$5.1 Million Burmese Ruby Necklace Tops Hong Kong Auction

A ruby and diamond necklace weighing 62.46 carats. It was on sale for an estimated $3.5 million to $5.5 million at Christie's International auction in Hong Kong on Nov. 27. It sold for HK$39.9 million ($5.1 million). Source: Christie's Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

A “Pigeon’s Blood” Burmese ruby and diamond necklace sold for HK$39.9 million ($5.1 million), topping last night’s Christie’s International jewelry sale in Hong Kong.

Demand for precious gems as an attractive investment class has increased steadily in recent years. On Nov. 23 in Hong Kong, Bonhams set a per-carat record for a Sri Lankan sapphire with the sale of a 43 carat sapphire and diamond ring for HK$12 million.

Investors clearly realize that super high quality gems hold their value extremely well and have tended to appreciate through and after the financial crisis, Claudio Ribeiro, chief executive officer of gemstone trading house Primacy Holdings in Singapore said before the sale.

Ribeiro said that in an auction last week a Burmese unheated sapphire sold for $75,000 per carat, while comparable stones were selling for $50,000 three years ago.

The necklace was the last of 300 lots to go on sale, the slot reserved for the most expensive jewelry item, bringing the sale total to HK$577 million ($74 million). The lot comprised 26 oval Burmese “Pigeon’s Blood” rubies ranging from 1.27 to 5.38 carats each surrounded by a cluster of marquise and pear-shaped diamonds, according to the sale catalog.

With one more day of sales to go, Christie’s has raised $1.86 billion ($240 million), according to figures compiled by Bloomberg based on Christies.com sales figures.

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