Amid grim unemployment numbers in the U.S. and record losses reported by corporations worldwide, blue-chip auction houses continue to prove that a sizable number of people are recession-proof. On Tuesday evening, Christie’s logged a new world record for online bidding –— marking the highest price ever paid for a jewel online via auction.
A 28.86-carat, D-color diamond sold for $2.1 million as part of Christie’s Jewels Online auction — achieving well above the stone’s estimate of $1 million to $2 million. There was no lack of interest in the piece, which attracted 31 bids.
Christie’s says the entire online jewels sale took 140 percent above its low estimate and that 64 percent of lots achieved prices above their high estimates.
Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry at Christie’s, said the record sale demonstrates “greater client confidence in Christie’s digital ability and online sale platform. We now look forward to the beginning of our live-auction season for jewelry spanning all major Christie’s global sale sites led by a $8 million fancy intense blue IF diamond of 12.11 carats offered in Hong Kong on July 9.”
Christie’s record-breaking diamond aligns with similar wins for the jewelry department at Sotheby’s, which has also doubled down on its online auction platforms during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Last week, Sotheby’s marked the most expensive watch ever sold in an online auction — taking $500,000 for a 1970 Rolex Daytona Paul Newman. Earlier in lockdown, Sotheby’s also marked the record for the highest price ever paid for a piece of jewelry, achieving $1.34 million for a Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet.
Kendall Reed, Sotheby’s vice president, head of fine jewels, and global head of online jewels, told WWD last month: “Traditionally we would think clients would need to try on jewelry in order to buy it, but we have found that with our online auctions that is not the case. Our clients trust our expertise…and that helps them feel comfortable to buy jewelry sight unseen.”