Magnificent Jewels And Jadeite Auction Rakes In HK$408.8 million (US$52.7 million) On Strength Of Mainland Interest
Tomorrow, the Sotheby’s spring auctions in Hong Kong, which began last weekend, will wrap up. Following the exceptional performance of Chinese contemporary art at the HK$49.7 million (US$6.4 million) Contemporary Asian Art auction — which saw seven works by artists like Liu Ye and Yue Minjun selling for over US$1 million — on Monday, and the HK$418 million (US$51.8) auction of Chinese fine art yesterday, all eyes were on today’s “Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite” auction.
The massive popularity of jewelry at auction in Hong Kong among mainland Chinese collectors is well documented, and considering Hong Kong surpassed New York to become the second-largest gem auction market for Sotheby’s behind only Geneva, contentious bidding was all but certain.
By all standards, the auction was a success, bringing in HK$408.8 million (US$52.7 million), comfortably above its estimates of HK$369 million (US$47 million). Of the 320 lots up for grabs, 52 sold for over HK$1 million, and six sold for over HK$10 million. However, the stars of the show were lots like the 5.16-carat blue diamond ring from the DeBeers Millennium collection previously covered by Jing Daily.
As we wrote in February, along with the diamond’s size and clarity, the lot was notable because it was auctioned off in Hong Kong, rather than Geneva or New York. As expected, the DebBeers Millennium diamond attracted the attention of bidders in a big way, pulling in HK$49.9 million (US$6.4 million), over estimates of HK$36-46 million. While we don’t know who bought this rare lot, it’s probably not a stretch to assume they’ll be taking it home to Shanghai or Beijing.
Although the DeBeers diamond’s haul is impressive, it wasn’t the highest-priced lot of the auction. That distinction went to a “highly important” Diamond Riviere Necklace, estimated at HK$32-40 million, which sold for a whopping HK$52.2 million (US$6.7 million).
Rounding out the top five lots were a HK$43,2 million (US$5.6 million) jadeite and diamond necklace, a 33.31 carat diamond pendant that went for HK$35.4 million (US$4.6 million), and a set of diamond earrings worth HK$19.1 million (US$2.5 million).
With results like these, it’s no surprise major auction houses have turned their focus decidedly eastward in the last year.