RAPAPORT… Christie’s Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence sale brought
in more than $109 million, the highest total for any auction featuring Indian
The top lot was a Belle Époque brooch, created by Cartier in 1912, which fetched $10.6 million at the New York auction on Wednesday. The piece features a number of diamonds, including a pear
brilliant-cut, 34.08-carat, E-color, VS1-clarity, and an oval brilliant-cut,
23.55-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity stone. The brooch had a pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million.
Other notable items included The Mirror of Paradise, a
rectangular-cut, 52.58-carat, D-color, type IIa, internally flawless diamond
ring, which sold for $6.5 million, below its low-end estimate of $7 million. The Shah Jahan dagger, named for India’s fifth Mughal emperor,
sold for $3.4 million, and set a record price for an Indian jade object and a
record price for a piece with Shah Jahan provenance.
Christie’s also sold The Arcot II, a pear-shaped,
brilliant-cut, 17.21-carat diamond, found in India’s Golconda region in the
late 18th century. The stone — given to Queen Charlotte of Great
Britain by the regional ruler of India, the Nawab of Arcot —
garnered $3.4 million, within its presale value of $2 million to $4 million.
Signed pieces by Cartier and contemporary jewels by JAR and
Bhagat also did well, greatly exceeding their estimates, Christie’s noted, with
all items on offer selling.
“The strong results today, after 12 hours of non-stop
bidding, in front of a packed room and with phone and online bidders from all
over the world, reflect the exceptional quality of this special collection and
position it among the most storied private collections ever featured at
auction,” said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti.
The sale also ranks as the
second-highest auction total for a private jewelry collection, coming from the
Al-Thani dynasty, the ruling family of Qatar. The highest total for a private collection is held by The Legendary Jewels — the Elizabeth Taylor’s collection
which garnered $115.9 million.
Overall, Christie’s sold 93% of the lots on offer at this week’s sale.
Image: The Belle Époque Devan-de-corsage brooch. (Christie’s)