Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels New York December 11 Results

The 61.35-carat emerald ring that was top lot at $4.6 million.

The 61.35-carat emerald ring that was top lot at $4.6 million.

Sotheby’s closing Magnificent Jewels sale of 2013 was held Wednesday in New York and brought in a total of $60 million. The sale was chock full of interesting highlights, which were not your typical record-breaking flawless stones.

The top lot of the day was an impressive emerald ring of 61.35 carats that sold well above its $1-1.5 million estimate at $4.6 million. The top five lots included white diamonds, a natural pearl necklace, and an emerald bracelet.

18k gold, malachite, purpurine and ivory bracelet by Boucheron, circa 1931.

18k gold, malachite, purpurine and ivory bracelet by Boucheron, circa 1931.

The star of the catalog cover was a very interesting and iconic piece by Boucheron that was especially delightful for jewelry historians to see. One such historian, Vivienne Becker, wrote a fantastic piece for the Sotheby’s website on the significance of the bracelet, which I encourage you to read here. In summary, the piece was made in 1931 and is considered a masterpiece of French 20th century jewelry that shows the influence of Africa on the modernist style of the time. It sold for $797,000.

18k gold, platinum, diamond, faience, enamel and lapis lazuli  Egyptian-revival brooch by Cartier, circa 1923, sold for $1.025 million.

18k gold, platinum, diamond, faience, enamel and lapis lazuli
Egyptian-revival brooch by Cartier, circa 1923, sold for $1.025 million.

Also of historical interest were five pieces by Cartier created in the 1920s when Egyptian-revival was all the rage. Already of influence in design for a few decades, it truly exploded following the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Louis Cartier was a serious collector of Egyptian artifacts and some of his finds surely influenced these unique pieces. Only a handful were ever made, and the pieces on offer at this auction all sold well above their estimates. Again, a wonderful article on the pieces was written by Vivienne Becker which you can read here.

18k gold, platinum, faience, diamond, colored stone and enamel  'Sekhmet' brooch by Cartier, circa 1925, sold for $845,000.

18k gold, platinum, faience, diamond, colored stone and enamel
‘Sekhmet’ brooch by Cartier, circa 1925, sold for $845,000.

For more information on historically interesting pieces that were offered at auction, click here.

This evening brought the 2013 Magnificent Jewels sales calendar to a close, with sales totals for Sotheby’s reaching over $500 million. I look forward to seeing what 2014 brings!

Pantone 2014 Color of the Year

Get ready for a whole lot of purple in the next year…

Pantone Color of the Year 2014 Radiant Orchid

The Pantone Color Institute today announced that the 2014 Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid, succeeding 2013’s Emerald. This pinkish-purple shade appeared in Pantone’s Spring 2014 color report and was seen quite a bit on the Spring 2014 runways. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” I imagine it will be a booming year for pinkish-purple sapphires, tourmalines and spinels!

A ring from Tiffany & Co.'s Soleste collection with a pinkish-purple sapphire.

A ring from Tiffany & Co.’s Soleste collection with a pinkish-purple sapphire.

L'Odyssée de Cartier Parcours d'un Style Orchid Brooch  featuring a 46.12-carat purple tourmaline.

L’Odyssée de Cartier Parcours d’un Style Orchid Brooch
featuring a 46.12-carat purple tourmaline.

Louis Vuitton Voyage dans le Temps 'Dentelle de Monograme' Ring  featuring a 9.50ct Tanzania spinel.

Louis Vuitton Voyage dans le Temps ‘Dentelle de Monograme’ Ring
featuring a 9.50ct Tanzania spinel.

Cartier Exhibit Opens in Paris

A still from a film playing at the exhibition of Mike Todd presenting Elizabeth Taylor with  a ruby and diamond suite at Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat, France in 1957. Did you spot the distinctive red box? (© Premium Archive Films / Getty Image)

A still from a film playing at the exhibition of Mike Todd presenting Elizabeth Taylor with
a ruby and diamond suite at Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat, France in 1957. Did you spot the distinctive red box? (© Premium Archive Films / Getty Image)

The most comprehensive exhibition ever of Cartier objects has opened in Paris today. Held in the Salon d’Honneur of the Grand Palais, ‘Cartier: Style and History’ has 600 items along with 300 sketches on display, spanning the creation of the maison in 1847 through to the 1970s. The show takes the visitor on a journey through changing styles, putting the evolution of Cartier designs into the context of society, fashion, and world events at the time.

