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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Spectacular Pearls and Exquisite Jewels & Watches Sale in Dubai

The most significant offering of natural pearls to appear on the market for decades highlights Christie’s third sale of Jewels and Watches; The Dubai Sale, to be held at 6.30pm on 29 April 2008.

Featuring a stunning selection of 178 lots of rare and important gemstones, jewellery and watches as well as examples of contemporary design with truly international appeal, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $20 million.

This sale is followed by the auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art on 30 April 2008 (see separate press release), which together form the forth series of highly successful sales that Christie’s has staged in Dubai.

“The special section devoted to magnificent natural pearls underlines Christie’s policy to bring the very best to the Gulf region”, said David Warren, Director of Jewellery, Middle East.

“With two of the largest pearls in the world and one of the most valuable pearl necklaces, along with the historic Umm Kulthum pearl necklace and many rare coloured pearls, this important auction in Dubai is also regarded as a major event in the international jewellery market” he continued.

“We are delighted to have established a sponsoring partnership with Credit Suisse who is supporting the events around the auction for the third time”, said Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Middle East.

“With the backing of Credit Suisse as one of the leading global providers of financial products and services in Investment Banking, Private Banking, and Asset Management, Christie’s is proud to present our most exciting Jewels and Watches sale yet.”

Precious Pearls

For centuries, many of the finest pearls in the world came from the Arabian waters. It is therefore very fitting that Christie’s will bring some of the rarest pearls in the world to the Gulf region. Magnificent coloured pearls and exceptionally large examples are difficult to find and this section of 30 lots must be considered one of the most important groups of natural pearls to have appeared at auction for many decades.

There is no official record of important and historic pearls and information in books regarding weights and measurements is sparse. Christie’s have, however, compiled a unique database of almost 200 of the world’s largest and most historic pearls on which references in our cataloguing are based. In addition Christie’s hold all the world record prices for pearls at auction.

The exceptional four-row pearl necklace to be offered in the sale is a wonderful example of finely graded and matched pearls. Given how difficult it is to find even one small pearl that nature has made perfectly round, smooth, with fine colour and lustre, and no blemishes, it is a breathtaking sight to see 217 gem quality pearls that not only match but are also perfectly graded in size.

Suspended from the necklace is an exceptionally large button pearl, weighing 219.32 grains (54.83 carats) which ranks as the 4th largest button pearl so far recorded. Few necklaces achieve this level of perfection and it is estimated to fetch $1,800,000-2,200,000.

Magnificent examples of coloured pearls include an exceedingly rare yellow to pinkish-orange natural pearl weighing 241.44 grains (60.36 cts), which is almost certainly the largest example of its colour in the world as well as the second largest round pearl ever recorded and the fourteenth largest natural pearl ever recorded (estimate: $600,000-800,000), and an exceptional greenish-grey drop pearl weighing 235 grains (58.75 cts), the largest grey-drop pearl and the 16th largest pearl ever recorded (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000).

The sale will also offer a magnificent natural pearl necklace that belonged to Umm Kulthum (1904-1975) (estimate: $80,000-120,000). Unquestionably the greatest Arab singer of the 20th century, Umm Kulthum was known as ‘The Shining Star of the Middle East’ (Kawkab El Sharq), and her importance in the Arab countries was so great that she was received with the same ceremony as heads of state.

The necklace, which was gifted to Umm Kulthum by His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late ruler of the UAE, is being sold by family descendents.

Contemporary Jewels

The beautiful and imaginative selection of over 140 lots of contemporary jewels includes pieces by a number of highly talented designers including Margherita Burgener, Wallace Chan, Michele Della Valle, Margherita Ferri, Vicente Gracia, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Youssoufian.

In 2005, film icon Elizabeth Taylor opened The House of Taylor Jewelry Inc. based in Los Angeles, designing bold and beautiful jewellery. In this sale she is aptly represented by a wonderful emerald and diamond choker necklace that comes with matching earrings (estimate: $200,000-250,000).

Taylor explains, “My designs are not based on my collection. Each sketch, each concept, each piece must be unique. Each design must be true to the god given stone. My desire is to create something with love that I have not seen before. I want each woman that collects and wears something I’ve designed to feel that love”.

Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery has been sold through Christie’s in America with great success and is now offered to clients in the Gulf for the first time. A vividly colourful bracelet by Michael Youssoufian composed of 181 carats of assorted spinels, sapphires and garnets also doubles as a stunning necklace, with delicate sapphire and diamond tassel detail (estimate: $120,000-160,000).

While two pairs of super-chic earrings by Wallace Chan are interesting not only for their design but the fact that Chan himself is the jeweller as well as the designer, painstakingly making his own pieces to his own exacting standards (estimates: $55,000-65,000) and $45,000-55,000).

Three amusing contemporary works includes an ‘Icicle’ pendant, composed of three fine white tapering baguette-cut diamonds, set to look like one long diamond and with a 7.07 carat diamond, a 3.35 carat diamond and a 3.01 carat diamond (estimate: $360,000-420,000).

The ‘Stellar’ pendant is composed of an attractive Burmese cabochon star sapphire of approximately 250 carats with small diamond set stars, suspended from a faceted sapphire bead necklace (estimate $80,000-100,000).

Also offered is the ‘River of Life’ bracelet, designed by Vicente Gracia, a wide gold chain mail bracelet, set with a line of brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds representing the river with palm trees and foliage in enamelled gold, cleverly reflected in the ‘water’ of the river (estimate $40,000-60,000).

Important Coloured Gemstones

Three coloured gemstones stand out in this sale for their absolute beauty and are of a quality rarely seen today. These include a 17.02 carat sugar-loaf Colombian emerald ring (estimate: $250,000-300,000); a 10.80 carat cushion shaped Burmese ruby ring (estimate: $600,000-800,000) and a 9.54 carat Kashmir sapphire ring (estimate: $240,000-260,000). These three stones, each of ideal colour, clarity and brightness would fit neatly into any discerning collection.


The fascinating and rare selection of 31 watches by a number of leading watch makers is led by a spectacular platinum and diamond perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch by Franck Muller (estimate: $120,000-130,000).

Also offered is a limited production platinum self-winding perpetual calendar wristwatch by IWC (estimate: $78,000-85,000) and a unique, platinum self-winding minute repeating tourbillon wristwatch by Girard-Perregaux (estimate: $60,000-80,000).

“Once again Christie’s LIVETM will enable collectors and interested parties around the Middle East and the world to enjoy the look, sound and feel of these exciting sales in Dubai from their personal computer, as well as participate in them,” concluded Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Middle East.

Christie’s auction, Jewels and Watches; The Dubai Sale, takes place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel on 29 April 2008 at 6:30pm. Christie’s auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art will be conducted at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel on 30 April 2008 at 6.30pm. Viewing is open to the public between 27-29 April.

Notes and contacts
About Christie’s Middle East

Christie’s commitment to the Middle East is unrivalled. Christie’s was the first international auction house to have established a permanent presence in the Middle East when a representative office was opened in Dubai in April 2005, and have staged five auctions to date in the Middle East.

Christie’s auctions in the Middle East have achieved over $61 million, and have each witnessed approximately 50% of buying from the Middle East, demonstrating the strong demand from clients in the region for this new platform in the international art market.

In addition to auctions, Christie’s have staged five international public art exhibitions in the region to date, bringing over $60 million/AED 180 million worth of Art, objects, Jewellery and watches from Christie’s most important sales worldwide direct to clients in the Middle East.

Christie’s has organized a number of charity events in the region. Most recently, Christie’s conducted the charity auction for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Dubai Cares charity which raised $10 million /31 million AED towards providing education for children in poor countries around the world.

This event established a record for the amount of money raised during a charity auction in the region. The total sum achieved by charity sales which Christie’s have conducted in the region to date stands at over $16 million.

About Credit Suisse

As one of the world’s leading banks, Credit Suisse provides its clients with private banking, investment banking and asset management services worldwide. Credit Suisse offers advisory services, comprehensive solutions and innovative products to companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients globally, as well as retail clients in Switzerland.

Credit Suisse is active in over 50 countries and employs approximately 48,000 people. Credit Suisse’s parent company, Credit Suisse Group, is a leading global financial services company headquartered in Zurich. Credit Suisse Group’s registered shares (CSGN) are listed in Switzerland and, in the form of American Depositary Shares (CS), in New York.