Geneva--The auction of the latest potentially record-setting stone was announced Wednesday, with Sotheby’s Geneva set to sell a 59.60-carat pink diamond that could shatter the current world record for any gemstone sold at auction.
The auction house is calling “The Pink Star,” an oval-cut diamond that is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, “the most valuable diamond ever to be offered at auction.” It will be part of Sotheby’s Nov. 13 auction in Geneva.
The diamond expected to sell for more than $60 million.
The current world record price achieved for any diamond, gemstone or jewel sold at auction is $46.2 million, a mark set by the 2010 auction of the 24.78-carat Graff Pink, also offered by Sotheby’s Geneva.
David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division in Europe and the Middle East and chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland, said the richness of color and the size of this stone surpass those of any known pink diamond in state, royal or private collections.
“This 59.60-carat stone is simply off any scale and passes, I believe, into the ranks of the earth’s greatest natural treasures,” he said.
GIA Senior Vice President Tom Moses concurs. “The GIA laboratory has been issuing grading reports for 50 years and this is the largest pink diamond with this depth of color that we have ever characterized,” he said in a past interview with the Financial Times about the stone.
The Pink Star originally was unveiled to the public in Monaco in 2003. The stone, cut from a 132.05-carat piece of rough mined by De Beers, then was known as the Steinmetz Pink, after the diamond company that cut it. It was renamed The Pink Star upon its initial purchase in 2007.
The diamond was part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Splendour of Diamonds exhibition in 2003, shown alongside stones such as the De Beers Millennium Star, the Allnatt and the Moussaieff Red.
The Pink Star is one a number of extremely rare, and large, diamonds up for sale this fall.
On Oct. 7, Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction will include The Premier Blue, a 7.59-carat internally flawless fancy vivid blue diamond, and the “greatest white diamond ever,” a 118.28-carat oval-shaped stone expected to garner up to $35 million. That could potentially break the record for a colorless diamond at auction set by the $26.7 million sale of The Winston Legacy by Christie’s in May.
Sotheby’s said it will showcase The Pink Star in Hong Kong, New York, London, Zurich and Geneva prior to its sale in Geneva but has not yet provided specific dates.
5 posts from September 2013
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'We and Japanese colleagues have arrived at very interesting conclusions,' said Nikolai Pokhilenko, director of the Sobolev Geology and Mineralogy Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, reported Interfax.
Their 'high abrasiveness' is 50% to 60% superior to natural or synthetic diamonds, he said.
The impact diamonds from the crater also have exclusive polishing characteristics. 'It is possible to make ideally smooth surfaces. Even nano-size crystals of a regular diamond scratch surfaces, but these diamonds polish so well that you won't see any scratches even with an electronic microscope,' he revealed.
This bodes well for potential applications in high-precision optical systems in satellites, jewellery and other industries, new composite materials, borers and cutting tools, Pokhilenko said. Further studies of the impact diamonds from the vast site - with reserves 10 times bigger than the world's known diamonds - will continue in cooperation with the Kyiv Institute of Super-Solid Materials, Alrosa's subsidiary Almazy Anabara and De Beers' synthetic diamond subsidiary Element Six, and Baker Hughes.
'The precious stones were created by the impact of a space projectile crashed into the Earth 35million years ago, leaving the 100km wide crater'. Pictures: Republic of Sakha information portal
An expedition to the Popigai crater has been planned for 2014.
'We will collect samples of impact rock from the discharge area: large pieces, up to 1.5 centimetres, spewed from the crater after the impact,' Pokhilenko told Interfax. He estimated the world market capacity for the new type of diamond raw materials at approximately 3 billion carats.
'The scope of diamond use in industries is growing rapidly in contrast to rare earths, the consumption of which is growing 10-15% per annum,' he said.
'The output of synthetic diamonds has reached 14 billion carats and the new materials (impact diamonds) have their own niche and will eventually force out synthetic diamonds because they are more efficient.'
The precious stones were created by the impact of a space projectile crashed into the Earth 35million years ago, leaving the 100km wide crater.
'The first results of research were sufficient to talk about a possible overturn of the entire world market of diamonds', said the scientist a year ago.
The crater is located above the Arctic Circle northeast of the most northern Russian city of Norilsk. The nearest stepping off point is the outpost of Khatanga from where it is accessible by helicopter. The Popigai crater is an icon to paleontologists and geologists. But for decades the region was 'off limits' due to diamond mines constructed by Stalin's gulag prisoners. Designated a Geopark by UNESCO, it was created by either an 8 km (5.0 mile) diameter chondrite asteroid, or a 5 km (3.1 mile) diameter stony asteroid, say experts.
Graphite in the ground was instantly transformed into diamonds over a vast territory. Several scientific expeditions to the crater in the 1990s furthered understanding of its origins and potent
Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON: RIO) Argyle mine in Western Australia will play a key role in meeting China’s growing and changing demand for diamonds, thanks to the mine’s new underground section and its unique gems collection, said the firm Monday.
As the miner’s multi-million-dollar Argyle rare red, blue and pink gems debuted in Hong Kong, the chief executive of the company's diamonds and minerals division, Alan Davies, said demand for diamond jewellery in China is expected to grow strongly into the next decade.
Currently, China is the world’s second-largest diamond market, according to consulting firm Bain & Co., but Rio says Chinese tastes in diamond jewellery are shifting from an emphasis on large white gems to more coloured rocks for everyday wear.
And to ensure the new demands are met, Rio has opened its doors to about 100 carefully selected gem enthusiasts in Hong Kong, who will be able to see —for the first time in the 30-year history of the Argyle diamonds exhibit— three “fancy red” rocks, including the famous 1.56-carat Argyle Phoenix.
Jewellery makers, connoisseurs, collectors and investors – by invitation only – will view the 64 diamonds of this year's tender, which have a combined weight of 54.99 carats.
The company is hoping they will sell for more than $1 million per carat.
Due to their shortage, red diamonds are extremely hard to estimate in price. Earlier this year, a 1.92-carat red diamond sold for over $3.2 million, or $1.6 million per carat, at a Christie’s auction in Geneva. The sale set a record for a red diamond on a per-carat basis.
Other highlights at the tender include a 3.02 pink diamond named the Argyle Imperial. According to Rio Tinto, pink gems fetch on average 20 times the price of white diamonds of equivalent size.
Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is home to 90% of the world’s new pink diamond production, said the company, even though pink diamonds account for less than 0.01% of its total production at the mine.
Image from Argyle Pink Diamonds