The Halo tiara worn by the Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day, the original Love bracelet, Grace Kelly’s engagement ring, a ruby necklace given to Elizabeth Taylor by her third husband Mike Todd, a 478-carat Sri Lankan sapphire that once belonged to Queen Marie of Romania, the first Tutti Frutti designs and many more special items are on display. Most objects come from Cartier’s own archives (read an interesting article about that here), but loans have also been provided by Queen Elizabeth II, the royal family of Monaco, the estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, among others, as well as public institutions. Prepare to be dazzled.

The exhibition runs until February 16, 2014. Watch a teaser video released by the Grand Palais at the end of the post.

The 'Tutti Frutti' necklace of Daisy Fellows, originally commissioned in 1936  but remade several times, this being the final version.

The ‘Tutti Frutti’ necklace of Daisy Fellows, originally commissioned in 1936
but remade several times, this being the final version.

One of many pieces commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor, the Flamingo Brooch.

One of many pieces commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor, the Flamingo Brooch.

This Cartier necklace was famously commissioned by Mexican actress María Félix,  who brought her pet crocodile to the Cartier store to act as model.

This Cartier necklace was famously commissioned by Mexican actress María Félix,
who brought her pet crocodile to the Cartier store to act as model.

One of many tiaras on display, the Cartier Halo tiara was originally purchased  by the then-Duke of York in 1936, gifted to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday, and loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge for her wedding day in 2011.

One of many tiaras on display, the Cartier Halo tiara was originally purchased
by the then-Duke of York in 1936, gifted to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday, and loaned to the Duchess of Cambridge for her wedding day in 2011.

Emerald: An Opulent New Book from Thames & Hudson

The 'Baroda Necklace' commissioned by Sita Devi, Maharani of Baroda,  from Van Cleef & Arpels set with 154 carats of emeralds.

The ‘Baroda Necklace’ commissioned by Sita Devi, Maharani of Baroda,
from Van Cleef & Arpels set with 154 carats of emeralds.

Just published by Thames & Hudson is a sumptuous new book all about a certain mythical green stone. Titled ‘Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power’, the book delves into the long history and significance of the gemstone, going through the trade from ancient times to modern. There are many beautiful images of historically important pieces, jewels from private collections (a number of which are being seen by the public for the first time), celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie in their beloved own pieces, as well as examples of the best in contemporary design. Contributions to the text come from Joanna Hardy, a respected jewelry historian, Jonathan Self, a globe-trotting author and journalist with a personal love of emeralds, and Franca Sozzani, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia who puts emeralds into the context of fashion and art.

Emeralds are, of course, having quite the year, with the shade being named the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year, but also with the extensive promotions done by Gemfields and some truly amazing pieces commanding very high sums at auction. Hopefully the resurgence in popularity of emeralds, and other colored gemstones, is not a quickly passing trend.

This book is now in the Gem Standard Library.

Cover of 'Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power'

Cover of ‘Emerald: Twenty-one Centuries of Jewelled Opulence and Power’

The 'Eternity' necklace by Cartier circa 1997, containing two 200+ carat emeralds  (© Cartier/Cartier Archives)

The ‘Eternity’ necklace by Cartier circa 1997, containing two 200+ carat emeralds
(© Cartier/Cartier Archives)

An emerald, rock crystal, moonstone and diamond Seaman Schepps bracelet,  circa 1940, that once belonged to Andy Warhol.

An emerald, rock crystal, moonstone and diamond Seaman Schepps bracelet,
circa 1940, that once belonged to Andy Warhol.

The Cartier engagement ring of the Duchess of Windsor, featuring a 19.77-carat emerald.

The Cartier engagement ring of the Duchess of Windsor, featuring a 19.77-carat emerald.