Published: July 27, 2004
Christie’s evening sale on June 2 of Magnificent Jewels from The Doris Duke Collection sold to benefit The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation totaled $11,964,176, doubling the high presale estimate.
With intense bidding in the packed salesroom and on the telephones, this result was the highest sale total ever for any private jewelry collection sold at auction in America and the third most successful single-owner sale held worldwide in the past ten years.
Every piece of jewelry sold. The top lot of the evening was a Belle Epoque diamond and pearl pendant necklace by Cartier, which sold for $2,359,500, a world auction record for a diamond necklace by Cartier. It sold to a private Asian buyer and went way over its $1.2 million high estimate.
In response to an extensive international exhibition tour, the bidding was active from around the world and successful buyers were 52 percent American, 25 percent European and 20 percent Asian and three percent other.
Simon Teakle, head of Christie’s jewelry department in America added: “The collection of heirloom jewelry that Doris Duke inherited from her parents Nanaline and James B. Duke, complemented by her own purchases and creations over the years, surpassed all expectations.
Bidders also vied for the richly colored emerald bead necklaces displayed in simple and elegant strands. Most likely purchased in India on Doris Duke’s honeymoon with James Cromwell in 1935, the single-strand emerald necklace realized $589,900 while the double-strand emerald necklace shattered the previous auction record at $1,127,500. Another two-strand fluted emerald bead and diamond necklace by David Webb, which was commissioned by Doris Duke in 1969, also performed extremely well, selling for $231,500.
A rectangular-cut diamond ring of 19.72 carats, D color, VS1, by Tiffany & Co, circa 1920 brought $1,261,900 ($800,000/1.2 million) from a US private buyer. An Art Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier, circa 1927, fetched $1,217,100 ($350/500,000) from an anonymous bidder.
Apart from these spectacular highlights, the collection offered a broad range of unusual and elegant jewels such as a retro set of citrine and gold jewelry by Seaman Schepps, circa 1940, for $57,360; an antique topaz brooch, Nineteenth Century for $16,730; and an Art Deco diamond and enamel evening bag by Cartier, circa 1934, for $101,575.
There was enormous interest at every level of the sale and a staggering $53,775 ($6/8,000) was paid for an empty platinum necklace mounting by Cartier, from which all the stones had been removed by Doris Duke to be reset in other pieces of jewelry.
All sold prices include buyer’s premium.
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