Sapphire sets record at Christie's, Spanish royal brooch stranded

Wed May 13, 2015 7:40pm EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - Rare colored gems led by a record-setting sapphire found new owners at Christie's on Wednesday, but a heavily publicized brooch from Spain's royal family was left on the block.

"The inexorable rise in demand for colored gemstones and pearls continued this evening," Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie's jewelry department who conducted the Geneva auction, said in a statement.

A fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 5.18 carats was the top lot, fetching 10 million Swiss francs ($10.91 million), within its presale estimate of 9.5 million to 12.5 million francs.

A 55.5 carat flawless pear-shaped diamond netted 8.4 million francs, just missing its presale estimate. An Asian private buyer made the winning bid by telephone.

"The buyer of the pear-shaped diamond got a deal, a very good purchase," Geneva-based jewelry dealer Eric Valdieu told Reuters in the showroom.

A 35.1 carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring went for 6.89 million francs, "establishing a world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire" at more than $200,000 per carat, Christie's said. It had been estimated at 3 million to 4 million francs.

"The Kashmir sapphire and natural pearls stand out from this sale, which was less spectacular than usual," Valdieu said.

Van Cleef ruby and diamond ear pendants and a matching ring given to Jacqueline Kennedy by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis for their 1968 wedding fetched 342,000 francs, a Christie's spokeswoman said.   Continued...