HONG KONG - The story of this pink splendor was set nowhere else but in the ancient mines of South India, the land blessed with the world’s purest and most famous diamonds, and the only source of diamonds known to men before the 18th century. Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French merchant and adventurer who was best known for acquiring the Tavernier Blue Diamond that he subsequently sold to Louis XIV, first made a reference to rose diamonds in early 17th century. According to Tavernier’s account, the enormous pink rough weighing over 200 carats was shown to him by moguls in kingdoms of Golconda in 1642 during his second voyage to the East. Valued at 600,000 rupees almost four hundred years ago, this diamond named ‘The Grand Table’ is still the largest pink diamond known to date. In his book ‘The Six Voyages,’ he later drew a picture of two pale rose coloured diamonds that he purchased in India circa 1668.
Many of the world’s most famous pink diamonds, such as The Darya-i-Nur, Agra, Le Grand Condé, The Hortensia and Shah Jahaan, very likely originated in the famous Kollur mines, near Golconda in Southern India, adorning crowns and jewels of kings and moguls during that period. Some made their journeys into Europe and were sold or presented as largesse to monarchs and the royals. The exact source of some other famous ones is not known, and some quite large pink diamonds have been recovered from alluvial deposits in the interior of Brazil and Africa in more recent times.
Natural pink diamonds over a carat are extremely rare to come by; some would say it is beyond rare. The famous ‘Williamson’ pink, currently part of the British Crown Jewels, was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) on the occasion of her wedding on 20 November 1947. Taking its name from its finder, Dr. J.T. Williamson, this pink diamond is one of the most illustrious modern day finds from South Africa. In the late 1980s, encouraging soil samples led geologists in search of diamond mines to North West Australia. After a decade looking through kimberlite sites, they finally discovered the Argyle mines, which now supply approximately 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. Yet, despite this significant discovery, their paucity remained stupefying. Only 0.1% of the twenty million carats of rough produced annually is pink, and a whole year's worth of production of these pink treasures over half a carat would fit in the palm of your hand. The majority of the produce qualified as ‘pink’ are usually around twenty points and of low clarity.
Currently there are no other pink diamond mines in the world, and any discovery of pink diamond deposits would take at least a decade’s time up to the actual production. As this rare treasure draws more and more attention from gem connoisseurs and aficionadas around the world, the demand of the alluring pinks far exceeds the supply. Whenever a pink diamond over 5 carats is put up at an auction, it naturally assumes a pivotal position in the auction room, drawing waves of approving gasps when it fetches astronomical prices time after time. It does not take an expert to admire this nature’s marvel, and their dreamlike colour never disappoints. That is the magic of pink diamonds.
On 7 October Sotheby’s Hong Kong will offer an 8.41-Carat Pear-Shape Internally Flawless (IF) Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink Diamond mounted by Sotheby’s Diamonds with and estimate of HK$100–120 million (US$12.8–15.4 million) as part of the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale. Arguably the most desirable pink diamond to appear at auction in recent years, this beautiful 8.41-carat stone was cut from a rough weighing more than 18 carats mined by the world’s leading diamond corporation De Beers, with the final cutting completed in New York. Internally Flawless clarity, as seen in this remarkable 8.41- carat stone, is extremely rare in pink diamonds, and virtually unseen in any significant pink diamond of Fancy Vivid or Fancy Intense colour grading ever sold at auction.