Chronology : 1990-1999 1999 21st century 2000-2009 2003 2010-2019 2020 to now 2021
1905 the Cullinan
British Royal collection
Two famous white diamonds belonging to the British Royal Collection were extracted from the "Cullinan": the Great Star of Africa mounted on the scepter and the Second Star of Africa mounted on the crown. The 530-carat Great Star of Africa is the largest faceted colorless diamond in the world.
An image of the rough Cullinan diamond is shared by Wikimedia.
A Blue Diamond for Oppenheimer
2016 SOLD for CHF 57M including premium
London is a hub for international operations and price controls. Sir Philip Oppenheimer retired in 1993 after 45 years as head of the Central Selling Organization of the cartel. This powerful position enabled him to keep exceptional gems.
On May 18 in Geneva, Christie's sells the Oppenheimer Blue that had belonged to Sir Philip. Weighing 14.62 carats, it is the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction. It is estimated CHF 38M, lot 242. It has been set on a ring by Verdura.
The clarity of the Oppenheimer Blue is excellent, graded VVS1 by the GIA. However, it does not reach the absolute purity of the Blue Moon, cushion cut to 12.03 carats, sold for CHF 49M including premium by Sotheby's on November 11, 2015, whose stunning clarity generates a phosphorescence effect under ultraviolet radiation.
The exceptional saturation characterizing the fancy vivid blue hue is enhanced on the Oppenheimer Blue by a highly efficient rectangular cut.
I invite you to admire this masterpiece of jewelry in the video shared by Christie's :
The Williamson Pink Star
2022 SOLD for HK$ 450M by Sotheby's
The Williamson is famous for its high quality pink diamonds. A virtually flawless pink cut down to 23.6 carats was presented in 1947 by Williamson to Princess Elizabeth at her wedding with Prince Philip. Assembled by Cartier as the centre of a jonquil shaped brooch, it was frequently pinned on Her Majesty's coat.
On October 7, 2022, Sotheby's sold for HK $ 450M the Williamson Pink Star, lot 1115, which is $ 5M per carat. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Strongly saturated, it is referred by the auction house as one of the purest and pinkest diamonds. Weighing 11.15 carats, it is the second biggest internally flawless fancy vivid pink ever listed at auction. It was cushion cut by Diacore from a 32 carat rough diamond found at the Williamson mine.
It is assembled on a 18 karat white and pink gold ring in a surrounding of small pink and white diamonds.
One of the world’s purest pink diamonds to ever appear at auction – the 11.15ct “Williamson Pink Star”, estimated at US.$21m / HK$170m, has the potential to set a new per carat price record for a Fancy Vivid pink diamond in Hong Kong this October. https://t.co/8eLMVwQVkM pic.twitter.com/wU8oFqLJw8— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) September 2, 2022
Rectangular Pink Diamonds
2018 SOLD for CHF 50M including premium
Very little information has been revealed about its provenance. Its stone had been mined in South Africa and the jewel belonged to the Oppenheimer family. Although it cannot compete with the Pink Star, 59.60 carats Fancy Vivid Pink Internally Flawless, it is one of the best diamonds in its class.
Fancy Vivid is the high end of saturation, better than Fancy Intense, and big diamonds are rare in this shade. Above all, each diamond is different for a jeweler. The shape is chosen according to the homogeneity of the color. The rectangle offers the best brilliance. It is often used for white diamonds but big pink diamonds capable to maintain their full brightness in that shape are very rare.
Here are some examples of rectangular pink diamonds. The results include the premium.
In Fancy Vivid Pink saturation, a diamond weighing 5.18 carats whose clarity was only VS2 was sold for CHF 10M by Christie's on May 13, 2015. Considering that the price per carat increases with the weight, this result approaching CHF 2M per carat confirms that the diamond that is now on sale is an exceptional piece.
In Fancy Intense Pink saturation, big rectangular diamonds are actually less rare. The Perfect Pink weighing 14.23 carats with an excellent clarity VVS2 was sold for HK $ 180M by Christie's on November 29, 2010. With the same clarity, a diamond weighing 24.78 carats was sold for CHF 45.4M by Sotheby's on November 16, 2010. With an even better clarity graded VVS1, a diamond weighing 17.07 carats was sold for CHF 21M by Sotheby's on December 16, 2016.
1999 A Fistful of Blue Diamonds
2016 SOLD for HK$ 250M including premium
One of these blue diamonds was oval cut. Weighing 10.10 carats, it is not the largest of the eleven but it is indeed the most spectacular. It was certified Fancy Vivid Blue Flawless in 1999 by GIA with the designation De Beers Millennium Jewel 4. Mounted on a ring in a surrounding of small white diamonds, it is estimated HK $ 235M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 5, lot 1843.
This unprecedented treasure insured altogether for £ 350M excited high appetites during the show at the Dome. On November 7, 2000, a commando of four equipped with a ten ton earth digger, sledgehammers, smoke bombs, gas masks and bulletproof vests come into the Dome, ready to celebrate the new millennium with the biggest heist ever.
The gang was under surveillance and 200 police officers had been mobilized. The head of the counter operation had decided to let the robbers go up to the showcase window for security reasons because arrests are easier in a closed room.
I invite you to watch the short video shared by Sotheby's to announce the sale of Jewel 4.
2003 The Pink Star
2013 recorded 76 MCHF including premium, UNPAID
2017 SOLD for HK$ 550M including premium
Its come back was eagerly awaited by all the fans of highest jewelry and of auction history. It will be sold by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 4, lot 1801. It is estimated in excess of HK$ 468M currently worth US$ 60M, according to the press release of March 20.
