The Duchess of Windsor’s magnificent jewels — rubies, emeralds and yellow diamonds — fashioned into feathered brooches, necklaces and pendants. A 16th-century Cartier pearl necklace from Elizabeth Taylor’s private collection. The world has seen a number of record-breaking high jewellery sales from auction houses — and you too can make history with the upcoming Phillips Jewels and Jadeite auction.
Founded in London in 1796 by Harry Phillips, the auction house’s early collectors included some of the world’s most distinguished names such as Marie Antoinette, Beau Brummel and Napoleon Bonaparte. It quickly won over the British society and, to date, remains the only one to have ever held a sale in Buckingham Palace. Today, Phillips is the destination for international collectors to buy and sell contemporary art, watches and fine jewellery.
On November 26, the auction house is slated to host one of its biggest jewellery auctions at Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental. Terry Chu, head of jewellery for Phillips Asia, describes the ‘Jewels and Jadeite’ collection as featuring “both contemporary and vintage examples with a modern sensibility [that’s] in line with Phillips’ focus on art and design of the 20th and 21st centuries.” 148 lots, estimated at HK$140 million (US$18 million) are up for auction. Highlighting the standout pieces, Chu says, “We are particularly pleased to offer two rare and unique pieces of jewellery: An exceptional 10.02-carat Burmese Mogok pigeon’s blood red ruby and diamond ring, and, the cover lot this season, a 43.40-carat Type IIa Briolette diamond and gem-set necklace with a pair of matching earrings by Cartier.”
To give collectors a tantalising glimpse into what will be on sale, the auction house is headed for an International Highlights Tour that will kick off in Singapore. The preview will take place on November 3-4 at Four Seasons Hotel, and feature standout pieces from the lineup. And lest you can’t make it to the actual auction, you can still be in the thick of the action by bidding online for your coveted piece via the Phillips app. Keep your eyes peeled for these three exquisite pieces at the upcoming Singapore preview:
Lot 644: A Fancy Purplish Pink Diamond And Diamond Ring
Estimated value:HK$5.2 million–HK$6.2 million (US$663,000–US$791,000)
First discovered in India, pink diamonds today make up less than 0.05 percent of the annual global production of diamonds and is largely mined in the Australian Argyle. But the clock is ticking on the production of this rare diamond — it’s believed that the mine can only continue to supply these for another 10 years. It’s so rare that annual yields typically amount to just the size of your palm. Finding one over one carat is rare, which speaks volumes about the remarkable 3.81-ct fancy purplish pink diamond on this ring, which has a dazzling hue illuminated by 10 surrounding diamonds.
Lot 639: A Pair Of Natural Pearl And Diamond Pendant Earrings
Estimated value: HK$720,000–HK$900,000 (US$91,000–US$115,000)
Natural pearls have always been shrouded in legend. One of the earliest religious myths surrounding them is that Eve wept white pearls after being cast out of paradise. Famously, Cleopatra dissolved and swallowed one of the largest pearls of all time to prove to Roman politician Marc Antony that she could devour the wealth of a nation in a single gulp. These pearls became so prized that Roman general Vitellius was said to have financed his military campaign on a single pearl from his mother’s earrings.
So rare are these sea gems that only one in 10,000 oysters yield a pearl and, of these, only a very few are of desirable shape, colour, overtone and luster.
This particular pair of statement earrings are far from your classic pearl studs. Two pairs of matching natural pearls, one in a round button shape and the other in a drop shape, are accented by diamonds, in a design that takes inspiration from the lavish pearl adornments from the 18th century.
Lot 578: A Fine Jadeite Cabochon And Diamond Bracelet
Estimated value: HK$5 million–HK$8 million (US$637,000–US$1 million)
Nine natural jadeite cabochons are set with diamonds in this bracelet, which boasts a hypnotising translucency that illuminates their deep and even emerald green colour. Quality jadeite cabochons of commendable purity, colour and translucency are exceedingly rare.
Jadeites are made up of tiny, light-absorbing, interlocking crystals and are best cut into the convex domes of cabochons to reflect maximum light and their subtle optical qualities.
Enthralled yet? See the two pieces that are set to be crowd-pleasers at the ‘Jewels and Jadeite’ auction in Hong Kong:
Lot 637: A Briolette Diamond And Gem-Set Jambi Necklace From Cartier With Matching Pair Of Pendant Earrings
Estimated value: HK$10 million–HK$14 million (US$1.2 million–US$1.7 million)
Named after a province in Sumatra, Jambi was one of the two most powerful kingdoms of the Srivijaya empire in its golden age. Its riches were so bountiful that it could rival that of the most handsomely wealthy maharajas in India. The Cartier brothers were fascinated by history and culture from the Far East, and channelled this intrigue into the Maison’s designs through motifs, patterns and forms.
This Jambi demi-parure necklace is reminiscent of the golden age of opulent Indian jewels. Ruby and rose-cut diamond beads are strung alongside distinctly shaped diamond harp motifs. These dip down into a golden pearl, and an awe-inspiring 43.40-ct briolette. Finding an antique briolette is a rarity, as many were recut to different shapes. This particular drop-shaped diamond is type IIa, the purest type of diamonds, thus looks scintillatingly beautiful and exudes a soft golden tone.
“Reference to Oriental jewels is evident in the use of ruby and rose-cut diamond beads, exuding opulence of Maharajas who entrusted Cartier with their precious gemstones and diamonds during many visits Jacques Cartier made to India in early 20th century. Together with the structured diamond-set motifs anchored by an impressive briolette in a soft golden tone, this suite of jewels is a daring combination of stylistic influences and a triumphant meeting of East and West,” said Chu. Chu added that briolette is believed to be one of the oldest diamond cuttings that originated from India approximately 800 years ago. Briolette diamonds are often associated with antique and estate jewels since they were highly popular during the 17th century.
Lot 603, 604 and 606: Three Gemstone And Diamond Rings
1.44-ct Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring: HK$200,000–HK$280,000 (US$25,000–US$36,000)
3.42-ct Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Ring: HK$590,000–HK$750,000 (US$75,000–US$96,000)
2.77-ct Colombian Emerald and Diamond Ring: HK$320,000–HK$480,000 (US$41,000–US$61,000)
These gemstone and diamond rings are a trifecta of untreated, coloured gemstones from some of the most exclusive mining locations in history. The Colombian emerald attained fame in the 16th century when it was used as trading currency by Spanish explorers. Revered for its rich colouration, it continues to rank high in the popularity stakes, having made a recent appearance on Princess Eugenie’s wedding tiara.
Also up for sale is the 1.44-ct Burmese ruby and diamond ring. Set with round diamonds on each side, it boasts an intense blood-red shade with a soft fluorescence. Burmese rubies are the most valuable, and are worn by royals and nobility in a show of wealth, wisdom and power. The final in the trifecta is the 3.42-ct Kashmir sapphire ring. The stone is derived from a fabled mine that was diminished over 100 years ago. Its scarcity makes it a coveted commodity among collectors.
The Singapore preview of Jewels and Jadeite is happening from November 3-4, 2018, 11am-6pm at 2/F Crescent Ballroom, 190 Orchard Boulevard. The Jewels & Jadeite Autumn Auction will take place on 26 November 2018, 230pm at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Contact Christine Fernando at ChristineFernando@phillips.com for enquiries.