RAPAPORT… A royal tiara “tried on” over 22,000 times on Instagram sold for more than $1 million at Sotheby’s on Tuesday, making it one of the top-grossing lots at the Geneva auction.
The headpiece, which became Sotheby’s most popular augmented-reality filter on social media, brought in $1.6 million — just over its high estimate — at the May 11 Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale. That price is one of the highest paid at auction for a tiara in recent years, Sotheby’s said Tuesday. In total, the auction garnered $56 million.
Purchased by a private Asian buyer, the diamond and pearl tiara had most likely been presented to Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo on her marriage to Amadeo I of Savoy, duke of Aosta, who later became the king of Spain.
“This tiara encapsulates all the pomp, power and presence associated with royal jewelry, and over the past couple of weeks, it has captured the imagination of collectors and Instagram users alike,” said Benoit Repellin, head of the auction at Sotheby’s. “The price achieved today is a testament not only to its exceptional craftsmanship and the quality of its materials, which makes it a true work of art, but also to its historical and emotional resonance.”
Meanwhile, Graff bought a brooch containing a 55.19-carat Kashmir sapphire — the largest of its kind ever to appear at auction — for $3.9 million, above the high estimate Sotheby’s had given it. Created in the 1930s and featuring an additional 25.97-carat Kashmir sapphire, the piece was from the collection of Anglo-Irish socialite Maureen Constance Guinness, marchioness of Dufferin and Ava.
Another significant lot of noble heritage was a collection of seven pieces by Harry Winston, which was 100% sold. Two of those were purchased by Graff, including a necklace with diamonds and a cushion-shaped, 111.73-carat, royal-blue, Ceylon sapphire pendant, which yielded $4.7 million. The other was a 126.43-carat Ceylon sapphire necklace, which went for $2.3 million.
In total, the noble jewels Sotheby’s offered garnered $31 million, well over their $26.3 million high valuation, with all but one item selling.
The Sotheby’s Geneva sale saw bidding from 38 different countries, with 70% of those bids taking place online, it added.
Image: The tiara that sold for $1.6 million. (Sotheby’s)