Sotheby's and Steinmetz Partner in Joint Venture

July 14, 2005

Sotheby's and Steinmetz Partner in Joint Venture

Sotheby's and the Steinmetz Diamond Group announced the creation of Sotheby's Diamonds, a joint venture that will sell rare diamonds and diamond jewelry. Sotheby's Diamonds combines Steinmetz's expertise in diamond cutting and polishing with Sotheby's connoisseurship and international client base.

Following the collection of diamond jewelry's launch in December 2005 in New York City and Hong Kong, there will be events and private appointments in key market centers around the world. The initial offering will include rare and important diamonds and diamond jewelry of outstanding quality and workmanship with prices starting at $100,000. Sotheby's will provide more detailed information and images of the first collection later in the year.

Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby's China and Southeast Asia, will be chairman of Sotheby's Diamonds. The venture will be overseen by Marc Auclert, head of Sotheby's jewelry business in Europe and Asia; and Nir Livnat, CEO of Steinmetz.

"This relationship with Steinmetz is a very exciting development for Sotheby's. The Steinmetz Group creates some of the world's finest diamonds and their cutting and polishing skills are legendary. These assets – combined with Sotheby's expertise, brand name, international client base and worldwide marketing reach – present a compelling opportunity at the highest end of the jewelry market," says Wong.

"Steinmetz is delighted to be part of this exciting joint venture. The unique retail channel gives us both the opportunity and challenge to excel in the field of exquisite diamond jewelry. Sotheby's esteemed client base will enjoy the best diamonds set in the best designed jewelry," said Livnat.

Auclert, who has 14 years of retail experience, most recently as director of Chanel's worldwide jewelry department, added, "We expect that our buyers will come from the two sources who have already been active purchasers in Salon Privé: those who want to acquire gem-quality diamonds throughout the year, not just at auction, and those who prefer to acquire privately while simultaneously valuing Sotheby's expertise and eye for design and craftsmanship."

Sotheby's Diamonds represents the evolution of Sothebyıs existing jewelry retail activity, Salon Privé, which offers jewels of superb quality throughout Asia, Europe and North America. For many years, Steinmetz has been one of Sotheby's most important clients and has sold many rare and exceptional white and colored diamonds through Sotheby's at auction and privately. Among these was the 100-ct. pear-shaped D internally flawless diamond that sold in Geneva in 1995 for $16.5 million, the world-record price for a diamond at auction. Sotheby's Salon Privé and Steinmetz also worked together in the past, including most recently in an exclusive selling exhibition held during the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix.

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