The 12.03-carat diamond, named the “Blue Moon” because of its rarity, will lead Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale scheduled to take place Nov. 11 in Geneva.
The cushion-shaped, brilliant-cut stone boasts an exceptional clarity, declared internally flawless by the Gemological Institute of America.
It comes to market with an estimate of between $35 million and $55 million. If it sells at the high end of that range, the stone could become the most expensive diamond in auction history.
The current record is held by the Graff Pink, a 24.78-carat fancy intense that went for $46.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2010. (Sotheby’s actually topped the Graff Pink sale in November 2013 when it sold the 59.6-carat “Pink Star” for $83.2 million, but the record didn’t hold as the buyer couldn’t pay for it, requiring Sotheby’s to acquire the stone itself.)
Scientists from the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian Institution were able to study the Blue Moon diamond, noting that the color of the blue diamond is “true and saturated” throughout, with no other colors present.
The polished stone was cut from a 29.62-carat piece of rough unearthed at Petra Diamonds’ Cullinan mine in South Africa in January. A month later, Cora International NY purchased it for $25.6 million, or $862,780 per carat.
Sotheby’s also currently holds the world auction record for a blue diamond. This was set by the Zoe diamond, a 9.75-carat fancy vivid blue diamond that sold for $32.6 million in November 2014 during its sale of the late “Bunny” Mellon’s jewelry.
“Weighing in at 12.03 carats, the Blue Moon diamond is a simply sensational stone of perfect color and purity, combined with a superb cushion shape,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division. “Blue, for me, is the most mysterious and magical of all the colors of diamond, and the Blue Moon will now take its place among the most famous gems in the world.”
Rio Tinto once again has four fancy reds in its annual tender of special stones from the Argyle in Western Australia, the mine that produces the vast majority of the world’s pink and red diamonds.
Including the four fancy reds, there are total of 65 diamonds in this year’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, up from 55 last year.
There also are five “hero” stones this year, top-quality diamonds to which Rio Tinto assigns a name.
This year, Rio Tinto’s partnership with The Australian Ballet inspired the names assigned to the hero stones.
-- Argyle Prima, a 1.20-carat pear-shaped fancy red
Viewings of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender in Hong Kong are by invitation only. Following the viewings there, Rio Tinto will bring the diamonds to New York and then back to Australia.
Tender bids are scheduled to close Oct. 21.
The auction market got a shot of adrenaline last night, as the Sotheby’s Geneva sale set a world record for any jewelry auction—and capped that with six more world records, almost all for colored stones.
The auction fetched $160.9 million, or 149.9 CHF (Swiss francs). That tops the previous record holder, the Christie’s November auction in Geneva, which fetched 147.2 million CHF. (Sotheby’s briefly claimed the title for its $199 million November 2013 sale, but that didn’t stand after an $83.1 million pink diamond sale was canceled.)
The sale gives a nice boost to the Sotheby’s jewelry sales, which were down two percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to its 10-Q.
The 25.59 ct. Burmese Sunrise Ruby sold for $30.3 million ($1.1 million a carat), doubling the low end of its $12 million to $18 million estimate. The stone set records for a ruby, both in total price and per-carat price; for any non-diamond jewel; and any stone by Cartier. The buyer was not named.
The blood-red stone was a favorite of Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry chairman David Bennett, who said last month: “I have remained in awe of the Sunrise Ruby since the first moment I set eyes on it. In over 40 years, I cannot recall ever having seen another Burmese ruby of this exceptional size possessing such outstanding color.”
The Sunrise sale significantly tops the ruby record set just six months ago by the 8.62 ct. Graff Ruby, which sold for $8.6 million at Christie’s Geneva in November 2014.
The Historic Pink Diamond, an 8.72 ct. fancy vivid pink, achieved $15.9 million, which fell within its $14 million to $18 million estimate, and also went to an unnamed buyer. The diamond is believed by the Gemological Institute of America to have been part of the outstanding collection of Princess Mathilde of Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece. It only recently resurfaced, having been kept in a bank vault since the 1940s.
The other records were set for sapphires and pearls:
- A pair of very fine Burmese sapphire and diamond ear clips with a combined weight of 32.67 cts. sold for $3.2 million, setting a world record price for a pair of Burmese sapphire earrings.
