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We're dedicating this week to the kind of fantastical shopping that most of us only get to experience in dreams. Taking a page from casino parlance, we'll be talking a lot about "whales," those big spenders who feel perfectly comfortable dropping tens of thousands of dollars every night on roulette, or, in our case, on Cartier, caviar facials, and Chanel. Welcome to Whale Week 2013.
- From December: Double-strand jadeite bead necklace brought $348,000, more than four times its pre-sale estimate high of $80,000; Image courtesy of Skinner
- From December: Platinum and diamond longchain necklace brought $162,000, more than double its pre-sale estimate high; Image courtesy of Skinner
- From December: Burma ruby and diamond ring set with an oval-cut ruby weighing 4.66 carats, exceeded its pre-sale estimate high of $60,000, selling for $150,000; Image courtesy of Skinner
- For March: Platinum and Diamond Ring set with an asscher-cut diamond weighing 6.04 carats; Estimate $45,000-$55,000; Image courtesy of Skinner
- For March: Platinum, Gray Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendant Necklace; Estimate $20,000-$30,000; Image courtesy of Skinner
- For March: Patinated Metal Necklace, Robert Lee Morris, Circa 1980; Estimate $600-$800; Image courtesy of Skinner
- For March: 18k Rose Gold and Diamond "Tonneau" Wristwatch, Cartier; Estimate $8000-$10,000; Image courtesy of Skinner
Meet Skinner, the only full-service auction house in New England with a full roster of specialties, catapulting it to international recognition. No surprise then that experts from its 70-person staff often appear on everyone's favorite guilty pleasure, Antiques Roadshow. Auctions run year round, with acquisitions coming from all corners of the world to lure in a global clientele. Clearly, the quarterly fine jewelry sales are prime scenery for "whale watching"—the most recent one on December 4, 2012, grossed $3.6 million. The biggest scores were a $348,000 jadeite necklace, $162,000 for an art deco platinum and diamond chain necklace, and $150,000 for a Burma ruby and diamond ring set. Has your jaw dropped yet?
Skinner is always seeking antique jewelry from as early as the 1800s and contemporary styles from household names like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Kimberly McDonald. Signed art deco pieces are of special interest to buyers and department director Victoria Bratberg. Natural pearls and diamonds perform phenomenally, with Bratberg noting rocks up to 10 carats and a particular stone worth $500,000.
Time to ready that Amex for the upcoming March auction at the Back Bay gallery. You're looking at a ring set boasting an asscher-cut 6 carat diamond estimated at a $45,000-55,000 value (expect that to multiply once the bidding ends) and an abnormally large natural gray pearl and diamond pendant necklace, listed at a $20,000-30,000 estimate.
Interested parties can pore over the catalogue a couple weeks before the March 12 auction. Head to a preview in the days prior to determine which bauble speaks to you. SkinnerLive!—real-time online bidding—allows shoppers to log the highest amount they'll go, and if participating by phone from a Ritz Carlton bed is your thing, you can call in a la Smith Jerrod snagging that flower ring Samantha Jones bid on in Sex and the City (dated reference, but proves the point).