Published: December 10, 2015
BOSTON, MASS. — Enthusiastic bidders from four continents competed online, by telephone, and in the gallery for the top lots at Skinner’s fine jewelry auction December 8. When the dust had settled, the sale brought $10.75 million with almost all of the top lots far exceeding estimate. Previews in New York and Boston in the days before the sale generated much excitement.
Gloria Lieberman, Director Emerita of Skinner’s Fine Jewelry Department, said, “We are seeing an increase in international buyers seeking out Skinner for jewelry collections from New England families. Often these collections formed in New England in the Nineteenth–Twentieth Centuries are being recognized worldwide for their exquisite quality and fine taste.”
Many of the standout lots in the sale came from the estate of a member of a prominent Gilded Age New England family. Amid rampant speculation that the jewels were once owned by the French royal family, bidders were eager to acquire such historically important items.
The highlight, of both the collection and the sale, was the final lot, a 31.25 cts. heart-shape diamond($2/3,000,000), $3,947,000. The stone is identified as a rare type IIA, which places it among the world’s famous diamonds including the Cullinan, the Koh-i-Noor, and the Krupp.
Another standout lot from the same consignment was an important natural pearl necklace described by the Swiss Gemological Institute as “rare and exceptional” ($400/600,000) that sold for more than three times its presale estimate at $2,211,000.
Other highlights included a 4.07 carat unmounted diamond, also a type IIa, which realized $165,000; the associated antique diamond pendant, $104,550; and a companion platinum and diamond riviere at $123,000.
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