Sotheby’s to Offer Rare VCA Necklace, ‘Lavender Dream’ Diamond

AuctionsMay 23, 2024

Sotheby’s to Offer Rare VCA Necklace, ‘Lavender Dream’ Diamond

A tie necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels and a pinkish purple diamond are highlights of the upcoming New York jewelry auction.

Van Cleef & Arpels tie necklace
Sotheby’s expects the piece to sell for as much as $1.2 million.
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated post-publication to clarify the list of the categories that are excluded from Sotheby’s new fee structure.

New York—A natural pinkish purple diamond is one of the top lots of Sotheby’s New York auction next month, but it may be a rare Van Cleef & Arpels piece from the 1920s that steals the show.

The “Lavender Dream” is a 3.36-carat oval-shaped fancy intense pinkish purple diamond that will be up for auction at the “Magnificent Jewels” sale on June 7.

“Few have had the unique privilege of witnessing a purple diamond,” the stone’s accompanying GIA monograph states.

“Natural purple coloration in diamond is exceedingly rare, making the ‘Lavender Dream’ diamond a truly exceptional specimen.”
Sotheby’s Lavender Dream purple diamond
A fancy intense pinkish purple diamond named the “Lavender Dream”

Set in a ring with diamond side stones, the “Lavender Dream” is estimated to sell for $1 million to $1.5 million. 

Other colored diamonds that are part of the “Magnificent Jewels” sale include a 2.82-carat fancy intense blue-green diamond (est. $500,000 to $700,000), a 0.73-carat fancy purplish red diamond (est. 400,000 to $600,000) and a 1.41-carat fancy vivid green-blue diamond (est. $350,000 to $550,000). 

Among the additional sale highlights is a necklace by David Morris composed of graduated oval-shaped diamonds interspersed with pear-shaped and marquise-shaped diamonds and set with cushion-cut Kashmir sapphires with no indications of heat. 


Another sapphire piece, a Cartier ring from the 1930s, also will be offered. 

It features a 14.51-carat Kashmir sapphire with no indications of heat, and Sotheby’s estimates it could sell for up to $1.2 million. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

From Van Cleef & Arpels, the diamond tie necklace created in 1929 is estimated to fetch up to $1.2 million.

The brand conceived several designs of this style in the mid-1920s through the early 1930s, a period during which Van Cleef & Arpels was regarded for its innovation, Sotheby’s said.

Van Cleef & Arpels diamond tie necklace 1929
A Van Cleef & Arpels diamond tie necklace, circa 1929

The pieces manufactured in this style were long pendants or tassels that could be worn at the front of a dress, like a cravat, or draped asymmetrically over one shoulder.

It provided the framework to showcase geometric-shaped diamonds characteristic of the Art Deco movement. 

The style also can be interpreted as an evolution of the shoulder brooches created by Parisian jewelers at the time, Sotheby’s said.

Van Cleef & Arpels diamond tie necklace 1929
The Van Cleef & Arpels tie necklace being offered as part of Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale is composed of graduated links set with diamonds of various cuts, and the elongated tassel motifs rotate in part for various types of wear.

By the mid-1930s tastes had changed, with consumer preferences shifting to shorter bib styles and collars.

Tie necklaces seem to have been discontinued by 1935, the lavish nature of them such that only a handful of examples were ever made.

“It is exceedingly rare to find a Van Cleef & Arpels tie necklace and the example offered here is the first of its kind to come to auction in the recent times,” Sotheby’s said.

A celebrity jewel will also be up for sale at the jewelry auction, a 7.46-carat emerald and diamond Van Cleef & Arpels ring that once belonged to Hollywood icon Ava Gardner (1922-1990).

Ava Gardner Van Cleef & Arpels emerald ring
Ava Gardner’s ring, signed VCA, featuring an octagonal emerald weighing 7.46 carats, framed by diamonds

Gardner, a screen legend known for films including “The Barefoot Contessa” in 1954 and “Night of the Iguana” in 1964, had a highly refined selection of jewelry, Sotheby’s said. 

She prided herself on sourcing gemstones on her own and recalled finding the Colombian emerald in Los Angeles and later having it mounted in a ring by Van Cleef & Arpels New York in 1961. 

Gardner parted with several of her pieces at Sotheby’s New York in 1989, and when she died the following the year, the rest of her collection—including this emerald and diamond ring—was offered at Sotheby’s London. 

The ring is estimated to go for $420,000 to $520,000. 

The “Magnificent Jewels” auction will be the among the first to feature Sotheby’s new simplified commission structure, which will see buyers’ fees reduced by 26 percent, the auction house said.

Effective as of May 20, the auction house has lowered its buyer’s premium rates and removed overhead premium for all Sotheby's auctions globally, excluding cars, real estate, wine and spirits.

The fees are “by a significant margin, the lowest in the industry,” Sotheby’s said, and make it simple for buyers to calculate their total purchase price. 

Prior to transitioning to the new rates, the auction house polled tens of thousands of clients on how the changes will affect their bidding.

It said 90.6 percent of respondents said they will bid higher because of the reduced buyer’s premium.

See more of the lots featured in the upcoming “Magnificent Jewels” auction on Sotheby’s website

Lauren McLemoreis the associate editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments.

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