Mughal Magnificence: Christie’s Auction Nets $109M
By Brecken Branstrator
The auction netted a whopping $109.3 million in New York Wednesday, setting a few records along the way.
“Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence” featured nearly 400 lots spanning 500 years, showcasing the culture of Indian jeweled arts from the Mughal Empire (founded in 1526) and the age of the Maharajas to present day.
It didn’t become the highest-grossing sale ever for the auction house, as some thought it could—that title still belongs to the evening auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry in 2011, which totaled $115.9 million—but it does rank as the second-highest auction total for a private jewelry collection, according to Christie’s.
It also is the highest total for any auction of Indian art and Mughal objects, Christie’s said.
Held in New York Wednesday, the auction took 12 hours and was 93 percent sold by volume and 92 percent sold by value, with bidders from 45 countries participating.
Three world auction records were set for Indian works for art, and 29 lots sold for more than $1 million.
The jewelry auction’s top lot was the Belle Époque Devant-de-corsage seen below, created by Cartier circa 1912, which sold for $10.6 million to a private collector present in the room.
There were also a number of exceptional Golconda diamonds sold.
The Mirror of Paradise, a 52.58-carat D-color internally flawless diamond, achieved $6.5 million (pictured below); and The Arcot II diamond, a 17.21-carat D IF, garnered $3.4 million.
And a spinel, natural pearl, diamond and emerald bead “Imperial Moghul” necklace and earrings from Cartier realized $1.9 million.
All contemporary pieces by JAR and Bhagat included in the jewelry auction sold.
They included the five-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace from the latter pictured below that went for $1.7 million, topping its highest pre-sale estimate, $1.2 million.