May 16th, 2008

Fred Leighton, Christies & 14 carat pink Diamond Ring caught up in auction mess

Cameron Diaz Esmerian NY TimesThe NY Times recently covered the difficulties Christies has had in auctioning an important diamond ring. Fred Leighton was involved as well:

EVEN a 14-carat pink diamond ring can start looking tarnished if it is immersed in muck. That rose-gold ring, worth up to $15 million by one estimate, was to be the centerpiece of a Christie’s auction last week, until legal actions in Manhattan scuttled the sale minutes before it was to start — on two successive evenings.

On Wednesday, the second night, lawyers for a Wall Street bank that was trying to sell the ring and more than 100 other pieces of stunning antique jewelry to recoup part of a $187 million debt owed by a prominent collector were awaiting a judge’s ruling on the collector’s effort to stop the auction. Christie’s had spent a small fortune promoting the sale, sending the gems on a world tour to Geneva, Moscow and Dubai for potential buyers to savor.

A few minutes after 6, when the auction had been set to start, the cellphone of François Curiel, the director of Christie’s jewelry department, rang. He listened, said thank you and hung up.

“There is no auction tonight,” he announced to a small group of international jewelry dealers gathered at Christie’s Rockefeller Center rooms.

“Disgusting!” cried a prominent London dealer, who grabbed his coat and stormed out.

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