- A Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch weighing 30.23 cts. sold for $6.1 million, setting a record for a Kashmir sapphire (the previous record was set in November).
- A rare natural pearl and diamond necklace sold for $7 million, setting a record for a two-row natural pearl necklace.
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One of our favorite designers, Bez Ambar, has introduced another beautiful mounting style using their patented Blaze Cut diamonds. Name the Band of Fire, this style can be provided with Blaze Cut diamonds half-way to all the way around the shank and feature a new six-prong head style for the main diamond.
On April 21, Sotheby's New York will sell a 100-carat, emerald cut internally flawless diamond, the largest of its clarity and cut ever shown at auction. The auction house expects it to fetch up to $25 million.
"Simply put, it has everything you could ever want from a diamond: the classic shape begs to be worn, while the quality puts it in an asset class of its own," said Lisa Hubbard, Chairman of North and South America for Sotheby's International Jewellery Division, in a press release.
The massive gem will lead the house's Magnificent Jewels auction, culminating a six-city exhibition tour that included stops in Dubai, London and Hong Kong. (Other highlights include colored diamonds, a collection of Kashmir sapphire jewelery and several Art Deco pieces from Cartier.)
"People everywhere have been drawn to it from across the room and they are in awe of its size, particularly when they put it on their hand," says Gary Schuler, the head of Sotheby's jewelery department in New York. "They can't believe there's a diamond this pure of s
Sotheby’s calls it the Ultimate Emerald-Cut Diamond—and it’s hard to argue.
The famed auctioneer will offer a 100.2 ct. D internally flawless emerald cut at its April 21 Magnificent Jewels sale in New York City. It is one of only five diamonds of that size and quality ever auctioned. (Two of those five were offered in the last three years.)
The diamond, the largest classic emerald cut ever sold at auction, is expected to fetch between $19 million and $25 million. That would come in under the price garnered by the Winston Legacy, the 101 ct. D flawless pear-shape that fetched $26.7 million in 2013, as well as the 118 ct. D flawless oval that took in $30 million that same year.
“The color is whiter than white, it is free of any internal imperfections, and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of icy water,” raved Gary Schuler, head of the Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, in statement.
The original 200 ct.-plus rough was mined by De Beers in Southern Africa. The current owner spent over one year studying, cutting, and polishing it, Sotheby’s said.
The diamond will be exhibited in Dubai, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London, and Doha, Qatar. It will be shown in New York City beginning April 17.
The popularity and price of fancy colored diamonds have been on the rise globally, driven by Asian investors.
From 2006 to 2014, fancy colored diamonds (pink, yellow, and blue diamonds) experienced an average total appreciation of 154.7%, according to the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF), a non-profit colored diamond index that was established last year. In the same time period, the colorless, white diamond increased by 62.4%, according to the Diamond Prices Index.
China and Hong Kong now represent approximately 40% of sales of the fancy colored diamond market, according to FCRF. “Most increases in fancy colored diamond prices, particularly for pink diamonds, is driven by Asian customers,” says Tracey Greenstein, director of research at FCRF.
The high demand and extreme rarity of the colored diamond are what keep pushing up its price: It’s formed when a non-carbon element—such as nitrogen and hydrogen— is accidentally trapped during the crystallization process of the diamond. The foreign element is what renders the diamond colorful.
Outside of Asia, colored diamonds are often considered assets with highly attractive investment potential whereas colorless diamonds are more suitable for gifting. But in Asia, they are seen as both.
Edward Alvarado, director of colored diamond dealer, Diamintel notes that he often sees Chinese couples coming to his office looking for a colored diamond ring “for her” but walk out with “her ring and his ring.”
“A lot of men liked colored diamonds in China,” says Alvarado. “With white diamonds they might think it looks girly or flashy but with colored diamonds, they can choose some of the more masculine colors.”
As a Venezuelan company that supplies clients globally, Diamintel now sees 80% of their revenue coming from Greater China. Three years ago, Europe and the United States took up 50% of their total revenue.
Major auction houses have been bringing some of the most valuable natural color diamonds to market through the Hong Kong sales, whereas Geneva and New York were the two main focal points before, according to the Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA).
Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold an 8.41-carat purple-pink diamond for a record $17.77 million U.S. dollars in last year’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale. Just two months ago, a 13.88-carat yellow diamond ring and a pair of 6.30 and 6.15-carat diamond earrings sold for $466,667 and $312,821 U.S. dollar, respectively, in Hong Kong.
