Saturday 29 October 2016

"Ratnaraj" Ruby headlines Christie's Sale

An array of Burmese rubies, Kashmir sapphires and colored diamonds will cross the block at Christie’s November auction. Headlining is the Ratnaraj ruby, a 10.05-carat Burmese “pigeon’s blood” ruby. It is estimated at $8.8-million to $12.5-million.

 “Ratnaraj” means “king of precious stones” in Sanskrit.
5.01-carat Burmese ruby

16.36-carat Kashmir sapphire

7.93-carat fancy pink diamond

4.26-carat fancy blue diamond

Friday 28 October 2016


Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral with composition NaAlSi2O6. It is monoclinic and has a Mohs hardness of about 6.5 to 7.0 depending on the composition.

The Latin version of the name, lapis nephriticus, is the origin of the term nephrite, another variety of jade. Jadeite is formed in metamorphic rocks under high pressure and relatively low temperature. In all well-documented occurrences, jadeitite appears to have formed from subduction zone fluids in association with serpentinite.

Jadeite from the Motagua Valley, Guatemala, was used by the Olmec and Maya, as well as the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica.

Typically, the most highly valued colors of jadeite are the most intensely green, translucent varieties, though traditionally white has been considered the most valuable of the jades by the Chinese.

Natural Icy Imperial Emerald Green Jadeite Dragon's Fang Pendant 16 carats.
Top-quality jadeite is very rare. Vivid, sleek, and translucent, magnificent jadeite commands some of the highest prices among gems in today’s international market. Jadeite’s three most important qualities, in order of their impact on its market value, are color, transparency, and texture.

The finest-quality jadeite is known as Imperial jade. The royal court of China once had a standing order for all available material of this kind, and it’s one of the world’s most expensive gems.

The Hutton-Mdivani necklace by Cartier sold for $27.4 million, a world record for a Cartier jewel.

Jadeite and diamond pendant £180k
Jadeite’s transparency ranges from opaque to semitransparent. The best jadeite is semitransparent. The finest-quality jadeite is usually cut into cabochons.

A jadeite snuff bottle, 1780–1880. It sold for HK$ 1.5 million

A pair of jadeite and diamond ear pendants. Est HK$3,800,000-5,800,000 ($480,000-750,000)

A magnificent jadeite ring. Est HK$28,000,000-38,000,000 ($3,500,000-4,800,000)

Art-deco jadeite, enamel, gem-set and diamond brooch from Cartier, circa 1927. HK$7,000,000-8,000,000

Jadite Bangle. HK$6,000,000 – HK$8,000,000 ($777,816 - $1,037,088)

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Famous Gemstones

The Hortensia Diamond. Named after the Queen of Holland, the rock glittered on Napoleon's epaulette braid fastening and, later, on Empress Eugenie's comb. After the French Revolution, the diamond was snatched and later found in a bag of treasures in the attic of an old house in Paris. According to lore, the man who stole the precious gems disclosed the secret location just before his execution. Today, it's held in the Louvre's Gallerie d'Apollon.

The Cora Sun-Drop Diamond. The Cora, at 110 carats, is the largest yellow pear-shaped diamond. It auctioned for $11 million in 2011, setting Sotheby’s new record for a yellow diamond.
The Hope Diamond. The Hope is believed to be cursed. Evalyn Walsh McLean, one of its former owners, referred to the rock as her "lucky charm." Soon after acquiring it, though, McLean's son died in a car accident, her husband divorced her and died insane, and her daughter committed suicide. She herself became a morphine addict. In 1959, the 45.52-carat rock was donated to the Smithsonian. It was sent by regular mail.

La Peregrina Pearl. - After passing from the hands of Spanish, French, and English kings and queens, the pearl eventually wound up perched prominently on the bosom of an American royal, Elizabeth Taylor, in 1969. Richard Burton purchased the pearl for her, even outbidding a prince. Taylor then misplaced La Peregrina in a Las Vegas hotel, only to find it in her dog's mouth.
The Star of India. - The world's largest star sapphire, weighs 563-carats and is roughly the size of a golf ball. On Halloween eve in 1964, it was stolen in a heist at the Museum of Natural History, only to be found a few days later in a Miami bus terminal locker.

The Cullinan Diamond. - Discovered in South Africa, the Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found. It was cut into more than 100 smaller pieces, the nine largest of which belong to the British Royal Family. Pictured is a brooch made out of Cullinan III and IV.
The Tiffany Diamond. In 1877, Tiffany & Co.'s iconic 128-carat yellow diamond was found in South Africa. It adorned Audrey Hepburn's neck while she was doing publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany's. It’s on permanent display in the New York Fifth Avenue store.

The Logan Sapphire. - Originally from Sri Lanka, this 423-carat violet blue sapphire is roughly the size of an egg. It belonged to a Washington, D.C., socialite, Mrs. Polly Logan, who donated the stone to the Smithsonian’s collection in 1960.
The Tutti Frutti Necklace by Cartier was commissioned by socialite and Singer sewing machine heiress Daisy Fellowes in 1936.  This was the necklace that helped kick off Cartier's "Art Deco" craze.

The Emerald and Diamond Pendant Brooch. The Emerald and Diamond Pendant Brooch is made from a piece of Mughal emerald that hails from the mid-seventeenth century. The stone from India weighs 55.8 carats and is carved with tulips, and was sold at a Christie's auction in 2003.

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.