Over 330 lots of precious diamonds, necklaces and earrings went up for sale at auction house, Christie’s, recent Magnificent Jewels event.
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The centerpiece of the show – a vivid, pear-shaped yellow diamond – is one of the rarest in its class, says Christie’s Rahul Kadikia.
“Even within the realm of vivid yellows, this is as good as it gets. You know, if I had to put a number on a scale of one to 10, this is a 15. And I’m not kidding.”
The over 33-carat gem was expected to fetch between $6 million and $8 million.
An anonymous buyer picked it up at the lower end of that range for just over $6.5 million.
Still, the diamond market has seen strong interest this year with sales up 45% in the first half in U.S. dollars, according to research firm, Morningstar. For the moneyed crowd, diamonds have been attractive hard assets to own amid global unease.
“If you do have eight million dollars to spend, do you put it in stocks? Not really. Do you try and hedge against some currencies? Who knows what’s going on with that world, so what do you do? You put it into a solid, tangible asset and you wait. And this is exactly why the diamond market has been faring so well.”
One item that drew a much higher-than-expected price was a 1920’s Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet at over $960,000.
“One of the most inventive creations, in that they had to think of a design for the bags of carved gems they had to buy in India when Cartier wanted to be introduced to the royal family. So they had all of this stock because of the introductions. What do you do with it? They came up with this Tutti Frutti concept.”
The October Magnificent Jewels auction is one of three that Christie’s will stage this year. Capping off these glitzy sales will be the highly anticipated auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewel collection in December.
Bottom line: A near 33-carat, pear-shaped, fancy vivid yellow diamond sold for less than expected at a Christie’s auction late Tuesday. But experts say diamonds are still more than just a girl’s best friend.