Hong Kong–The legendary Jonker No. 5 diamond proved to be of great interest to buyers at Christie’s on Tuesday, as the historic stone sold for well above its pre-sale estimate.
The 25.27-carat rectangular-cut diamond went up on the block at the auction house’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong, where it sold for $5.3 million. Christie’s predicted before the sale that it would garner between $2.2 million and $3.6 million.
The Type IIa, D color, VVS2 clarity Jonker No. 5 is part of the legendary collection of diamonds cut from the 726-carat piece of rough discovered by Jacob Jonker in South Africa in 1934. The 726-carat stone was, at the time, the fourth largest gem-quality diamond ever found.
The Diamond Corporation, owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, originally bought the rough, which was then sold to Harry Winston Inc. in 1935 and displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in London, as well as at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Harry Winston chose Lazare Kaplan to cleave and cut the Jonker. The company examined it for months before the diamond took the final form of 13 polished pieces ranging in weight from 3.53 carats to 142.90 carats, though the largest stone was eventually cut down to 125.35 carats to increase its brilliance.
Also sold at Tuesday’s auction was the “Palmette” necklace, created by renowned designer Edmond Chin for the House of Boghossian.
Featuring 11 perfectly matched, no-oil rectangular-cut emeralds, weighing approximately 3.00 carats to 12.34 carats and surrounded by circular-cut emeralds to create a repeating palmette motif with white diamonds of various cuts as spacers, the piece garnered $6 million at the sale.
Other top lots included a 3.98-carat rectangular fancy-cut vivid blue diamond set in a cushion and triangular-shaped pink diamond surround from Moussaieff that went for $8.9 million; a double-strand jadeite and diamond necklace that sold for $7.1 million; and a bracelet featuring cushion-shaped sapphires ranging from 3.19 to 9.47 carats alternating with diamonds weighing 4.67 to 2.01 carats that garnered $4.7 million.
A pair of earrings set with oval-shaped fancy purplish pink diamonds weighing 4.64 carats and 4.01 carats and accented with pear and marquise cut diamonds sold for $3.4 million, while a pair of asymmetric Kashmir sapphire and diamond earrings went for $3.1 million.
Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale totaled about $79.4 million.