Sunday, 23 October 2016

Auctions of Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon

The collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon, better known as “Bunny,” was sold in a wildly successful series of auctions at Sotheby’s in 2014. They brought in a grand total of $228 million, more than doubling the presale estimate of $100 million.

Mellon, a Listerine heiress who married Paul Mellon, son of banking tycoon Andrew W. Mellon, died in March 2014 at the age of 103. Over the course of five days, Sotheby’s presented 1,551 lots, selling 98.1 percent of them. 85 percent of lots exceeded their high estimates.

The 9.75 carat blue diamond brought $32.6 million setting a then price-per-carat record of $3.3 million

Mark Rothko, Untitled (1970) sold for $40 million

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) (1955), $32.5 million

Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park #89 (1975) $8.5 million

Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder $4.6 million.

Georgia O’Keeffe, White Barn (1932) sold for $3.2 million

Gold And Diamond Rivière, Cartier. $ 1,500,000

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Italian Jewels: Bvlgari Style

The name Bvlgari is synonymous with 1960s Italian glamour. Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style brings together Bulgari’s visionary creativity and the maison’s leading women in a spectacular display of film, photography and glittering jewels.

Showcasing the longstanding relationship between Bvlgari, Rome and Hollywood cinema, the exhibition features exquisite jewels. Elizabeth Taylor owned a large collection of designer pieces, many of which were bought back by the design house at auction after her 2011 death. More than a dozen pieces from her private collection will be featured in the Melbourne show.

Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at the National Gallery of Victoria runs through January 29. Entry is free.
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Friday, 21 October 2016

Returned Stolen Treasure

Two Roman ballista balls from Gamla were returned. The 2,000-year-old stones were left in a bag at the courtyard of the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures.
In 1993, a retired Red Army officer dropped off 101 drawings by masters like Goya, Manet, and Delacroix at the German embassy in Moscow.

They had been looted from the Bremen museum in 1945 by Soviet soldiers.
The looting of the Baghdad Museum as Saddam Hussein’s government crumbled was devastating for antiquities lovers. In 2003, three men anonymously returned one of Iraq’s most precious treasures in the back of a car.

The Sacred Vase of Warka, a massive limestone bowl, dates to around 3200 B.C.
In 2001, London dealer James Ede received an anonymous phone call that led him to his doorstep, where he found six fragments of Roman frescoes taken from Pompeii during excavations. They had been stolen 16 years earlier from the walls of a villa near the ancient city, and were estimated to be worth around £100,000.
In 2006, just a year after a 1,500-year-old stone box from the Mayan civilization was found in Guatemala, it mysteriously vanished.

After a national investigation, it returned through an anonymous delivery at the country’s Ministry of Culture.
In 1950 a group of 11 small ancient clay figurines were found in a Utah canyon. They belonged to a long-vanished people called the Fremont Culture, who had lived in the region from 700 to 1300 A.D. For two decades, these pieces, which came to be known as the Pilling Collection, toured around Utah museums.

In the early 1970s, one of the figures mysteriously failed to show up. In 2011, an anthropologist at Utah State University received a box with the missing piece.
In 2007 the J Paul Getty Museum returned disputed antiquities, including a prized statue of the goddess Aphrodite.

Italian authorities believe the 7ft statue, bought by the Getty for $18 million in 1988, was looted from an ancient Greek settlement in Sicily.
In April 2015 some 123 artefacts were seized by US customs as part of a five year investigation into international smuggling networks dubbed Operation Mummy's Curse.

One item, a 2,300 year-old sarcophagus was found in a garage in Brooklyn.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Top Jewels at Auction in 2015

“The Blue Moon of Josephine,” 13.02 carats, internally flawless, it sold for $48,468,158 at Sotheby’s in November, 2015. The price set a world record for any diamond of any color, and for price per carat of any gemstone. The gem was cut from a 29.62-carat rough diamond unearthed at the Cullinan mine.

The “Sunrise Ruby” a 25.59-carat Burmese stone, sold for $30.3 million ($1.184 million per carat) in May, 2015. The price is a new record for any ruby, a new record per carat, and for any stone by Cartier.

