second spotlight for yellow diamond earrings is on Lot #168. They stand out for numerous reasons, but the most important one is their shape. It is very rare in the world of fancy color diamonds to see them cut in the round brilliant shape. Unlike in colorless diamonds, where it is ideal to see the least color possible, fancy color diamonds are cut with the intention to hold in as much of the color as they can. Thus, round brilliant diamonds are most commonly cut in the round brilliant shape and fancy color diamonds mostly in cushion cut and radiant cut. When a fancy color diamond is a round brilliant, its color is so extraordinary that it can hold up to the shape.

The earrings this case are a perfectly matched pair of Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds, each weighing exactly 3.01 carats, but one with a VS1 clarity and one with a VS2 clarity. Together, they are valued between $550k and $650k, or $91k to $108k per carat. Unlike the case of the 2 rings that we mentioned above, these earrings received a relatively generous valuation. The diamonds probably exhibit amazing color intensity when viewed in person.

The Jubilee Ruby

Although it is not a fancy color diamond, the headline piece of the evening is certainly worth mentioning. The now famous 15.99 carat ruby named “The Jubilee Ruby” is a ruby that originated from the Mogok village of Burma. Rubies from Burma command some of the highest prices at auction, as their reputation is for the best color and gem characteristics. Although “pigeon red” rubies are usually the ones to gain the highest prices, and the Jubilee was not qualified as such, Christie’s has emphasized its Mogok origin in order to emphasize its appeal and beauty. It is valued at $12 million to $15 million, and Christie’s hopes that it will break the current record holder for price per carat by a ruby

The record price per carat is currently held by the 25.59 carat ruby named the Sunrise Ruby. The Sunrise Ruby was sold by Sotheby’s for $30.336 million, or $1.185 million per carat in Geneva on May 12, 2015. If the Jubilee Ruby were to break the record, it would need to sell for no less than $19 million in order to have a higher per-carat price.

Christie’s has chosen some fabulous yellow diamonds for its auction despite the fact that it seems that their options were quite limited for its April auction. Time and again we see that fancy color diamonds are getting harder to find, and that they are being bought no matter what because they are in such high demand. Unlike other diamond retailers, we recognize the fact that anyone may be interested in buying fancy color diamonds jewelry, not just those who attend auctions, and we serve to fulfill this need by offering our jewelry to the general public. Although only a few pieces of fancy color diamond jewelry are offered at these auctions at a time, more pieces are available when bought outside of such a public setting. In fact, the majority of diamond transactions are not done at auction and that is how the majority of people’s needs are met. Let us know what you are looking for and we will find the perfect piece of jewelry for your needs.

Will the Jubilee Ruby break the Sunrise Ruby’s record? Are the dates on the diamond certificates proof that the options for auction houses are getting slimmer? Tell us what you think in the comments!