HONG KONG—Chow Tai Fook, the largest jeweler in China, held an auction of one-of-a-kind precious stone pieces on Saturday.
The auction, which was held over a four-course dinner at the Grand Hyatt hotel raised 33 million Hong Kong dollars, or $4.26 million — on par with its last such auction in 2013. Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook was originally planning the auction in October when the city was still in the grip of pro-democracy demonstrations, but the company delayed the event for undisclosed reasons.
The dinner auction was attended by about 300 of Chow Tai Fook’s top VIP customers from China and Hong Kong as well as a handful from South Korea, where Chow Tai Fook is looking to expand. There were also phone bidders from Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Two pieces that fetched the highest price sold for 4.1 million Hong Kong dollars, or $529,015 each. One, called “The Flamingo” is an 18-carat rose and white gold necklace and earrings incorporating pink sapphires, diamonds and red tourmalines in the jeweler’s signature flamingo motif. Another, called “The Burgeon,” is a set of a necklace and earrings featuring natural green and icy jade with pear-shaped and round diamonds set in 18-carat white gold.
Some of the other items included an 18-carat gold belt with matching earrings, necklace and ring that sold for 1.05 million Hong Kong dollars, or $135,481 as well as a long diamond necklace called “The Naiad” that features fancy-cut diamonds set in white gold, joined by a 5.01 carat emerald-shaped diamond and 2.85 carat pear-shaped diamond.
The bidding was all in Mandarin English with some Cantonese. Models walked around the room showing off the jewelry. Attendees at the dinner auction seemed quite eager to bid on Saturday night and one bidder successfully bid on three items.
Adrian Cheng, executive director at Chow Tai Fook, noted that bidding was “more active” than at the last dinner auction. “Maybe it’s because of the A-share market,” he speculated.
Chinese domestic stocks, known as A-shares, have been on a tear with the Shanghai stock market up more than 30 percent and Shenzhen Composite up 50 percent so far this year. The rally has spilled over to Hong Kong, pushing the Hang Seng to its highest level since 2007.
In addition to his role at Chow Tai Fook, Cheng is also executive vice-chairman at New World Development Company Ltd. Chow Tai Fook is a major shareholder of New World. The companies are controlled by the Cheng family.
The theme of the specially-designed jewelry collection was “Reflections of Siem.” The theme extended to decorations at the dinner. The ballroom was decked out with panels showing greenery from the Cambodian countryside and table centerpieces included lotus flowers floating in a pool of water.
The next dinner will be inspired by 1920s and 1930s artists, Cheng said. The preview roadshow will start in April next year and the auction dinner six months later in October.