Lot 83. Burmese pink spinel and diamond necklace. Estimate HK$350,000 - 550,000 (US$45,000 - 70,500). Photo Tiancheng International
The openwork filigree necklace decorated with graduated oval pink spinels together weighing 69.62 carats, embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds together weighing approximately 9.35 carats, mounted in 18 karat white gold, length approximately 420mm.
Accompanied by LOTUS premium report numbered 7559-9362, dated 6 October 2015, stating that the 69.62 carat pink spinels ranging from 3.06 to 0.84 carat are natural, Pink colour, of rich to medium saturation and medium-light to medium tone, of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating or treatment.
Spinels have had a long history of being incorrectly identified as rubies. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s when spinels were discovered to have different characteristics compared to rubies. Many famous “rubies” featured on some of the world’s finest crown jewels are actually spinels. Famous examples are the magnificent 170-carat Ruby of the Black Prince set on the Imperial State Crown of England, and the Timur Ruby, which weighs more than 350 carats and is part of the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.
Gem quality spinels are actually much less common than rubies with similar characteristics. According to Geographic Origin Determination of Coloured Gemstones, a spinel is 200 times rarer than a ruby. This rarity has kept spinels relatively less recognized in the past. However, this is rapidly changing as gem collectors around the globe have already taken note of this resplendent gem, restoring its market value to its rightful glory.
Just like corundum, spinels come in a variety of colours; the rarest and most desired colours are vivid red, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink, and bright orange. Similarly, there exist star spinels that display asterism as well as some that exhibit colour change under different light sources.
A gemstone of such rare characteristics, Tiancheng International is delighted to have with us a collection of spinels up for auction this season.