Huge yellow and blue diamonds are expected to fetch strong prices at Geneva jewelry sales next week, as investors seek rare stones fresh to a healthy market, auction houses said on Wednesday.
The "Graff Vivid Yellow", star lot at Sotheby's on May 13, is a yellow diamond weighing 100.09 carats that was cut by the London-based top jeweler Laurence Graff.
"Once it gets to 100 carats it's into the realm of extreme rarity," David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewelry department for Europe and the Middle East, told Reuters.
"It is this extraordinary deep daffodil yellow. It is a charming stone, full of life, full of color," he said in an interview in the showroom where the jewels were displayed.
Sotheby's estimates that the yellow cushion-shaped diamond, whose owner is not being identified, will fetch $15-$25 million.
A white round diamond of 103.46 carats, also cut by Graff and described by Sotheby's as one of the largest brilliant-cut diamonds in the world, is also going on the block with an estimate of $3.5-$5 million.
"It has the wow factor," Bennett said of the stone mounted on a ring, which has toured the world to attract bidders.
A smaller but stunning 31.34-carat white diamond, "The Victory Diamond" which belonged to Florence Gould, daughter-in-law of the American railroad magnate Jay Gould, is estimated at $5-$8 million.
"She was one of the three or four greatest jewel collectors of the 20th century, alongside people like the Duchess of Windsor and Daisy Fellowes," Bennett said, recalling the high-society ladies who frequented the French Riviera in the 1930s.
"She apparently wore it quite a lot, including one imagines on this rather famous trip in Cambodia when she went into the jungle bedecked with jewelry, which is a wonderful story."
Sotheby's disclosed in February that it had acquired the "Pink Star" diamond, which had fetched a world-record price of 76.3 million Swiss francs (then $83 million) in November, after its buyer failed to pay up.
"ALMOST A DREAM"
A blue diamond of 13.22 carats, described as the largest flawless fancy vivid blue diamond in the world, is the star lot at arch-rival Christie's sale on May 14. The auction house is privately owned by French entrepreneur Francois Pinault.
The pear-shaped stone is estimated at $21-$25 million. "We are quite confident that it should sell towards the high end of the estimate or above," said Jean-Marc Lunel, senior international specialist of Christie's jewelry department.
"It is absolutely perfect, absolutely pure externally and