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Fall of Diamond Jewelry Put Sotheby into Suffering

2001: Fall of Diamond Jewelry and Absence of Diamond Customers

Nov. 2001

The economy took its toll, in many respects, on the major fall jewelry auctions. Both auction house giants--Christie’s and Sotheby’s--reported weaker than usual sales at the October auctions.

One bright spot at the auctions, however, came in the diamond market. A 74.79-carat D-color flawless pear-shaped stone sold for $4,296,000.

"The 74.79 carat diamond, which sold for $57,441 per carat, confirmed buyer’s confidence in the diamond market," said Simon Teakle, head of jewelry for Christie’s America.

Overall, however, sales were less than stellar. Christie’s sold 64 percent of the lots offered, while Sotheby’s suffered, selling only 50 percent of the pieces up for auction. Sotheby’s Head of International Jewelry Carlton C. Rochell said there was a notable absence of participation from the trade and attributed that loss to many people’s reluctance to travel after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

While important diamonds usually dominate the top sales at both houses, there was a noticeable lack of those sales, aside from Christie’s top selling 74.49 carat stone.

Christie’s other important diamond sales were an oval-cut diamond ring of 21.21 carats, D-color, internally flawless, sold for $941,000--or $44,365 per carat; and a marquise-cut fancy deep blue diamond of 5.02 carats, internally flawless, that sold for $886,000--or $176,494 per carat. Both of these sales were to private U.S. buyers.

At Sotheby’s, meanwhile, an important diamond bracelet was the top sale, at $390,750. The flexible strap bracelet was continuously set with 26 marquise-shaped diamonds, weighing a total of 55.33 carats, mounted in platinum. The stones ranged from G to J in color and from Internally Flawless to SI2 in clarity.

Important diamond sales included a 5.02-carat cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut internally flawless, D-color diamond that sold to the American trade for $170,750--or $34,014 per carat; a 5.02-carat emerald-cut D-color, internally flawless diamond ring that sold to a buyer from the American trade for $115,750, or $23,057 per carat; an emerald-cut 30.56-carat, I color, SI1 diamond ring that sold to a buyer from the international trade for $264,250--or $8,646 per carat; and a pair of H color, VVS2 Clarity emerald-cut diamond earclips weighing 8.97 and 9.01 carats that sold to a private American buyer for $214,750--or $11,943 per carat


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