Roskin Gem News Report

Magnificent Jewels: Christie’s and Sotheby’s go Head to Head

Christie’s New York – December 6, 2023 – Magnificent Jewels
Sotheby’s New York – December 5, 2023 – Magnificent Jewels

There were a great number of fancy color diamonds in this year’s auctions. So much so that the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF) was planning to cover the two auctions live. (see Fancy Color Diamond Prices)

But there were many spectacular blue sapphires as well!

Of course there were plenty of big house names, such as Buccellati, Cartier, David Webb, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Verdura. But let’s add in Seaman Schepps and a few unexpected surprises, just to give this review some eyebrow raising jewelry designs!

We will feature some of the important highlights for you here, and then if you have more time, the links below will get you to the catalogues for these fabulous auctions.

Christie’s – Major Attraction Pulled

Do you remember the Sotheby’s Geneva auction just one month ago where the main attraction, the big paraiba tourmaline was pulled from the auction? (See our feature story here.) As we said then, this is the auction business. And it happened to Christie’s this week in New York. One of the main attractions, the CALIFORNIA SUNSET DIAMONDS – A Pair of Fancy Vivid Orange-Yellow oval mixed-cut diamonds, weighing 12.20 cts. and 11.96 cts., accented by oval brilliant-cut diamonds of 3.03 and 3.02 carats, marquise brilliant-cut diamonds of 0.73 and 0.73 carat, round diamonds, platinum and 18k rose gold, was not at the rostrum.

They were expected to sell for between $7 and $12 million dollars. They were pulled from the auction by the owner. Maybe we will see them in the future.

Fancy Vivid

But why were they important? Fancy Vivid is the grade given for having the most saturated color. That’s important. But as a buyer, it is also important to know that this grade is a range of saturation. So depending on how these compare to other Vivids, the value can vary.


Graded Orange-Yellow, this is an approximate color notation meaning that the laboratory feels the color is approximately 50% orange and 50% yellow. This is a judgement call. It is a comparison with other color samples (diamonds and other hue models). There is no machine (yet) that can grade the color of Fancy Color diamonds.

Needless to say, they are a beautiful matching pair of a very rare and important fancy color diamonds! At least we caught a glimpse, even though we will not know their monetary value.

Fancy Vivid Blue cushion modified brilliant-cut diamond of 3.49 carats, brushed platinum

GIA, 2023, report no. 2225468160: 3.49 carats, Fancy Vivid Blue, natural color, Internally Flawless


There’s that Vivid color call again. It is the ultimate color notation.

Estimated to sell between $4,500,000 and $5,500,000, it reached $5,495,000.

Fancy vivid yellowish orange pear mixed-cut diamond of 5.16 carats, 18k yellow gold

GIA, 2023, report no. 5221881590: 5.16 carats, Fancy Vivid Yellowish Orange, natural color, VS2 clarity


Fancy Vivid – need we say more?

Estimated to sell between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000, the sale price achieved: $1,683,500. ($326,000/ct.)

No doubt we love fancy color diamonds, but blue sapphires have been spectacular at auction!

This emerald-cut sapphire, weighing 23.00 carats, accented by tapered baguette-cut diamonds, set in platinum, signed Cartier MTG, numbered Gübelin, 2023, achieved a whopping $3 million! Estimated at $800,000 to $1.2 million, it caught a fever pitch to vault 3 times its high estimate.

Kashmir Sapphire – with SSEF and AGL gemological reports, showing no enhancement.


Estimated at $700,000 to $1,000,000, selling for $1,925,500!

Cushion mixed-cut sapphire of 8.91 carats, bullet-shaped diamonds, platinum, circa 1950, signed Tiffany & Co.

This ring comes with no less than three gemological reports, from Gübelin, SSEF, and AGL, all calling it Kashmir, with no gemological evidence of heat, or clarity enhancement.

This Fancy Vivid Orange oval modified brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 2.06 carats, mounted in 18k yellow gold, is the poster child for why Vivid saturation and a straight orange hue – no modifiers of yellow or brown, can overcome the clarity grade of an I1.

Orange, and Vivid!

Graded by GIA, 2023, report no. 11046794, as a 2.06 carats, Fancy Vivid Orange, natural color, I1 clarity, its estimated value was listed at $400,000 to $600,000 and sold for $743,400! Would you ever consider buying a 2 carat D color I1 for 3/4 of a million dollars?

This was an amazing piece, just because it was unexpected. Here we have a 15 carat square emerald-cut diamond, graded a pedestrian SI1 clarity, M (faint yellow) color, bezel set in 18K white gold.

The M color is not hidden but enhanced by the white metal, so there’s no deception here. But it’s the design that is so remarkable, bezel setting the square emerald cut and then accenting the center stone with a multitude of hexagons, featuring round rose cuts.

Sorry for the pun, but this is brilliant!

And it did especially well at auction, estimated to sell between $70,000 and $100,000, reaching $126,000 at the hammer.


