The 101.41-carat, D-color, internally flawless stone Juno,, which was renamed the Claire G after being bought at Sotheby’s in New York on June 16, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)
The focus of the high-end jewelry market shifted to New York in June, with a series of major auctions being held at which several large and unusual diamonds were on offer. Most probably the most well-known of them was a pear-shaped 101.41-carat, D-color, internally flawless stone called the Juno, which went on the block at Sotheby’s on June 16.
The stone was bought by an unnamed by a private collector from Asia, who immediately renamed it the “Claire G Diamond” after his wife, after shelling out $12.9 million.
“We are thrilled to see this exceptional diamond achieve such a strong result — confirmation that there’s ongoing demand from collectors at the highest levels of the market,” stated Quig Bruning, head of jewels for Sotheby’s Americas. “This diamond captivated clients around the world through our extensive travels this spring.”
The Claire G was the top lot at the Sotheby’s sales, which in total brought in $52 million. It’s been a good season for the storied auction house, for which worldwide jewelry auctions have seen results of $230 million in total, representing an increase of 14 percent over last year.
LEFT: The 111.59-carat fancy deep orange-brown Earth Star, set within a frame of azurmlachite, which sold for a disappointing $693,000 (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s) RIGHT: The 43.15-carat fancy yellow diamond ring which sold at Phillips for $5.2 million Photo courtesy of Phillips).
MASSIVE BROWN DIAMOND DISAPPOINTS
The Juno/Clair G was not the largest diamond on sale at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Also featured was a pear-shaped 111.59-carat fancy deep orange-brown diamond, set within a frame of azurmlachite, a blue and green gem material that is composed of two copper carbonate minerals, azurite and malachite. The jewelry piece was designed by David Webb, and was further decorated by round diamonds.
The diamond was originally discovered at the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa in 1967 as a 248.9-carat rough stone. It was referenced in the Ian Balfour’s voluminous Famous Diamonds, in part because the historic mine had not previously been known to produce brown diamonds or diamonds of such a large size, and it was a discovered at a depth of more than 750 meters, which is also unusual for a gem of this size.
Dubbed the Earth Star, the brown diamond was sent to Baumgold Brothers in New York, who fashioned it into a pear-shape, with a high degree of brilliance. In 1983, it sold for almost $1 million.
It did not do so well this time around, bringing in $693,000, which less than half the of low pre-sale low estimate of $1.5 million. The high -re-sale estimate had been $2.5 million.
THE LIGHT OF AFRICA
Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale on June 16 achieved a total of $48. 9 million, with the highlight of the auction being the Light of Africa Diamond, a D color, Flawless, emerald-cut diamond of 103.49 carats. Ranked as the fifth most valuable colorless diamond ever offered at Christie’s, it brought in $20 million.
The Light of Africa diamond was cut by the by Stargems Group from a 299.3 carat rough stone discovered at South Africa’s Cullinan Diamond Mine.
The sale also featured jewelry from a number of private collections, with one having belonged to Signora Silvana Mangano, featuring items by Bulgari. It was led by the “Trombino” ring, which had as its center a fancy intense yellow diamond of 15.98 carats. It sold for $693,000, the same price that the Earth Star sold at Sotheby’s.
Even the Phillips auction in New York on June 2 garnered attention. Its top lot was a 43.15-carat, fancy-yellow diamond ring that sold for $5.2 million.
LEFT: The 103.49-carat Light of Africa, which sold at Christie’s for $48.9 million (Photo courtesy of Christie’s). RIGHT: 15.98 fancy yellow Trombino diamond ring by Bulgari, which sold for $693,000 at Christie’s (Photo courtesy of Christie’s).