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Sotheby's Jewelry Sales Reach Record $603M in 2014

Jan 30, 2015 1:37 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry auctions totaled $602.5 million in 2014, representing a new record for the auction house. During the year, Sotheby's sold more than 3,900 jewelry lots, 77 jewels topped $1 million and 69 percent of all lots that were sold exceeded their high presale estimates. The overall sell-through rate in 2014 was 81 percent.

Collectors eagerly vied for jewels from prominent private collections, including pieces owned by Mrs. Paul Mellon, Dimitri Mavrommatis, Barbara Hutton, Estée Lauder and Evelyn H. Lauder, Joséphine De Beauharnais, Helen Hay Whitney, Flora Sassoon, Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia and others.

For example, the Mellon jewelry sale achieved $45 million, far exceeding the high presale estimate of $20.7 million. Sotheby's stated that the sale included The Zoe Diamond, which sold for $32.6 million or $3,348,205 per carat, a record per-carat price for any diamond. 

Sotheby's also sold The Graff Vivid Yellow diamond for $16.3 million, which was a record price for any Graff jewel, as well as the highest price for any yellow diamond to date.

The jewelry market is thriving for jadeite, primarily in Asia, as Sotheby's sold The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace for $27.4 million, a record for any jadeite or non-diamond jewel and the was highest price achieved for any piece by Cartier. Sotheby's contended that these prices are being "driven by the scarcity of quality boulders and the growing demand of buyers from Greater China and Southeast Asia."  

Sotheby’s also called demand for top-quality sapphires, rubies and emeralds "insatiable" as the burgeoning wealth of a new generation of buyers from China, Russia and the Middle East pursued exceptionally rare gems to add to their investment portfolios. During the year, The Graff Ruby sold for a record $997,727 per carat, or $8.6 million, and a rare and exceptional sapphire sold for $6 million, marking the highest price to date for any Kashmir sapphire.

Sotheby's noted extremely high demand for natural pearls as the majority of saltwater pearls were harvested a century ago. An important natural pearl and diamond necklace sold for $3 million, or more than eight times its presale high estimate.


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Tags: Auctions, diamonds, Jadeite, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, pearls, records, Sotheby's
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