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    Jun 04

    Many people around the world are concerned with the current economy, especially individuals within the United States where there is talk of an impending recession. Even though many individuals and businesses are feeling the effects of the weakened economy, two of the most famous auction houses in the world, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, are experiencing a marked increase in sales of rare and luxury items, particularly diamond and gemstone jewelry. Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s are holding their annual spring jewelry sales in Geneva, even after both houses failed to sell huge diamonds when in Hong Kong in early April. Many experts express their confidence in the current market and state that both traders and collectors are still hungry for rare and unique jewelry items, especially jewelry items or individuals stones that are colored or have some type of historical importance. The expert’s confidence in the current market comes from the record setting sales that took place last year and in recent weeks. In many instances, the experts in the field feel that the recent increase in the jewelry and diamond market defies the laws of economics. The chairman of Christie’s in Europe stated that their sales are up over six percent this year, even with the weakened economy.

    The international director for Christie’s auction house stated that one of the reasons for the increase in sales is due to the increase in international buyers. Over the past two years, Christie’s has had a steady increase of buyers from India, China and Russia. Many of these individuals are looking to increase their investments, not indulge in personal pleasures and purchasing rare diamonds, gemstones and pieces of artwork is a great way to diversify any investment portfolio. The chairman for Sotheby’s also expressed the same optimism in the current diamond market saying that he expects the current trend of purchasing rare diamonds for large sums of money to continue.

    The many exquisite jewelry pieces that have sold in the past at both auction houses are the main motivation for the continued success of other jewelry pieces. In May 1995, Sotheby’s set the world record for the most expensive diamond ever to be sold at an auction house. The diamond was over one hundred carats in size and sold for an unprecedented $16.5 million dollars. The record was nearly beaten in 2007 when the founder of Guess Jeans purchased an eighty four carat white diamond for $16.2 million dollars. Both auction houses recently set new records in early 2008 when it comes to selling rare and expensive diamonds.

    At the spring sale in Geneva, Sotheby’s set a new record for the most expensive gemstone per carat weight. The previous record was set in 2007 at an auction in Hong Kong when a 6.04 carat blue diamond sold for 1.32 million dollars per carat. The diamond that set the new world record is a fancy vivid blue diamond that is 3.73 carats and sold for a new record of 1.33 million dollars per carat to a world renowned jeweler.

    Christie’s also had a great deal of success selling rare blue diamonds at their May sale in Geneva. Christie’s had the pleasure of selling a 13.39 carat blue diamond mounted in a ring that was completely surrounded by small pink diamonds. What made this blue diamond so special is that it is the largest blue diamond known to have a color grading of fancy intense. This particular blue diamond ring sold for an amazing 8.78 million dollars.

    Christie’s also had great success at the May sale in Geneva selling other types of diamond jewelry, along with mixed gemstone jewelry. A heart shaped, flawless yellow diamond necklace that weighed 21.4 carats sold for 3.14 million dollars. There was also a necklace and brooch that were created with diamonds, emeralds and pearls that sold for 5.59 million dollars and 4.38 million dollars respectively.

    Sotheby’s has also had the recent pleasure of selling jewelry that was previously owned by the former Miss Paris, Lily Marinho, who is the widow of two high powered Brazilian men. Two of the star items of her collection were a pair of clip earrings that featured pear shaped diamonds that weighed over eleven carats each. These earrings sold for 3.07 million dollars and were the second most expensive item that sold that evening at the auction. The buyer of the magnificent earrings remains anonymous. The complete collection of sixty two pieces of jewelry from Lily Marinho brought a total of 11.6 million dollars at the auction.

    There were two lots of jewelry at a separate Sotheby’s auction (the Magnificent Jewels auction) that are thought to be in the same price range as some of the jewelry pieces that have already been sold. A pink diamond ring and a blue diamond ring are estimated to be worth two million Swiss francs.

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