Last week saw unparalleled auctions results across the world. From a record price set for a Rolex Daytona, of US$ 1 million to a Francis Bacon triptych achieving the highest price ever paid for a work of art, the market was at boiling point, as Christie's brought out " The Orange " diamonds which broke the price per carat record, and Sotheby's Pink Dream became the most valuable diamond ever sold
The Pink Dream Diamond
The world record for the highest price paid for a diamond or indeed any jewel was broken at Sotheby's Geneva last night when the hammer came down at US$83,187,381 (CHF 76,325,000) for the 59.6ct 'Pink Star' Diamond. This new record high stripped the Graff Pink of its status of the most valuable diamond in the world that sold to Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds for US$46.2 million in 2010 at Sotheby's Geneva.
The Pink Star was bought by Isaac Wolf of New York, a diamond-cutter who was bidding against three other contenders for this diamond that has made history. Mr Wolf has already re-named the stone The Pink Dream making this the third baptism for this exceptional pink diamond. The 132.5ct rough was mined in 1999 in Africa by De Beers who sold it to Steinmetz who called it the 'Steinmetz Pink'. In 2007 it was sold again for an undisclosed amount and became the Pink Star.
The Pink Star, has commanded huge attention as it was clear it was a strong candidate to become the most valuable diamond in the world ever auctioned. This is because the one-of-a-kind 59.60ct oval-cut pink diamond is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond every graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). More than twice the size of the 24.78ct Graff Pink fancy intense pink diamond, it also exceeds in both size and richness of colour any pink diamond found in state, royal or private collections.
Remarkable in every way, The Pink Dream is internally flawless and a beautifully saturated shade of pink known as Fancy Vivid - the highest possible colour grade for a pink diamond. It also falls into the rare Type IIa subgroup of diamonds, renowned for their flawless purity and exceptional optical transparency, which make up only 2% of all diamonds.
David Bennett, who led the sale at Sotheby's said:"The Pink Star is a true masterpiece of nature. Its immense importance was reflected tonight in the strength of the bidding and we are thrilled that the record price it achieved earned it a place in history. Today's record sale is a further testimony to the strength and depth of the diamond and jewellery market." ( The Jewel Editor)
As Aurel Bacs’ final Geneva auction for Christie’s closed on November 10, he had hammered a world record sum for Rolex watches. This unique sale dubbed Rolex Daytona Lesson One presented 50 of the best and most “mythical” examples of the Daytona produced, most of which were housed in stainless steel cases.? Far surpassing the expectations of buyers, observers and the auction house alike, all 50 watches sold for far above their original estimates, raking in a total of $13,248,167 and quadrupling the auction’s pre-sale estimate.
The top lot of the evening was a stainless steel Reference 6263/6239 chronograph, the so-called Paul Newman model, manufactured in 1969, which sold for $1,088,889.
“Christie’s first-ever evening auction dedicated to wristwatches proved an unprecedented success,” said the charismatic Bacs, who is retiring from the company he has worked in for more than a decade in December. “With four hundred people in the saleroom and plenty more queuing outside, I have rarely experienced a similar ‘rock concert’ atmosphere from the rostrum. Possibly the most rigorously curated watch auction ever staged, each lot was selected by Christie’s watch department in partnership with (prominent Rolex expert) Pucci Papaleo according to a disciplined approach to originality, condition and provenance. Setting 50 world records for 50 watches as well as achieving an absolute record price for any Rolex Daytona ever sold at auction, the Rolex Daytona ‘Lesson One’ will be remembered as an historical event.”
The auction house’s international head of the watch department had had the idea for the themed auction last year upon realizing that 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Rolex’s iconic Daytona model.
" Three Studies of Lucian Freud"
A work by the late British painter Francis Bacon set a new world record for the most expensive painting ever auctioned off after being sold for almost £90million.
His iconic 1969 triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” led to a frenzy of telephone bids after the piece went on sale at Christie’s in New York.
The late 20th Century artist’s sale shattered the old record of £74.8million, which was set by Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” sold at Sotheby’s in May 2012.
The auction house have refused to confirm who bought the painting after their bid $142million - £89.2million - was successful.
However according to reports in the U.S. William Acquavella, a New York dealer, is said to have acted for an unidentified client, from one of Christie’s skyboxes overlooking the auction.
The price for the painting, which depicts Freud, Bacon’s friend and rival, perched on a wooden chair, was more than the £53million Christie’s had estimated.
When the bidding finally stopped, after more than 10 minutes, the crowd in the salesroom burst into applause.
Two disappointed bidders could be seen leaving the room.
“I went to $101 million (£64million) but it hardly mattered,” said Larry Gagosian, the Manhattan super-dealer who was trying to buy the painting on behalf of a client.
Another contender was Hong Gyu Shin, the director of New York's Shin Gallery, who said he was bidding for himself.
“I was expecting it to go for around $87 million (£55million),” Mr. Shin said.
The sale broke the previous record price for the work of a British artist, which was set by the sale of Bacon's own 1976 Triptych for £54 million in 2008 to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Francis Outred, the head of post-war and contemporary art for Christie’s Europe, had described the piece as a “true masterpiece that marks Bacon and Freud’s relationship”.
The pair had been friends and rivals since the mid-1940s. Irish-born Bacon died at 82 in 1992, while Freud died last year aged 88.
“The juxtaposition of radiant sunshine yellow contrasting with the brutal physicality and immediacy of the brushstrokes in this celebrated life-size triptych is what makes Bacon’s art so remarkable,” said Mr Outred.
The oil painting shows Freud sitting on a cane-bottomed wooden chair within a cage, on a curved mottled-brown surface with a solid orange background. Behind each figure is a headboard of a bed, originating in a set of photographs of Freud by John Deakin which Bacon used as a reference.
The painting was part of a record-breaking auction that grossed £434,438,721, the highest total for an auction sale in art market history, according to Christie's.
The sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art broke 10 auction records with three pieces sold for more than £31 million, 11 for over £12.5 million and 16 for over £6.2 million.
However, despite being reviled by many his work was equally acclaimed for his bold, graphic and emotional paintings.
Bacon was born in Dublin in 1909 to parents of English heritage.
Despite his family’s wealth, throughout his teenage years he drifted through life often turning to petty crime to make ends meet.
He began painting in his early 20s although his success was not immediate as he struggled to find a style that suited him.
However, in 1944, after being declared unfit for military service, he gained a reputation for being an observer of the darker aspects of humanity with his seminal piece Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.
A year later he met Lucian Freud who, despite being 13 years younger, formed a friendship with Bacon.
Despite their closeness the pair were also bitter rivals famed for their post-war paintings.
On April 18, 1992, Bacon, who was openly gay, died of cardiac arrest that was a complication of his asthma.
His entire estate worth £11million was left to his close friend John Edwards, an illiterate former barman from the East End of London. (Daily Mirror) Joelle's Picks:
See Maria Doulton of Jewel Editor talk on Bloomberg TV about the Geneva diamond auctions by clicking here.