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First jewelry auction of the fall season features a trio of top quality diamonds over 50 carats in size
A Pair of Diamond Ear Pendants of 52.78 and 50.31 cts (117.04 cts total with surmounts). Estimate: $4,500,000 – 6,500,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

NEW YORK, NY.- On October 16, Christie’s New York will kick off the fall jewelry auction season with a dazzling array of magnificent jewels, from flawless diamonds to rare gemstones, natural pearls and signed jewels from the finest makers. Among the scores of top-quality gems on offer is a trio of stunning diamond jewels weighing more than 50 carats each, and an exceedingly rare double strand of large natural pearls – one of the finest to come to auction at Christie’s in the last five years. The two-session sale at Christie’s Rockefeller Center saleroom comprises 372 lots total, and is expected to achieve in excess of $35 million.

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Christie's Americas and Switzerland, noted: “Our spring auction season was our strongest yet at Christie’s, with $303.5 million in total jewelry sales and unprecedented global participation. In anticipation of a continued strong market this autumn, our team of jewelry specialists has spent the summer months gathering the finest gems to match current collecting tastes, including top-quality diamonds, natural pearls, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, rare vintage jewels, and highly-coveted contemporary creations from the best designers.”

Exceptional diamonds are a fixture at Christie’s major jewelry auctions, and the New York Magnificent Jewels sale features an array of gems in sizes ranging from one carat up to almost 70 carats. The top colorless diamond in the sale is a pear-shaped D-color flawless diamond of 50.52 carats. Offered with a GIA certificate noting the stone’s excellent polish and excellent symmetry, the stone is mounted in platinum and may be worn suspended from a necklace with a 2.28 carat, circular-cut D-color diamond surmount (estimate upon request).

Prices for large flawless diamonds of this exceptional quality continue to reach new heights; in May of 2011, Christie’s Geneva sold a heart-shaped D-color internally flawless diamond of 56.15 carats for $10.9 million to Laurence Graff, setting a new world auction record price for a heart-shaped diamond. And in December 2011, the legendary Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, a rectangular-cut D-color potentially flawless diamond of 33.19 carats, fetched $8.8 million at Christie’s New York, setting a record per-carat price of $266,000 per carat.

Among the colored diamond highlights is an oval-cut fancy intense yellow, internally flawless diamond of 68.35 carats (estimate $2.2-3.2 million) with excellent polish and symmetry. For collectors who don’t want to have to choose between colored or colorless diamonds, a stunning pair of diamond ear pendants brings together a pear-shaped fancy yellow diamond of 52.78 carats and a pear-shaped white diamond of 50.31 carats surmounted by circular-cut fancy yellow and white diamonds (estimate: $4.5-6.5 million). Ingeniously mounted in yellow and white gold, the pendants may be easily swapped or detached completely, giving the owner three options for how to wear them.

Often referred to as the “queen of gems”, the pearl has been a prized adornment in all cultures since ancient times. Today, matched strings of natural pearls have become increasingly hard to source, as the traditional pearling industry has all but vanished in the Middle East. As a result, natural pearls of important size and quality have become increasingly sought-after by collectors from all regions of the world, and their appearance at auction is always a major event for the jewelry world.

This October, Christie’s New York is delighted to offer an exceedingly rare double strand natural pearl necklace formed of 120 large-sized individual pearls (estimate: $2.8 – 3.5 million). Ranging in size from 6.50 to 12.25 mm in diameter, the pearls range in coloration from white to light cream, with subtle rosé and green overtones and superb luster. This beautifully matched double strand is accented with a 3-carat, D color diamond clasp signed by Cartier.

In recent years, Christie’s has offered only three important natural pearl strands of this caliber, and all set new world auction records for a strand of natural pearls upon their sale. In November 1999, Christie’s Geneva fetched $1.6 million for an historic single-strand pearl necklace that had been owned by American Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, as well as Marie-Antoinette and several members of European royal families before her. Eight years later in 2007, Christie’s New York sold the historic Baroda Pearls, worn for centuries by the Indian Maharajas from the Royal state of Baroda, for a staggering $7.1 million.

Great design is the core of what makes classic jewelry hold its value over the long term, and Christie’s is honored to present the best and most iconic examples from the major jewelry houses in each one of its auctions this fall. In New York, Christie’s presents over 130 signed jewels by Buccellati, Bulgari, Cartier, Graff, Marina B., Oscar Heyman & Brothers, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Harry Winston and Raymond Yard, among others.

Among the highlights of iconic design is a “honeycomb” motif ruby and diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Crafted from hexagonal-cut rubies and diamonds, the gems are set using the firm’s trademark “mystery-set” technique which eliminates any visible prongs from the surface of the bracelet. Additional mystery-set jewels featured in the sale include a pair of ruby and diamond ear clips and a brooch, each designed as a flower blossom accented by diamond pistils and leaves (estimates: $50,000-70,000 and $70,000-90,000, respectively).

Christie’s is also pleased to offer a selection of jewels by Marina B, granddaughter of Sottiro Bulgari. Known for her keen sense of design, proportion and scale, Marina B’s signature brand of jewelry has been worn by the world’s most glamorous celebrity collectors, including Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Princess Grace of Monaco. The upcoming sale features a number of her most iconic designs accompanied by their original renderings, including a ruby and gold “Simona” bangle set with a shield-shaped fancy yellow diamond (estimate: $50,000-70,000), a stunning “Georgina” ring featuring an oval-cut ruby of 10.54 carats (estimate: $200,000-300,000) and a red-carpet worthy pair of diamond, amethyst and pink tourmaline “MBC” ear pendants (estimate: $25,000-35,000).

One-of-a-kind creations by the Indian designer Viren Bhagat are among the most coveted of contemporary jewelry designs on the auction market today. As a special fundraising item within the sale, Christie’s is honored to offer a pair of exquisite “flower blossom” pearl and diamond ear clips by Bhagat (estimate: $30,000-50,000). The sale will benefit the Salaam Bombay Children’s Fund, a decade-old organization that works with disadvantaged children across India to empower them with opportunities and skills that enable them to make the right choices for their health, education and livelihood.

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October 4, 2012

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