Emerald, Diamond Spectacles Fail to Find a Buyer at Auction

AuctionsOct 28, 2021

Emerald, Diamond Spectacles Fail to Find a Buyer at Auction

Sotheby’s had estimated they could go for between $2.1 million and $3.4 million each.

These emerald and diamond Mughal-era spectacles failed to sell at auction Wednesday, despite receiving a lot of attention ahead of the event and a pre-sale estimate of $2.1 million to $3.4 million each.
London—Two Mughal-era spectacles featuring diamond and emerald lenses failed to find a buyer at Sotheby’s London Wednesday. 

At its recent “Arts of the Islamic World & India” sale, the auction house put two pairs of glasses from an unknown “princely treasury” up on the block.

Neither sold, though the auction house had estimated they would go for between £1.5 million and £2.5 million each (about $2.1 million to $3.4 million at current exchange rates). 

The “Gate of Paradise” glasses comprise two drop-shape, flat-cut emeralds weighing a total 27 carats set in silver and gold frames and mounted with old-cut diamonds and emeralds.

There was also the “Halo of Light” spectacles, crafted with two flat-cut diamonds weighing 25 total carats set in silver and gold frames and mounted with smaller old-cut diamonds. 

The spectacles originated in 17th century Mughal India, where they were commissioned by an unknown prince, according to Sotheby’s.

They were shaped from a 200-plus-carat stone believed to have come from the famed Golconda mines in southern India and a single Colombian emerald weighing more than 300 carats. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Sometime around 1890, the lenses were placed into new frames, decorated with rose-cut diamonds. 

And though the original patron of these pieces is unknown, the quality of the gemstones combined with their sizes suggest they would’ve been in the collection of an emperor, Sotheby’s said.

“Over the past month, these spectacular objects have been marveled at wherever we exhibited them—from New York to Hong Kong to London,” a Sotheby’s spokesperson said in an email statement to National Jeweler Wednesday. 

“Anyone who has laid eyes on them is in no doubt that they are indeed something very special, and we have every faith that the huge interest we have seen will translate into a different result later down the line.” 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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