Carved rock crystal, square-cut emeralds, pyramidal chrysoprase cabochons, round and single-cut diamonds, platinum, circa 1935, signed Seaman Schepps

Don’t Say “Semi-Precious” Just Because It’s Rock Crystal!

Estimated to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000, the selling price quickly shot up to $144,900. At almost $150,000, it’s precious!

Dimensions: 17.8 x 3.8 cm (7 x 1 1⁄8 in), just so you can imagine wearing it.

SOTHEBY’S Magnificent Jewels

Bulgari Sapphire and Diamond Ring – Classic Burmese

Featuring a cushion-cut sapphire weighing 11.08 carats, flanked by calf’s head-shaped diamonds, size 6¼, signed Bulgari.

Accompanied by three gemological reports, AGL and Gübelin state that the sapphire is from Burma, while the SSEF was not able to identify the country of origin.

Estimated to sell between $450,000 and $650,000, selling for just under the minimum estimate, at $444,500 ($40,000/ct.).

It is a beautiful piece. And even though we hope that the buyer is buying the beauty and rarity of the gem, sometimes there is hesitation due to conflicting gemological reports.

Sapphire and Diamond Ring – Kashmir Appearance Without the Kashmir Price Tag

Another beautiful sapphire with questionable country of origin. Again, we should be buying beauty, and not the paper telling us where the gem originated.

Here we have two expert laboratories, AGL, the American Gemological Laboratories in New York, and the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Laboratory, giving their opinion on origin. AGL states that the gem is from “Ceylon” (Sri Lanka), while the SSEF says it cannot be certain. The gem could be from Kashmir, or from Sri Lankan.

Centering an oval-shaped sapphire weighing 10.55 carats, framed by old European-cut diamonds.

Estimated to sell between $80,000 and $120,000, this beauty doubled its value by selling for $266,700.

Cartier – Jabot Jabot

Beautiful geometric design, this Jabot features two ruby cabochons, accented by pearls, old mine- and rose-cut diamonds, signed Cartier, numbered 2716555; circa 1925.

Estimated to sell between $15,000 and $20,000, this beautiful Jabot sold for $48,260.

An Exceptional Unmounted Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond

This cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond weighs 133.03 carats. Comes with a fitted box.

Accompanied by GIA report no. 6234094968 dated October 16, 2023 stating that the diamond is Fancy Vivid Yellow, Natural color, VS2 clarity.

Estimated to sell between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000, the big canary sold for $5,507,700.

133 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond

A Fine Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Centering a cushion-cut sapphire weighing 9.69 carats, flanked by similarly cut diamonds.

Accompanied by three reports, from AGL, SSEF, and an older report from the AGTA lab in New York (no longer in business). The sapphire is of Classic Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating.

Estimated to sell between $400,000 and $600,000, the hammer price was $533,400 ($55,000/ct.).

Every gem is different. While we see several Kashmir sapphires at auction, each one has its own beauty. This 9 carat sold for a respectable $55,000/ct., yet a similar size sapphire at Christie’s, an 8.91 cts. cushion, sold for over $200,000/ct.!

Van Cleef & Arpels

Pair of Emerald and Diamond Earclips, along with a ruby and diamond necklace

The emerald earrings feature two emerald-cut emeralds weighing 5.90 and 4.63 carats, framed by round, pear- and marquise-shaped diamonds, signed Van Cleef & Arpels, numbered N.Y. 3526 S.O.

The ruby and diamond necklace, of fringe and cluster design, features oval-shaped rubies, framed and accented by round and pear-shaped diamonds. Measuring 16½ inches, the necklace is signed VCA, and numbered N.Y.55699.

circa 1965. With signed box.

The earrings were accompanied by an AGL report stating that the emeralds are of Classic Colombian origin, clarity enhancement: insignificant to minor, type: traditional.

The estimate for the emerald and diamond earrings was listed between $150,000 and $250,000. The earrings sold for $431,800!

The estimated value for the ruby and diamond necklace was listed from $150,000 to $250,000, and sold for $304,800.

And Last but not Least …

Cartier Gold and Enamel ‘Snow White’ Charm Bracelet – just for fun!

This cute charm bracelet is made up of nine suspended enamel charms depicting characters from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and an additional charm depicting the entrance of the 21 Club, length 7 inches, signed Cartier; circa 1937.

“In very good condition, especially given the age of the piece.”

The gold shows signs of light surface scratching. All charms are stamped 14K.

A few of the charms show minute enamel loss, as seen under 10x magnification. Gross weight is approximately 13 dwts.

The bracelet’s original owner was an actress and model who lived in New York City during the 1940s and ’50s and, when not entertaining at her large Fifth Avenue apartment, could often be found hobnobbing with the social elite at the legendary 21 Club on West 52nd Street.

Estimated to sell for between $50,000 and $70,000, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sold for $57,150! HI HO HI HO HI HO!

To see more of Sotheby’s Auction, Tap Here!

To see more of the Christie’s Auction, Tap Here!

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