Skinner Fine Jewelry Auction Brings $10.75 Million

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Important Heart-shape Diamond, Natural Pearls, and Colombian Emerald are Standouts

Important Diamond

31.25 cts. Heart shape Diamond (Lot 498, Estimate $2,000,000-$3,000,000) sold for $3,947,000

We are seeing an increase in international buyers seeking out Skinner for jewelry collections from New England families.

Enthusiastic bidders from four continents competed online, by telephone, and in the gallery for the top lots at Skinner’s Fine Jewelry auction on December 8th in Boston. When the dust had settled, the sale had brought $10.75 million, with almost all of the top lots far exceeding their pre-sale estimates.

Previews in New York and Boston in the days before the sale generated tremendous excitement, as interested collectors took advantage of the opportunity to view the fine jewelry on offer in person.

Gloria Lieberman, Director Emerita of Skinner’s Fine Jewelry Department commented: “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 19th and 20th centuries are being recognized worldwide for their exquisite quality and fine taste.”

Important Collection from a Prominent British-American Family

Many of the standout lots in yesterday’s 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 beautiful and potentially historically important items.

The highlight, of both the collection and the sale, was the final lot, a 31.25 cts. Heart-shape Diamond (Lot 498, Estimate $2,000,000-$3,000,000), certified as D color, VVS2 clarity, which sold for $3,947,000. (Prices realized for all lots include the buyer’s premium.) 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 exceptional lot from the same consignment, an important Natural Pearl Necklace described by the Swiss Gemological Institute as “rare and exceptional” (Lot 493, Estimate $400,000-$600,000), sold for more than three times its presale estimate at $2,211,000.

Other highlights included a 4.07 cts. Unmounted Diamond, also a Type IIa (Lot 494), which realized $165,000; the associated Antique Diamond Pendant (Lot 494A), sold for $104,550; and a companion Platinum and Diamond Riviere (Lot 495), sold for $123,000.

Colored Gemstones

Colored stones reached astounding per carat prices in the auction. A Colombian Emerald set within an Edwardian Brooch(Lot 489, Estimate $50,000-$75,000) sold for $495,000, which is over $100,000 per carat for this remarkable emerald. A Kashmir sapphire (Lot 490 Estimate $80,000-$120,000) from another New England estate brought $375,000, an incredible $70,000 per carat. Diamond prices were also very strong. Six diamonds in the auction brought over $100,000. A Fancy Blue Diamond Solitaire weighing 2.65 cts. (Lot 476, Estimate $80,000-$120,000) sold for $543,000, almost five times its presale estimate.

Prices Realized

All prices realized are available at on the Skinner website.

About Skinner
Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Coral Gables, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.


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Catherine Weber
Skinner, Inc
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