Chiswick Auctions in London broke a house record recently for the top price achieved for a jewellery lot. A remarkable 6.51 carat Burmese ruby sold for an impressive £147,600 in the auction house’s jewellery sale on September 12.
In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is “ratnaraj” or ‘king of precious stones’ and that certainly proved to be the case. The ring has royal provenance having been a gift from a member of an Asian royal family. After six days of viewing, including at Chiswick Auctions’ new South Kensington branch, the Chiswick saleroom was a flurry of activity on the day with a large number of bidders in the room and a very busy telephone desk fielding bids from all over the world.
After fourteen telephone lines finished competing for the large ruby ring, the hammer fell at £120,000 to an anonymous buyer amongst a round of applause from the saleroom.
“The moment we saw the ring I knew that this was something of exceptional quality and importance. The vendor worked with us closely to market the ruby in a way which maximised appeal and resulted in widespread international exposure.” says Sarah Duncan, Head of Jewellery.
The 6.51 carat Burmese ruby and diamond cluster ring was accompanied by two gemmological reports, both confirming the origin of the stone from Burma and the fact that it had not been heat treated.
Competitive bidding was also seen on desirable signed lots with pieces by Cartier, Buccellati, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels all achieving strong results. A 1970’s tiger’s eye wristwatch by Piaget sold for £7,995 against a pre-sale auction estimate of £800-1200 and a highly sought-after ‘Magic Alhambra’ necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels achieved £12,915.
Antique jewellery, which has long been a staple of the auction market, proved exceptionally strong for rare pieces. A 4.32 carat old brilliant-cut diamond ring achieved £14,760 and a Georgian garnet earring and pendant suite sold for £2,706.
“The market for good quality signed and antique jewellery is becoming increasingly competitive and buyers are prepared to pay well for these rare items.” says Duncan.