Hey Jade

Acquired more than a century ago from Tieh Bao Ting, a venerated gem dealer in Peking, this imperial jadeite bead necklace—the ultimate example of what the Chinese refer to as “the stone of heaven”—was prized by five generations of businessman Oei Tiong Ham’s family. Composed of 30 translucent emerald-green jadeite beads of uniform size, the single-strand necklace—which features a silver clasp centered on a round star sapphire flanked by two matching jadeite cabochons—fetched nearly $2 million at Sotheby’s Dec. 10 Magnificent Jewels Sale in New York City. The impressive sale price can be attributed to “a combination of the beads and the history,” says Lisa Hubbard, chairman of North and South America for Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division. “It was more than a jadeite necklace; it was also a Qing Dynasty object.”

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