Christie’s auction in Hong Kong: how jewellery of contemporary artists are being sold

Major jewellery auctions have always attracted jewellers, who like the idea that key players of the market will see their pieces, which afterwards will be added to the catalogue and, moreover,become a part of bidding process. So, it’s not you who are trying to convince the client that you have created something unique, being worth the highest price, but people are going to fight for the right to possess your piece. It raises the value of both the jewel and its creator. However, it can be rather risky – if your piece isn’t sold, it will be destroyed – you’ll never sell it at a high price. Everybody saw that it hadn’t even reached the low estimate, which means that no one desired to buy it for the given price. You can hide it in a safe place for better days – in 50 years’ time it might become antique and you will have a second chance to sell it.

Unfortunately, auctions are highly discerning. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like contemporary jewellery artistry – auctions’ aim just doesn’t lie in promotion of particular designer, or taking risks. They have to sell, therefore a piece can enter the auction only if auctioneers are completely sure in its potential or real interest. Of course, they give priority to gems rather than design, because design is a matter of taste, while gemstones will always have their price.

Perhaps, the only major auction that draws attention to contemporary jewellery is Christie's Magnificent Jewels in Hong Kong. Their lots always comprise several modern pieces –the most outstanding ones with unparalleled gems.

Auction selectors search for the most interesting works from their perspective, because the mission involves drawing attention to East masters, of course.

On May 30, 2017 some of such artists were chosen for the auction. Among them we find Cindy Chao – a woman who is traditionally called a young designer, but has actually worked in this sphere for a long time. Chao is already famous enough: one of her jewels adorns Elizabeth Tailor's collection. Some of her works, particularly a titanium feather brooch,set with diamonds, were presented at the auction. The brooch was sold for $1,121,906, that is significantly higher than the estimated price ($618,983 - $838,206).

Cindy Chao ruby bow ring was sold for $128,955 (estimate:$51,582 - $77,373).

Cindy Chao ruby bow ring with a central diamond of 3,03 carats

Cindy Chao titanium earrings with emeralds and diamonds were sold for $812,415 (estimate:$490,028 - $747,937).

Cindy Chao ‘Snow Peas’ titanium  earrings with emeralds of 29.49 and 26.81 carats and diamonds

The customers were not as passionate about Michelle Ong’s pieces for Carnet brand – all of them, except one, were sold within the estimate. For example, a gorgeous pear brooch,set with yellow diamonds, was bought for $193,432 on an estimate of$154,746 - $232,118.

Michelle Ong for Carnet brooch with coloured diamonds

An eye-catching Michelle Ong for Carnet ring with a huge yellow diamond was bought for $858,838 on an estimate of$709,251 - $1,096,115.

Michelle Ong for Carnet ring with fancy brownish yellow diamond of 41.34 carats

A marvelous moving necklace in titanium and gold set with sapphires and diamonds was sold for $286,279 on an estimate of$232,118 - $361,073.

Michelle Ong for Carnet necklace with sapphires and diamonds

However, a peony brooch hasn’t found its customer, as it hasn’t even reached the low estimate.

Michelle Ong for Carnet brooch

Edmond Chin and his brand Etcetera became a leader of the auction. In jewellery world his name has always guaranteed the highest quality and the most sophisticated design, not even mentioningthe value of gemstones that Edmond uses. His works have long been worth millions at auctions. This time his ring with fancy blue diamond was sold for $2,793,159, that isfour times higher than the estimate($618,983 - $838,206).

Etcetera ring with fancy intense blue diamond of 3.37 carats

Another Edmond’s piece for GenevaBoghossianjewellery house provoked a heavy bidding. A necklace with emeralds and diamonds was sold for $5,991,235 on an estimate of$3,610,732 - $4,900,279.

Boghossian Palmette necklace with diamonds and emeralds, as well as 11 rectangular-cut emeralds, weighing approximately 12.34 to 3.03 carats

Earrings with natural pearls and diamonds, made in Edmond’s workshop for Paspaleycompany, which specializes in pearl cultivation, but “invested” in natural pearls for positive publicity, were sold for $827,889 on an estimate of $515,819 - $825,310.

Etcetera for Paspaley earrings with natural pearls and diamonds

Fancy bracelet with spinel and diamonds by Forms brand was sold for $128,955, remaining within the estimate($103,164 - $154,746).

Forms bracelet with spinel and diamonds

And here is just a double row of jade beards for your reference. Simply the highest quality and a sacred gemstone for East. The price is $7,146,669 on an estimate of$6,447,735 - $10,316,376.

Alternatively, just a triple-row necklace with natural pearls, again presented by Paspaley. The price is $2,081,329 on an estimate of $1,225,070 - $1,805,366.

Finally, a brooch with the rarest red diamonds. It hasn’t been sold on an estimate of 2-3 millions of dollars. Apparently, the diamonds haven’t been red enough. 

Author Elena Veselaya