An unparalleled collection of coloured gemstones will be on sale at Bonhams’ Rare Jewels & Jadeite auction on May 31 in Hong Kong. The Jewels of the World collection features a curated selection of the very finest gemstones from around the world, chosen by Bonhams for their quality, rarity and beauty. They include Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies, and sapphires from Kashmir and Sri Lanka, as well as coloured gemstones from Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Brazil and Australia.
“Our focus was to source the finest gemstones and jewels from around the world, to showcase a variety of beautiful and highly desirable jewels for auction,” says Bonhams Asia head of jewellery Graeme Thompson. “The collection is curated with quality and rarity at the forefront of our minds.”
One of the leading international auction houses for jewellery, Bonhams hosts more auctions and sells more items than any other house, and has tapped into that wealth of expertise to assemble the collection. “We were able to reach the four corners of the globe to select the 103 lots for the auction,” says Thompson. “As a result of a targeted sourcing campaign, we were able to reach private individuals and collectors who were willing to entrust us with their wonderful best-in-class or highly prized jewels for auction.”
Demand for coloured stones is increasing around the world, he adds. “Price increases during the last few years have shifted the spotlight from diamonds on to coloured stones; coloured stones have appeared on the red carpet more than ever before due to celebrity endorsements.”
Among the most valuable items on sale is a pair of emerald and diamond earrings; emeralds weighing in at more than 10 carats are a rarity, so to get two of 10.91 and 10.26 carats in a pair partly explains the estimated HK$3.8-4.8 million price tag; the rest of the explanation lies in the sublime beauty of the way the piece contrasts the show-stopping Colombian emeralds with their delicate brilliant-cut diamond surrounds.
Coloured diamonds are increasingly in demand for both their rarity and their striking appearance, and their rich hues have never been put to better use than in the pair of Namibian fancy coloured diamond and diamond earrings from Forevermark on sale at the auction. Estimated at $2.3-2.8 million, the earrings feature two asscher-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds, weighing 5.26 and 5.17 carats. “Fancy intense yellow diamonds are characterised by a highly saturated coloration that is evenly distributed throughout the entire stone,” says Thompson. “Pairs of asscher-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds are very rare, and these earrings have a wonderful brightness, depth of colour and exceptional clarity.”
Two of the auction’s other standout pieces showcase breathtaking rubies from different continents and in very different styles. A ruby and diamond bracelet, with an estimate of $2.3-2.8 million, features 30 vivid red pigeon-blood cushion-shape examples from Myanmar with a combined weight of 30 carats, set between 18 carats of pear-shape and brilliant-cut diamonds; while a stunning step-cut 10.06 carat ruby set in a tsavorite garnet and diamond ring comes from the sought-after ruby deposits of Kenya. Set within a delicate surround of pavé-set circular-cut tsavorite garnets and diamonds, it is estimated to be sold for between $1.5 million and $2 million. Thompson calls it “a truly magnificent example of rarity – in fact I would go as far as to say it might be the only one of its kind in the world. Gem-quality rubies over 10 carats are virtually unheard of.”
Not only are the finest gemstones from around the world on sale at the auction; the jewellery-making traditions of particular countries are also celebrated. Another of the auction’s highlights, for example, is an emerald, ruby and diamond necklace, brooch and earring suite made by renowned French jewellery firm Mauboussin. The suite of jewellery, designed in the classic tutti-frutti style in about 1965, features an elegant floral design set with 36 carats of carved emeralds, 105 carats of cabochon Burmese rubies and 27.2 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, and comes with a pre-sale estimate of $950,000 to $1.2 million.