A fancy blue and white diamond ring by the Place Vendôme high jewelry house, Reza, is the top lot at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction to be held July 22 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The ring features two pear-shaped diamonds mounted in a polished platinum setting with a pure, rounded shape. The first is an internally flawless 5.34-carat fancy vivid blue modified brilliant-cut diamond. The second is a 5.37-carat D color, internally flawless Type IIa colorless diamond. The ring has an estimate of $8.5 million – $12.8 million.
Also among the top lot are two diamonds weighing more than 100 carats. The number two lot is an unmounted, D-color 100.85-carat diamond. The modified shield mixed-cut stone has two different clarity grades from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). A 2020 report graded it as internally flawless and a 1987 report gave it a VVS1 clarity grade. The 1987 report also notes this diamond was the largest D color shield-cut diamond ever graded at the time. Its estimate is $3.7 million – $4.7 million
This is followed by a 104.04-carat internally flawless, fancy intense yellow modified pear-shaped, brilliant-cut diamond. Its estimate is $2.6 million – $3.7 million. When it comes to fancy colored diamonds, blue and pink are the most sought after by collectors, while yellow diamonds haven’t been achieving the same level of interest. Christie’s is obviously hoping this diamond goes against this trend.
Next is a platinum necklace featuring a 49.81-carat pear-shaped, brilliant-cut diamond further adorned with pear-, cushion- and baguette-shaped diamonds. The pendant diamond has two GIA reports that differ slightly. The 2019 report lists it as having D color, VVS1 clarity, and labeled type IIa diamond; while a 2018 report says it is of E color and VS1 clarity. Its estimate is $1.8 – $2.6 million.
The Reza ring as the top lot sets the tone for an auction that features a number of signed jewels from heritage brands using exceptional diamonds and colored gems among the 195 lots in the sale.
For example, there are 18 jewels by Cartier over several periods and in many of its iconic styles. The top lot in this group is a yellow diamond and diamond bracelet topped with 12 fancy vivid yellow marquise and oval-shaped diamonds ranging from 2.20 carats to 5.40 carats of VVS2 to SI1 clarity, for a total of 41.80 carats. The jewel is further adorned with circular and baguette-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $1.8 million – $2.6 million.
This is followed by a ring centered with a 52.20-carat rectangular-cut, unheated Ceylon sapphire mounted in platinum and further adorned with circular and baguette-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $742,639 – $954,822. Then there’s an iconic “Tutti-Frutti” platinum bracelet, circa 1930, with carved emerald leaves, ruby beads, buff-top sapphires and rubies, and framed in old and single-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $212,182 – $318,274.
There are 10 pieces by Bulgari in the sale that show the breadth and depth of its creations. The top lot in this group is the colorful and decorative brooch and earring set (1960s) made with cabochon sapphires, rubies and emeralds, surrounded by circular-cut diamonds, all mounted on platinum and gold, with detachable pendants. Its estimate is $265,228 – $371,319.
This is followed by what is arguably the most interesting and historical piece from Bulgari to come to auction in some time: an Art Deco sapphire and diamond brooch. The jewel centered with a 30.30-carat unheated Ceylon sapphire surrounded by baguette and old-cut diamonds mounted in platinum. During a live stream preview of the Magnificent Jewels sale, one of Christie’s jewelry experts noted that the most important aspect of this brooch is that it’s an Art Deco era jewel from Bulgari, which came to international prominence in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. “We sometimes forget Bulgari was founded in 1884. It’s not easy to find an article of jewelry from Bulgari from this period,” the specialist said. The jewel also has royal provenance as it was purchased by Italian Countess Nerina Volpi di Misurata around 1930. Its estimate is $265,228 – $371,319.
There are several rings by Bulgari featuring statement colored gems. Among them is a platinum ring centered with a 10.10-carat cushion-shaped unheated Burmese ruby flanked by fancy-shaped diamonds of 1.20 and 1.16 carats (estimate: $233,401 – $318,274); and a platinum and gold ring featuring a 20.84-carat step-cut unheated Burmese sapphire flanked by pear-shaped diamonds (estimate: $159,137 – $212,182).
Colored Gems and natural pearls
As with most international auctions, diamonds are among the top lots, but they are not as dominate as they usually are for a sale of this scale. There were already several examples of signed jewels with important colored gems. Among the others there is the number six lot of the sale, a platinum and gold ring featuring an 18.82-carat octagonal step-cut Colombian emerald, with minor oil treatment, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds. The ring was purchased at Harry Winston, circa 1949. Its estimate is $371,319 – $477,411.
Another emerald jewel of interest among the 38 emerald pieces being offered in the sale is a Belle Époque period négligée necklace, circa 1910s, featuring cabochon and drop Colombian emeralds and old and marquise-cut diamondsthat comes with a brown Chaumet fitted case. The two smaller drops have minor oil treatment. The treatment could not be identified on the larger drop. Its estimate is $106,091 – $159,137.
There are 38 sapphires in the sale as well. The top lot in this group is a platinum ring centered with a 12.44-carat cushion-shaped, unheated Kashmir sapphire surrounded by marquise-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $742,639 – $1 million.
Other important sapphire jewels include a diamond necklace featuring a 39.59-carat oval step-cut, unheated sapphire pendant of Burmese of Ceylon origins (estimate $636,548 – $848,730); and a gold and diamond ring centered with a 36.88-carat octagonal step-cut, unheated Ceylon sapphire (estimate: $424,365 – $530,456).
Natural pearls, arguably the rarest gems of all, play an important role in this sale. The top lot in this group is a necklace with 85 natural saltwater pearls measuring approximately 11.40 – 7.30 millimeters, further enhanced with various cuts of diamonds. Its estimate is $636,548 – $848,730.
This is followed by a pair of earrings from Swiss luxury retailer, Gübelin, featuring slightly baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearls of 27.92 and 25.70 carats set in platinum and gold paved with circular and baguette-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $190,964 – $265,228.
Finally, no Geneva jewelry auction is complete without at least one tiara. This one from the 1890s features eight natural saltwater pearls (seven drop and one button-shaped) along with old, circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds. Like many tiaras it is transformable, detachable in eight elements in which three can be worn as separated brooches. Its estimate is $95,482 – $137,918