The diamond is a brilliant blue and is set in a ring made by Italian jeweler Bulgari around 1965. The high price likely comes from the diamond's unusual color as well as its posh setting: Bulgari is a company beloved by the Hollywood glitterati, and blue diamonds are rarely up for sale. This particular blue diamond also happens to be a large chunk of ice at 5.3 carets.
The diamond is a "fancy deep-blue" stone, terminology that describes its intensity of color. The blue sheen comes from boron atoms intermixed with the carbon that makes up the diamond's structure. According to Bonhams, less than 1 percent of all diamonds mined are blue diamonds.
"Blue diamonds, especially those over 5.00 carats, are extremely rare to see on the market and continue to be highly sought-after," Jean Ghika, the director of Bonhams' European jewelry department, said in a statement. "We are honored to have handled the sale of such a unique gem."
The previous record for the price of a diamond per carat was $1.68 million, according to Bonhams.
The most famous blue diamond in the world is the Hope Diamond, which now resides at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Crudely cut, the Hope Diamond was 112 and 3/15 carats and likely came from a mine in Golconda, India, according to the Smithsonian. King Louis XIV bought the diamond from a French merchant who picked it up in India and later had it recut into a 67 and 1/8-carat stone. The diamond remained in the hands of French royalty until 1792, when it was stolen during an episode of unrest and looting.
The diamond's path then becomes foggy until 1839, when it popped up in the gem collection of banking heir Henry Philip Hope. The diamond then passed through the hands of multiple private sellers, gracing a tiara at one point before being set as a pendant. The Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian in 1958. Three-hundred-plus years of recutting has whittled its weight down to 45.54 carats.
Blue diamonds aren't the only unusual color out there. Very rarely, miners unearth red diamonds, which are sometimes mistaken for garnets or rubies. Only three red diamonds weigh more than 5 carats, including the Kazanjian Red Diamond, which went on display at the American Museum of Natural History in 2010.
11 posts from April 2013
Christie’s New York magnificent jewelry sale garnered $81,358,700 on April 16, with The Princie Diamond setting a record for a diamond sold by the auction house in the U.S. The auction sold 91 percent by lot and 82 percent by value.
The Princie Diamond, a cushion-cut, 35.65-carat, fancy intense pink Golconda diamond sold for $39.32 million, or $1.135 million per carat to an anonymous buyer. Christie’s stated that the sale also marked a new record for a Golconda diamond sold at auction.
“A major event took place in the global auction industry with the record breaking sale of The Princie Diamond at Christie’s New York,” said Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry at Christie’s Americas and Switzerland. “Aside from Christie’s sale of the legendary Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, this was the most successful jewelry auction ever held in the United States and Christie’s was proud to have orchestrated the sale of such an historic gemstone.”
The second top lot was a rectangular-cut, 30.32-carat, D, VVS1 diamond that sold for $4.4 million, or $146,300 per carat, to a private buyer. A marquise-cut, 23.3-carat, D, VVS2 diamond ring by Harry Winston was bought by Graff for $3.3 million, or $140,000 per carat and a diamond necklace by William Goldberg sold for $1.9 million to Essex Global Trading. The fifth top lot was an oval-cut, 11.08-carat, ruby and diamond ring, which sold for $1.7 million.
The Cullinan mine is renowned for its large diamonds, with many stones discovered there now set within the Crown Jewels. These include the Great Star of Africa which was discovered at the mine in 1905.
“Blue diamonds are the rarest of all diamond and Cullinan is one of the largest producers of the stones,” Jeremy Dibb, an analyst at broker Canaccord said. “Cullinan produced an important blue stone following the acquisition by Petra Diamonds.”
This previously discovered 26.6 carat fancy vivid blue stone was cut into an internally flawless 7.03 carat polished stone.
This blue diamond was sold at auction at Southeby’s in May 2009 and achieving a record price per carat for any gemstone sold at auction, hitting $9.49m or $1.35m per carat.
Petra Diamonds, a member of the FTSE 250 index, saw its shares rise 0.6p to 108p following the discovery.
The most famous blue diamond is the Hope Diamond housed in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History.
Diamond company De Beers announced the launch of what they are claiming is the largest sea-going vehicle in the world for mining diamonds, Rough and Polished reports. Otto Shikongo, chief executive of De Beers Marine Namibia, said that the latest addition to their fleet will harvest more ore and generate more revenue than any of their other ships. The boat, dubbed the MV Mafuta, will be the fifth in DebMarine's arsenal, but will soon be single-handedly responsible for a full 30% of the firm's annual diamond production.
The vessel is capable of mining for rough diamonds underwater for over four days without taking a break. Within a year, it is able to recover approximately 350,000 carats of precious gems, according to Rough and Polished.
Source: The Israeli Diamond Industry
The stone, which had excellent cut, polish, and symmetry, achieved $6.9 million, or $239,352 per carat—a world record per-carat price for a round white diamond.
Other notable sales:
- A matched pair of diamond pendant earrings, each 8 cts., brought in $2.82 million.
