Shares may be down, but jewels are definitely up

Two big auction houses realize Monday sales of more than $40 million, more to come

Tiara on sale at Sotheby's in Geneva 15 May

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss franc is a pale safe haven in these days of troubled economies, compared to the bright, shining market in fine jewels, if Geneva auctions are any indication.

Monday was a big day, with Sotheby’s succeeding in the afternoon in a “white glove” (all lots sold) sale of 60 pieces of jewelry by designer Suzanne Belperron for CHF3.4 milliion ($3.2m), triple the pre-sale estimate.

The top item was a 1935 rock crystal and diamond ring that went for half a million dollars.

Christie’s in the evening held Lily Safra’s Jewels for Hope charity sale, which made CHF35m ($37.9m), almost double the pre-sale estimate.

The biggest ticket item was a ruby and diamond ring, the Hope Ruby, a cushion-shaped Burmese ruby ring of 32.08 cts, by Chaumet. Amer Radwan of Dubai’s Radwan Diamond and Jewelry Trading, paid CHF6.2 million for the gem, setting a world record for the per carat price for a ruby.

Christie’s holds its regular spring jewelry sale Wednesday 16 May and Sotheby’s continues its two-day sale Tuesday, with a lineup of historically significant jewels that include the Beau Sancy diamond, (estimate, CHF1.85-3.6m / $2-4m), the Murat Tiara (CHF1.4-2.3m) and  a diamond brooch set with a 7.33 carat Fancy deep yellow diamond that was offered to the Corsini family by Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788), Bonnie Prince Charlie (CHF 280,000-480,000).