Ruby fetches record $30 million at Geneva auction

AFP - [email protected] • 13 May, 2015 Updated Wed 13 May 2015 08:36 CEST
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A 25.59-carat "pigeon blood" ruby sold for a world record $30.33 million at auction in Geneva on Tuesday while a rare pink diamond believed to have once belonged to Napoleon's niece fetched $15.9 million, Sotheby's said.


After competitive bidding, the ruby went to an anonymous telephone bidder for 26.25 million francs before commission.
The "Sunrise Ruby" from Myanmar, part of a collection of Cartier jewels up for auction, had been expected to sell for between $12 million and $18 million.
It set a record for a ruby and was also a record for a Cartier jewel at auction, Sotheby's said.
"The Sunrise Ruby sold for just over $30 million, $30.3 million, which is I think over three times the previous record, which was for the Graff Ruby,"
said David Bennett, head of Sotheby's international jewellery division, referring to a stone sold in November.
The large, pigeon-blood red ruby "is amongst the rarest of all gemstones", Bennet said.
"I mean, in 40 years I've ever only seen one this colour, this size, so they are beyond rare," he said.
Another "extremely rare" stone, a fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 8.72 carats sold for 14.8 million francs ($15.9 million) at the spring Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction.
The stone, known as "The Historic Pink" and mounted on a ring with a classic non-modified cushion cut, is believed to have been part of the
collection of Princess Mathilde, niece of French Emperor Napoleon I, according to the Gemological Institute of America.
Another of its former owners was the reclusive American heiress and philanthropist Huguette Clark, who died in 2007.
It only recently reappeared after having been kept in the safe of a bank since the 1940s.
The origins of the stone remain unclear. The technical characteristics of the stone and the fact that it is so old suggest it may have been found in the famous Golconda mines of India, according to Bennett.
The market for coloured diamonds and precious stones has never been so dynamic, according to Sotheby's, with pink diamonds among the rarest.
In October 2014, Sotheby's sold a 8.41 carat pink diamond, which was cut differently, for $17.8 million.
At Tuesday's auction, a pair of Cartier earrings with sapphires from Myanmar and diamonds sold for 3.4 million francs ($3.9 million).
Rival auction house Christie's will be hosting its spring jewels auction in Geneva on Wednesday with 351 pieces to go under the hammer.



AFP 2015/05/13 08:36

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