- A 19.54 ct. cushion-shaped Colombian emerald and diamond ring took in $1.93 million, above its $1 million to $1.5 million estimate.
The diamond is the traditional birthstone for those who were born in the month of April. How perfect that Andrea Murphy of Gentry, Arkansas, found a 2.10-carat brown diamond Saturday, April 6 while she and her family visited the Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro to celebrate her birthday.
According to park interpreter Margi Jenks, Murphy and eight of her family members gathered together at the Crater of Diamonds to celebrate a milestone, her 30th birthday. Her mother, Karen, came up with the idea to visit Arkansas’s diamond site and celebrate the occasion here since the diamond is Andrea’s birthstone.
“The square, iced tea brown diamond was a surface find after Andrea had been here for about two hours. At first Andrea thought her find was either a diamond, or some kind of toy. After the park staff verified and registered her diamond, Andrea decided that the best name for it would be the Andrea Birthday Diamond,” Jenks said.
The diamond is the 144th diamond found this year by a park visitor, and it is the sixth diamond since January 1st weighing over one carat.
The diamond was found in the East Drain area of the field, a 37-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in the world in surface area.
It is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. On average, two diamonds are found each day at the park. What park visitors find is theirs to keep. The park staff provides free identification and registration of diamonds.
Up until recently the diamond industry had a structural flaw — just one player controlled it. De Beers was the diamond industry, and diamonds were synonymous with De Beers. However, over the last 25 years, a series of events led to the dismantling of the De Beers monopoly. Today, De Beers no longer has complete control of the diamond industry, and for the first time in a century, market forces, not the De Beers monopoly, drive the diamond market.
In the late 1800s after a massive diamond discovery in South Africa, a diamond rush was born, and businessman Cecil Rhodes bought as many diamond mining claims as he could, including farmland owned by the De Beer family. By the turn of the century, Rhodes had accumulated enough properties that his company accounted for the majority of the world’s supply of rough diamonds. He called his company De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited.
As De Beers maintained a hold on the worlds rough diamond supply through the first quarter of the 20th century, financer Ernest Oppenheimer began accumulating shares of De Beers whenever available, and reached a controlling stake of the company by the mid-1920s. Under Oppenheimer’s control, De Beers further expanded into every facet of the diamond industry, intent on monopolizing distribution. De Beers successfully influenced just about all of the world’s rough suppliers to sell production through the De Beers channel, gaining control of the global supply not produced by De Beers mines. The cartel was born, giving Oppenheimer the power to influence diamond supply and thus diamond prices.
The De Beers distribution channel, named the Central Selling Organization or CSO, (later changed to Diamond Trading Co. or DTC), had the power to sell what, when, and where they wanted to. In order to buy from CSO, membership as a “Sightholder” was required, which was completely the discretion of De Beers, as was the quality and price of the product being sold. No negotiation between the CSO and Sightholder occurred, all transactions were take-it-or-leave-it. In order to maintain a stable but rising diamond price, De Beers had the power to stockpile inventory in a weak market or raise the prices charged to Sightholders, and then in an excessively strong price environment (with the potential to damage demand), De Beers had the excess supply on hand to release to the market when needed, repressing disorderly price increases.
To keep the system intact, it was necessary for De Beers to maintain control of the world’s rough diamond supply via purchases through CSO. In the second half of the 20th century, as new world class mines were discovered in Russia, Australia and Canada, it became more and more difficult for De Beers to purchase all global production. The biggest risk to the survival of the cartel was for mines to begin selling directly to the market, thus bypassing De Beers.
Russia (present day the world’s largest diamond producer by value) began producing diamonds in the mid-twentieth century. At first, the Russians agreed to sell production to De Beers keeping the cartel intact. However, this quickly became extremely costly to De Beers as the Russian mines produced greater quantity and lower quality stones than anticipated. This prompted De Beers to commence the ”Diamond is forever” marketing campaign, transforming the image of diamonds to a proxy for love, expanding demand of lower quality stones to a new middle class American market, in an effort to absorb the new supply. Another challenge emerged in 1963 when Anti-Apartheid legislation restrained the Soviet Union from dealing with a South African company. But the final blow to the arrangement came during the Soviet Union collapse in the 1990s, when political chaos and a weak ruble further separated Russia’s production from De Beers.
Shortly after losing control of Russian supply, the Argyle Mine in Australia, at the time the largest diamond producing mine in the world by volume, broke away from the DeBeers supply chain. Over the next few years, other mines followed suit, as new world-class mines in Canada sold supply independent of De Beers.
The emergence of new supply distributed outside of CSO meant that De Beers, was forced to hold back from selling large portions of its own inventory and to purchase excess supply from its new competitors in the open market, in an effort to maintain control of the market. By the end of the 1990s, De Beers’s market share had fallen from as high as 90% in the 1980s to less than 60%. De Beers no longer had control of the market in 2000, when the company announced a shift in strategic initiative to focus on independent marketing and branding, rather than generic diamond price control.
