The 101.41-carat Juno diamond is the top lot at Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale on Thursday.
The internally flawless, D-color pear-shaped gem is named after the queen of the gods and the goddess of light and fertility. Juno reigned supreme in the Roman pantheon. She was worshipped for her radiance and auspicious nature, serving as an apt namesake for this majestic and exquisitely voluptuous pear-shaped diamond. Its estimate is reportedly $10 million.
Juno is one of two diamonds of more than 100 carats being offered at Sotheby’s flagship in Manhattan.
The second is “The Earth Star,” a 111.59-carat Fancy Deep Orange-Brown diamond. There have been only three 100-carat brown diamonds to ever come to auction. Its estimate is $1.5 million – $2.5 million. American jewelry brand, David Webb, fashioned a custom mounting using azurmalachite to resemble the Earth as seen from the perspective of a star, creating a visual representation of the diamond’s earthly origins.
The Earth Star was cut and polished from a rough weighing more than 248 carats, discovered at the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa in 1967. Sotheby’s says the event was notable because the mine had not previously been known to produce brown diamonds or diamonds of such a large size. In addition, this gem came from 2,500 feet below the surface, which is exceptionally deep for a gem of this size. The rough was crafted by Baumgold Brothers in New York, who gave it its name. In 1971, the diamond was part of an exhibition in South Africa commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Kimberley mine. In 1983, it was sold for nearly $1 million and has remained in private hands ever since, Sotheby’s says.
Brown diamonds don’t attract the same level of interest from collectors compared to other fancy colored diamonds. However, Sotheby’s says the popularity of brown and black diamonds has increased in recent years.
Another important diamond in the sale is a 26.06-carat emerald cut gem with D color and VVS1 clarity from New York diamond jewelry house, Kwiat. Its estimate is $2 million – $3 million.
Bidding already began online for the sale of 142 lots using Sotheby’s hybrid system of payment that it started using during the coronavirus pandemic. The sale is loaded with signed jewels from renowned high jewelry houses. There are 18 Van Cleef & Arpels jewels followed by Cartier with 15 and Harry Winston with 13.
Perhaps the most anticipated lot in this group is a fringe necklace of Indian inspiration, set with oval, cushion and emerald-cut emeralds, accented by round, old European-, old mine-cut and pear-shaped diamonds, by Cartier London, circa 1945, with an estimate of $1.5 million – $2.5 million.
A pair of diamond earrings by Harry Winston with two Colombian emeralds weighing 20.27 and 18.69 carats has an estimate of $1.2 million – $1.8 million. An elegant and elaborate diamond “Boreal” necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels has an estimate of $1 million – $1.5 million.
There’s also a selection of fancy colored diamonds led by an 4.08-carat old mine cut Fancy Intense Pink (estimate: $1.2 million – $1.8 million), a 3.69-carat modified rectangular mixed-cut Fancy Blue (estimate: $1 million – $1.5 million); and a 41.02-carat cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Yellow (estimate: 850,000 – $1.2 million).