The essay below is based on my 2013 discussion :
Its subtle color, Fancy Vivid Pink, is the best graded among diamond colors. Internally Flawless means a perfect clarity. Its weight, 59.60 carats, is the highest recorded for finished flawless diamonds of that color. Its oval shape and its polish are the perfect result of two years of work executed by Steinmetz Diamonds.
It comes from a rough gem of 142.5 carats unearthed in 1999 by De Beers somewhere in Africa, which is currently the best location for new fabulous diamonds. Its mixed cut had required more than 50 subsequent models from epoxy casts. It was unveiled to the public in 2003.
It exceeds in all its features the Graff Pink, sold for CHF 45.4 million including premium by Sotheby's on 16 November 2010, which had 24.78 carats, a VVS2 clarity and a fancy intense pink color slightly lower in theory than the fancy vivid but indeed highly striking in this specimen.
The Pink Star is expected beyond US $ 60M, a suitable and even conservative estimate when we consider that it is "only" US$ 1M per carat, but nevertheless ambitious because no other gem has ever reached such a price at auction. (Note that this expected value has been kept unchanged before the 2017 sale).
Please watch the videos shared by Sotheby's : the 2013 pre sale video and the short video introducing the next auction :
2011 - 118 Carats Flawless
2013 SOLD 240 MHK$ including premium
On May 15, 2013, Christie's sold for CHF 26M including premium a white diamond, D color and Flawless. Pear shaped and weighing 101.73 carats, it came from a rough stone of 236 carats of the Jwaneng mine in Botswana. It was named The Winston Legacy after the sale.
The diamond for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 7 is also D and Flawless, but bigger: 118.28 carats. Here is the link to the catalog.
It is oval cut from a 299 carat rough stone discovered in 2011 in a deep mine of southern Africa whose detailed location is not revealed. Its polishing and symmetry are considered excellent by the gemological laboratories.
The press release announces a lower estimate of HK$ 220M.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price, HK$ 240M including premium, is extraordinary but in line with the expectation.
2010s The Great Star of Botswana
2013 SOLD 26 MCHF including premium
Botswana's mines are operated jointly by the government and by De Beers, with all the precautions that you can imagine. Indeed the small town of Jwaneng was founded in 1982 as a closed community only accessible by permission of the government.
Because of this relatively recent operation, fabulous gems are still waiting to be discovered. The modern art of diamond will do the rest, as technological advances now enable to cut diamonds of perfect shape and symmetry.
On May 15 in Geneva, Christie's sells a perfect diamond (type IIa, D color, flawless). It is pear shaped at 101.73 carats representing an outstanding yield for that rough stone of 236 carats extracted in Jwaneng. Its polishing required 21 months of work.
The price per carat increases for bigger diamonds. Thus, the Archduke Joseph, sold by Christie's in Geneva on November 13, 2012, was recorded at $ 280K per carat (total price CHF 20.3 million including premium for 76.02 carats).
The new wonder from Jwaneng is the biggest perfect diamond ever presented at auction. Although having no other history than its discovery and preparation, it may certainly exceed the Archduke Joseph.
POST SALE COMMENT
This exceptional diamond has been sold CHF 26M including premium. The price per carat, U.S. $ 270K, is consistent with the price obtained on the Archduke Joseph.
2014 In a Blue Moon
2015 SOLD for CHF 49M including premium
The new diamond is fancy vivid blue without inclusion, which is already a great rarity. It was purchased by Cora International, headquartered in New York, which processed it. This fancy vivid blue cut to 12.03 carats is the largest internally flawless blue diamond in cushion shape.
Once completed, it revealed even more exceptional qualities. Its ocean blue color is perfect without a secondary hue. It has no fluorescence. An exposure to ultraviolet radiation generates an intense orange-red phosphorescence that persists for about twenty seconds, a sensational feature which is known only to a few blue diamonds of absolute purity.
It is a masterpiece in both its size and features. It was named The Blue Moon in reference both to its shape and to the saying 'Once in a blue moon' that means a total rarity. It seems inconceivable to find better in its class, especially since the production of the Cullinan mine tends to decrease.
The Blue Moon is estimated between $ 35M (CHF 34,2M) and $ 55M (CHF 53,7M), for sale by Sotheby's in Geneva on November 11, lot 513. I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
2016 Three Continents for a Stone
2017 SOLD for CHF 33.5M including premium
The steps are told in detail by Christie's in the featured post.
The rough stone is extracted in Angola in February 2016. Weighing 404 carats, it is promising while being far from the records. Its quality is confirmed in New York by spectrography. For several weeks a team of experts researches the defects of the crystal.
Its bean form is not directly usable. In June, the world's best diamond cleaver with more than 50 years of experience cuts the stone in two halves from the middle. The polishing in emerald cut lasts six months, facet after facet.
They must now design a piece of jewelry highlighting this unprecedented wonder. The diamond is brought in December 2016 to De Grisogono in Geneva, which designs an asymmetrical necklace of emeralds and diamonds in 44 cm length. The jewel entrusted to Christie's then travels around the world before returning to Geneva for its auction sale
2021 The De Beers Blue
2022 SOLD for HK$ 450M by Sotheby's
It is bigger and clearer than the rectangular cut VVS1 14.62 carat Oppenheimer Blue, sold for CHF 57M by Christie's on May 18, 2016. It has the same internally flawless clarity as the cushion cut 12.03 carats of the Blue Moon, remarkable for its 20 second phosphorescent effect after exposure to UV light, sold for CHF 49M by Sotheby's on November 11, 2015.
The step cut, rectangular cut and emerald cut are the best suited to display the perfection of the gem, revealing any defect without pity and displaying the color in its evenly saturated beauty while optimizing the light reflection.
This masterwork of nature and craftsmanship was sold for HK$ 450M by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 27, 2022, lot 1800.