FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
The fancy intense pink round-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond weighing 24.78 carats, set between shield-shaped diamond shoulders, in platinum, as a ring, size 55½.
Accompanied by GIA report no. 2115100354 stating that the diamond is Fancy Intense Pink, Natural Colour, VVS2 Clarity, together with an additional GIA worksheet stating that the diamond may be Potentially Flawless after repolishing.
Further accompanied by a GIA type classification report ,stating that this stone is a Type IIa pink diamond. ' Type IIa pink diamonds are very rare in nature, often have relatively few inclusions and are noted for their mostly homogenous colour in the rough (..).'
This stone is being offered for sale from a private collection. According to the consignor the stone has not appeared on the open market since it was first purchased some 60 years ago from Harry Winston himself.
This sublimely beautiful stone is without doubt one of the most important diamonds ever to appear at auction and its appearance is a major event in the world of fine gems.
All connoisseurs will agree that it displays the most perfect pure pink colour, which has been graded 'fancy intense pink' by the GIA with no secondary colour modifier. In addition the GIA state that the stone may be potentially flawless after polishing away some minor surface defects, which are mainly due to wear and the age of the stone.
This exceptional diamond has also been found to be part of the rare subgroup – comprising less than 2 % of all gem diamonds - known as type IIa: stones in this group are chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and often have extraordinary optical transparency.
What makes this diamond stand out as a truly rare gemstone however is the combination of this exceptional colour and purity with the classic emerald cut - a style of cutting normally associated with white diamonds and immensely sought-after when found in the rare colours such as pink and blue. The shape is further enhanced by the gently rounded corners which impart a unique softness and charm to this truly outstanding gemstone.
The Romance of Pink Diamonds
By Ian Balfour
Historically, the most famous pink diamonds have come from India. Of these, pride and place must be given to the rectangular, step-cut 'Darya-i-Nur' (Sea of Light), one of the great diamonds of history. The 'Darya-i-Nur' is estimated to weigh between 175 and 195 carats. It is the principal gem in the Crown Jewels of Iran and together with the 'Nur ul-Ain' (Light of the Eye), an oval brilliant of around 60 carats, once constituted the major part of the 'Great Table' diamond. In 1642 Tavernier saw, and tried unsuccessfully to buy, this legendary stone from a merchant in Golconda.
Another historic Indian diamond is the 'Agra' which weighs just over 32 carats. Its early history links it with Babur, the first of the Mogul rulers. Later it came into the possession of the eccentric Duke of Brunswick, one of the 19th century's most important collectors of unusual diamonds: he paid 348,000 francs for the gem. Towards the end of the century Edwin Streeter, the London jeweller and author of several books on gemstones, acquired the 'Agra'. The Agra was sold at auction in London in 1990.
The 'Hortense', weighing 20.53 carats, is a somewhat flat, rectangular-shaped diamond which was listed in the 1691 inventory of the Crown Jewels of France. The gem is named after Hortense de Beauharnais, the Queen of Holland and stepdaughter of Napoleon. It was one of the jewels stolen from the Garde-Meuble in Paris in 1792 but was recovered a year later. On account of its historic interest the 'Hortense' was among the items excluded from the sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887. The stone is now in the Louvre collection
The cushion-cut 'Princie' diamond, weighing 34.64 carats, may formerly have been part of the State jewels of Turkey. In 1960 it was sold at an auction in London: shortly after the stone was christened 'Princie' in honour of the fourteen-year-old son of the Maharanee of Baroda whose pet family name was 'Princie'.
The most celebrated pink diamond is the 'Williamson'. The rough stone was found in the Williamson Mine, situated near Mwadui in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in October 1947. Dr. John Williamson, the discoverer and owner of the mine, was an ardent Royalist so that he gave the diamond as a wedding present to the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth. Curiously the 'Williamson' proved to be an isolated find, no other pink diamond having come form this source. The stone was cut in London into a brilliant of 23.60 carats, which was later set in the centre of a flower spray brooch. It is rumoured that the Queen has a special affection for this jewel: evidence of this is supplied by the fact that Her Majesty wore the brooch at the wedding of the Duke of Kent in 1961 and that of the Prince of Wales twenty years later. Since millions of viewers watched the latter ceremony on television it is safe to assume that no famous diamond has ever been seen by so many people at the same time.
LA VIE EN ROSE
If I had to choose my favourite colour for a diamond it would undoubtedly be pink. There is something so exuberant, joyful, and intensely feminine about these rosy gems that makes them absolutely irresistible; as a result they have been prized by collectors and professionals ever since they were first discovered in the mines of India centuries ago.
It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity of fine pink diamonds weighing only five carats; but once they exceed 20 carats, and are of outstanding colour, they pass into the ranks of the world's greatest and rarest gems.
This absolute scarcity makes the appearance at auction of this sublime 24.78 carat stone an extremely exciting event. Its beauty has haunted me since the very first time I set eyes on it some years ago, and so it is a great honour to present this diamond to an international audience.
During my long career at Sothebys I have had the opportunity to examine some of the rarest and finest jewels, not only at auctions but also in private collections internationally. I can say without hesitation that this spectacularly beautiful stone is, quite simply, one of the most desirable diamonds I have ever seen.
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