Epic Diamonds and Dazzling Designs Dominate Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in NYC totaled $30 million with a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace fetching $3.6 million.

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Van Cleef and Arpels diamond neck tie. (Courtesy of Sotheby's)

Sotheby’s recent Magnificent Jewels auction in New York showcased the global market’s insatiable appetite for one-of-a-kind designs with rare natural gems. A resounding success, the auction raked in a staggering $30 million, the top of its presale estimate, and sold an impressive 90% of the lots. The star of the show, a rare and significant diamond ‘tie’ necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels from 1929, was a true masterpiece, a testament to the unmatched craftsmanship, thoughtful use of natural diamonds, and innovative design that continue to enthrall collectors and enthusiasts.

The Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, a masterpiece of Art Deco design, fetched a remarkable $3.6 million after a spirited six-minute bidding war involving seven bidders. This exceptional piece sold for three times its estimated value, highlighting the allure and investment potential of superbly crafted natural diamond jewelry. The necklace’s design is indicative of the glamour of the 1920s, and the meticulous attention to detail demonstrates why such pieces are more than mere accessories; they are artifacts of art history.

Van Cleef and Arpels diamond necktie. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Van Cleef and Arpels diamond necktie. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Quig Bruning, Sotheby’s Head of Jewels for Americas, said of the auction, “Coming off the back of four single-owner sales which achieved 100% sell-through rates and successful sales in Geneva, the results of our New York sale prove that the market remains vibrant and dynamic. Our clients seek jewels not just for adornment but as pieces of history and artistry, encapsulating the essence of their designers and eras – none more so than the Art Deco Van Cleef & Arpels diamond ‘tie’ necklace, which sold for a staggering $3.6 million. Its appearance on the auction block perfectly demonstrates our unique ability to offer jewels of unparalleled rarity, exclusivity and are of the best quality.”

Egyptian-inspired colored stone and diamond bracelet. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Egyptian-inspired colored stone and diamond bracelet. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

The auction’s robust results were propelled by the allure of individual pieces and by Sotheby’s strategic decision to lower buyer’s premium rates to a standardized 20%, the lowest across international auction houses. This move has boosted bidding enthusiasm, as seen in the record numbers of bidders and the influx of new registrants, nearly a third of whom were first-time participants at Sotheby’s.

Participation was global, with bidders from 30 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia, including significant activity from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan. This international interest underscores the universal appeal of exquisite jewelry and confirms that the global market for natural gems and incredible design remains vigorous and expansive.

Unmounted pear-shaped diamond. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Harry Winston diamond ring. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Van Cleef and Arpels pink gold and diamond antique zipper necklace bracelet combination. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Van Cleef and Arpels pink gold and diamond antique zipper necklace bracelet combination. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

A further illustration that stunning designs are rocking the auction block includes a breathtaking Egyptian-inspired colored stone and diamond bracelet that exceeded expectations, selling for $1,044,000, well above its high estimate. This piece and others in the auction highlighted a broader trend in the appreciation of historical and culturally inspired designs with rare natural gems.  

Never to be outshone, large and rare natural diamonds were, of course, a standout, including an unbelievable, unmounted 53.04-carat D color, Internally Flawless, Type IIa pear-shaped diamond, which sold for $3.48 million. Additionally, a magnificent oval-shaped diamond ring weighing 21.54 carats, boasting D Color and VVS2 clarity, signed by Graff, fetched $1,440,000. These sales reflect the high standards of today’s collectors and their readiness to invest heavily in unique and rare natural diamonds.

Unmounted 0.73 Carat Fancy Purplish Red Diamond. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Graff oval-shaped diamond ring weighing 21.54-carats. (Courtesy of Sotheby’s)

As the diamond market continues to thrive, the success of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and several other auctions this year shows the enduring fascination with natural gems and the stunning, timeless jewelry artisans create with them. The auction’s impressive turnout and sales figures reaffirm that natural diamonds, particularly those presented in extraordinary designs, remain at the forefront of luxury and desirability, captivating a global audience eager to own a piece of timeless beauty.