One of the world's rarest stones, a blue diamond, sold yesterday (September 21) for £1,889,250 ($2,960,190) at the Bonhams Fine Jewellery Sale in London.
Originally estimated to sell for £600,000 - 800,000, the stunning diamond and blue diamond crossover ring made by Bulgari circa 1960 received an unprecedented amount of interest from national and international clients.
The ring came from a private European collector and had never been seen at auction, resulting in a prolonged bidding session, with multiple bidders battling for the top lot. The ring finally sold to a bidder on the phone.
Typical of Bulgari's elegant simplicity, the ring offered by Bonhams was set obliquely with a pear-shaped diamond, weighing 3.93 carats, D colour, VS2 clarity, and a pear-shaped fancy vivid, natural blue diamond (the highest grading for a coloured diamond), weighing 3.72 and SI2 clarity.
This meant the blue diamond sold for £492,000 per carat.
The term "fancy" is used to describe a diamond of intense colour and the colour "fancy vivid blue" is one of the rarest. Blue diamonds are structurally the purest of all diamonds, with barely any impurities within their crystal lattice. They account for less than one percent of all diamonds mined.
"Not only was this jewel an exquisite example of Bulgari's craftsmanship at this period, but the fancy vivid blue diamond is an incredibly rare gem in its own right," said Jean Ghika, Director of jewellery.
"Bonhams was delighted to handle the sale of this magnificent ring, and the final price realised demonstrates the demand, at an international level, in pieces of this quality".
Other signed pieces of jewellery offered by Bonhams were highly sought after, including a diamond single-stone ring by Harry Winston. Estimated at £120,000 - 150,000, the step-cut diamond weighed 7.62 carats, with E colour and VS1 clarity, realised £265,250.
Also by Harry Winston, a stunning diamond necklace, designed as a riviere of graduated brilliant-cut diamond between a course of smaller brilliant-cut diamonds, weighing 33 carats in total, surpassed its presale estimate of £80,000 - 120,000 to sell for £199,250.
A second blue diamond, classified as fancy-greyish blue, circa 1925 sold for £103,250, over double its presale estimate.
Top prices were also realised for natural pearls, with a number of lots exceeding their presale estimates. A double-row natural pearl necklace with a diamond clasp sold for £253,250 and a natural pearl and diamond ring realised £20,000, far exceeding the presale estimate of £6,000 - 8,000.
"Despite tough economic times, interest in pieces of jewellery of the highest quality is increasing. We always suggest that clients buy jewellery to wear and enjoy, rather than specifically for investment purposes," commented Jean Ghika.
"However, it is clear from the results of this sale that there are certainly some clients who are attracted by the fact that jewellery is a tangible asset which may grow in value in years to come.