Sotheby’s Record Auction



The most expensive TIARA SOLD at auction – 2020

The Donnersmark Tiara

More than 500 carats of pear-shaped Columbian emeralds atop a band of cushion-cut diamonds and white diamond laurel leaves, the Donnersmarck is an outstanding piece of jewelry.
It was commissioned around 1900 by one of the world’s richest men – Guido, Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck – for his second wife, Princess Katharina, and thought to be the work of the French jewellery house Chaumet.
In May 2011, it was auctioned at Sotheby’s in Geneva with an estimate of between 5 and 10 million US dollars, but it sold for a record-breaking $12,736,927 making it the most expensive tiara ever to appear at auction.



Tutti Frutti Bracelet – Cartier

The most expensive sale at online SOTHEBY’S auction – April 2020

A gem-set, diamond and enamel tutti frutti bracelet by Cartier garnered $1.3 million at Sotheby’s, the highest price for any jewel sold in an online auction.
It fetched the highest price for any jewel sold at auction house before 2020.



The Spirit of the Rose

The most expensive Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink diamond sold at auction – 2020

A 14.83-carat accompanied by GIA report stating that the diamond is a Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink, Natural Colour, Internally Flawless.
It was sold for $26.6 million with premium and set a record for a stone of its color at Sotheby’s in Geneva.
Named after a Russian ballet from 1911, the Spirit of the Rose was won by an anonymous buyer over the phone. The jewel hammered at $22.9 million.
Before coming to the market, the gem was cut from a large pink crystal stone unearthed in Russia in 2017 by international diamond producer Alrosa, which is based in the country’s northeast region.



Sunrise ruby – Cartier

The most expensive Ruby sold at auction
The most expensive colored gem sold at auction
The most expensive Cartier jewel sold at auction – 2015 

Sotheby’s Geneva auction in 2015 set several world auction records, out of which the most significant and stunning record was the one set by the 25.59-carat “Sunrise Ruby” that sold for $30.3 million, a world record not only for a ruby sold at an auction but also for any colored gemstone at an auction and a world record sale for a Cartier jewel as well. The “Sunrise Ruby” by Cartier, 25.59-carat Burma gem, has a combination of outstanding characteristics such as a homogeneous and richly saturated natural “pigeon blood red” colour; a high clarity and brilliance and a finely proportioned cut and shape and was certified as untreated. The ruby is set as the centerpiece of a ring, flanked by two shield-shaped colorless diamonds weighing 2.47 carats and 2.70 carats. A pre-sale estimate of $12.6-18.8 million was placed on the lot which was sold to an anonymous buyer for a much enhanced price of $30,335,698 equivalent to 2.4 times the lower estimate and 1.6 times the upper estimate.




Marie-Antoinette’s Pearl

The most expensive Pearl sold at auction – 2018

Peregrina Pearl

In 2018, a dazzling collection of jewellery that once belonged to the royal Bourbon-Parma family came up for sale at Sotheby’s in Geneva.
Leading the auction were 10 precious pieces worn by Marie-Antoinette, which had been carefully packed into a wooden chest and smuggled to Brussels when the queen was taken into exile. From Brussels, they travelled to Vienna and the safekeeping of her nephew, the Austrian Emperor Francis II. They were given back to Marie-Antoinette’s daughter in 1795 and afterwards entered the Bourbon-Parma family, who kept them for the next 200 years.
The star lot was Marie-Antoinette’s 18th Century pendant: a slightly baroque shaped natural pearl suspended from a diamond bow, previously worn as part a three-stranded necklace (sold separately during the auction).
After 14 minutes of fearsome bidding, it was eventually sold to an anonymous bidder for a staggering almost $42 million, making it the most expensive pearl in the world and smashing the record previously held by La Peregrina.












The most expensive earrings sold at auction – 2017

Apollo earrings

This pair of diamond earrings set a record price of $57.4 million on May 2017.
The “Apollo Blue” fancy vivid blue diamond, weighing 14.54 carats internally flawless, and the “Artemis Pink” fancy intense pink diamond, at 16 carats, VVS2 clarity, went under the hammer as separate lots at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” sale in Geneva.
An anonymous buyer purchased the stones for $42.1 million and $15.3 million, respectively, and rechristened them “The Memory of Autumn Leaves” and “The Dream of Autumn Leaves”.












Dunhuang Pipa necklace – Anna Hu

The most expensive jewel by a contemporary Chinese designer – 2019

At Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2019, Anna Hu broke a record thanks to the sale of the ‘Dunhuang Pipa’ masterpiece necklace, from the ‘Silk Road Music’ collection. Inspired by an image of a woman playing a type of four-stringed Chinese lute that can be seen in the frescoes of Dunhuang.
The necklace in yellow and white gold set an Intense Yellow diamond weighing 100.02 carats and it turns into a brooch and earring. The original transformable design made ‘Dunhuang Pipa’ a highlight of the auction, forcing the final sale price to achieve a new record: $5.78 million.














The Hutton-Mdivani Jade Necklace – Cartier 

The most expensive Jade jewel sold at auction – 2014

When Barbara Hutton, one of America’s wealthiest heiresses – and owner of one of the world’s most lavish jewellery collectors – married her first husband Prince Alexis Mdivani in 1933, her father gave her this incredible jadeite necklace as a wedding gift.
Its 27 enormous, bright green beads were reported to have once belonged to a senior member of China’s Qing imperial court, before being passed on to Cartier, who set the necklace and added a sparkling ruby and diamond clasp. The Mdivani-Hutton necklace, as it became known, was sold in by Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April 2014 for an astonishing 27.4 million US dollars which was more than double its estimate and a world record for any piece of jade jewellery.

















The most expensive price-per-carat gem – 2015

Smashing all records, the Blue Moon Diamond, renamed The Blue Moon of Josephine, sold in November 2015 at Sotheby’s Geneva for over $4 million per carat – the world auction price-per-carat record for a diamond or gemstone.
The rare and flawless 12.03ct fancy vivid blue “Blue Moon Diamond” was sold for $48.4 million to a Hong Kong buyer, who promptly renamed it “The Blue Moon of Josephine” in honor of his daughter Josephine.

Dalila Daffara