Gem Diamonds Recovered a Record Number of Huge Diamonds This Year

Gem_diamondsIt was a great year for Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (OTCMKT:GMDMF and L:GEMD), as the company recovered a record number of huge precious stones from its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho.

With the 2 latest, a high quality 101 carat and 71 carat white Type IIa diamond, both recovered within a 24-hour frame, the number of stones over 100 carats dug up at the mine reached a record 14, the company said last Wednesday.

Letšeng is the world’s highest USD per carat diamond mine.

Lesotho Legend photoEarly this year, it found the 910-carat “Lesotho Legend”, 1 of the largest diamonds ever discovered, which sold for $40-M.

Other big finds were a 115-carat diamond found in May, and a 138-carat rock unveiled in August.

Since acquiring Letšeng in Y 2006, Gem Diamonds has found now five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes the mine the world’s highest USD per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also 1 of the world’s highest diamond mines.

The biggest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in Y 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London.

Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona was the 2nd-biggest in record, while the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone were the 3rd- and 4th-largest.

 


Bulgari Blue Sells for $18 Million at Christie’s

Bulgari-Blue-ChristiesA Bulgari diamond ring surpassed its estimate at Christie’s in New York on Wednesday, bringing in more than $18 million.

The cushion-cut, 8.08-carat, fancy-vivid-blue piece was the event’s top seller at $18.3 million, beating its presale estimate of $13 million to $18 million. It completes a mixed week for colored-diamond sales after a 10.62-carat, fancy-vivid-blue diamond — estimated at $20 million to $30 million — failed to find a buyer at Sotheby’s in New York on Tuesday.

Pink Heart Diamond 15.56 caratProceeds at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction came to $69.2 million, with 95% of lots sold by value. Those items included a heart-shaped, 15.56-carat, fancy intense-pink diamond-pendant necklace, which garnered $9.5 million against a presale estimate of $9.5 million to $12 million.

Other notable lots included a 28.70-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity, type IIa diamond ring from the estate of art collector Lee Vandervelde. That piece sold for $2.1 million, against its $1.5 million to $2.5 million presale estimate, with proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles-based Children’s Hospital and Children’s Institute.

Diavik Foxfire earringsA pair of earrings weighing a combined 77.71 carats, cut from the 187.63-carat Diavik Foxfire — North America’s largest known gem-quality rough diamond — brought in $1.6 million. Its original valuation was $1.3 million to $3 million. An 8.09-carat, fancy-vivid-yellow diamond ring by Gillot & Co. achieved $1.3 million, versus its presale estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million.

Belperron tube braceletA diamond “tube” bracelet by Suzanne Belperron went for $852,500, smashing its expected price of $200,000 to $300,000 and setting a world auction record for pieces by the designer.

“The excitement and prices achieved in our New York sale tonight, including the exceptional price achieved for the sensational fancy-vivid-blue diamond ring by Bulgari, and the world auction record realized for Suzanne Belperron, mark a perfect ending to our successful year of global jewelry auctions,” said Daphne Lingon, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas.

Ref: Rapaport 


India Is The Leading Diamond Cutting and Polishing Country

Diamond-cuttingIndia increased its dominance in cutting and polishing last year due to relatively low costs that gave it a competitive advantage over China, according to Bain & Company.

The Indian diamond-manufacturing industry grew 11% in 2017, outpacing the Chinese market, which increased 2%, Bain reported. That left India with more than 90% of the market, versus China’s low-single-digit-percentage share, the consultancy firm said in its 2018 Global Diamond Report, which it published last week in partnership with the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

India’s manufacturing sector has benefited from cheaper labor, improvements in workers’ skills, advances in technology, and a favorable regulatory environment. Those factors also helped the country increase its production of large stones, a more profitable segment, Bain explained.

Relatively easy access to financing further contributed to the 2017 rise, as credit enables cutters’ to buy and process larger rough diamonds. While banks tightened lending in 2018, the more transparent and financially healthier companies have managed to weather that challenge, it added.

Costs in China are also low by global standards, but are still higher than in Indian hubs such as Surat, putting pressure on the ability for the country to grow its sector, Bain said.