However, the monopoly officially ended in 2001, when several lawsuits were filed in U.S. courts alleging that De Beers “unlawfully monopolized the supply of diamonds, conspired to fix, raise, and control diamond prices, and issued false and misleading advertising.” After multiple appeals, in 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court denied final petition for review, and a settlement in the amount of $295 million with an agreement to “refrain from engaging in certain conduct that violates federal and state antitrust laws” was approved.
Source: WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd, Gem Certification & Assurance Lab, Price Scope, and Authors analysis. Price constitutes various qualities of rough and polished diamonds, and shows diamond price deviation from starting basis of 100 beginning in 1987.
The way De Beers did business, which revolved around the central concept of controlling supply in the market, was simply not viable in a more competitive environment, and De Beers could not maintain the monopoly. From 2000 to 2004 diamond prices modestly declined, as the De Beers stockpile was liquidated into new demand coming out of Asia. By 2005, the inventory overhang had been lifted allowing market forces to drive diamond prices for the first time in a century, resulting in unprecedented price volatility. Diamond prices made a new high in 2007, followed by a violent sell off in 2008 and 2009 before rebounding to another new high in the summer of 2011.
With a market share of less than 40%, in 2011 the Oppenheimer family announced a complete exit from De Beers, ending almost a century-long ownership of perhaps the greatest monopoly in history.
A Birks jewelry store in Edmonton, Canada, is selling a 16.01-carat fancy intense yellow diamond set on a diamond pavé platinum ring. The natural colored, Asscher cut, VVS1 diamond was recently discovered and is conflict-free, according to the Birks jewelry chain. The ring is on sale for CAD$1.8 million ($1.77 million).
The ring will be on view and on sale at the Birks store in Manulife Place until April 16 before moving to the Birks store in the Core shopping center in Calgary.
Birks is 30-store fine jewelry retail chain in Canada. It is part of Birks & Mayors, which also operates 23 stores under the Mayors brand in Florida and Georgia, two retail locations in Calgary and Vancouver under the Brinkhaus brand, and one retail location in Orlando under the Rolex brand.
Diamond Source of Virginia provides its clients exceptionally beautiful fancy colored diamonds and custom made designer mountings. To optimize the color of these fancy yellow colored diamonds, it is best to have 18-karat yellow-gold metal surrounding and touching the diamond regardless of what the color of the metal is in the rest of the mounting.
The 34.64 ct. diamond can be traced back to the ancient diamond mines of Golconda in south central India. It was named after the Prince of Baroda. It is expected to fetch between $30 million and $40 million.
Other highlights of the sale include a three-strand natural pearl necklace, valued at $1 million–$1.5 million, and a 23.30 ct. Harry Winston diamond ring, valued at $2.5 million-$3.5 million.
“One of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world, the Princie Diamond carries a fabulous provenance, which brings together the legendary names of Golconda, Nizam of Hyderabad, and the Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda,” François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s jewelry department, said in a statement. “This rich history, combined with its rare pink hue, conveys a special charm, which will speak to all collectors in the world seeking the best of the best in gemstones.”
It is nice to see a more accurate photo of a pink diamond. Often the photos online or in print are color enhance so the pink diamond looks more like a pink sapphire. As a result most consumers are greatly disappointed when they see a real pink diamond in person. This is especially the case for Faint Pink or Fancy Faint Pink, where it is difficult to see any pink color at all.
While the company saw overall diamond prices decrease this year, it also found that prices rose 9 percent since August, and 6 percent in the current quarter, according to James R. W. Pounds, the company’s executive vice president, in a conference call following the release of its financial results.
He said he expects prices to plateau over the next couple of months, and then possibly increase again by the end of the year.
He noted that diamond demand remains uneven in India and China, but said the company is seeing “upbeat trends” in the United States, with strong indications that the American distribution channels were consolidating.
“Larger players now dominate what was once a fragmented market,” he said.
Company executives also dropped numerous hints they have their eyes on buying the rest of the Diavik mine, after purchasing nearby Ekati. The company currently owns 40 percent of Diavik, and the remainder is currently being offered for sale by owner Rio Tinto.
CEO Bob Gannicott talked at one point about possible benefits that could occur if Ekati and Diavik “were to come under common ownership.” Later, he added that it “was not clear at this time" whether Dominion would acquire Diavik.
The company completed the sale of its Harry Winston luxury brand division to Swatch this month. “That sales transaction brought us closer to the Swatch Group,” Gannicott said. “We contemplate a diamond supply relationship going forward.”
Dominion said it expects to close its purchase of the Ekati diamond mine by April 10.
The company also reported mixed financial results.
Results from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 (ended Jan. 31):
- Consolidated sales from continuing operations: Up 8 percent, to $110.1 million
- Operating profit from continuing operations: Down 12 percent to $21.0 million Consolidated EBITDA from continuing operations: Down 6 percent to $45.3 million
- Rough diamond production: Up 19 percent to 1.9 million carats
Results from the 2012 fiscal year:
- Consolidated sales from continuing operations: Up 19 percent to $345.4 million
- Rough diamond production: Up 8 percent to 7.2 million carats
- Operating profit: Up 27 percent to $47.7 million
- Consolidated EBITDA from continuing operations: Up 10 percent to $127.9 million