Nothing sparkles like a diamond, it's true, but nothing makes a statement like a stunning colored gemstone. For proof, look no further than Princess Diana's brilliant blue sapphire engagement ring. The ring, one of the most recognizable pieces of jewelry in history, turned heads in the 1980s and continues to do so now that it's worn by the new Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton. Though the vibrant hues of the Big Three sapphires, emeralds and rubies still reign supreme in collections the world over, other colorful gems, including deep-red spinels and nearly neon Paraiba tourmalines, also stand out in a crowd. During Heritage Auctions
' May 8 Spring Fine Jewelry Signature® Auction, the Big Three join spinels, tourmalines, and more to make up the largest selection of unmounted colored gemstones Heritage has ever offered in a jewelry auction.
The single-owner Edgehill Collection constitutes the majority of the unmounted gems and includes striking stones such as a 33.56-carat Ceylon sapphire (estimate: $200,000-$300,000), a 40.19-carat Madagascar sapphire (estimate: $80,000-$100,000), a 6.55-carat Burma ruby (estimate: $50,000-$75,000), a 42.66-carat Colombian emerald (estimate: $50,000-$75,000), a 17.94-carat Zambian emerald (estimate: $40,000-$60,000) and a 12.57-carat red spinel (estimate: $6,000-$8,000).
Another featured collection, Property from the Estate of a Colorado Collector, also includes several gorgeous unmounted colored gemstones. Among the assemblage are rare Paraiba tourmalines, including two oval-shaped examples a 2.64-carat stone ($40,000-$60,000) and a 2.14-carat stone (estimate: $20,000-$30,000) as well as two pear-shaped examples a 3.12-carat stone (estimate: $40,000-$60,000) and a 2.58-carat stone (estimate: $40,000-$60,000). All are in eye-catching shades of blue and green.
"We are absolutely thrilled to offer so many beautiful colored gemstones in our spring auction," says Jill Burgum, Executive Director of Fine Jewelry at Heritage. "Vivid colors are known for their mood-boosting qualities, and these gems would be feel-good additions to any collection. That said, we also have plenty of great diamonds available, from one carat to more than 12 carats, as well as some exquisite creations by the likes of Alexandre Reza and Marianne Ostier."
Diamonds, in fact, make up some of the auction's most exciting lots. Showstoppers include a diamond and platinum ring featuring an 8.56-carat cushion-shaped diamond (estimate: $225,000-$250,000) and a diamond and platinum ring with a 5.02-carat emerald-cut diamond (estimate: $150,000-$175,000).
Diamonds also make an appearance in a spectacular 18k gold watch previously owned by the equally fabulous and legendary performer Liberace. The diamond-encrusted watch (estimate: $10,000-$15,000) features an intricate organic pattern of twisted gold and nude female bodies. With more than three carats of diamonds and weighing more than 250 grams, the extravagant timepiece is a fitting reflection of its former owner.
Among the other highlights of the May 8 auction are rare and highly sought-after designer jewels by the exclusive Parisian jeweler Alexandre Reza, preeminent Boston goldsmith F.G. Hale and acclaimed New York jewelry designer Marianne Ostier. Gracing the cover of the auction catalog is the most dazzling of the bunch: an Alexandre Reza Colombian emerald, diamond and 18k gold bracelet (estimate: $125,000-$150,000). The circa-1974 bracelet, which includes more than 25 carats of emeralds and more than 38 carats of diamonds, is featured in Vivienne Becker's 2012 book Alexandre Reza. Other designer standouts include an F.G. Hale Arts & Crafts multistone and 18k gold necklace (estimate: $5,000-$7,000) and a Burma ruby, diamond, cultured pearl and platinum necklace (estimate: $20,000-$30,000) by Marianne Ostier, who wrote these enduring words of the classic jewelry choice: "There is hardly ever an occasion on which a properly chosen pearl necklace is out of place."