Christie’s Sells 92ct. Heart Pendant for $15M

Christies heart diamondThe largest heart-shaped, D-flawless diamond ever offered at auction fetched $15 million at Christie’s in Geneva on Wednesday, the company reported.

The 92.15-carat diamond, which was mounted in a necklace, achieved $162,611 per carat, falling within its pre-sale estimate of $14.1 million to $20.2 million. The piece, dubbed “La Légende,” was a creation of Boehmer et Bassenge, a high-end maison launched last year and named after 18th-century Parisian jewelers Charles Boehmer and Paul Bassenge.

Other sales at the auction included a ring set with diamonds and an oval-cut, 15.03-carat ruby, which garnered $12.9 million. Separately, a cushion-shaped, 7.97-carat, fancy intense blue, VS1-clarity diamond went for $12.7 million, or $1.6 million per carat.

The Magnificent Jewels auction recorded total proceeds of $95 million (CHF 93.1 million) including buyer’s premiums. It came a day after rival Sotheby’s sold $151.5 million of jewelry at its Geneva event, headlined by a pair of earrings that fetched a record $57.4 million, or $2.9 million per carat.

via www.diamonds.net


Chunk That Broke Off 1,109-Carat Diamond Sells for $17M

 Vancouver, British Columbia--A 373.72-carat rough diamond that once was part of the second largest piece of rough ever found sold for $17.5 million last week, Lucara Diamond Corp. reported.

373.72 rough diamondThe diamond was one of 15 single-stone lots offered at the diamond mining company’s first “exceptional” stone tender of the year.

Graff Diamonds purchased the stone, posting a photo of the rough on its Instagram account over the weekend.

Lucara found the 374-carat diamond in November 2015at its Karowe mine in Botswana at the same time it discovered the record-setting, 1,111-carat diamond (now 1,109 carats) that would come to be known as Lesedi la Rona. 

CEO William Lamb said that had the smaller, 374-carat piece of rough not broken off the main stone, the diamond would have weighed almost 1,500 carats. But the huge rough diamond likely would have been crushed in the company’s recovery plant, which isn’t designed to handle stones of that size.

“If the 374-carat stone was still attached to the Lesedi, the stone would have been larger in two dimensions than the largest screen (sieve) used in the plant to separate material into different sizes,” he explained. “The original stone would have been too large to pass through the screen and the whole stone would have ended up in the crusher, where it would have been broken into a lot more pieces.”

He added that Lucara is currently in the process of upgrading its plant, an upgrade called mega diamond recovery or MDR, which will address this by recovering diamonds up to 5,000 carats right at the front of the process facility.

Also recovered from that fortuitous haul was an 812.77-carat diamond that sold for $63.1 million--more than $77,000 per carat--in May 2016, setting a new world record for a rough diamond.
 
The 374-carat diamond was the top lot in the Lucara’s tender, which was 100 percent sold by lot.

The sale, which contained rough diamond ranging from 374 to 29.9 carats in size, totaled $54.8 million, or $31,010 per carat.

Lucara said there were seven diamonds that sold for more than $2 million each. Of those, three diamonds topped $4 million.

182 carat rough diamondThis includes the 374-carat diamond and the auction’s second highest-grossing lot, a 182.47-carat diamond that sold for $6.3 million.

Since it started mining at Karowe in 2012, Lucara has gotten more than $1 million for each of 145 rough diamonds.

Its biggest find remains unsold, however.

Lesedi-la-Rona rough diamondThe 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona went up for public auction at Sotheby’s but nobody met the $70 million reserve price.

At the end of 2016, Lamb told National Jeweler that the rough diamond likely would be put up for sale again in 2017 but through a sealed bid tender, perhaps, and not a public auction.

When asked about the diamond on Monday, Lamb said: “We continue to speak to a number of people within the sector regarding the sale of the stone, as well as looking at options to partner to polish the stone or even polish it without a partner … We are looking at all options and hope to make a decision soon.”
 
