PHILADELPHIA, PA.- When the hammer fell on the last lot in yesterday’s Fine Jewelry auction, Freeman’s set a new company record: the rare Belle Époque fancy vivid yellow diamond pendant by J.E. Caldwell and Co. soared past its $250,000-350,000 presale estimate, selling for $760,000 and becoming the most expensive piece of jewelry Freeman’s has sold in recent history.
The 10.59 carat, cushion-cut diamond hailed from a private collection and attracted rare diamond collectors and connoisseurs from around the world. Fifteen phone bidders actively sought the diamond.
“Yesterday‘s results provided solid confirmation of how strong the market is for rare gems,” Department Head Virginia Salem said. “We saw unwavering participation from bidders around the globe. The vigorous bidding for the fancy vivid yellow cushion-cut diamond was a testimony to the high quality and strong provenance of the piece, as well as to Freeman’s ability to successfully target and attract the market.”
The exciting sale of the yellow diamond provided a dramatic ending to an auction totaling over $2.3 million and brimming with spirited bidding and strong results. Diamonds performed well throughout the sale, beginning with Lot 1, an Edwardian diamond and platinum lavalier by Bailey, Banks & Biddle, that hammered above its high estimate, realizing $18,750. A host of subsequent diamonds followed suit by exceeding their estimates, including Lot 51, an unmounted fancy yellow diamond, which sold for $131,250 (estimate: $70,000-90,000), and Lot 171, an Art Deco diamond and platinum bracelet that achieved $28,750 (estimate: $12,000-15,000).
Lot 1. An Edwardian diamond and platinum lavalier by Bailey, Banks & Biddle, circa 1910, set with two pear-shaped drops, weighing approximately 1.20 carats each, suspending from collet-set circular-cut diamonds, the center panel is further set with an old European-cut diamond, weighing approximately 1.30 carats, suspending from a bow motif chain accented by old European and single-cut diamonds; estimated total remaining diamond weight: 4.75 carats. Estimate $7,000-9,000. Sold for $18,750 (buyer's premium included).
Lot 51. An unmounted old European-cut fancy yellow diamond, weighing 10.98 carats. Accompanied by GIA report # 5181584857, dated July 8, 2017, stating natural fancy yellow with uneven distribution and SI-1 clarity. Estimate $70,000-90,000. Sold for $131,250 (buyer's premium included).
Lot 171. An Art Deco diamond and platinum bracelet, circa 1930, centering an octagonal step-cut diamond, weighing approximately 1.80 carats, flanked by bullet-cut diamonds, further accented by sections of baguette, marquise and circular-cut diamonds; estimated total remaining diamond weight: 14.00 carats. Length: 7 1/4 in. Estimate $15,000-20,000. Sold for $28,750 (buyer's premium included).
The sale was filled with fine examples of signed antique and private designs from private collections and attracted considerable attention from both novice and experienced collectors. A significant majority of the sold lots accordingly met, or exceeded expectations. Other notable highlights include Lot 2, a black opal, demantoid garnet and sapphire pendant brooch by Louis Comfort Tiffany, which realized $15,000; Lot 56, an 18k gold necklace and matching bracelet by Ilias Lalaounis that sold for $8,750; and Lot 95, a mother-of-pearl, diamond and 18k white gold ‘Papillon’ clip brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels that sold for $7,150.
Lot 2. A black opal, demantoid garnet and sapphire pendant brooch, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany & Co., circa 1915,
set with a rectangular cushion-cut black opal tablet surrounded by bezel-set demantoid garnets and sapphires accented by grape leaves, suspending from a removable delicate link chain accented by intricate links of sapphires and demantoids, set in eighteen karat gold.
Length: 17 in. Estimate $5,000-7,000. Sold for $15,000 (buyer's premium included).
Lot 56. An eighteen karat gold necklace and matching bracelet, Ilias Lalaounis, designed as textured gold wheat sheaves of semi-flexible design with circluar-cut diamond accents; accompanied by a signed box. Gross weight: 105.4 dwt.; Necklace length: 16 in.; Bracelet length: 7 3/8 in. Estimate $5,000-7,000. Sold for $8,750 (buyer's premium included).
Lot 95. A mother-of-pearl, diamond and eighteen karat white gold 'Papillon' clip brooch, Van Cleef & Arpels, designed as a butterfly with polished mother-of-pearl wings, highlighted with a round brilliant-cut diamond abdomen; signed 'VCA', 'CL 8049', with French assay marks; accompanied by a signed box. Length: 1 3/4 in. Estimate $3,000-5,000. Sold for $7,150 (buyer's premium included).
Freeman’s is encouraged by the strong results of this sale and preparations are currently underway for the Fine Jewelry Auction next May. Consignments of suitable pieces or collections are always welcome.