On 20 April this year, auction house Christie’s is organizing its Dubai spring jewelry sale, which will feature some of the largest pearls in the world. Pearls and Dubai have a long history. The Middle Eastern city was once home to pearl hunters who would dive into the sea in the search for pearls. Pearl hunting was once a high-income job in the city. Thus, Christie’s pearl jewelry sale are something of a hark back to the city’s pearl hunting past.
David Warren, chief of Christie’s jewelry department in the Middle East revealed that their target audience liked pieces that were “unique and rare”. Thus, the sale will be focused on showcasing several unique and interesting pieces of pearl jewelry. One of the showstoppers will be a drop-shaped silver and grey saltwater pearl pendant that weighs in at nearly 60 carats and which comes fitted on to a diamond studded necklace. According to records, this drop-shaped pearl is one of the largest natural saltwater pearls in the world. Christie’s estimates a price of $250,000 for this beauty. Also up on sale is a $4,000 to $6,000 elephant-shaped gem ring and a diamond flower necklace-cum-tiara with matching earrings that is worth $450,000 to $550,000.
About a hundred jewelry lots will go under the hammer at the auction in April. According to Christie’s estimates, this is a lot of around $5 million to $6.5 million. This is a smaller sale compared to last year’s $13.5 million, a matter that is partly being blamed on the difficulty of finding good jewelry.
There should be enough to please Dubai-based collectors however. From feminine designs for women to pearl jewelry that men would love. Hopefully, there will also be a few Tahitian pearl pieces. Even if Christie’s has not managed to pick up a very big horde, there should be plenty of eye candy for the serious collector of pearl jewelry. While you have plenty of gold and silver jewelers, the number of jewelers specializing in pearl jewelry is fewer. Plus, a website like pearlnecklacejewelry.com is not your run-of-the-mill jewelry shopping portal. The sheer access to exquisite pearl jewelry should attract plenty of modern pearl hunters from the Middle East.
New York-based Christie’s has been organizing auctions in the Middle East since 2006. Since then, the auction house has sold art and jewelry worth over $200 million. In 2009, the auction sales dipped to lows of $18 million to $20 million. Last year though, sales in the Middle Eastern region grew to $51 million. Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East operations admitted that 2010 marked a “return to growth” for the auction house in the region.
Christie’s currently only has one office in the Middle East, and that is in Dubai. The auction house has expansion plans, despite the current unrest spreading through the Arab world. Sales have been picking up after the poor showing in 2010. Moreover, with the market internationalizing, there is plenty of scope if Christie’s does take the expansion route. Until then, the auction house will have to continue to attract collectors to Dubai for high-end auctions like this year’s pearl jewelry sale.