56 ct. Spinel and Diamond Drops Sell for a Staggering $1.9 Million

About five years ago, Brett O’Connor, a senior jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s, happened upon an impressive parcel of rough spinel acquired by a gem trader. Months later, he saw the same parcel in its polished form. The color, O’Connor says, was “a homogeneous, crisp, metallic, vivid pink.” Soon after, he lost track of the gems, which were sold on the open market. Then something serendipitous happened: A spectacular pair of spinel and diamond earrings landed on his desk, inspiring a wave of déjà vu. Starring two 20 ct. step-cut pink spinels—whose beauty O’Connor “instantly recognized” as the same stones he’d seen raw and loose years earlier—the earrings were a highlight of the May 17 Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva, where they sold for more than $1.9 million. “It’s quite amazing,” O’Connor says of the spinels’ circuitous journey. “It shows you how sm

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