Press Release

A Dazzling Decade at Sotheby's

By Sotheby's
2010 – 2019: 10 Years of Record-Breaking Sales that Transformed the Jewellery Market

Worldwide Auction Sales Totalled over $4.7 Billion
Embraced by an ever-expanding globalized audience,
And Propelled by the Digital Revolution

A Dazzling Decade at Sotheby's
2010 – 2019: 10 Years of Record-Breaking Sales that Transformed the Jewellery Market
The last ten years have seen a complete transformation of the jewellery auction market and without a doubt, this has been a defining decade in my 40-year career at Sotheby’s. We have rewritten the rulebook for our sales, connecting with collectors in the four corners of the globe as never before and witnessing first-hand the revolution of online bidding and social media. This dynamic environment and global audience have led to unprecedented results for unforgettable diamonds and gemstones, starting the decade with the sensational Graff Pink and the reappearance of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels in 2010, and culminating with the world record for the CTF Pink Star and breath-taking jewels from the personal collection of Queen Marie-Antoinette.”
David Bennett, Chairman, Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division

A s 2019 draws to a close and on the eve of 2020, Sotheby’s international Jewellery division is marking ten years of record-breaking results, and celebrating a decade which has redrawn the boundaries of the auction market for diamonds and jewels.

Embraced by an ever-expanding globalized audience and propelled by the digital revolution, show-stopping treasures have achieved unprecedented prices: the ten most valuable jewels ever sold at Sotheby’s all came under the hammer in the last ten years. These pieces were offered across our sales locations of Geneva, New York and Hong Kong, and have found new homes in collections around the world.


Total sales exceeding US$ 4.7 Billion
40,353 lots sold in 10 years
683 lots sold above $1m (41 above $10m)
Over 100 countries from across the globe participated in our sales
Auction record for a diamond and any jewel sold at auction: $71.2m set by the CTF Pink Star in 2017

Digital Revolution: online activity in our Jewellery sales has grown exponentially over the last 10 years:
-This year, 60% of the participants and 50% of the buyers placed bids online, respectively up 74% and 88% from 2010
-The proportion of lots sold online has seen a growth of 900% in terms of numbers (137% in value)
-The most valuable jewel ever purchased online is a pair of diamond earrings sold for $6m in our Geneva sale in May 2016

A Market with Great Potential which continues to attract new participants at a fast pace:
-A third of the participants this year were new to Sotheby’s: 35% more than in 2010

Female Collectors on the rise:
-The proportion of women taking part in our sales has increased by 20% since 2010, with a growing contingent of female collectors under 40

Educational Initiatives attracting a younger and more diverse audience:
-World-class expertise shared through masterclasses, lectures and exhibitions around the world
-Social Media: Jewellery is one of the categories that attracts the strongest following. Over the last two years, 25% of the best performing posts on @Sothebys Instagram (1.1m followers) were pictures or videos of jewels and diamonds, with an average of almost 300,000 people reached
-Launched in 2018, @SothebysJewels saw its follower count increase almost three-fold this year to achieve over 160,000 followers
-Understanding Jewellery – the ‘jewellery Bible’ co-written by Sotheby’s experts David Bennett and Daniela Mascetti has now been turned into a dynamic and interactive app, exploring the history, style and craft of Jewellery

World Auction Records Include:
-Record for a diamond and any jewel sold at auction – The CTF Pink Star ($71.2 million)
-Record price per carat for any diamond – The Blue Moon of Josephine ($4 million per carat)
-Record for a ruby – The Sunrise Ruby ($30.3 million)
-Record for a collection of royal jewels – Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family ($53.1 million)
-Record for an antique jewel and for a natural pearl – Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Pearl ($36.2 million)

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