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David Bennett

  • Worldwide Chairman, International Jewellery Division | Chairman, Switzerland
Geneva

Biography

Regarded internationally as an authority in the field of precious stones and jewellery.  Mr Bennett was named among the top 10 most powerful people in the art world in December 2013 by the international magazine Art + Auction. In June 2014, Swiss financial and business magazine Bilan named him among the top 50 “most influential people in Switzerland”.

An auctioneer for the firm since 1978, Mr Bennett has presided over many record-breaking sales, most notably setting the world record for any Jewellery sale in May 2016, achieving a record total of $175.1 million (CHF 171 million) for Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva.

Mr. Bennett has also presided over the sale of 4 out of the 5 most expensive jewels in auction history. These include the world auction record for any diamond or gemstone: $71.2 million for the “CTF Pink Star”, a 59.60-carat Fancy Vivid Pink Internally Flawless diamond, in April 2017. He also set the world auction record price per carat for any diamond or any gemstone: $48.6 million ($4,028,941 per carat) for the “Blue Moon of Josephine” – a 12.03-carat Fancy Vivid blue diamond –in November 2015.

He is known as the “100-carat man” for the sale of seven 100-carat diamonds, each of which established record prices. In May 2015, he set three auction records with the sale for $30.3 million (CHF 28.2 million) of the 25.59-carat ‘Sunrise Ruby’: the record price for a ruby and for a ruby per carat, as well as a record for a jewel by Cartier.

His long-standing expertise led him to be instrumental in such legendary sales as the “Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor” (1987) and the Princely Collections of Thurn und Taxis (1992). He also presided over the sale of the collections of Ava Gardner, H.H. Begum Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan and Maria Callas, and in May 2013, the collection of screen legend  Gina Lollobrigida. Under his leadership, Sotheby’s Geneva has presented jewels of supreme historical importance, among them: the legendary Beau Sancy, once the property of Henry IV of France, which sold in May 2012 for $9,699,618 (CHF 9,042,500), and in May 2011, a magnificent emerald and diamond tiara formerly in the Collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck which fetched the record price of $12.7 million (CHF 11.3 million), a new landmark for a piece of antique jewellery.

David Bennett is co-author, with Daniela Mascetti, of the best-selling reference book Understanding Jewellery – in print since 1989. They have also co-written Celebrating Jewellery, (2012) published also in French as Célébration du Bijou.

Having graduated from university with a degree in philosophy, Mr Bennett continues to give talks in philosophy and related fields, as well as consultations in hermetic astrology.

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