Posts tagged fantasy gift

Shirley Temple's 9.54-Carat Blue Diamond Ring Comes Up Short at Sotheby's New York

Shirley Temple's 9.54-carat blue diamond ring was billed as the star of Sotheby's New York auction on Tuesday, but went unsold when the bidding stalled at $22 million, short of the reserve price and well below the high estimate of $35 million.

"The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond is an exceptional stone in quality, rarity and provenance. It has been an honor to share its story with collectors, connoisseurs and Temple's loyal fans over the past few months," Sotheby's noted a statement. "Unfortunately, tonight wasn't its night in the salesroom, but we remain fully confident that it will find a buyer."

Temple was nearly 12 years old and had just wrapped up her new film, The Blue Bird, when her father, George Francis, surprised the box office phenomenon with a cushion-cut fancy deep blue diamond in an Art Deco-inspired platinum setting. George Francis paid $7,210 for the ring 76 years ago, which is equivalent to about $122,000 today. The diamond had earned a grade of VVS2 and was presented at the auction in its original platinum setting.

As an adult, Shirley Temple Black became a diplomat, serving as a United Nations delegate, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and later as the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. She reported wore her blue diamond ring throughout her life. She died in February of 2014 at that age of 85.

The poor showing for Temple's blue diamond came only two weeks after the slightly larger and internally flawless 10.10-carat “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4” set an Asian auction record at Sotheby’s Hong Kong when it sold for $32 million. The pre-sale estimate for the fancy vivid blue gem had been $30 to $36 million.

On May 18 at Christie’s Geneva, the 14.62-carat rectangular-cut “Oppenheimer Blue” has a chance to set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a diamond of any color. The current record of $48.5 million is held by the 12.03-carat cushion-shaped internally flawless “Blue Moon” (now called “Blue Moon of Josephine”). The Oppenheimer Blue boasts a VVS1 clarity and is the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction.

Images courtesy of Sotheby’s. Shirley Temple promo shot ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection.

Super-Rare 30.80-Carat Purple Diamond Found in Refuse Pile by South African Tailings Processor

A super-rare 30.80-carat purple diamond with “exquisite gemological characteristics” was salvaged at a diamond tailings plant in Kimberley, South Africa.

Tailings are the residue of the diamond-bearing ore that was processed during the original mining operation.

Oftentimes, the tailings will contain viable gems and this is why Batla Minerals’ Superkolong recovery plant has been set up near DeBeers’ famous Kimberley Mine. The tailings plant recovers 15,000 carats of mostly lower-quality diamonds each month.

However, while sorting through tons of waste material, the company spotted the massive purple rough diamond, which they named the “Kimberley Purple.”

Batla Minerals CEO Jean Retief told NationalJeweler.com that the discovery of the Kimberley Purple is a “clear statement of the (Superkolong’s) viability and its ability to produce something special.”

The Kimberley Purple is currently on display in Antwerp and will be tendered later this month.

Due to their rarity, purple diamonds demand the highest premiums and can yield more than $1 million per carat.

In 2014, another purple diamond, the “Purple Orchid”, a 3.37-carat fancy intense pinkish-purple diamond was valued at $4 million, or about $1.18 million per carat.

Israeli diamond company Leibish & Co. introduced the Purple Orchid to the world during the 2014 September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.

What makes purple diamonds purple is still a scientific mystery. It’s been established that a yellow diamond gets its dazzling color from minute traces of nitrogen in the diamond’s chemical composition and a blue diamond gets its color from boron. When it comes to purple, scientists suspect hydrogen as the stray element, but they’re not so sure.

Purple diamonds can be found in only three locations worldwide — South Africa, Russia and Brazil. While Russia’s purple diamonds have overtones of blue and Brazil’s purple diamonds tend to have a hint of orange, the purples and intense pinkish purples from South Africa display the absolute best brilliance and purple sparkle, according to Leibish.

This fact bodes well for the Kimberley Purple, a South African stone. We can’t wait to see what cut is in store for this fabulous find.

Images: Kimberley Purple via nationaljeweler.com (uncredited); Purple Orchid courtesy of Leibish & Co.

‘The Ring (Engagement)’ by Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein Has $50 Million Price Tag at Sotheby’s

In 1963, Pop art pioneer Roy Lichtenstein earned $1,000 for his comic-book-style painting called “The Ring (Engagement).” On May 12, Sotheby’s will be asking $50 million for the same work of art.

“The Ring (Engagement)” is one of Lichtenstein’s largest paintings at 48 inches by 70 inches and depicts a close-up view of a man placing a diamond engagement ring on a woman’s finely manicured finger. In the background is a web-like formation of tapered red crystals.

Interestingly, “The Ring (Engagement)” has had only two owners since Lichtenstein painted it in 1962. French collector Jean-Marie Rossi bought it from the artist’s gallery in 1963 for $1,000 and sold it for $2.2 million to Chicago businessman Stefan Edlis in 1997, the same year Lichtenstein passed away at the age of 74.

Edlis told The Wall Street Journal that “The Ring” has been hanging in his media room for years and was the first hand-painted Lichtenstein he ever bought. “I think it’s so sexy how he takes this quiet moment of a proposal and turns it into an exciting crash,” Edlis said. “Clearly, the woman accepted.”