 
By Michelle Graff

Coloured stones: Collecting guide | Christie's

From rubies and emeralds to rare coloured diamonds

Specialist David Warren provides an in-depth expert guide for buyers seeking a bright addition to their collection



1) Fancy or Vivid? Get to know your terminology
Colored GemstonesA highlight in the coloured stones category — often setting world-record prices — coloured diamonds come with their own specific colour categories. A blue diamond, for example, could be classified as Faint Blue, Very Light Blue, Fancy Light Blue, Fancy Blue, Fancy Intense Blue, Fancy Dark Blue, Fancy Deep Blue or Fancy Vivid Blue. The same principle of categorisation applies to coloured diamonds of virtually all hues.


2) Word order is important
Coloured diamonds aren’t always a single colour. You may sometimes see a diamond described as ‘Vivid Orange Yellow’ — or even ‘Vivid Yellow Orange’. But what’s the difference? The key here is to look at the last word, which will be the principal colour. A pair of Vivid Orange Yellow diamond earrings were recently sold by Christie’s in Geneva, for example, where the colour was considered marginally more towards yellow than orange.

You can also have an ‘Orangey Yellow’. Here, yellow remains the dominant colour, with just a touch of orange; it’s not as orange as an ‘Orange Yellow’.


3) Are some colours more valuable than others?
The rarest of the rare is a red diamond — there aren’t many, and they’re generally not very big. It would be exceptionally unusual to find a red diamond above 2 carats.


4) How are coloured diamonds graded?
Christie’s sends diamonds to the GIA laboratory (the Gemological Institute of America), which provides the world’s most trusted colour grading service. It’s often worth doing, even if you have a stone with a weak colour — particularly if the colour is faint pink, green or blue, for example, which could still be significantly valuable.

A weak yellow diamond, however, might not be, as it is not uncommon to find stones with a yellow tinge. Other colours that may still be attractive and collectable but far less expensive include brown, yellowish brown, greenish yellowish brown, brownish yellow, yellowish brownish green. There are many colour combinations — even black.


5) Where do coloured diamonds come from?
Mining coloured diamonds is really a matter of chance. The only exception is the Argyle mine in Australia, owned by Rio Tinto, which is the only mine in the world to consistently produce pink diamonds, and is also the world’s largest supplier of natural coloured diamonds.

Diamonds in their purest form are white — as are all other gemstones, except three: opal, turquoise and peridot. What turns them a particular colour is the presence of an accidental colouring agent. A blue diamond, for example, will contain a tiny amount of boron in the composition of the stone. Green diamonds acquire their colour from radiation in the ground, while yellow diamonds are created when nitrogen enter their chemical composition. Pink diamonds result from a ‘slip’ in the stone’s lattice structure.
6 What about other coloured stones? Is there such a thing as a perfect emerald?
When it comes to emeralds, the most coveted are a darkish green. It’s important the stone isn’t too dark, however: the highest-quality emeralds combine good colour with clarity. Imagine if you were to take an empty wine bottle made from green glass and hold it up to sunlight — that’s a good indication of the perfect shade.

The proportions of an emerald (or any gemstone) are also important. If they’re poor, light will diffract and go through the stone, rather than bouncing around within it, coming out, and hitting the eye — a phenomenon known as total internal refraction. While fissures, known as ‘inclusions’, are common, too many will affect the beauty of the stone and lower its value.

Although highly rare, it is theoretically possible to get an emerald so perfect in terms of colour, clarity and brightness that it comes close to resembling the brilliance and ‘fire’ of a diamond (I have only ever seen a handful of emeralds that fall into this rare category).


7) What about rubies and sapphires?
The same concerns apply — as with emeralds, buyers of rubies and sapphires should look for stones with an appealing colour, good clarity, and attractive proportions.

A small percentage of the top rubies have a colour referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood’ — a dark red — though must not be too dark. Aim for a rich, warm burgundy that makes you joyful when you look at it.


8) Is origin relevant?
For coloured gemstones, this is a point to be considered, with the top emeralds mined in Colombia, the finest rubies coming from Burma and, for sapphires, the cream of the crop hail from Kashmir. However, it is important to remember that attractive gemstones do come from many different localities, and it is all about the beauty of the colour and the budget available.


9) How important is carat?
It’s a common misconception to think that stones with a higher carat weight are always more valuable. They often are, but you could have a 50-carat emerald that’s worth say $500 per carat — or a five-carat emerald worth $30,000 per carat. The same is true for all stones. It’s a combination of the ‘four c’s’: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight.


