On the block: The most astounding jewels sold on auction in 2018

On the block: The most astounding jewels sold on auction in 2018

Big on bling

Text: Karishma Tulsidas

This pearl and diamond pendant that once belonged to Queen Marie-Antoinette sold for CHF36.4 million

Marie-Antoinette's Jewels
Estate jewellery sales from eminent personalities tend to break records, and it was no different at the auction of Queen Marie-Antoinette's jewels. The sale raised more than 10 times its estimate, fetching a total of US$53.2 million. They were part of the estate of Italy's royal Bourbon Parma-family, and had been in the private collection for more than 200 years. The highlight was undoubtedly this 18th-century natural pearl and diamond pendant with a bow, which went for CHF36.4 million after 10 minutes of vigorous bidding.

The Pink Legacy diamond breaks previous records for the most expensive pink sold on auction

Pink Legacy Diamond
We've seen a number of pink diamonds go on the block in recent years, but what sets the Pink Legacy apart is the fact that it boasts a fancy vivid hue - only one in 1,000,000 diamonds can be described as vivid pink. Unsurprisingly, when it went under the hammer in November by Christie's, it shattered the record for the price per carat for a pink diamond, selling for $69 million, at US$2.6 million a carat. The 18.96-carat fancy vivid pink diamond was acquired by American jeweller Harry Winston, who promptly renamed it The Winston Pink Legacy.

Boasting an incredible provenance, the Farnese blue diamond has passed through the hands of various royal families

Farnese Blue Diamond
Only one in 10,000 gem-quality diamonds boast a blue hue, but this rarity quotient is not the only reason why the Farnese blue fetched US$6.7 million on auction at Sotheby's. It boasts an incredible provenance, as it was discovered more than 300 years ago in India's legendary Golconda mines. The 6.16-carat pear-shaped, dark grey-blue stone was a wedding gift to Queen of Spain Elisabeth Farnese in 1715, and has since been owned by various royal houses, although it was kept in secret and not many knew of its existence. This marks the first time it has gone under the hammer.

The Sleeping Lion freshwater pearl is the largest of its kind

The Sleeping Lion
It resembles a puddle more than a sleeping lion, but what would I know, as the world's largest freshwater pearl sold for US$374,000 at Netherland's Venduehuis' auction house. This 300-year-old oddly-shaped pearl originates from the Qing dynasty, and has been owned by the likes of Catherine the Great.

A mono-bloc diamond ring is the result of a collaboration between Jony Ive and Marc Newson

Diamond ring
The brainchild of Apple's chief design officer Jony Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson, this is certainly no ordinary diamond ring. The entire structure has been cut from a single piece of diamond, created by Diamond Foundry for the charitable (RED) auction that took place in December 2018. It was sold for US$256,000 by Sotheby's in Miami.

This 5,655-carat emerald is named Inkalamu, meaning Lion, for its massive size

The Inkalamu emerald
We rarely see rough, uncut stones on auction; the last notable one was the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, which remained unsold for almost two years. Hence, the fact that 5,655-carat Inkalamu emerald was snapped up at the Gemfields' Singapore auction is a notable milestone. It weighs a whopping 1.1kg, and boasts a "perfectly balanced golden green hue". The buyer is DiaColor, an Indian-based jeweller, for an undisclosed sum.