Sotheby’s noted that the painting "encapsulates all of the major themes" in Lichtenstein's "most acclaimed and sustained body of work." The Manhattan-bred artist, who was a contemporary of Andy Warhol, often used comic strips and popular media as inspiration.

According to ArtNews.com, Lichtenstein created a series of paintings based on scenes from love and war comic books during a three-period starting in 1961. “The Ring (Engagement)” is from that series.

The work demonstrates the artist’s signature usage of Ben-Day dots, which are small colored dots that are either tightly spaced or widely spaced on a white background to trick the eye into seeing other hues. Widely spaced red dots, for example, would be perceived as pink.

The pricing of the bright red painting reflects a booming market for Lichtenstein’s works. Two years ago, Lichtenstein’s “Woman With Flowered Hat” sold for $56.1 million at Christie’s New York.

“The Ring (Engagement)” can be previewed at Sotheby’s Los Angeles and will hit the auction block at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 12 in New York.

Credits: “The Ring (Engagement)” photo via Sotheby’s; Roy Lichtenstein image via Wikicommons.

100-Carat ‘Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond’ Could Fetch $25M at Sotheby’s New York in April

The 100.20-carat “Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond” could fetch as much as $25 million when it headlines Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on April 21.

The “Ultimate” — a remarkable D-color, internally flawless stone — joins an elite club of only five comparable-quality 100-plus-carat diamonds to have ever hit the auction block. It’s the only one of the group to feature the classic emerald cut.

The current owner spent more than one year studying, cutting and polishing the original 200-carat rough diamond, which was mined by De Beers in South Africa. It is not unusual for a cutter to forgo 50 percent of the diamond's carat weight to yield a "perfect" stone.

“This 100.20 carat diamond is the definition of perfection,” commented Gary Schuler, Head of Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York. “The color is whiter than white. It is free of any internal imperfections, and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of icy water.”

Lisa Hubbard, Chairman of North & South America for Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, called the 100-carat diamond the “rarest object of natural beauty on the market right now” and “the ultimate acquisition.”

“Simply put, it has everything you could ever want from a diamond,” she said. “The classic shape begs to be worn, while the quality puts it in an asset class of its own. The stone gives you so many options – admire it unmounted, wear it as a simple but stunning pendant, or mount it in a designed jewel.”

The per-carat selling price of upper-echelon stones has been on a steep ascent since Sotheby’s auctioned it first 100-carat "perfect" diamond in 1990. At that time, the price was $125,000 per carat. By 2013, the price had risen to $260,000 per carat. Sotheby’s low estimate of $19 million for “Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond” represents a valuation of $190,000 per carat.

April’s headliner will be promoted on a whirlwind month-long tour that will take the stone from Dubai in mid-March to New York in mid-April, with stops in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and Doha.

The five other 100-plus-carat “perfect” diamonds to be sold at auction are listed below:

• “The Mouawad Splendour” (101.84 carats) is a modified pear-shape diamond that was sold in 1990 at Sotheby’s Geneva for $12.7 million.

• “The Star of Happiness” (100.36 carats) is a rectangular modified brilliant-cut that sold at Sotheby’s Geneva for $11.9 million in 1993.

• “The Star of the Season” (100.10 carats) sports a pear shape and fetched $16.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 1995.

• “The Winston Legacy” (101.73 carats) also has a pear shape and generated $26.7 million (a record $262,830 per carat) at Christie’s Geneva in 2013.

• “Spectacular Oval Diamond” (118.28 carats) is an oval brilliant-cut stone that scored a world auction record for a white diamond when it sold for $30.6 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013.

(Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s.)

Meet the Rolex 'Pepsi'

There’s no denying that Rolex has a worldwide following. That may be because the brand does a lot of things right when it comes to building timepieces. From research and development to high-tech materials and paying strict attention to detail, Rolex regularly comes out on top.

This year, the brand released several important new watches that are in stores now. Among them are the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master II watch. A world’s first, this timepiece features a Cerachrom bezel created in blue and red. It has been nicknamed — for obvious reasons — Pepsi. Interestingly enough, the moniker has roots in the original Rolex pieces made in the 1950s for Pan Am that had red and black aluminum inserts, and was dubbed Pepsi, as well.

The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master II “Pepsi” is a grand mix of aesthetics, technology and Rolex DNA. It recalls the original two-toned 1955 model, but features a dual-color monoblock ceramic bezel that was long thought impossible to create. In fact, bringing this bezel to fruition is complex and expensive. One of the main challenges comes with the heating process. In intense heating and firing, red typically loses its vibrancy. To achieve the intense red hue, Rolex engineers had to reconfigure the molecular structure of the color. Then, via a specially developed and patented manufacturing process, each grain of the chemical composition is locally modified to transition from red into blue on half of the bezel insert. The Rolex Cerachrom bezels were first introduced nearly a decade ago and have the distinction of being virtually scratch resistant, corrosion resistant and sun resistant.

Crafted from a solid block of 18-karat white gold, the watch houses the self-winding Caliber 3186 Superlative Chronometer and offers second time zone function and date display. The COSC-certified chronometer features an oscillator with a blue Parchrom hairspring that is patented by Rolex and built from an alloy of niobium and zirconium that makes it insensitive to magnetic fields. The 40mm watch is water resistant to 330 feet. For a "Pepsi," it sure packs a punch.