Christie’s has announced a 28.86 carat D color emerald-cut diamond ring carrying an estimate of $1-2 million will lead its Jewels Online slated to take placed from June 16-30. It is the highest value lot to be offered in a Christie’s jewels online sale to date.
The natural diamond is categorized as a rare Type IIa, which accounts for less than 2% of all diamonds on the market. Sourced from a limited selection of global sites, according to Christie’s, earth-grown Type IIa diamonds are valuable for their chemically purity and transparency. The item on offer also features a classic emerald cut, a style which became popularized during the Art Deco movement in mid 1920s.
Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewelry at Christie’s notes the major moment for the jewels market to star as luxury e-commerce expands. “This year has presented unprecedented circumstances, enabling Christie’s new opportunities through our enhanced digital platform. Year-over-year, we have seen an increase in online participation and the value threshold for transacting online” says Kadakia, who also notes “greater client confidence” in the market as a driving factor in the team’s decision to bring a higher value lot to an online sale.
The news comes with the auction house’s confirmation of a heightened engagement in their online sales this quarter. In February, a Jewels Online sale totaled $2.4 million with a 93% sell-through rate. The leading lot, a pair of Graff diamond earrings that made $187,500 against a low estimate of $8,000, was a record for a single lot in an online sale. Christie’s reported in 2019, 64% of all global clients bought or bid online and online-only sales recruited 41% new buyers.
The jewelry department at Christie’s recently had a blockbuster moment with the Mughal and Maharajas sale in 2019 which brought a trove of nearly 400 lots of royal Indian jewels to the market from the storied Al-Thani collection. The sale had a total of $109.2 million – the second highest for a private jewelry collection sold in the auction houses’ history. Another major moment was in 2011, when Christie’s held an online sale of nearly 1,000 items to coincide with the landmark Elizabeth Taylor sale, which totaled $9.5 million. Elizabeth Taylor’s Krupp Diamond, Asscher cut weighing 33.19 which sold for $8.8 million in the live sale is another famous example of a Type IIa diamond.
The 2019 Bain and Company Global Diamond Industry report notes that despite slowed growth for the $80 billion diamond industry at large, with global retail diamond jewelry sales to see a slight decline by 2%, the branded luxury sector, which makes up $15% of the total diamond market is predicted to see an increase in high single digits as personal luxury consumption grows.