The Snowball Effect
There is a diamond snowball effect occurring in the jewelry auction market this season. There are five, big fancy colored or white diamonds going on the block this fall. We are going to look at two. Christie's is offering "The Orange" (see below) on November 12th, in Geneva and Sotheby's is offering the remaining four diamonds. Two went on the block this past Monday, October 7th, in Hong Kong. One was the 118 carat, D, Flawless,Type IIa* oval diamond and the other was the 7.59 carat round brilliant fancy vivid blue diamond. The 118 carat diamond which was the size of an egg, went for $30.6 million and set a world record. The fancy blue diamond did not sell as it failed to meet it's reserve.
The remaining two diamonds will be up for sale in Sotheby's monumental Magnificent Jewels sale also in Geneva on November 13th. The 59.60 carat, oval shaped "Pink Star" diamond is expected to shatter all kinds of records. Last but not least, Sotheby's just announced that it will also offer the historic and iconic, "Walska Briolette Diamond" Brooch, created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1971, at the same Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva this November. We will talk about the "Walska Briolette Diamond" Brooch in another blog.
These tremendous diamonds being offered at auction suggest an enormous strength in the market for large white and colored diamonds.
The diamond know simply as "The Orange" will be on the block at Christie's, in Geneva on November 12th, with buyers expected to pay as much as $20 million for the stone.
The 14.82 carat, VS1 clarity, pear shaped diamond is the largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever to appear at auction and, according to Christie's, is "by far" the largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world. Alan Bronstein, a consultant in colored diamonds, has said "as far as orange diamonds go, it has no peer, it's unpredictable what a diamond like that can go for. We are entering uncharted waters". Pure orange diamonds, which gemologist Edwin Streeter called "fire diamonds" in his 1882 book " The Great Diamonds of the World," are exceptionally rare in nature.
According to the Gemological Institute of America, strongly colored diamonds in the orange hue range are rarely bigger than three or four carats once polished.
"The Orange" is more than four times that size and is more than twice the size of the very few fancy vivid orange diamonds ever sold at auction, the largest of which was smaller than 6 carats. Known as "The Pumpkin Diamond," it weighed 5.54 carats and sold for $1.3 million at Sotheby's in 1997.
"The Orange," the largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world is VS1 in clarity and weighs 14.82 carats, photo courtesy of Christie's.
Sotheby's is offering the 59.60 carat, oval shaped "Pink Star" diamond at its Magnificent Jewels sale in November. Estimated to fetch in excess of $60 million, the "Pink Star" is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of American (GIA). This historic stone joins the rare subgroup of Type IIa* diamonds, which comprise less than 2% of all gem diamonds.
The "Pink Star" a 59.60 carat, oval cut, internally flawless, Type IIa, fancy vivid pink diamond. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's
A model shows off the diamond during a press preview on September 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFFRINI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
The finished stone, at 59.60 carats, was whittled down from the 132.5 carat rough diamond mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999. Two years of meticulous cutting and polishing by Steinmetz Diamonds has produced a stunning stone ripe for the record books. Like other great pink diamonds in history, such as the "Hortense", the "Darya-iNur" and the "Agra", the "Pink Star" has certainly earned its spot among the world's rarest and most celebrated pink diamonds.
Commenting on the forthcoming sale of the "Pink Star", David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby's Jewelry Division in Europe and the Middle East and Chairman of Sotheby's Switzerland said: "I have had the privilege of examining some of the greatest gemstones in the world over the past 35 years, and I can say without hesitation, that the "Pink Star" diamond is of immense importance".
*Type IIa diamonds contain so little nitrogen that it is not readily detected using infrared or ultraviolet absorption methods. Type IIa diamonds make up 1-2% of all natural diamonds (1.8% of gem diamonds). These diamonds are almost or entirely devoid of impurities and consequently are usually colorless and have the highest thermal conductivity. They are very transparent in ultraviolet, down to 230 nm. Occasionally, while Type IIa diamonds are being extruded towards the surface of the earth, the pressure and tension can cause structural anomalies arising through plastic deformation during the growth of the tetrahedral crystal structure, leading to imperfections. These imperfections can confer a yellow, brown, orange, pink, red or purple color to the gem. Type IIa diamonds constitute a great percentage of Australian production. Many large famous diamonds such as the "Cullinan" and the "Koh-i-noor", are Type IIa.
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