The “Pink Star,” an astonishing 59.6-carat internally flawless pink diamond, earned the title of “The Priciest Diamond Ever Auctioned” when the hammer went down with a bid of $83 million last night at Sotheby’s Geneva. The gem, which carried a pre-sale estimate of $60 million, is believed to be the largest fancy vivid pink diamond in the world.
The auction of the Pink Star, which could be watched via a live video feed, was a five-minute frenzy of mostly on-site bidding. The opening bid was 54 million francs, which quickly jumped to 60 million and then 65 million. In the end, an unnamed suitor claimed the prize with a bid of 68 million francs. After fees and commissions, the tally came to 76.325 million francs ($83.188 million).
The Pink Star’s auction success comes on the heels of similar results for “The Orange,” which set two auction records two nights ago at Christie’s Geneva when it sold for $35.53 million. That 14.82-carat diamond set a new mark for highest price ever paid for a fancy orange diamond and the highest price per carat ($2.395 million) ever paid for any diamond.
“Off the scale” in terms of its extraordinary size and richness of color was how Sotheby’s officials described the oval-cut Pink Star during its five-city promotional tour that led up to the sale. Having attained rock-star status in the international press, the Pink Star flattened the previous record of the “Graff Pink,” a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond, which was sold for $45.75 million by the same auction house in 2010.
“I have had the privilege of examining some of the greatest gemstones in the world over the past 35 years, and I can say, without hesitation, that the Pink Star diamond is of immense importance,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division in Europe and the Middle East.
The Pink Star was originally cut from a 132.5-carat rough diamond mined by DeBeers in Africa in 1999. Steinmetz Diamonds cut and polished the diamond into its current oval shape during a process that took two years to complete. More than 55 percent of the stone’s mass was sacrificed in an effort to attain the most perfect cut, clarity and color. It had been named “The Steinmetz Pink” until it was sold privately in 2007 for an undisclosed amount.
The Pink Star, which measures 2.69 by 2.06 cm (1.06 by 0.81 inches), boasts the Gemological Institute of America’s highest color and clarity grades for a pink diamond. It earned a Type IIa designation, which signifies a high level of chemical purity and optical transparency. The diamond is the largest in its class ever graded by the GIA, with the next largest coming in at less than half its size.
Another notable piece auctioned last night in Geneva was the “Walska Briolette Diamond” brooch, which sold for 9.68 million francs ($10.57 million). It was estimated to sell for $8 million. Designed by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1971, the brooch is highlighted by a fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing 96.62 carats. The unique briolette diamond was once in the collection of opera singer and jewelry connoisseur Ganna Walska. Subsequently, it was mounted as a brooch and exhibited at Van Cleef and Arpels retrospectives internationally.