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Chow Tai Fook Auctions Jewels

The largest jeweler in China auctioned off 30.97 million Hong Kong dollars, or $3.98 million worth of fine jewelry late last week.

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CASHING IN: Chow Tai Fook, the largest jeweler in China, auctioned off 30.97 million Hong Kong dollars, or $3.98 million, worth of fine jewelry late last week.

The Hong Kong-based jeweler, which is best known for its gold items, has been working to diversify into precious stones and diamond jewelry, which yield higher profit margins. Bidding was most lively for the more traditional Chinese-looking pieces with jade or for more colorful pieces with red or pink. The highest bid of the evening was for a red tourmaline necklace and bracelet set that sold for 4 million Hong Kong dollars, or $515,304 — more than double the starting price.

The 15 pieces at the auction Saturday were part of a larger special collection based on the theme of "animal eyes." The jewelry, which included diamonds, opals, sapphires, natural pearls, jade and gold, featured designs that were reminiscent of animals or other natural patterns.

The live auction, held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in West Kowloon, was attended by 200 of Chow Tai Fook's top VIP customers in China and Hong Kong and was part of a three-day itinerary that included wine tastings, talks by asset managers, personal stylist consultations and, of course, plenty of shopping. In order to make the invite list, customers needed to spend at least one million yuan, or $162,697 at current exchange rates, on a single item. Chow Tai Fook said that 140 of the invited clients were from China and 60 from Hong Kong.