And the colored diamond phenomenon is not exclusive to Asia’s super rich. Many of the private buyers at the Hong Kong wholesale jewelry trade shows are part of the growing middle class nowadays.
“We live in a time of a democratisation of the diamond market,” says Diamintel’s Alvarado. “The market is getting a lot more educated and global- and it’s not just the traditional elites that are collecting but the savvy Asian investors as well.”
A new index by The Fancy Color Research Foundation (The FCRF) shows that fancy color diamonds have delivered strong and consistent price increases, outperforming key global asset indices since 2005.
Fancy color diamonds, predominantly yellow, pink and blue diamonds, have always been highly prized and rare assets. They are found randomly and unpredictably in diamond mines throughout the world and are enjoyed by sophisticated jewelry buyers and gem collectors alike. Consistent recent growth in values has reflected the changing dynamics of global wealth notably the fast paced growth of emerging markets and the appeal of fancy color diamonds as an investment product.
The Fancy Color Diamond Index (The Index) has been developed by The FCRF from proprietary access to tens of thousands of fancy color diamond transactions since 2005 and will be updated on a quarterly basis. The Index provides greater knowledge and understanding of fancy color diamond pricing trends to jewelry retail, wholesale and mining industries.
Fancy color diamonds, across pinks, yellows and blues, have increased in value by 167 percent on average since January 2005, outperforming other leading assets in a similar period, for example, the Dow Jones industrial average has increased 58 percent, Standard & Poor’s 500 has increased 63 percent and London house prices have increased 82.1 percent.
Looking in more detail the Index shows that pink diamonds have shown the greatest growth in value, up by 360 percent in the last nine years, with blues showing less dramatic but equally consistent growth of a 161 percent by value. Crucially, both pink and blue diamonds were unaffected by the global financial crisis with blues keeping their value and pinks still increasing through 2008 to 2010.
The publication of the Index marks the launch of The FCRF, which is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote fair-trade, ethics and transparency in the fancy color diamond retail, wholesale and mining industry.
The FCRF activity will encompass:
• Developing innovative research and digital tools that will support the fancy color diamond retail selling process for consumers, retailers and collectors;
• Promoting fair trade in fancy color diamonds throughout the value chain underpinned by reliable data analysis to create a uniform knowledge base across all industry layers;
• Authoring publications to clarify the complex methodology for evaluating fancy color diamonds;
• Correcting common misconceptions about evaluating fancy color diamonds.
The FCRF expects that together these activities will enhance consumer demand and retail understanding of fancy color diamonds.
The FCRF was initiated by Eden Rachminov, author of "The Fancy Color Diamond Book" and winner of the NCDIA education award. Ambitions and activities of The FCRF will be guided and evaluated by an experienced board of advisors that work throughout the diamond pipeline.
Rachminov, a member of the board of advisors for The FCRF, commented, “The launch of The Fancy Color Research Foundation is in response to the growth in fancy color diamonds transactions and the resulting need for greater education, understanding and clarity in the industry.
“The process and skills for evaluating fancy color diamonds are unique to this exceptional product. As a result there is a need to clarify misconceptions and to highlight the differences to evaluating colorless diamonds.
“In addition to publishing the Index, The FCRF is developing and publishing a series of practical tools, targeted at retailers. We are confident that The Fancy Color Research Foundation will be a significant influence on increasing demand within the fancy color diamond industry.”
Membership of the FCRF is open to retailers, auction houses, wholesale traders/manufacturers, financial institutions, insurance appraisers and mining companies. Organizations interested in membership of The FCRF should visit fcresearch.org to register details.
About the Fancy Color Diamond Index:
The Index is a first of its kind tracker of changes in the market prices of yellow, pink and blue fancy color diamonds, the three most commonly traded fancy color diamond categories (a market price is a wholesale transaction taking place in one or more of the global diamond trading centers).
The Index is a composite representation of changes in price points gathered since 2005, based on a statistically significant sample size. It offers insight into variations in the appreciation of diamonds of different colors and sizes.
The Fancy Color Research Foundation oversees proprietary prevalence and pricing data aggregation and production of the index. A third party New York-based audit firm reviews the development of The Index from the various data points gathered.
The Index can be used to understand and track the historical price behavior of different rare fancy color diamonds.