Bulgari’s Dazzling Sapphire and Diamond Necklace Just Sold for $3.4 Million at Auction

One of the largest sapphires in recent auction history has achieved in a fittingly enormous sum.

The whopping 118.5-carat “royal blue” gem, which is the centerpiece of a magnificent diamond necklace by Bulgari, sold for $3.4 million at Phillips Hong Kong on Tuesday, May 23.

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Hailing from a private collection, the bling was expected to fetch between $3.2 million and $4.5 million at the auction house’s Jewels & Jadeite sale. It didn’t quite reach the high estimate, but the final hammer price is still quite impressive. More impressive still is the fact that this is one of the biggest sapphires to reach auction in the past three decades.

Bulgari, Exceptional and Magnificent Sapphire and Diamond Necklace, 2004
The Bulgari necklace has a 118.5-carat sapphire at the center.

The Italian jeweler crafted the cushion-shaped sapphire in 2004. The Gübelin Gem Lab awarded the stone an “exceptional” color grade due to its even saturation, which is rarely seen in unheated blue sapphires of its size. The blue beauty hangs from an equally striking necklace that sees tapered baguette diamonds elegantly connected by pear-shaped diamonds at points. The arrangement of the ice evokes the classic Bulgari designs of the 1930s and ’50s.

The necklace wasn’t the only piece of signed high jewelry attracting bids on Tuesday, of course. Phillips sold 89 out of 98 lots, raking in a total of $7.5 million. The sale reportedly drew in collectors from 34 countries and regions across the globe. Other big sales include a 6.3-carat sapphire and diamond Tiffany & Co. ring and a Van Cleef & Arpels pink sapphire and diamond necklace that both sold for $421,665.

The sapphire was awarded 98 out of 100 Gübelin points.
The sapphire was awarded 98 out of 100 Gübelin points.

“With a remarkable sell-through rate of 93 percent by value and 91 percent by lot, the Jewels & Jadeite auction this season saw strong demand,” Benoît Repellin, Phillips worldwide head of jewelry, and Charlene Lau, head of department, Hong Kong said in a statement. “This exceptional outcome serves as a testament to the thriving signed jewels market and affirms the enduring strength of the market for colored gemstones, diamonds, and colored diamonds, which remain highly sought after.”

The best part? Phillips is holding another Jewels auction in New York on June 13. Mark your calendars, folks.

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