HONG KONG AND GENEVA - World-class, breathtaking diamonds with mesmerising colour and clear brilliance enjoy a long history of making grown adults go weak at the knees or engage in frenzied bidding sessions in auction sale rooms, and sometimes both – more often than not at Sotheby’s, which has a tradition of bringing some of the rarest diamonds in the world to market.
This autumn Sotheby’s offers up earthly treasures in the form of ultra-precious, museum-worthy diamonds. Two of them surpassed world records even before the auctioneer picked up the gavel.
Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong on Monday 7 October witnesses the greatest white diamond ever to appear at auction. Estimated at £18 to £22 million and at 118.28 carats, this is the largest D colour oval-shaped flawless stone ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Only four other white diamonds of this quality over 100 carats have ever been sold at auction, three of them at Sotheby’s. This stone is 20 per cent larger than the previously largest offered, the Mouawad Splendour sold at Sotheby’s in 1990.
The Pink Star, the largest known fancy vivid pink diamond in the world, Internally Flawless, weighing 59.60 carats. At Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on 13 November.
"You can’t take your eyes off it,” says David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery in Europe and the Middle East, talking of the 59.60 carat oval Pink Star, on offer at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on 13 November with an unprecedented estimate for a single diamond: in excess of $60 million. “It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity of vivid pink diamonds weighing only five carats, so this 59.60 carat stone is simply off the scale, and passes, I believe, into the ranks of the earth’s greatest natural treasures.”
Meticulously cut by Steinmetz Diamonds over two years and the largest flawless or internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond the GIA has ever graded, the Pink Star is more than twice the size of the Graff Pink, the 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond which established a world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel when it was sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010 for $46.2 million.
"Walska Briolette Diamond" brooch, a 1971 Van Cleef & Arpels masterpiece incorporating a 96.62 carat fancy vivid yellow diamond. At Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on 13 November.
Geneva's Magnificent Jewels sale will also offer the "Walska Briolette Diamond" brooch, a 1971 Van Cleef & Arpels masterpiece incorporating a 96.62 carat fancy vivid yellow diamond. Once owned by opera singer and jewellery connoisseur Ganna Walska, the brooch was recently on display in New York’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum and at the Palais Royal in Paris.
In recent years, as the reliability of traditional forms of investment has come into serious question, alternative tangible investments, including diamonds and jewellery, have been showing signs of growth. Diamonds have been known to elicit a distinct tenacity amongst buyers. During the Sotheby’s sale of the Graff Pink there were four active bidders, all testifying to the allure of precious diamonds at the very highest level.