- Course participants will get a close-up look at the Blue Premier diamond, coming to auction 7 October in Hong Kong.

How would you like to hold the world's largest round blue diamond estimated to sell at auction in October for $19 million dollars? Typically a privilege reserved for jewellery specialists or would-be buyers, now others can have this level of access in an upcoming jewellery course in Hong Kong on October 5-7 offered by Sotheby's Institute of Art. Coinciding with Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale, the Institute's three-day course on Extraordinary Jewels: 1780 to 1980 covers two centuries of craftsmanship and design and allows participants to closely examine and, in some cases, handle jadeite bead necklaces, Cartier brooches, and more. Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby's international jewellery specialist who is leading the course in Hong Kong, tells us more.

How is the Chinese market for fine jewellery and what are Chinese collectors looking for?

The Chinese market for fine jewels is really growing. More and more we're seeing an appetite for rare and unusual jewellery pieces of very high quality as collectors develop increasingly sophisticated tastes. Chinese collectors are very concerned with craftsmanship and often focus on finding gemstones with the perfect cut and perfect symmetry.

The course is coinciding with the auction house's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale. What is the significance of that?

Sotheby's has partnered with the Institute several times in the past to offer jewellery courses, seminars and lectures coinciding with exhibitions and sales in order to promote a wider appreciation of jewellery as a true art form. This year we are celebrating the auction house's 40th anniversary in Asia and it seemed like an optimal time to offer something educational to our clients and others in the region who have a deep interest in learning more about fine jewellery, from history and craftsmanship to the marketplace

What does the handling session involve? Are there any particular pieces that you'd like to highlight?

With the aid of a 10X loupe, the essential tool of a jewellery specialist, we will look closely at some highlights from the upcoming Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale. We will examine the quality of workmanship, clarity and colour of gemstones; we'll look for signatures and makers marks; and we'll have a chance to handle small, beautifully crafted objects as well as large, perfectly formed gemstones. One highlight from the sale that has garnered a lot of attention and which we will have a chance to look closely at (but not touch) is the Premier Blue, the world's largest round blue diamond.

What do you hope participants will gain from the course?

I hope participants will leave the seminar with the feeling that they have genuinely learned something and with the desire to know more about the fascinating world of jewels, not just about the pieces themselves but about the makers and the history.

Read an interview with Daniela Mascetti in Jing Daily.