Despite speculation that it might sell for a world-record price, the fabulous fancy intense pink "Princie Diamond" came up a bit short at Christie's auction on Tuesday with the gavel slamming down at $39.3 million — or $1.1 million per carat. The 34.65-carat cushion-cut gemstone was purchased via phone by an anonymous collector.
Maintaining its status as the world's most expensive gemstone is another fancy intense pink diamond known as "The Graff Pink." A classic emerald-cut gem with gently rounded corners, the 24.78-carat diamond set the record at a Sotheby's auction in November 2010. British billionaire Laurence Graff bought The Graff Pink for a staggering $46.1 million — or $1.85 million per carat.
Some diamond experts believed The Princie Diamond had a chance to overtake The Graff Pink because of its purity, rarity and provenance. The Princie Diamond was a product of India's legendary Golconda mine and was first recorded nearly 300 years ago in the holdings of the Royal family of Hyderabad, rulers of one of the wealthiest provinces of the Mughal Empire.
India's most prized diamonds have been known as the "diamonds of Golconda," and some of the most famous stones from the ancient Golconda mine include the Hope Diamond and the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.
In 1960, the London branch of the jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels purchased the diamond at auction. Its name was bestowed at a party at the firm's Paris store. It was called Princie in honor of the 14-year-old prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother, Maharani Sita Devi.
Even though it failed to overtake The Graff Pink, the $39.3 million earned by The Princie Diamond represents a new record for any jewel sold at Christie’s. The previous house record was set in December of 2008 with the $24.3 million sale of the 31-carat fancy deep-blue Wittelsbach Diamond. Graff provided the winning bid at that auction, as well.