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Kashmir sapphire ring – €2.1m (£1.8m) at HVMC.

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A highlight of the series came in the fine jewellery auction on July 19: a Kashmir sapphire weighing 27ct mounted as a ring in a diamond setting sold for a hammer price of €2.1m (£1.8m) against an estimate of €2m-3m.

Head heights

A number of notable results for ancient sculpture appeared in the antiquities sale on July 21.

These included a 9½in (24cm) high basalt head of a young, bald man with an oval face and almond shaped eyes dated to the 4th century BC. This had a provenance to a French collection from the 1950s. It last appeared at auction in 2008 at Artcurial and featured in a 2012 exhibition titled Le Crepuscule des Pharaons at the Musée Jacquemart André in Paris.

In Monaco it sold within the €200,000-250,000 guide for €210,000 (£181,035).

The sale also included a large Roman marble portrait head of the Emperor Hadrian dated to the 2nd century AD measuring 12 x 9 x 10in (32.5 x 23 x 25.5cm). The emperor is shown facing slightly to the left with hair in layered waves and with a short, thick curly beard. This had a provenance to a Swedish collection, acquired in the 1970s. It also sold within its estimate, at €100,000 (£86,205).

The sale featured an estate collection of ancient intaglios formed by a Parisian jeweller working in the 1950s that attracted the attention of bidders. One particularly sought-after piece was a Hellenistic period rock crystal intaglio from the c.3rd to 2nd century BC. Measuring ¾ x 1in (2 x 2.5cm), this was carved with a finely detailed profile portrait of a ruler and set on a massive gold swivel mount.

It was pursued well past the €10,000-15,000 guide to take €41,000 (£35,345).