Sotheby’s Gems and Jewellery

By Brett O’ Connor

Over the last two decades, I have traveled the world in a constant quest to find those gems that fit the description of a true gem-stone. Although the cultures and tastes may vary from one country to another, there are several gems that have greater appeal over others. They include rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and of course diamonds. Each of them are mined in several locations around the world, but there is usually one region that produces the best examples. For sapphires it is the Kashmir region. High up in the mountains and inaccessible most of the year, the original seam was exposed at the end of the 19th century by an earthquake. For emeralds it is the fabled mines of Muzo. Located in a valley deep in the jungles of Colombia, the early emeralds were destined for royalty. The Kashmir ring featured here is one of those gem-stones. Over 20 cts and eye clean, its soft velvety blue hue is mesmerizing. Although the Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace is contemporary, the central emeralds are of superior quality and the design takes its inspiration from the early 20th century.

The four wonderful jewels pictured here are just some of the highlights from our forthcoming Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale which takes place on October 4th. They will be on view to the public at the Hong Kong convention center from September 30th to October 4th and no reservation is required. If you happen to be in Hong Kong during that time, I would be thrilled to give you a private viewing of these or any of the other superb jewels at our auction exhibition.

Black Pearl Necklace (1796)

Very Rare Natural Pearl , Diamond and Black Onyx Necklace

Composed of forty-one graduated natural grey pearls measuring approximately 14.85 to 5.85mm, alternating with faceted diamond beads and black onyx rondelles, completed by a marquise-shaped diamond clasp, the diamonds weighing approximately 11.00 carats in total, mounted in platinum, length approximately 690mm.

Accompanied by SSEF report numbered 87097, dated 3 August 2016, stating that forty-one pearls tested are natural saltwater pearls.

HK$16,000,000-19,000,000 US$2,100,000-2,500,000


Emerald and Diamond Demi-Parure, Bulgari (1709)

Important Emerald and Diamond Demi-Parure, Bulgari

Comprising: a necklace set with three graduated step-cut emeralds weighing 12.00, 10.14 and 6.91 carats, decorated with smaller step-cut emeralds and diamonds; and a pair of matching earrings, each set with a step-cut emerald weighing 6.01 and 5.92 carats respectively; the smaller emeralds and diamonds weighing approximately 20.25 and 50.84 carats in total respectively, mounted in 18 karat white gold, both signed Bulgari and numbered, length approximately 400mm, two cases stamped Bulgari.

Accompanied by Gübelin reports numbered 12040090 and 0511157, dated 18 April 2012 and 5 December 2005 respectively, stating that the 12.00 and 10.14 carat emeralds are natural, of Colombian origin, with indications of insignificant clarity enhancement; also accompanied by Gübelin report numbered 0511155, 0511153 and 0511152, all dated 5 December 2005, stating that the 6.91, 6.01 and 5.92 carat emeralds are natural, of Colombian origin, with indications of minor clarity enhancement; further accompanied by sixteen GIA reports, stating that the diamonds weighing from 3.04 to 0.80 carats are D to G Colour, VVS2 to VS2 Clarity.

Accompanied by three Bulgari certificates of authenticity and two printed sketches.

HK$4,600,000-8,000,000 US$595,000-1,040,000



Pride of Kashmir (1799)

Exceptional and Very Rare Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Set with an oval sapphire weighing 20.22 carats, flanked by two trilliant-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18 karat yellow gold, ring mount signed HW. Ring size: 3¾.

Accompanied by Gübelin, SSEF and GIA reports numbered 15105176, 83588 and 1172540567, dated 26 October 2015, 12 January 2016 and 29 March 2016 respectively, stating that the 20.22 carat sapphire is natural, of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating. GIA and SSEF also state that the colour of this sapphire may also be called ‘royal blue’ in the trade and based on SSEF reference standards. The SSEF letter further stating that ‘it exhibits a remarkable size and weight of 20.225 ct combined with a highly attractive colour and an outstanding purity… based on these excellent qualities, this gem has been poetically named The Pride of Kashmir.’ Also accompanied by the SSEF folio report and Gübelin gemmological profile.

HK$30,000,000-45,000,000 US$3,800,000-5,800,000

Harry Winston Diamond Necklace (1798)

Magnificent Diamond Necklace, Harry Winston

Of fringe design, suspending nine pear-shaped diamonds weighing from 14.93 to 2.04 carats, supported by rows of circular-cut and pear-shaped diamonds; the diamonds weighing approximately 177.51 carats in total, mounted in platinum, signed Winston and numbered, length approximately 405mm.

Accompanied by nine GIA reports, stating that the diamonds weighing from 14.93 to 2.04 carats are all D Colour, Internally Flawless; further accompanied by seven diamond type classification reports stating that the diamonds weighing 14.93, 13.62, 13.10, 6.21, 5.04, 4.06 and 2.04 carats are determined to be Type IIa diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.

HK$42,000,000-48,000,000 US$5,400,000-6,200,000

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Brett O'Connor
About Brett O'Connor 5 Articles
Brett O’Connor joined Sotheby’s in 1999 and has been based in Geneva since 2002, sourcing gems for Sotheby’s worldwide Jewellery auctions. He has over 22 years of auction experience on three continents and has been involved with many of the important jewellery collections, including the collections of Baroness Eugene de Rothchild, Luisa Fanti Melloni, Maria Callas, Madame Claude Arpels, Lily Marinho, Count Guido Henkle von Donnermarck and Gina Lollobrigida. Mr O’Connor earned a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California, in 1994.

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