As part of its global year-end figures announcement, Christie’s International is pleased to report a record-breaking result for global jewelry sales in 2010, with US$426.4 million (£275.1 million) – the highest annual total ever achieved for jewelry at the global auction house. The tally represents a 56% increase over Christie’s 2009 total, and beats its previous highest annual jewelry record of US$395 million, set in 2007. Each one of Christie’s major sales regions experienced significant increases last year, with Christie’s Americas reporting its best total ever for jewelry at US$130.5 million. Christie’s Asia, with its flagship Hong Kong auctions, led the company’s jewelry sales with US$163 million total.
This tremendous leap in Christie's results is due to a renewed confidence in the jewelry market, seen all over the world. With many new buyers in Europe, the U.S. and Asia actively participating at a high level, competition has become more intense than ever for rare jewels and gems of the highest quality. In particular, collectors from Mainland China have become a formidable force as they bid enthusiastically on many top pieces, displaying a continued passion for jadeite and growing connoisseurship of "Western" jewelry.
François Curiel, International Head of Jewelry and President of Christie’s Asia, notes: “I recall the years when reaching US$200 million, then US$300 million in jewelry sales seemed like insurmountable milestones. Our 2010 total moves Christie’s well beyond the US$400 million threshold and onto a whole new level in the global marketplace. In this new climate, where large colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, and signed jewels are attracting an ever-expanding community of collectors and investors from around the world, our team has again demonstrated the resourcefulness and expertise that makes Christie’s the undisputed leader in the global jewelry market.”
From start to finish, 2010 was the year of colored diamonds at Christie’s. Driven by increasing demand in all of its sales regions, Christie’s achieved stellar results for both pink and blue diamonds with two exceptional gems: The Perfect Pink and The BVLGARI Blue. The Perfect Pink, a rectangular-cut Fancy Intense pink diamond ring of 14.23 cts, led Christie’s Hong Kong auctions in November, selling for US$23,165,968, or US$1.6 million per carat – the most expensive jewel ever sold in Asia. Similarly, The Bulgari Blue, a two-stone ring featuring a triangular-cut Fancy Vivid blue diamond of 10.95 carats and a triangular-cut G, VS1 diamond of 9.87 carats, became the star lot of Christie’s New York Jewels sale in October, fetching US$15,762,500, or US$1.4 million per ct for the fancy vivid blue diamond – a
new world record price per carat for a blue diamond.
In terms of antique jewelry, the year’s highlight was undoubtedly the group of 11 jewels from the collection of the Dukes of Portland in England, sold by Christie’s in London in December. The rarity, quality and provenance of these extraordinary examples of antique jewelry led to feverish bidding from private collectors and trade clients from all over the world. “The Portland Ruby”, a Burmese gem of
9.20cts, sold for US$3,375,353 (estimate: US$610,000-900,000), while “The Portland Pearls”, a diamond and natural pearl brooch suspending three drops, circa 1870, achieved US$2,416,857 (estimate: US$760,000-1,100,000).
In total, Christie’s achieved two of the top three prices for jewels at auction worldwide during 2010, and sold six jewels for more than US$5 million (see separate list of the year’s Top Ten Jewels at Christie’s.)
Private sales were also an important factor in Christie’s success in 2010 – a trend that is expected to continue in the new year. This facility, led by International Director Julien-Vincent Brunie, is tailored to clients who prefer to buy or sell outside the fixed auction calendar, and to those seeking the rarest of gemstones and jewels. Among the private transactions Christie’s brokered this year was an 87.19 carat D color diamond – the largest marquise-cut diamond in the world – which sold to a private collector for US$12.4 million.
Christie’s hosts 14 major Jewels auctions each year in New York, Dubai, Geneva, Paris, Hong Kong and London, with smaller sales throughout the year in Amsterdam, London South Kensington and Milan. Early highlights of the New York, Dubai and Geneva sales will be announced in the coming weeks.
Spring 2011 Jewelry Auction Calendar:
The New York Sale 12 April 2011
The Dubai Sale 20 April 2011
The Geneva Sale 18 May 2011
Paris Jewels 23 May 2011
The Hong Kong Sale 31 May 2011
The London Sale 8 June 2011
New York Jewels 14 June 2011
The complete 2010 figures announcement for Christie’s International is available for download at