Polishing in other countries, such as the US, Belgium and Israel, declined 6% due to high costs and an ageing workforce, the report continued. Africa failed to gain significant market share due to low productivity and relatively high costs.

Global revenues from cutting and polishing rose 2% in 2017, with manufacturers realizing profit margins of 1% to 3%, Bain said.


Winston Pink Legacy Sets New Record at Auction

The-Pink-Legacy-1On Nov. 13, Christie’s Geneva sold the much-hyped 18.96 ct. fancy vivid Pink Legacy (pictured) for $50.3 million to Harry Winston—setting a new per-carat record for a pink diamond.

Its new owner has since rechristened the rectangular-cut VS1-clarity gem the Winston Pink Legacy.

The hammer price came after what Christie’s called “five minutes of spirited bidding” and topped the diamond’s pre-auction estimate of $30 million–$50 million.

“The room was packed solid as private collectors and dealers wanted to see the sale of the pink diamond,” says Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Asia. “In the end it was purchased by Harry Winston, bidding against Vickie Sek, head of Christie’s jewelry department in Asia. There were many underbidders, all on the phone, with our Geneva- and London-based colleagues.”

Pink-Legacy-DiamondThe Legacy’s $2.7 million per-carat price tops the previous record holder, the 14.93 ct. fancy vivid Pink Promise, which fetched $2.1 million a carat in Hong Kong last year. But the Legacy’s overall price still fell below the $71 million garnered by the 59.5 ct. fancy vivid Pink Star, which in 2017 set a world auction record at Sotheby’s not only for a pink diamond but any kind of diamond or gemstone.

Christie’s described the Pink Legacy as “descended” from the Oppenheimer family, which formerly controlled De Beers, though it did not specify which family member owned the gem. Before its sale, the family had sold it to a private collector.

This is at least the third major diamond that has been purchased by Harry Winston since it was bought by the Swatch Group in 2013.

“We are proud to continue in the Winston tradition of acquiring the finest gems in the world,” said Winston president and CEO Nayla Hayek in a statement. “Tonight, the Winston Pink Legacy joins our incredible legacy collection, which began with the acquisition of the 101 ct. D flawless Winston Legacy diamond at Christie’s in 2013.”

Winston also bought a 13 ct. fancy vivid blue for $24.2 million in 2014.

Ref: JCKOnline.com


19 carat Pink Legacy Diamond for Sale


Pink-Legacy-DiamondChristie’s expects to sell a rare fancy-vivid-pink diamond for between $30 million and $50 million, potentially setting a new world auction record price for the color category. 

The rectangular-cut, 18.96-carat, type IIa Pink Legacy, belonging to the Oppenheimer Family, will lead the Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva, the auction house said Tuesday. The stone is the largest fancy-vivid-pink diamond Christie’s has ever auctioned, describing the piece as internally “very pure.” 

“The discovery of this previously unrecorded and remarkable diamond will cause immense excitement with collectors and connoisseurs of diamonds around the world,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry at Christie’s. “Its exceptional provenance will no doubt propel it into a class of its own as one of the world’s greatest diamonds.” 

The Pink Promise, an oval-shaped, 14.93-carat, vivid-pink diamond, which Christie’s sold at its Hong Kong auction for $32.5 million in 2017, holds the current record. 

Christie’s will sell the Pink Legacy at its Magnificent Jewels auction on November 13 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. The auction house will preview the stone in Hong Kong, London, New York and Geneva between September 28 and November 13. 


Famous 6.16 Carat Farnese Blue Diamond To Be Sold At Auction

Farnese Blue diamondThis spring, the Farnese Blue, a diamond with an incredible historic pedigree, will be offered by Sotheby’s—marking the first time the gem has ever been brought to auction. Originally given to Queen of Spain Elisabeth Farnese by the Philippines to celebrate her marriage to King Philip in 1714, the gem was later owned by a descendant of France’s last queen, Marie Antoinette. Over the next 300 years, it was furtively passed down through four European royal families. The 6.16-carat, pear-shaped dark gray-blue diamond was hidden in a casket as it traveled through Spain, France, Italy, and Austria.

