Fine diamonds look to be holding their place as an excellent investment if Bonhams' Fine Jewellery Sale held on September 22 in London is anything to go by.
The top ten lots consistently surpassed their pre-sale estimates and reflected the current interest in antique 19th century jewellery.
Highlights included a late 19th century sapphire and diamond necklace that sold for £108,000 (double its listing at £45,000-55,000), a diamond necklace circa 1820 that sold for £64,800 (again, doubling expectations of £25,000-30,000) and a belle époque sapphire and diamond tiara that sold for £60,000 (tripling its £18,000-22,000 estimate).
At an amazing ten times the original lower estimate of £4,000 a natural pearl and diamond pendant circa 1920 sold for £46,800.
A rare catalogue of Henry Philip Hope's collection of pearls and precious stones was also in high demand. Published in 1839, the volume describes the celebrated collection in its entirety, including the famous Hope Pearl and the infamous Hope Diamond that was rumoured to be cursed.
The book, which belonged to the Hope family and was passed by descent to the vendor, was sold for £26,400 (est. £2000-3000).
The highlight of the sale was a magnificent late art deco Asscher-cut diamond ring. Weighing 6.82 carats, D colour and potentially flawless, the diamond was also type IIa, the most chemically pure type of diamond and possessed exceptional optical properties.
A fierce bidding war took place, both on the telephones and in the room, and the ring sold for £322,000 which was over double its original lower estimate of £150,000.
Jean Ghika, Director of the Jewellery Department commented, "These results demonstrate the continued strength in the market, especially on the top lots which were competed for by our international buyers".
In November, the auctioneer will be holding its first ever sale dedicated to opals, and this will also offer some remarkable gems, although it is to be run from their Natural History department.