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From the Belvedere in the Vatican to Villa d’Este in Tivoli and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italian gardens are imbued with Renaissance traditions, bending nature to create works of art.

For its latest High Jewelry collection, Bulgari found inspiration in the geometric precision and architectural complexity of these gardens to bring out their most evocative elements using precious stones.

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Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction on December 9 achieved $44.2 million, buoyed by results for stones and jewels from prominent collections, such as those of Helen Hay Whitney, Estée Lauder, Evelyn H. Lauder, the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, and Marlene Dietrich.

The top lot was a platinum-topped gold and diamond necklace that was presented to Helen Hay, an American writer, socialite, and philanthropist, on the occasion of her marriage to Payne Whitney in 1902. Featuring four diamonds weighing 27.48, 15.53, 13.08 and 8.91 carats, the necklace sold for $3.2 million. Total sales from the seven jewels of the estate of Helen Hay Whitney were $4.8 million.

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At the New York headquarters of Cora International LLC, Suzette Gomes is spellbound by a sight of rare beauty.

“You can’t describe that blue,” said Gomes, chief executive officer of the diamond-cutting company. “You just drown in it.”

“That blue” refers to the Blue Moon diamond. Cora paid $25.6 million for the uncut, 29.6-carat stone in February.

Colored diamonds are the world’s most expensive stones. A 14.82-carat orange diamond sold for $36 million at Christie’s International in Geneva in November, setting a record $2.4 million a carat. The same month, Sotheby’s sold the Pink Dream, a 59.6-carat pink stone, for $83 million.

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