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Bonhams' Sale of Gems, Minerals, Lapidary Works of Art and Natural History achieves $1.8 million
Impressive Museum-Quality Multi-color Tourmaline Carving of a Fan-Tail Falcon. By Manfred Wild. Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Sold for 137,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams announced its sale of Gems, Minerals, Lapidary Works of Art and Natural History brought $1.8 million on May 20 in Los Angeles.

The auction, which was well attended by bidders from 18 countries, saw especially strong interest in its categories of Rare Gemstones of Distinction, Lapidary Works of Art, and Fossils.

According to Claudia Florian, Co-consulting Director of Bonhams’ Natural History Department, "The success of our auction is directly attributable to the quality of items offered and the wealth of property we had which was obtained from estate sources. This auction has firmly established us as the market leader in selling fine collectors gemstones, lapidary works and natural history items."

Leading the lapidary works in the sale was an impressive museum-quality multicolor tourmaline carving of a fan-tail falcon by Manfred Wild of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, that achieved $137,000, over a low estimate of $80,000. The falcon was the largest ever created by Wild. Also of note by Wild was an enamel and gemstone "Egg Creation" with a removable flower-form brooch that sold for $75,000 and a spectacular illuminated rock crystal, gold and multi-gem-set obelisk that took in $56,250. Additionally of mention was an impressive mookite jasper carving of a rooster "The Strutting Peacock of the Chinese Zodiac" by Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio that realized $62,500.

Among the notable rare gemstones in the sale was an alexandrite, platinum and diamond ring that achieved $137,000, over a low estimate of $100,000, and an exceptionally rare and large demantoid garnet of 6.83 carats from the Ural Mountains of Russia that sold for $125,000. Also of note in this portion of the sale was an extremely rare pearl weighing 48.33 carats from the saltwater marine mollusk, the turban snail, prevalent in the waters of the Gulf of Baja California, that took in $62,500; a very fine large yellow sapphire from Sri Lanka that realized $60,000; and a rare and exceptional, large blue spinel that brought $60,000.

Various minerals and native metals also sold well. A large and rare platinum nugget from Konder, Siberia, Russia brought $62,500; a very large and impressive amethyst "Rose" of the Rio Grande do SuI, Brazil, achieved $22,500; and a rare and extremely large hemimorphite of Chihuahua, Mexico, took in $11,875.

Fossil highlights of the sale were led by a massive walrus skull and tusks (Odobenus rosmarus divergens, 2,000-10,000 years) from Saint Lawrence Island, Alaska, that sold for $93,750. Notable lots also included an Eocene turtle (Trionyx sp., Eocene) that achieved $56,250 and a palm frond mural (Sabalites sp. Diplomystus dentatus, Eocene) that brought $47,500, both from the Green River Formation of Lincoln County, Wyoming. Rounding out the section was a large duckbilled dinosaur skull (Edmontosaurus annectens, Cretaceous) from the Lance Creek Formation of Wyoming that took in $37,500 and a superb elephant bird egg (Aepyornis maximus, pre-17th century) of southern Madagascar that sold for $31,250.

Additional results from the sale can be found at

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