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Van Cleef & Arpels fashioned this diamond necklace for Queen Nazli of Egypt in the 1930s. Set with more than 600 round and baguette diamonds weighing a total of approximately 217 carats, it sold for $4.3 million. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

The auction houses had another successful year − helped by record-setting bids − a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for the industry.

Amethyst & Diamond Ear Pendants - MICHELE DELLA VALLE

Amethyst & Diamond Pendent Earring Clips, Michelle Della Valle of Spiral Design, set with brilliant-cut diamonds and faceted amethyst drops, mounted in white gold and titanium, signed Michele della Valle and numbered.

sapphire Necklace

L'Odyssée de Cartier high jewellery - Necklace in platinum, set with a carved sapphire, melon-cut sapphire, emerald beads, sapphire carved leaves and diamonds. Photo by courtesy of Cartier.

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands wearing the stupendous Stuart diadem & parure. diamond tiara

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands wearing the Stuart diadem & parure. The Holland/Stuart Diamond’s first documented owner was the future Queen of England, Mary II. The worn for the coronation of Queen Wihelmina of the Netherlands in Dutch