16.08 carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond, “The Sweet Josephine” $28,523,925 at Christie’s in November.

Emerald-Cut Diamond, 100.20 Carats, D-flawless — one of only six 100-carat-plus “perfect” diamonds to hit the auction block in the past 25 years — fetched $22.1 million at Sotheby’s in April

“The Crimson Flame,” 15.04 carats Burmese ruby made $18m in December 2015, setting a world auction record for a ruby of $1.2 million per carat.

Rectangular-cut 5.18-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ring $10,709,443 at Christie’s

Fancy Purple-Pink Diamond Ring, 8.24 carats $13,866,553 at Sotheby’s in November 2015

Fancy Intense Pink diamond, 9.07 Carats, mounted by Harry Winston, a type IIa. $12,643,776 at Christie’s

Etcetera Ruby and Diamond Latticework Necklace, 120.74 Carats. $13,006,656 at Christie’s.

The 8.72-carat cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Pink ‘Historic Pink Diamond’, which is the recut pink stone once owned by reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. $15.9 million.
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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Gem Butterflies

The incredible colours of rhodochrosite, haüyne, sphene, yogo sapphires, tanzanites, hiddenite, garnets and benitoites at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, in the Butterfly Broach Collection.

This brooch is almost entirely set with benitoite, the California state gemstone.
A barium-titanium silicate mineral (BaTiSi3O9), benitoite is a rare mineral, crystals large enough to be cut into gemstones are found only in one location: the Dallas gem mine in San Benito County, California. An unusual geologic setting of hydrothermal veins between glaucophane schist and serpentinite created this rare mineral. Benitoite is known for its high dispersion and its vivid blue fluorescence in UV light.
Orange spessartine garnets from the Little Three mine in Ramona, California highlight this brooch, along with colorless diamonds and green tsavorite garnets from Kenya.
The multi-colored sparkle of this butterfly emanates from its green titanites (“sphene”) from Madagascar. The "fire" of titanite derives from its high dispersion and refraction. Titanite (CaTiSiO5) is a fairly common accessory mineral in igneous and metamorphic rocks, but is seldom found in size and quality suitable for gems.

This butterfly brooch brings together titanites in three different colors: green from Madagascar, brown and yellow from Pakistan.

A 13.51ct rhodocrosite (MnCO3). This mineral is very rare in jewelry. Apatite and opal cover the wings, the eyes are green chromium-rich titanite (sphene).

Pink and red spinels from Vietnam highlight this butterfly brooch. Red spinel (MgAl2O4) has long been used as an affordable alternative to ruby. Some famous historical rubies are actually red spinels. Spinel is now very popular in its own right. The eyes of the butterfly are blue jeremejevites (Al6(BO3)5(F,OH)3) from Namibia.
A 10.01-ct green hiddenite is the central piece of the brooch. Hiddenite is a green variety of the mineral spodumene (LiAl(SiO3)2) in which the color is caused by small amounts of the element. chromium. Hiddenite from North Carolina is found associated with emerald, the green variety of bery, which also owes its color to chromium. The body of this butterfly is the world's largest faceted hiddenite.
This butterfly brooch is set with blue sapphires from Yogo Gulch, Montana. Sapphire senso stricto is the blue variety of corundum (Al2O3).

Wallace Chan

Eli Frei

Van Cleef & Arpels

Diamond and Gemstone Butterfly Brooch in 18K and Platinum.

Victorian Gemstone Butterfly Brooch

A diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald butterfly brooch from the late 19th century.

A pearl, diamond and cabochon emerald butterfly brooch by Buccellati.

A carved boulder opal butterfly brooch with diamonds and sapphires.

A gem set and diamond butterfly brooch, 1890's.

Fire Opal Butterfly brooch by Shaun Leane.

Anna Hu’s pair of high jewellery earrings.

Van Cleef & Arpels Papillons Butterfly blue and diamond brooch

Van Cleef & Arpels

Akiva Gil

Graff multi-cut diamond butterfly brooch 119.99 carats

Wallace Chans " Whimsical Blue" Butterfly

Butterfly by JAR