Pink Star diamond – the world’s most expensive gem sells for $71.2 million
(Pink Star vivid pink, internally flawless diamond – the most valuable gemstone ever sold at auction)
The world renowned Pink Star diamond has now officially become the world’s most valuable gemstone of all time, fetching an eye-watering $71.2 million (£57.3 million / $553 million HKD) at auction. The event was held by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, who had estimated its pre-auction value at $60 million (£48.3 million). The same stone was actually sold for $83 million in Geneva in 2013 but the buyer later defaulted and the diamond later returned to the market. The oval cut stone is 59.60 carats, Internally Flawless and Fancy Vivid pink in colour, the largest stone with these characteristics ever certified by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America). The Pink Star has now smashed the previous record, held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond at $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva in May 2016. It has also set the overall record as the most valuable item every auctioned in the whole of Asia. Following intense bidding from three prospective buyers, the Pink Star was sold to the renowned fine jewellery retailer, Chow Tai Fook, who concluded the sale by telephone bid directly to Sotheby’s Asia CEO, Kevin Ching for a hammer price of $63 million, leaving the auctioneer with a healthy $8.2 million in commission! Fook immediately renamed the diamond the “CTF Pink.” One commentator, Alexander Breckner of 77 Diamonds, said of this stone “it is the largest pink diamond ever found in history and the sheer size of the stone already makes it so rare an beautiful.”
(Sotheby’s auction house in Hong Kong was packed to the rafters with bidders & journalists alike)
The Pink Star was won from a 132.5 carat rough diamond, originally mined in Africa by De Beers in 1999. In all it required two years of delicate cutting, grinding and polishing to finally reveal the beautifully symmetrical oval shape you see today. It came into Sotheby’s inventory in November 2013, after the New York diamond cutter, Isaac Wolf, defaulted on payment at the previous auction in Geneva. Asked to comment on the sale Sotheby’s President & CEO, Tad Smith, stated “It is fitting that the owner of the most prestigious jeweller in Greater China should today break the record for the most valuable item ever sold in Asia as well as the most valuable diamond ever sold at auction – now appropriately named the CTF Pink. Sotheby’s has been honoured and thrilled to serve this very discerning client for many years.” Sotheby’s Worldwide Jewellery Division Chairman, David Bennett, then went on to say “I am delighted that this magnificently beautiful diamond has been rightfully crowned the most valuable gemstone ever sold at auction. The price has more than doubled the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond that we set just last year in Geneva. The extraordinary size of this 59.60-carat diamond, paired with its richness of colour, surpasses any known pink diamond recorded in history.” Ahead of the auction Mr Bennett had referred to the Pink Star diamond as a “magnificent stone” so it was clear that a very special sale was about to take place that night.
(Graff Pink diamond, the previous vivid pink diamond record auction holder at $46.2 million)
Prior to the sale of the Pink Star diamond, the Graff Pink diamond held the mantle of most valuable pink ever sold at auction (if one discounts the 2013 abortive sale of the Pink Star). The sale of the 24.78 carat Graff Pink took place in Geneva in 2010. The Pink Star is over twice the carat size of the Graff Pink and its colour grade “Fancy Vivid” is the highest on the GIA scale. It is also Internally Flawless (IF) in terms of clarity, which is again the highest achievable with the GIA, meaning it has no internal inclusions whatsoever. The gem is recognised as a Type IIa stone, the much vaunted rating that is only afforded to the top 2 percent of gem quality diamonds and indicates the highest possible chemical purity within its crystalline structure. The value of the 59.60 carat Pink Star works out at an incredible $1.2 million per carat. However, this does fall short of the highest price per carat record of any gemstone, which is currently held by the 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid blue diamond known as the Moon of Josephine. This 12.03 carat stone sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2015 for $48 million, or just over $4 million per carat. The records for the most highly priced yellow diamond, ruby or white diamond is a 118.28 carat, oval cut, D colour Flawless diamond, which sold for £20 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2013, equating to a price of just over $169,000 per carat.
(At $4 million, the Moon of Josephine vivid blue, flawless diamond holds the world per carat record)
The Pink Star has joined the list of the very few gemstones to be exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute, where it was displayed as the ‘Steinmetz Pink’ as part of the “Splendour of Diamonds” exhibition. At the exhibition it was placed alongside the world’s second largest D colour, pear cut, 203.04 carat Flawless diamond, the De Beers Millennium Star, which is second only to the Cullinan diamond in this category. Also featured at the exhibition was the 27.64 carat hear cut vivid blue, the Heart of Eternity Diamond, as well as the Mousaieff Red diamond, the world’s largest known Fancy red diamond at 5.11 carats. It is not clear when the record set by the Pink Star diamond at auction will be superseded but it is clear that the appetite of the super rich for breathtakingly beautiful, super large gems shows no sign of abatement. Since the unveiling to the public of the cut and polished Pink Star diamond on 29 May 2003, rumours have abound as to the existence of other incredibly large, very high grade stones in private collections around the world. Driven by demand from the aspiring wealth of the emerging markets, gem producers are going to ever greater lengths to find and perfect the next ‘Pink Star’ diamond!
(Mousaieff Red diamond is the largest stone of its type in the world)
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