Jewels auction exceeds $50 million, new record set

Updated: Oct 22, 2010, 10:28 AM IST

New York: A rare two-stone ring set a new world record price per carat for a blue diamond at auction when it was sold in a jewels sale that exceeded $50 million, Christie`s said on Thursday.

The Bulgari Blue Diamond, a ring designed in the 1970s that was sold from a private European collection, was the top seller in the auction of more than 450 jewelry pieces. It fetched $15.7 million, or $1.4 million per carat.

"A world record price was achieved on October 20 for The Bulgari Blue, a much-celebrated stone that came up for sale at Christie`s for the first time in almost 40 years," said Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie`s Americas.

The jewel had been bought in Rome in 1972 for $1 million, which is the equivalent of about $5 million today. It had been given as a gift from the collector to his wife to celebrate their first son`s birth, according to Christie`s.

"With a sold price of $15.7 million, the stone tripled its value in that time, demonstrating the incredible resilience of diamonds in today`s volatile economic environment and the true, lasting value of fine jewelry," Kadakia added.

Diamonds and other colored-stone jewelry have increased 20 percent from just a year ago, making them a good hedge for investors in tough economic times.

The ring features a 9.87 carat colorless triangular-shaped diamond paired with a triangular 10.95 carat ‘Fancy Vivid’ blue diamond, the largest such blue diamond of this cut ever offered at auction. One in about 10 blue diamonds of this size has a color pure enough to qualify as ‘Fancy Vivid’.

A rectangular-cut 17.65 carat diamond ring by Harry Winston sold for $2.1 million.

Other items in the sale included ‘ear pendants’ designed by Joel Rosenthal that were originally owned by actress Ellen Barkin and worn to the 2005 Oscars. The 2-3/4 inch long imperial topaz, ruby and diamond earrings, which were expected to sell for $300,000 to $500,000, exceeded estimates and changed hands for $650,500.

The auction also included jewels from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Boucheron.

Bureau Report