Jewelry is good, jewelry with history is even better. Earlier we considered the results from the recent Sotheby's auctions
now a quick look at a couple of stunners
from Christie's "Jewels: the New York Sale"
which happened on Thursday. The Emperor Maximilian Diamond, a 39.55-carat, I color sold for $1.76 million nicely above the pre-sale estimate of $1 million and $1.5 million. The Emperor Maximilian Diamond is one of two large diamonds that the the Archduke Maximilian acquired in Brazil in 1860 before he was named Emperor of Mexico at Napoleon's urging. Later Napoleon dropped support of Maximillian and the young emperor found himself facing the firing squad. Legend has it that he was wearing this stone in a small pouch around his neck when he was killed. The stone was given to his wife, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, who later sold the jewel. The cushion-shaped diamond has been owned by famed diamantaire Laurence Graff and by Imelda Marcos.
But the piece I was most curious about was the Catherine the Great Emerald Brooch. The large emerald and diamond brooch adorned one of the world's most powerful and ruthless female leaders ever to live, Catherine II of Russia. She ascended to the throne in 1762 and her long reign marked a time of Russian expansion and success. She was also a noted jewelry collector with the resources to acquire the world's best gems. This brooch was given to Sophie Dorothea, princess of Württemberg, as a wedding gift on the occasion of her marriage to Catherine's son and successor Tsar Paul I in 1776. It has a hexagonal cut Colombian emerald estimated at between 60 and 70 carats. The stone is surrounded by rose and old mine-cut diamonds set in silver-topped gold. It was estimated to sell for $1 million to $1.5 million and went for $1.65 million to a private Middle Eastern buyer.
The Christie's sale racked up $41.25 million, with 85 percent sold by lot. The biggest seller wasn't either of the two pieces mentioned above, Instead that honor went to a heart-shaped, 28.28-carat D flawless diamond, which sold for $3.78 million, an impressive $133,000 per carat. History has its merits but for diamond lovers, a D flawless grading can be even more important than provenance.