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Heidi Horten Jewelry Collection Sets Record in Geneva

May 16, 2023  |  Leah Meirovich

A controversial three-part sale of jewelry belonging to late Austrian billionaire Heidi Horten achieved $202.2 million at Christie’s in Geneva, breaking the world auction record for a single collection.

The first portion of the auction, which took place live on May 8, contained 96 items and garnered $155.6 million, Christie’s said on Monday. The auction house sold 97% of items on offer at the event. The 152 lots in part two’s live auction on May 10 brought in a total of $42.4 million, with 99% of those goods finding buyers.

The final portion of the sale, which was held online from May 3 to May 15, fetched $4.2 million. Some 96% of the 154 items were purchased, Christie’s noted. Overall, the hammer dropped on 98% of goods on offer.

Christie’s faced backlash over the sale of Horten’s jewelry due to her husband’s ties to Nazi Germany. The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) wrote a letter to the auction house opposing the sale and requesting that if it were to move forward, a major portion of the proceeds would be donated to charities supporting the welfare of Holocaust survivors, as well as commemoration and education.

Christie’s said it would donate a “significant portion” of its commission to Holocaust-related charities. However, all of the Heidi Horten estate’s proceeds from the auction are designated to benefit a foundation supporting medical research, child welfare, and access to the arts, in accordance with her wishes, the auction house said.

Here are the top sellers from the three portions of the auction:

Part I:

The Sunrise Ruby, a ring containing a cushion-shaped brilliant-cut, 25.59-carat ruby and diamonds by Cartier, fetched CHF 13.1 million ($14.6 million), missing its low estimate.

A Bulgari ring set with an emerald-cut, 6.99-carat, fancy-intense-pink, VVS1-clarity diamond brought in CHF 9.1 million ($10.2 million), more than double its upper presale price.

A necklace by Harry Winston featuring three strands of graduated natural pearls and a cushion-modified brilliant-cut, 11.15-carat, fancy-light-pink diamond went for CHF 6.5 million ($7.2 million), just over its bottom estimate.

Part II:

The Star of Africa, a necklace by Harry Winston bearing a pear-shaped, 54.95-carat ruby and pear, oval-shaped and round diamonds, garnered CHF 2.7 million ($3 million), nearly twice its upper price.

A necklace with a heart-modified brilliant-cut, 15.05-carat, fancy-orange-pink, VVS1-clarity diamond brought in CHF 2.5 million ($2.8 million), exceeding its upper estimate.

An emerald-cut, 47.58-carat, G-color, VS1-clarity diamond ring sold for CHF 1.9 million ($2.1 million), within its presale price range.

Part III:

A watch by Piaget made with white gold and diamonds went for CHF 138,600 ($155,309), well above its CHF 38,000 ($42,579) high estimate.

Image: Heidi Horten. (Christie’s)


Heidi Horten Jewelry Collection Sets Record in Geneva

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