Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Auction May 2023

Sotheby’s Geneva Scores Highest Value Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale in 5 Years

The Bulgari Laguna Blu Becomes the Most Valuable Jewel Sold This Week in All Geneva Jewellery Sales

Sold for CHF 22,625,100 / $ 25,189,429, the Stunning 11.16 Carat Fancy-Vivid Blue Diamond is now the Largest Blue Diamond in a Bulgari Jewel and Most Valuable Gem by Bulgari Ever Offered for Sale

Sotheby's Scores Highest Value Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva in 5 Years
Quig Bruning, Head of Sotheby’s Jewels Americas, fields the final bid on the Bulgari Laguna Blu, the top lot of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels Sale on 16 May 2023

It’s been a privilege to witness the Bulgari Laguna Blu’s glamorous and exciting journey over the past few months, knowing that it was first created in 1970, to its most recent Met Gala appearance where it dazzled on the red carpet, set in a bespoke Bulgari necklace worn by Priyanka Chopra Jones.

So, it’s a special moment to see this extraordinary jewel’s journey take yet a new turn, this evening in our auction room, in the hands of its first new owner in over 50 years.

The sale of the Laguna Blu tops the remarkable performance of our Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale that saw exceptional coloured gemstones, in particular emeralds and yellow diamonds, punch through their high estimates, in such a spectacular fashion.

There is no doubt that high quality high jewellery can still command sky high prices. ~ Olivier Wagner, Head of Jewellery, Sotheby’s Geneva

This evening, Sotheby’s Geneva rewinds the clock to pre-pandemic times to score its best Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale performance in five years, since May 2018 by achieving sales totaling CHF 76,732,260 / $85,431,762.

Led by the much-talked-about Bulgari Laguna Blu, selling above its requested price to reach CHF 22,625,100 / $ 25,189,429, the Sotheby’s Geneva’s flagship sales soared with more than half (53.4%) of all lots selling way above their high estimate and virtually all lots sold reaching prices within or above their estimates (97%).

The Bulgari Laguna Blu was auctioned last in the second session of the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, after a string of spectacular sales of signed jewels and exceptional gemstones. After a four-minute bidding battle between three telephone bidders and one bidder in the room, it eventually found a buyer on the phone.

Colored gemstones – and signed colored jewels especially – had an exceptional evening with nearly a quarter of all lots sold featuring them selling way above their high estimates – led by sales of jewelry featuring rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and yellow and pink diamonds.

Below are some of the most outstanding examples of such sales with some lots’ final price achieving several times their high estimates.

  • Lot 673, Impressive Fancy Intense Pink and Fancy Deep Grayish Blue Diamond ring estimate CHF 7,330,000 – 10,990,000, sold for CHF 10,560,600 / $11,757,538 USD (bought by Diacore)
  • Lot 574, Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond ring, estimate CHF 370,000 – 550,000, sold for CHF 1,130,300 / $ 1,258,408 USD (bought by Diacore)
  • Lot 530, Emerald and Diamond ring, estimate CHF 65,000 – 90,000, sold for CHF 419,100 / $ 466,601
  • Lot 610, Sapphire and Diamond demi-parure, circa 1890, estimate CHF 60,000 – 100,000, sold for CHF 482,600 / $ 537,298
  • Lot 563, Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby and Diamond parure, 1980s, estimate CHF 60,000 – 100,000, sold for CHF 203,200 / $ 226,231
  • Lot 635, Property of a Lady of Title, Pair of Sapphire and Diamond pendant earrings, estimate CHF 20,000 – 40,000, sold for CHF 203,200 / $226,231
  • Lot 660, Harry Winston Fine Padparadscha Sapphire and Diamond ring, estimate CHF 130,000 – 220,000, sold for CHF 508,000 / $ 565,577

The Bulgari Laguna Blu –  Provenance Overview

The Bulgari Laguna Blu is a gemstone like no other, boasting an exceptional color saturation and a vibrant oceanic blue, with provenance from a Distinguished European Collection.

Created in 1970 by Bulgari as a ring – at a time when Bulgari was undergoing some of its most significant transformations and emerging as the most influential and innovative Italian high jewelry house in the world – the Bulgari Laguna Blu is a rarity three times over – it’s an 11.16 carat Fancy Vivid blue diamond, among the rarest gemstones on earth; it is a jewel signed by Bulgari; and it is unmodified which means that its current cut – produced in 1970, could be further improved with modern cutting methods to release its full gemstone potential.

On one of fashion’s biggest nights – the Met Gala and its much-publicized red carpet earlier this month – the Laguna Blu made its global début worn by Bulgari Ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas presented in a magnificent bespoke Bulgari High Jewelry necklace.

A homage to Rome, the exceptional piece contemporizes the charms of the Eternal City, casting the ancient birthplace of Bulgari in a modern light.

The shape of the necklace honored Rome with its interlocking diamonds set in platinum, which, though denser than gold, offers much greater fluidity allowing Bulgari to showcase its craftsmanship.

Inspired by the bay laurel wreaths worn by emperors in Greco-Roman antiquity, the design reinterprets the pattern with a contemporary air of movement and light. Diamonds thanks to deft craftsmanship.

Blue diamonds, of any kind and any size, are among the rarest colored diamonds. Any blue diamond qualifying as Fancy Vivid – the brightest hue a diamond can display – over 10 carats are extremely rare indeed: fewer than ten Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds over 10 carats have come to auction anywhere in the world in the past few decades.

That makes the Bulgari Laguna Blu a true wonder of nature.


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