A breathtaking Kashmir sapphire necklace will make its auction debut this month—and jewellery collectors all over the world are sure to vie for the privilege of owning it.
The Peacock Necklace will come under the hammer to lead Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction of Magnificent Jewels. This is the first piece ever sold to feature a suite of extremely rare Kashmir sapphires. Unsurprisingly, it is expected to smash the world auction record, with the price estimated at between HK$95 million and HK$120 million.
Kashmir sapphires are highly valued for its rarity and beloved for its unique blue-velvet colour with a distinct cornflower-blue tint, reminiscent of the gorgeous feathers found on a peacock’s neck. While some sapphires from Myanmar and Sri Lanka come close in quality, examples from Kashmir still reign as the kings of the sapphire world.
Kashmir sapphires were first discovered in 1881 when a landslide exposed sapphire- bearing rocks in an isolated stretch of terrain in the Zanskar Range of the Himalayas in Kashmir. A series of mines in that area soon produced the finest sapphires ever plucked from the earth.
However, the mines were so popular that the supply of sapphires was exhausted after only five years. Since then, sapphires from these mines have earned a reputation as being the very best in the world; so rare in fact, that they’re hardly seen except in museums or photographs.
This makes the Peacock Necklace particularly exceptional. Set with 21 Kashmir sapphires totalling 109.08 carats, the largest stone weighs an astounding 10.56 carats. Finding a single sapphire of this calibre is extremely difficult; composing a complete suite of the same standard is an achievement unprecedented in the history of jewellery- making.
The sapphires of the Peacock Necklace took over 100 years to compile, 15 years to meticulously cut and polish, and another nine months to engrave peacock feather patterns on the platinum mounting. Now they are finally ready to be unveiled to the world through this stunning masterpiece.