The Ponahalo to Lead Christie’s Jewelry Sale

Christie’s will hold two sales on Oct. 15: The first, Jewels: The New York Sale, will include numerous diamonds, colored diamonds, gems; And Superb 20th Century Jewels from an American Collection contains a collection of signed jewels. The two sales comprise of 273 lots and are expected to realize in excess of $35 million.

Leading the auction are two diamonds weighing approximately 102.11 and 70.87 cts., cut from a rough diamond of 316.15 cts. known as The Ponahalo.

The Ponahalo, discovered in 2005, is the largest diamond ever to emerge from the De Beers Venetia mine. The name Ponahalo was given by Jonathan Oppenheimer, head of the chairman’s Office De Beers Group. In Sotho, the tribal language spoken by the Venda tribe in the area of South Africa where the gem was mined, Ponahalo translates as “vision.”

The Steinmetz Diamond Group cut the 316.15-ct. and produced four polished diamonds, leaving one in its rough form. It took 18 months to shape the two largest diamonds, weighing 102.11 and 70.87 cts., into rectangular-cut gems. The estimate for this lot wasn’t released by Christie’s.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Ponahalo Diamonds will be donated to the Diamond Empowerment Fund, co-founded by Russell Simmons. The D.E.F. is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to empowerment in Africa through funding education programs in African countries where diamonds are a natural resource.

Other important diamonds in the main sale include a rectangular cut diamond necklace of 40.cts., D color, internally flawless clarity (estimate not given); a cutcornered 16-ct. rectangular-cut diamond ring, D color, with potential to be flawless (estimate: $1 – 1.5 million); and a diamond bee ring (pictured) designed by Jean Schlumberger, of 8.23 cts., D color (estimate: $800,000-1.2 million).

Colored diamonds rings in the sale include a cut-cornered modified rectangular-cut fancy intense blue diamond (pictured left), weighing approximately 7.02 cts., and set with a pavé-set pink diamond two-tiered surround (estimate: $3.5 – 5 million), and a pear-shape d fancy intense purplishpink diamond (pictured right), weighing approximately 5.60 cts.—flanked by a pear-shaped diamonds (estimate: $2.6 – 3 million).

Examples of jewelry containing exquisite gems are led by a sapphire, emerald, and pearl necklace set with a cushion-cut sapphire of 68.16 cts.; and a square-cut emerald, weighing approximately 8.37 carats (illustrated left, estimate: $1-1.5 million); and an Art Deco Padapradscha sapphire and diamond clip brooch designed as a geometric plaque, and set with a modified pear-shaped Padparadscha sapphire of 29.87 carats (estimate: $180,000-250,000).

Jewelry from the Collection of Giselle Bündchen includes a diamond ring (pictured) by Sabbadini set with a cut-cornered modified square-cut yellow diamond weighing approximately 3.35 carats, flanked on either side by a trillion-cut diamond (estimate: $15,000-20,000), and a circular-cut diamond pendant weighing approximately 6 cts.(estimate: $120,000-150,000).

The “20th Century Jewels from an American Collection” consists of 110 lots and features an assortment of signed jewels by the leading makers of the 20th century. A retro diamond and gold necklace by René Boivin has a fringe of collet-set diamond five-strand “pampilles” tassles on a flexible woven gold band, made for the Princess Irene of Greece in 1951 (estimate: $200,000-300,000).

From Jean Schlumberger, considered one of the most creative and influential jewelry designers of the 20th century, is a diamond, sapphire and emerald ‘dolphin’ brooch, one of a few models ever made (estimate: $75,000-100,000). A brooch of the same model was worn by Elizabeth Taylor at the opening of the film The Night of the Iguana, a gift from Richard Burton. Also designed by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. is a detailed suite of gold and diamond ‘tulip’ jewelry with diamond insect and bow motifs and articulated clusters of textured gold tulips (estimate: $150,000-250,000).

Two examples by Cartier are offered: An Art Deco pearl and diamond tassel pendant (estimate: $40,000-60,000), and an Art Deco star ruby, enamel and gold necklace, of neo-Egyptian design (estimate: $60,000-80,000). Paul Flato is represented in the sale with a diamond, sapphire and emerald brooch set with a detachable sugarloaf sapphire (estimate: $60,000-80,000).

Van Cleef & Arpels is represented in this collection with a set of emerald, diamond, and cultured pearl jewelry, comprising a necklace and a pair of ear pendants, made circa 1955 (estimate: $120,000-180,000). Other examples by Van Cleef & Arpels include a retro diamond bow brooch designed as a sculpted openwork circularcut diamond bow, 1942 (estimate: $40,000-60,000) and a stylish aquamarine and diamond bracelet, 1955 (estimate: $40,000-60,000).

Jewels: The New York Sale will be held Oct. 15 at 10:30 a.m. & 3:45 p.m., and Superb 20th Century Jewels from an American Collection will be held Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. The jewels will be on view at Christie’s Rockefeller Galleries from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14.