As 2018 is coming to its end, it’s a good time to revisit some of the most notable gems and jewels that shone at auctions over the year.
The 910-carat Lesotho Legend – world’s fifth largest gem diamond in history
A 910-carat diamond ‘The Lesotho Legend’, the world’s fifth largest gem diamond in history, sold on 12 March for US$40m. Gem Diamonds, which retrieved the rock in January, said it had removed the diamond from the Letseng mine in Lesotho. It was the largest diamond to have been recovered from the mine.
The D-color, type IIa stone diamond was reportedly sold to Samir Gems, an Antwerp-based supplier run by India’s Bhansali family.
Pink Legacy Diamond – world record for the highest per-carat price for a pink diamond
An 18.96-carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond, The Pink Legacy, fetched CHF 50.3m (US$50m) at Christie’s in Geneva in November. It achieved a per-carat price of around US$2.6m, a world record for a pink diamond. The diamond was bought by US renowned jeweller Harry Winston and renamed 'The Winston Pink Legacy'.
The 18.96 stone is qualified for the coveted ‘Fancy Vivid’ colour grading from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Only one in 100,000 diamonds possess a colour deep enough to qualify as ‘Fancy Vivid’.
The Pink Legacy. Fancy vivid pink cut-cornered rectangular-cut diamond
Colour: Fancy vivid Pink
Clarity: VS1 clarity, type IIa
GIA 2018 report no.: 2191528443
Price realised: CHF 50,375,000
Auction house: Christie’s Geneva
Sale: Magnificent Jewels
Date: 13 November 2018
Marie Antoinette’s pearl pendant – auction record for a natural pearl
A pearl and diamond pendant that formerly owned by the French Queen Marie Antoinette sold for a record CHF 36.4m (US$36.1m) at Sotheby’s in Geneva, establishing a new auction record for a natural pearl. The French Queen was known for her great love of pearls and diamonds. She was often portrayed wearing pearls, a symbol of wealth and status.
In March 1791, due to the Revolution, the French royal family was put under house arrest and Marie Antoinette had to prepare for her escape from France. According to the queen’s lady in waiting, Marie Antoinette spent an entire evening wrapping all her jewels herself. These precious treasures were sent to Brussels where Archduchess Marie-Christine, Marie Antoinette’s sister, was in power.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed by guillotine in 1793 and their son died in captivity. Their only surviving child, Marie-Thérèse de France, arrived in Vienna in 1796. She bequeathed part of her jewellery collection to her niece and adopted daughter, Louise of France, Duchess of Parma, who in turn left them to her son, Robert I (1848-1907), the last ruling Duke of Parma.
Pearl and Diamond Pendant, 18th century, from Queen Marie Antoinette of France
Size: 15.90 x 18.35 x 25.85mm
Price realised: CHF 36,427,000
Auction house: Sotheby’s Geneva
Sale: Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family
Auction date: 14 November 2018
A 109-carat peacock necklace – world’s most expensive kashmir sapphire necklace
A 109.08-carat Kashmir royal blue sapphire and diamond necklace, ‘The Peacock Necklace’, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong autumn sales for HK$116.5m (US$14.9m), a world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire necklace.
The sapphire and diamond necklace set with twenty-one cushion-shaped sapphires from 10.56 to 3.02 carats each, carrying a total of 109.08 carats. Kashmir sapphires are renowned for their brilliance and strong saturation of velvet blue, which is reminiscent of the colour of a peacock’s neck.
Superb Sapphire and Diamond Necklace
Length: 39.5 cm
SSEF report no.: 102016
Price realised: HK$116,537,500
Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels
Date: 27 November 2018
An all-diamond ring
Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer
Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson have designed a unique ring that made completely of diamond. It was offered at the (Red) auction that they curated five years ago and it sold for US$256,250.
The diamond block will be faceted with several thousand facets, some of which are as small as several hundred micrometers. The interior ring will be cylindrically cut out for the desired smoothness using a micrometer thick water jet inside which a laser beam is cast. The finished ring will have between 2000-3000 facets which has never been seen before on a single piece.
Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson. The (Red) Diamond Ring, a Diamond Foundry ® Created Diamond
Price realised: US$256,250
Auction house: Sotheby’s Miami
Sale: (Red) Auction
Date: 5 December 2018