“With its incredible pedigree, the Farnese Blue ranks among the most important historic diamonds in the world,” said Dr. Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and managing director of Germany, in a statement from the auction house. “From the first minute I saw the stone, I could not resist its magic, and as such, it is a huge privilege to have been entrusted with this sale.”

Blue has often been identified as the color of kings and in the 17th and 18th centuries, blue diamonds were viewed as the ultimate royal gift. Like the famous Hope and Wittelsbach diamonds, the Farnese Blue was certainly found in the famed Golconda mines of India, which was the sole source of diamonds until the discoveries in Brazil in the 1720s.

“It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division and co-chair of Sotheby’s Switzerland. “This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history and in color is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope Diamond.”

The legendary diamond will be offered at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on May 15. Its estimated value is between $3.7 million and $5.3 million.

Learn more about the historic Farnese Blue Diamond


Princess Eugenie's Engagement Ring

Princess Eugenie coupleThe Royal Family is known for their beautiful colored gemstones and Princess Eugenie (daughter of Sarah, Duchess of York) is the latest to make news with her ring. Boyfriend Jack Brooksbank proposed with a rare sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

Princess Eugenie engagement ringThe center stone is an oval-shaped pinkish orange padparadscha gemstone, which is one of the rarest of all sapphires and typically originate in Sri Lanka but are also found in Madagascar and Tanzania. The sapphire is surrounded by a halo of small diamonds and the mounting is a vintage-style design in yellow and white gold.

Padparadscha is a derived from a Sinhalese word for “aquatic lotus blossom” with a beautiful salmon color. The color for the padparadscha sapphire can range from a salmon color with a pinkish hue to an orange hue. It is difficult to find a padparadscha over two carats in weight. When one is found it is considered exceptional and extremely rare.

Padparadscha gemstonesPadparadscha sapphires from Madagascar are at times heat treated to intensify their pink coloration. They are heat treated at very low heat temperatures, whereas padparadscha stones from Sri Lanka will be heat-treated at higher heat temperatures when heat-treated. The heat-treated padparadscha stones from Madagascar are often recommended over the ones from Sri Lanka because of the temperature they are treated at.

 


Special Offers Price Reduction

We recently reduced the price of one of the rings listed in the Special Offers section of our website.  These are beautiful high quality diamonds and jewelry items at special low prices.

AS 1.51 ct 0.28 AD-11smDiamond Ring with a 1.51-carat square emerald (Asscher) cut diamond graded E color, VS2 clarity, depth 69.7%, table 57%, Excellent polish, Excellent symmetry, No fluorescence, measuring 6.45 x 6.21 x 4.33 mm with a ratio of 1.03 (ref: GIA 16938804, dated 03/31/2008) set in a split-prong custom platinum mounting (Stamped “PLAT”) with a total of 18 pave-set round diamonds (0.28 total carat weight) going half way down the top of the 2.1 mm wide shank.

AS 1.51 ct 0.28 AD-18sm

Check out all our Special Offers


White Metal for Engagement Rings

Clients often ask us what type of white metal is best for engagement rings. The traditional choices are 14-karat white-gold (58.5% gold), 18-karat white-gold (75% gold), and platinum (95% platinum).

To produce the white color, white gold contains alloys such as silver, manganese, palladium, rhodium and nickel. When nickel is used in the alloy mix, it can cause allergic reactions in some people.

White gold rings are usually rhodium plated. Rhodium is a very white, reflective, and hard metal so provides an excellent surface for engagement rings. As rhodium is a plating, it will wear off with usual wear over months or years depending on the wear. The rhodium can be reapplied at most jewelry repair shops for a relatively small fee.

Platinum is a very durable metal and does not cause allergic reactions. However, platinum is relatively soft so tends to get dull and scratched over time, even more than white gold. As a result, it requires regular polishing to keep it shiny.

Our favorite metal for engagement ring uses a special 18-karat white-gold that contains a palladium alloy so is whiter and more scratch and bend resistant than platinum. Since the 18-karat white-gold stays shinier and is stronger than platinum, this is what we recommend to our clients. For clients who like a more antique look, the duller patina look of platinum is the way to go.