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Post-Auction Impressions: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

By Tracey Greenstein | 02.10.16
Post-Auction Impressions: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Noticeable discrepancies between live and in person auction house diamonds can create a bit of controversy, particularly for absent bidders who rely solely on the catalogue.


When a customer buys a high quality, fairly priced stone in retail and later sees what appears to be a comparable stone in an auction catalogue for a significantly lower price, it disappoints the owner. In reality, the stones are not as pictured, and customers who typically buy retail are seeing inaccurate depictions of these diamonds and should never compare their retail prices to auction prices.


The average fancy color consumer is becoming more knowledgeable about colored diamonds and aims for a higher standard of visual attributes, which is especially true for Asian customers.


On Tuesday, Sotheby’s featured an 11.10 cts, cushion-cut, Fancy Vivid Yellow, VVS2 diamond ring. The piece sold for $70,675 price per carat.


Lot 1853: Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring

image1-3 copy (1)

Though Fancy Vivid Yellow, the diamond’s saturation level varies significantly from the live and photographed version of the stone. Cooler, brighter color is presented in the catalogue and the live diamond exhibits a warmer tone of yellow.


While the color in the catalogue is a very lemony (or primary) yellow with no undertones, in person it is easy see its many colorless patches and average yellow hue.


Lot 1852: Fancy Intense Blue Diamond Ring


IMG_3858 (1)   954d972800fd1bea408f6fd8157232f6 (1)


The 2.11 ct, emerald-cut, Fancy Intense Blue, VVS1 ring exhibits a striking tone and sold for $900,152 price per carat.


Ironically, this stone is more attractive in person. It has a deep, rich color that is portrayed as a significantly lighter blue in the catalogue. Aside from a high depth percentage, this is a beautiful and rare diamond.


We noted that the GIA certificate has two uncommon features: the table size and depth are stated as “not applicable.” This is highly unusual and without explanation.


Lot 1869: Fancy Intense Pink Diamond Ring image1-3 (1)

This is a 5.34 ct, radiant-cut, Fancy Intense Pink, VS2 diamond ring.


Generally, a 5 ct Fancy Intense Pink is one of the most desirable items on the market and could retail for as much as $1M price per carat. However, the reason this stone wasn’t sold is probably due to the combination of many colorless patches and a very low inner grade, which makes it less attractive. As it is a borderline Fancy Intense Pink, it more closely resembles a Fancy Pink hue.


Estimate: $3.2M-$3.8M


Lot 1734: Fancy Yellow Diamond Earrings

image1-3 copy 2 (1)

Each stone in this pair of earrings is set with a radiant-cut, Fancy Yellow diamond, weighing 8.74 and 8.64 cts, with VS2 and VVS1 clarity. Clearly, their color and undertone vary drastically from their catalogue image. Portrayed as a very cool, true yellow, the live version exhibits a subdued and warm-toned hue, which is less desirable.


Both stones were re-cut from round brilliant diamonds, which typically results in uneven distribution of color. Re-cutting round brilliants is a very common practice, but the identifying characteristic of this type of re-cut is numerous colorless patches. In spite of the appealing price tag, the poor color distribution is likely why the pair didn’t reach its price.


Estimate: $232,254-$283,866




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