Chronology : 18th century 1790-1799 1960 21st century 2000-2009 2003 2010-2019 2020 to now 2021
1791 The Pearls of Queen Marie-Antoinette
2018 SOLD for CHF 36.4M including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
During early phase of the Revolution, Marie-Antoinette who is still the Queen plans to flee to Austria. In January 1791, helped by her chambermaid, she prepares a cassette with her favorite jewelry. The jewels reach Vienna but the king and queen are arrested in Varennes in June 1791.
In 1795 Madame Royale, the only survivor of the children of the royal couple, is freed from the revolutionary prisons and goes into exile in Vienna. The emperor Franz II returns the jewels to her while keeping the rubies in compensation for a pension granted to the princess. In Madame Royale's legacy in 1851, one third of the jewelry is attributed to her niece Louise, Duchess of Parma.
Around 1930 Marie-Anne of Austria, wife of the acting Duke of Parma, describes in an inventory four jewels in pearls and diamonds of which she attests that they come from Marie-Antoinette. These pieces, which had never been published or exhibited, were included in the auction of the royal jewelry from the Bourbon-Parma collection by Sotheby's on November 14, 2018.
Lot 97, a three-row pearl necklace with a diamond clasp, was sold for CHF 2.3M including premium over a lower estimate of CHF 200K. The next two lots, a necklace and a pair of earrings, were sold for CHF 450K each including premium.
Lot 100 was a 15.90 x 18.35 x 25.85mm drop shaped pearl assembled in a pendant with a large diamond clasp and a bow of small diamonds. This interesting souvenir of a queen who had desired to live in the utmost luxury was sold for CHF 36.4M including premium over an estimate of CHF 1M to 2M.
(previous purchase ca 1950) The Year of the Pink Diamonds
2010 SOLD 45.4 MCHF including premium
This trend accelerated on 1 December 2009, when a fancy vivid pink weighing 5 carats reached HK $ 83M including premium at Christie's in Hong Kong, i.e. U.S. $ 2.1 million per carat.
I have already discussed a few days ago the Perfect Pink, a fancy intense pink of VVS2 clarity weighing 14.23 carats, estimated HK $ 110M by Christie's, for sale on November 29.
In this fall, it has found a serious competitor. On November 16 in Geneva, Sotheby's auctions another fancy intense pink diamond, also of VVS2 clarity, also emerald cut, but bigger. Weighing 24.78 carats, it is mounted on a ring and estimated CHF 27M. It is illustrated in the article shared under Creative Commons protocol by LeBlogLuxe. This diamond was already known: 60 years ago, it was purchased to Harry Winston. It had never come back on the market.
Here are two recent examples that confirm the popularity of the pink color.
On October 3 in Toronto, Circa Auctions sold Can $ 2.3M a fancy intense orangy pink weighing 10.11 carats, clarity not found in the catalog.
On October 6 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sold HK $ 60M including premium a diamond ring including a fancy vivid pink, VS2 clarity, weighing 6.43 carats.
POST SALE COMMENT
I had no doubt before the sale, and nobody can have a doubt now: the fancy intense pink diamond sold by Sotheby's is one of the most outstanding lots of current year. The result, CHF 45.4 million including premium corresponds to a value per carat never achieved previously at auction for a diamond of that size: 1.8 MCHF per carat.
I invite you to play the video shared on the web by Sotheby's :
(previous sale 1960) The Princie Diamond
2013 SOLD for 39.3M by Christie's
This diamond has not been seen publicly since 1960. It was then bought £ 46K at auction by Van Cleef & Arpels, who named it the Princie Diamond by friendship with the young prince of Baroda.
Its true color revealed by the 2013 sale, fancy intense pink, is a pleasant surprise, because this is one of the best and rarest colors. The 24.78 carats Graff Pink, sold CHF 45.4M (1.85 million US $ per carat) by Sotheby's in 2010 has the same color.
The provenance of the Princie was not revealed in 1960. The press release from Christie's tells that the seller was the Nizam of Hyderabad himself, which supports the hypothesis that this diamond had been extracted from Golconda. Unfortunately, its VS2 clarity is not excellent. The Graff Pink, VVS2, is better by two grades.
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.
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 :
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.
Blue for Boys and Pink for Girls
2017 SOLD for CHF 42M including premium
It weighs 14.54 carats, compared with the 14.62 carat of the Oppenheimer Blue which was sold for CHF 57M including premium by Christie's on May 18, 2016.
The Blue Moon that became after its sale the Blue Moon of Josephine is also a Type IIb. Sold for CHF 49M including premium by Sotheby's on November 11, 2015, this diamond weighing 12.03 carats owes its culminating value at US $ 4M per carat to an absolute purity generating a sensational effect of phosphorescence after exposure to ultraviolet rays.
The diamond that comes in the next sale is pear shaped. Someone had the idea to choose a pink diamond of comparable cut and size. The two gems hanging each to a suite of two white diamonds thus constitutes temporarily the most sumptuous pair of earrings of all time. They are named Apollo and Artemis by reference to the beautiful twins of Greek mythology.
Nevertheless this pair will be divided. Artemis is estimated CHF 12.5M, lot 378. It is a Fancy intense pink Type IIa and VVS2 clarity weighing 16.00 carats. The market generally prefers a Fancy vivid pink. Of the same Type, clarity and form, a Fancy vivid pink weighing 15.38 carats was sold for CHF 31M including premium by Sotheby's on May 17, 2016.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Blue : CHF 42M
Pink : CHF 15.3M
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.