A DIAMOND necklace that has not seen the light of day for more than 40 years has sold for a total of £231,800 at Dorchester. This is the most expensive diamond necklace to be sold at auction outside of London.
The necklace was consigned to Duke’s Auctioneers from a distinguished private collection. It remained in a safe until recently when it was worn during the auction viewing for the first time since the 1960s.
The necklace, dating to the 1860s, is set with 53 cushion-cut diamonds which total in excess of 64cts.
Amy Brenan, jewellery valuer at Duke’s, said: “The largest diamond is 5cts, approximately the same size as a lady’s ring finger nail, with the rest of the diamonds graduating along the neckline. These necklaces were known as ‘rivieres’ – the idea of a literal ‘river’ of diamonds gracing the wearer’s neck was incredibly seducing to the Victorians! Rivieres were common at this time but to find such a large one in original condition with an additional pendant drop is extremely exciting."
The quality of the piece and the exceptional colour and clarity of the diamonds attracted interest from diamond buyers and private collectors across the world.
Three phone bidders and a lady in the saleroom fought for the piece, with the hammer falling at £190,000 (£231,800 including buyer’s premium) to an anonymous bidder.
The sale breaks the current house record for a piece of jewellery at Duke’s by more than £100,000. In 2010, the auction house sold an emerald turban brooch designed by Paul Iribe for more than £84,000.