However, the bigger story was that two colorless diamonds of more than 50 carats each; and possessing D Color, Flawless and Type IIa characteristicsmaking each of them the second largest of their kind ever to come to auctionsurpassed the sale of the blue diamond, even with its exceptional royal provenance. It took extraordinary large and pure stones to achieve this feat.
The top lot was a 51.71-carat round diamond that fetched $9.2 million. It ranks as the second largest D Flawless brilliant-cut diamond ever to have appeared at auction.
The second stone is a 50.39-carat oval diamond that sold for $8.1 million. This gem ranks as the second largest D Flawless diamond of its shape ever to have come to auction.
The round and oval diamonds were discovered in Botswana as rough diamonds of 196 carats and 155 carats, and cut in Antwerp. The Gemological Institute of America report says they both have excellent cut, polish and symmetry.
The timeless appeal of diamonds was reasserted tonight in Geneva, with three exceptional stones cut centuries apart capturing the attention of international collectors, said Daniela Mascetti, deputy chairman, Sothebys Europe and senior international jewelry specialist. The Farnese Blue is quite simply an unforgettable diamond, and everyone who set their eyes on it was mesmerized by its extraordinary color. We were also delighted be the results achieved by the two white diamonds over 50 carats in the sale, whose color, cut and clarity are synonymous with 21st-century perfection.
Sothebys Geneva sale of 372 lots achieved $85.6 million, with 82% of the lots sold and 70% of the lots exceeding their high estimates. In a testament to the increasingly global nature of the market, 650 bidders from 50 countries participated in the auction at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva hotel. A total of 15 lots sold for more than $1 million and at least five auction records were set. White and fancy colored diamonds, signed pieces and jewels with aristocratic provenance all sold well.
The five auction records set are as follows:
* A 2.63-carat fancy vivid purplish pink diamond realized $2.4 million, an auction record for a fancy vivid purplish pink diamond.
* A diamond pendant, set with an oval pink sapphire weighing 95.45 carats brought in $2.29 million, an auction record for a pink sapphire and more than double its $1 million high estimate.
* A 9.70-carat fancy light purplish pink diamond sold for $2.59 million, setting an auction record price and an auction record price-per-carat for a fancy light purplish pink diamond, while smashing its $700,000 high estimate.
* A 5.04-carat fancy purple-pink diamond ring sold for $1.4 million, setting a new auction record price and a new auction record price-per-carat for a fancy purple-pink diamond.
* A 2.52-carat fancy vivid yellowish green diamond was purchased for $938,174, setting a new world auction record price for a fancy vivid yellowish green diamond.
Kashmir sapphires were high in demand, according to the auction house. One of the top lots in this category was a 1930s ring adorned with a 4.01-carat gemstone boasting highly coveted royal blue color that realized an above-estimate price of $1.8 million; and an 11.64-carat step-cut sapphire that sold for $1.4 million.
In addition to The Farnese Blue, the sale included a selection of very fine period jewels with illustrious aristocratic provenance, which totaled $9.5 million, far exceeding the pre-sale expectations of $6 million - 8.7 million. It was led by a 19th-century emerald cameo and diamond bracelet that sold for $249,780, four times the high estimate.
Among signed jewels, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels had very strong showings. Among the highlights:
* A gem and diamond necklace, designed by Cartier in 1930s, brought in $337,203.
* A Cartier Parrot ring set with a cushion-shaped very light pink diamond weighing 3.77 carats achieved $274,758.
* An example of the iconic Zip necklace by Van Cleef and Arpels in the 1950s sold for ten times the estimate at $506,554. The necklace set with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds can also be worn as a bracelet and is paired with matching ear clips.