SOTHEBY’S DECEMBER 2007 SALE OF MAGNIFICENT JEWELS TOTALS A RECORD $49,827,926 Applause filled Sotheby’s salesroom tonight as the hammer fell on the final session of the auction of Magnificent Jewels, which achieved an outstanding total of $49,827,926.
Desk Clock, Cartier, European Watch & Clock Co., circa 1943 (lot 226, est. $600,000/1 million), given as a personal gift by Pierre Cartier to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943, was the subject of an intense battle between two bidders on the telephone finally selling to an American Private Collector for $1,609,000, a record for a Cartier clock at auction. That price, which elicited a round of applause with the fall of the hammer, eclipsed the previous record of $1.54 million set more than 15 years ago. Eight splendid jewels, Property from a Distinguished Lady, fetched a spectacular total of $9,605,200 (est. $4/5 million).
The highlight of this collection, a spectacular Pair of Diamond Pendant-Earrings by Harry Winston soared past the high estimate to bring $3,961,000 (lot 363, est. $1.6/2 million). From the same collection, a Diamond Ring by Harry Winston, set with a pear-shaped D color, VVS2 clarity diamond weighing 32.16 carats (lot 362, est. $1.3/1.5 million) sold for $3,289,000 and a wreath motif Diamond Necklace-Bracelet Combination also by Harry Winston fetched $529,000 (lot 360, est. $275,000/375,000).
Following Sotheby’s record-breaking sale in Geneva of the “Chloe diamond,” the largest, purest white flawless brilliant-cut diamond ever to be offered at auction, the interest in white diamonds seen in today’s sale reinforced the strength of the market for these high quality stones.
The Harry Winston Liberator II Diamond Ring, offered by a California Estate, weighing 18.13 carats (lot 345, est. $350,000/450,000), brought $1,060,200. This diamond, which commanded bids from as many as six different clients both in the room and on the phone, was one of four cut from a 155 carat rough diamond discovered in Venezuela named Liberator in honor of Simon Bolivar. Also from a California Estate, an elegant Diamond Necklace-Bracelet Combination made by Harry Winston in 1956 (lot 344, est. $200,000/300,000) fetched $541,000. A marquise-shaped Diamond Ring from a Washington, D.C. Estate weighing 12.33 carats, also inspired competitive bidding, surpassing the high estimate to sell for $858,600 (lot 297, est. $300/400,000). Gary Schuler, Head of the Jewelry Department in New York, said, “Across the board, diamonds of all sizes and qualities performed remarkably well, proving that the diamond market remains robust. We are particularly pleased with the results we achieved today for works coming from private collections.”
Among the major gemstones in the sale, a Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond Pendant (lot 330, est. $1,750,000/2 million), set with a 50.40 carat step-cut fancy intense yellow diamond, sold for $2,001,000, and a stunning Diamond Rivière Necklace, with a graduating row set with 46 round diamonds of light yellow color weighing a total of approximately 100.00 carats, also exceeded expectations selling for $881,000 (lot 305, est. $250/350,000). The array of one-of-a-kind Cartier jewels included the Diamond Bandeau, Cartier, Paris, 1912, which brought $612,200 after an extended battle between at least six different bidders, finally selling to a client on the telephone (lot 331, est. $150,000/200,000).
Two impressive Art Deco designs beautifully executed by Cartier craftsmen also were highly sought after in