Last week, Sotheby’s held its second major jewelry sale of the season, its Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction in Hong Kong. Hoping to improve upon its autumn-opener in New York, the 279-lot sale succeeded in setting two new records even despite missing its $77 million pre-sale estimate. The Jewel of Kashmir and The Cowdray Pearls, selling for $6.7 and $5.3 million, respectively, boosted the overall sale total to $62.3 million. Only 66.5 percent of the lots were sold and 67.7 percent sold by value.
Weighing a whopping 27.68 carats, the Jewel of Kashmir set a new world auction record price per carat for a Kashmir sapphire at $242,145 per carat. The previous record-holder, a 10.33-carat Kashmir sapphire at $240,381 per carat, clutched the record at Christie’s Hong Kong earlier in June of this year. Record prices for sapphires are fleeting honors these days.
The Cowdray Pearls broke their previous auction record for a natural grey pearl necklace of $3.35 million, a price achieved at Christie’s London in June 2012. The historic and important single strand of pearls bested its price by $1.8 million in just three years, highlighting the ever-growing demand for the most superb natural pearls.