10) Should I be wary of treated stones?
Man has a long history of tampering with coloured stones. Emeralds, for example, often have fissures that break the surface, which can be filled with oil or plastic resin. The oil or resin is designed to have the same refractive index as the stone and, once absorbed into the fissures, the inclusions become less apparent. This practice is one that goes back 4,000 years to Ancient Egypt, when natural oils were used.

The degree to which an emerald has been improved with an enhancement agent is graded from none to insignificant, minor, moderate or significant. Oil, though considered to be gentler, can have the disadvantage of leaking from the stone over time, unlike resin, which is permanent. There’s nothing wrong with buying an enhanced stone, as long as the degree of enhancement is reflected in the price — though a beautiful untreated emerald will be worth far more than a beautiful treated emerald.


11 What about coloured diamonds?
Buyers should ensure that the diamond’s colour is natural. Concerning green diamonds, it’s important to verify that the radiation that gave the stone its colour occurred in the ground, and not in a laboratory — one of the hardest tests for the GIA to determine.

Blue diamonds can also be created through artificial irradiation, but mostly look obviously wrong. Similarly, the colour of yellow stones can be enhanced, with the most famous example of an enhanced stone being the Deepdene Diamond, weighing 104.52 carats.


12 How should I care for coloured stones?
One golden rule is: never carry gemstones in a pouch. Sadly, it’s something I’ve seen too often, and results in badly damaged stones. The resistance of minerals is assessed using ‘Mohs scale of hardness’. If stored with other stones, a diamond will scratch another diamond, and any stone softer than it. Sapphires will scratch everything that is softer than them, and so on, down the scale.

It’s a mistake, however, to think that diamonds are indestructible. Although they are the hardest substance known to man, they do have a certain brittleness. A diamond can chip, for example, if it hits a hard surface like marble. Here, weight becomes critical: if a diamond is damaged, it can be re-cut to remove any chips, but in doing this there will be a loss of weight. If a stone weighing 10.05 carats drops to 9.95 carats, the impact on value can be significant, because it has dipped below 10.00 carats. A loss of half a carat in a 15.75 carat stone, on the other hand, may do little to alter value.

via www.christies.com


Countries That Produce the Most Diamonds

Despite a market that accounts for more than a third of global demand for the gemstone, the U.S. does not have any significant natural diamond resources within its geographical borders. Instead, Russia supplied about a third of the total carats mined in 2015.

Diamond production levels have remained steady in recent years, but industry analysts have predicted a dip in demand due in part to shifting preferences among millennials. The generation is getting married later, if at all, and has unique preferences.

In October, the Diamond Producers Association – a group of seven major diamond retailers, including De Beers and Canada's Lucara – launched an advertising campaign targeting millennial consumers called "Real Is Rare." The industry organization, founded in 2015, even got celebrity Nick Cannon involved.

Diamond-mines-map

But diamonds may not be as rare as the trade organization makes them out to be. After a drop in production between 2008 and 2009, more than 120 million carats of diamond have been produced each year by a handful of countries, largely concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there are also "substantial" reserves of the gemstone around the world.

 

Here are the countries that produced the most diamonds in 2015, according to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a collaboration among government and industry organizations.

Country Diamond Production in 2015 (in carats) Average Value Per Carat
Russia 41.9 million $101
Botswana 20.8 million $144
Dem. Rep. of Congo 16.0 million $8
Australia 13.6 million $23
Canada 11.7 million $144
Angola 9.0 million $131
South Africa 7.2 million $193
Zimbabwe 3.5 million $50
Namibia 2.1 million $591
Sierra Leone 500,000 $309
 

The Hidden Meaning Behind Your Favorite Gemstones - Vogue

Gemstones-and-their-meaningsWhile fine jewelry is usually high in monetary value, what often makes it exceptional is that it’s steeped in significance. A piece of jewelry frequently has a particular aura that does not fade; it is with it that we mark the milestones of our lives—engagement, marriage, friendships, parenthood, birthdays, travels, traditions, and love.

Jewelry, some argue, emblematizes the sublime.

