A ruby named after a Sufi mystic’s poem. Marie-Antionette’s pearl pendant. A blue diamond dubbed for a seven-year-old. And who would have thought pink gemstones would be so popular? The past decade has seen some truly dazzling jewelry come onto the market — with prices to match. If you’re searching for gifts, tough luck, as the following pieces are probably out of your range, but you can still use them for inspiration.
Cartier recently bought back a necklace it had made in 1933 for Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton for her marriage to Georgian Prince Alexis Mdivani. The piece sold for $2 million in 1988 and $4.2 million in 1996, but no one expected it to go for a whopping $27.4 million in 2014.
Sunrise Ruby Ring
The most expensive ruby in the world was discovered in Myanmar and cut by Cartier. Named for a Rumi poem, the Sunrise Ruby sold for an amazing $30.3 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2015. The market for colored gemstones is ever on the rise, and now outprice many diamonds.
De Grisogono Necklace
Weighing 163.41 carats, the world’s largest flawless rectangular diamond sold for $33.7 million in 2017 at Sotheby’s Geneva. The enormous diamond is complemented by an additional 6,000 diamonds and emeralds, set so they appear to flow continuously around the necklace. A one-of-a-kind piece meriting its impressive auction price.
One of a tiny percentage of orange diamonds graded ‘Fancy Vivid’ by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Orange beat out previous champ Pumpkin in both size and price. While the Pumpkin went for a respectable $3 million, the Orange really rocked Christie’s Geneva in 2013 when it sold for an incredible $35.5 million!
Marie-Antionette’s Pear Pearl
Once owned by the (in)famous French queen, this pearl and diamond bow pendant was part of a triple-strand pearl necklace that sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2018 for an almost unbelievable $36 million.
Princie Pink Diamond
Originally the prize of a royal Indian family, this 300-year-old jewel actually fell short of its expected sale price of $45 million. Instead, the Qatari royal family scooped up this ‘Fancy Intense’ cushion-cut diamond for the bargain price of $39.3 million at Christie’s New York in 2013.
Blue Moon of Josephine
The most recent member of the collection, this 12-carat flawless blue diamond was mined in South Africa in 2014. When it sold for $48.4 million at Sotheby’s in Geneva the following year, the simple ring garnered the highest price-per-carat jewel ever sold. The purchaser named the stone ‘The Blue Moon of Josephine’ for his lucky little 7-year-old girl, who incidentally already has a couple of other diamond baubles, including another blue diamond called ‘Star of Josephine’ and a 16-carat pink diamond named ‘Sweet Josephine.’
First discovered in South Africa a century ago, the Pink Legacy was once the property of the Oppenheimers, founds of De Beers diamonds. Graded ‘Fancy Vivid,’ this unique 18.96 carat ring sold at auction for the very first time in 2018 at Christie’s Auction House in Geneva, to Harry Winston Inc. for $50 million.
Oppenheimer Blue Diamond Ring
Previously owned by Philip Oppenheimer of De Beers fame, this blue diamond is the largest of its kind ever sold at auction. Paired with two smaller white diamonds in a platinum setting, the emerald-cut Oppenheimer Blue was battled over for nearly half an hour via phone at Christie’s Geneva in 2016 before the amazing $57.6 million price was settled on.
Pink Star Diamond
The most expensive jewel ever sold at auction is a pink diamond. Weighing 59.6 carats and carrying a ‘Fancy Vivid’ rating, the Pink Star is truly one of the rarest and most beautiful jewels ever found. Cutting alone took 20 months. Set in a simple platinum band, it was visited by over 70,000 people a day while on exhibit at London’s Natural History Museum in 2005. The Pink Star sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2017 for an astounding $71.2 million.