When we consider some of the materials jewelry is made with—metals derived from the earth’s crust and gemstones, which, like crystals, have significant metaphysical properties—it’s hard to deny the cosmic allure.

These materials have been honored, according to Maria Leach’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, “back beyond recorded history.” Ancient Roman texts note that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with magical diamonds. In Eastern narratives, dragons were often depicted with flaming, wish-granting pearls under their chins or in their claws. In early written accounts, people adorned themselves with feathers, bones, shells, and colored pebbles. We now, of course, refer to these arrangements of naturally occurring materials as jewelry—and now, the colored pebbles are known as gemstones.

Here, a look at the history of some favorite gemstones and their mythological meanings.

Ruby
In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In ancient Hinduism, it was believed by some that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna could be reborn as emperors. Rubies were divided into four castes. The Brahmin, for example, granted the advantage of perfect safety. The stone is also mentioned at least four times in the Bible, usually as a representative of beauty and wisdom. Numerous early cultures believed, because of the stone’s likeness to the color of blood, that rubies held the power of life. Among European royalty and the upper classes, rubies were thought to guarantee good health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. They’ve became some of the most sought-after gems.

 

Lapis
Lapis lazuli has always been associated with royalty and deities, and it may be where the idea of royal blue came from. Egyptians believed that it came from the heavens and provided protection in the afterlife, so they used it in their statues of the gods, in totemic objects, in jewelry, and in burial masks. In the epic poem Gilgamesh, Sumerians spent years traveling from one end of Asia to the other in order to mine and obtain the stone. Lapis is included in numerous other myths but has served practical purposes as well: Ancient Egyptians used it to create blue cosmetics, and during the Renaissance, painters ground the

via www.vogue.com


Pink Star diamond sets new world record in Hong Kong - BBC News

Pink Star diamondA rare diamond known as the Pink Star has been sold in Hong Kong for more than $71m (£57m), setting a new world record for any gemstone at auction.

The oval-shaped 59.6 carat stone was bought after just five minutes' bidding at Sotheby's, reports said.

It is the largest polished diamond in its class to go under the hammer.

It sold for $83m in Geneva in 2013 but the buyer later defaulted. The record until now was held by the Oppenheimer Blue, which sold for $50m last May.

Bidding for the gem, which was found by De Beers at a mine in Africa in 1999 and cut over a period of two years, began at $56m.

Sotheby's said the buyer was Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery.

Alexander Breckner, head of diamonds at jewellers "77 Diamonds", told the BBC that the stone was exceptional.

"It's the largest pink diamond ever found in the history of humankind. It's an incredible colour to it.

"And the sheer size of the stone already makes it so rare and so beautiful."

via www.bbc.com


The journey of one of the rarest, largest diamonds - CNN.com

Cullinan Heritage rough diamondWhat do you do with one of the world's largest rough diamonds?  You chip away at it - - for some 47,000 man hours and then turn it into one lavish neckpiece, featuring 11,551 diamonds.

Follow this link to see a photo gallery that depicts a visual journey -- from the origins of where one of the world's rarest and largest diamonds was unearthed, to how it formed the core of an absurdly lavish necklace, made of 11,551 diamonds and hundreds of pieces of jade and jadeite. The piece was designed as a collaboration between jewelry designer Wallace Chan and Hong Kong's largest jewelry retailer, Chow Tai Fook.

via www.cnn.com


Two Large Rough Diamonds Found in Lesotho

New York--Two large diamonds have been uncovered in Africa in as many weeks, putting an end to the drought of big diamond finds the industry seems to have been experiencing.
Lesotho diamonds
Gem Diamonds uncovered the 114-carat D color, Type II rough diamond on the left at Letšeng while Firestone Diamonds found the 110-carat light yellow rough diamond at right at its Liqhobong project.

Mining company Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced the recovery of a 114-carat rough diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho on Friday.

The company described it as a D color, Type II diamond of “exceptional quality.”

The Letšeng mine is known for producing large, high-quality white diamonds, selling at an average price of $2,000 per carat, according to Bloomberg, which is the highest in the industry.

It is the deposit responsible for producing the 357-carat chunk of rough that was cut into the 118.78-carat “Graff Venus,” the world’s largest flawless heart-shaped diamond.

Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced four of the 20 largest gem-quality white diamonds ever recorded, though last year it only recovered five stones bigger than 100 carats, less than half what it found the year prior.

The news of Gem’s find came on the heels of another big diamond find from a rival miner in Lesotho, a small kingdom within a country that’s located in the southeastern portion of South Africa.

On April 5, Firestone Diamonds said it had unearthed a 110-carat diamond, its biggest discovery so far, at its new mine in Lesotho.

The light yellow stone was discovered at the Liqhobong project, confirming its beliefs that the deposit has the potential for large diamonds, the company said.

Firestone has spent $185 million to build up the mine, which just began production in October.

In addition to its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, Firestone also owns and operates the BK11 kimberlite mine in northern Botswana.

via www.nationaljeweler.com


The Pink Star’ Sells for $71M at Sotheby’s

Hong Kong--The 59.60-carat ‘Pink Star’ diamond has, once again, become the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, and maybe this time it will stick.

Pink-Star-1The Pink Star is a 59.60-carat oval mixed-cut Type IIa pink diamond and is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond the Gemological Institute of America has ever graded. The diamond came from a 132.5-carat piece of rough mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999 and was cut and polished over a two-year period.

Chow Tai Fook paid $71.2 million for the stone on Tuesday at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based retailer and manufacturer edged out two other buyers to snag the stone, Sotheby’s said.

Sotheby’s experts had estimated before the sale that The Pink Star would sell for more than $60 million.

It set a new world record price for any jewel sold at auction, surpassing the rectangular-cut, 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue,” which sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva last May.

This isn’t the first time The Pink Star has found a buyer at auction, though the first sale fell through.

The nearly 60-carat pink stone went up for auction in November 2013 at Sotheby’s Geneva, where four different bidders competed for it. New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf placed the winning bid of $83 million, which, at the time, marked a new auction record for any jewel ever sold at auction.

In February 2014, though, Wolf defaulted on the payment for the diamond he had named “The Pink Dream” and as a result, Sotheby’s had to take the stone back into its inventory because it had been sold under an auction guarantee.

Last summer, the auction house formed a partnership with Diacore and Mellen Inc. to acquire an ownership interest in the diamond, meaning that when the stone sold, proceeds would be split among the three companies per their ownership percentage.


887 Carat Emerald Goes Up for Auction | JCK

Also for sale at Guernsey’s: 17 emeralds from a famed Spanish shipwreck

887 carat la Gloria EmeraldThe la Gloria, an 887 ct. “museum-quality” stone believed to be the largest rough emerald in the United States, is among the rare emeralds going up for sale by Guernsey’s at an Apr. 25 auction run in New York City.

That golf ball–size stone, along with 17 emeralds discovered from the wreck of Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, all come from the collection of noted emerald authority Marcial de Gomar.

“It’s very rare for an auction to spotlight emeralds,” says Arlan Ettinger, founder and president of Guernsey’s. “We feel this will be an extraordinary event.”

The la Gloria hails from the Muzo mine in Colombia, known for producing large emeralds. It’s sat in de Gomar’s collection for many years, and this is its first time on the market. And while the collector feels it could produce a 400 ct. polished stone, he has always believed it shouldn’t be cut.

“[There’s a] little piece of calcite on the end [that] is a tip to its provenance,” de Gomar says. “It tells you what country it comes from, what mine it comes from. All that is very significant. I wouldn’t want it to be cut. I’d like for it to be kept as is. It should be in a state museum somewhere.”

The stone is named for a now-deceased attorney that represented de Gomar in litigation over the Atocha.

Xcorona-de-muzoThe 17 gemstones from the Atocha include the Corona de Muzo (below), which features a 24.34 ct. emerald cut; the Reina del Mar, a 4.39 ct. round; and a 26.72 ct. piece of rough. All those stones are believed to have come from Muzo as well.

The Atocha sank in 1622, off the coast of Florida while bound for Spain. In the 1980s, treasure hunter Mel Fisher discovered portions of the wreckage, setting off an epic legal battle with the state of Florida.

Ettinger says most of the items will be sold without reserve (though not la Gloria). “That makes it more exciting,” he says.

The auction house is still working on an estimate for the headline stone but expects it to fetch “many millions.”

via www.jckonline.com