About 2 ½ months ago we wrote about an upcoming sale of a 100 ct. D/Flawless diamond at auction. Just last week the sale happened at Sotheby’s in New York. Reports are that the stone sold for a little over $22 million USD. The auction estimate was between $19 and $25 million. So, the stone’s final sale price exceeded the $19 million low end. In the last few years a number of high flying diamond sales have gone over the high estimate but not this time. Our only guess as to why is that 2 of the reputed 3 sources of ultra-high customers have their wealth based on oil which has had a price drop over the past few months. Compared with some other great gems it seems in some sense that the buyer got a bargain. A bargain few people can afford—that’s true—but a bargain nonetheless.
The good news is that the lower oil prices may very well help out the already strong U.S. economy. That is news more important to most of us who live here in the USA. Every time oil has climbed in the past 40 years economists have likened the price hike to a tax increase. Well then, it must be that lower oil prices can be likened to a tax cut for Americans. How great that is.
During the past 7 years colored diamonds have sold for much more per-carat at the major auctions than have white diamonds. The Pink Star “sold” at Sotheby’s for over $83 million. True, the sale fell through but the stone is now valued at $72 million. The Wittlesbach-Graff blue diamond sold for $31 million in 2008 when the financial sky was falling. The stone known prior to that sale was known simply as the Wittlesbach diamond. The famous jeweler Graff bought it in 2008, had the stone re-cut which improved its shape and color and then added a hyphen and his last name to the stone. Reports are that Graff resold the stone in 2011 for $80 million to the then ruler of Qatar.
Continuing with the adventures in colored diamonds the Graff Pink sold at Sotheby’s in 2010 for $46 million and the Christie’s Perfect Pink sold in 2010 for $23+ million.
It seems that the fancy colored diamonds have finally found their true place in the gemstone hierarchy.
The gem in our photo is an emerald cut diamond similar in many aspects of its appearance to the one in the story.
This coming April yet another spectacular diamond will be at auction. This time the gem is a colorless stone of “D” color and is internally flawless. The auction this time will be held in New York at Sotheby’s. The gem is reported to weigh just over 100 carats and has been fashioned into an emerald cut (similar to the stone featured in the photo). Estimates of the price it will fetch are from $19 million USD to $25 million USD. If any of the recent auction results are predictive the price could well exceed the estimates. We will know soon.
The uber-rich of the world have declared large fancy colored diamonds to be the darling of their attention. Just a few weeks ago the gavel descended at Sotheby’s marking yet another sale of an important blue diamond. This time the gem came from the estate of Mrs. Paul Mellon (a.k.a. “Bunny” Mellon) . At 9.75 carats the stone was not the largest fancy blue gem to be sold lately. On the other hand the color of the gem rated the term “vivid” and is quite a bright blue. The auction took place in New York. Reports of the action were that the auction of this one piece took over 20 minutes and included at least 7 bidders. The successful bid came from Hong Kong. The Asian origin of the successful bid is no surprise as a number of successful auction winners have come increasingly from that part of the world.
The final price of the blue diamond was in excess of $32 million USD or over $3.3 million per-carat. This sale blasted away old records for the sale price of a blue diamond as well as the per-carat record for the price of any diamond regardless of color (or lack thereof).
Amongst other items on display is the most expensive piece of jewelry ever made specifically for a movie: the “Satine” necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge.
Other pieces include a stunning diamond brooch worn by Cate Blanchett to the Oscars, and a star-studded ring worn by world-renowned fashion designer Catherine Martin.
Having gems and jewelry on display at museums is a worldwide phenomenon. Of course if you’re visiting down under be on the lookout for displays of opal–the gem that made Australia famous. The last statement my opinion solely. But what else would a gem aficionado say?
Close-up photos of jewelry: Andrew Murray, Daily Mail Australia
Europe is all abuzz comparing the two young royals Princess Kate and the recently crowned queen of Spain the former Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Queen Letizia married Felipe VI of Spain in 2004 and was a princess until June 19, 2014. On that date her spouse’s parents abdicated in favor of the younger couple. Suddenly Letizia has access to the crown jewels of Spain and has been wearing tiaras amongst other fine jewels. The Euro tabloids have fastened on the two relatively young royals and is always showing them in tiaras. While the two ladies have a 10 year difference in age they both photograph well and show jewelry to its best advantage.
Chances are the two are so far removed by geography that comparisons and competitions are the last thing on their mind. In any case the crown jewels of Great Britain are miles ahead of the crown jewels of any other country. Convenient ownership of the right colonies at the right time gave Britain the edge. From Sri Lanka came great sapphires. From South Africa came the world’s largest collection of large fine diamonds. India contributed emeralds.
According to sources some of the jewels owned by the Spanish royal family were sold while they were in exile from 1931 to 1968. Jewels have often come in handy as a form of portable wealth for many centuries.
Late last year the world’s largest diamond rated by the GIA as Fancy Vivid Pink was up for auction at Sotheby’s. The piece fetched a record price in excess of $83 million but when it was all over the sale did not go through. The finished gem weighs 59.60 carats and is a little over 1″ long by about 0.80 wide. It is a beautiful oval and the color is amazing. With all the auctions going on all over the world bringing record amounts it seems that great gems are suddenly popping up to be available for the auctions.
Prior to the auction the Pink Star was shown at an exhibit at the Smithsonian named “The Splendor of Diamonds.” Along with the pink gem were some other fabulous diamonds: The Moussaieff Red Diamond, the DeBeers Millennium Star and the Heart of Eternity Diamond. What a wonderful showing of diamonds.
We’ve mentioned in the past that Saturn and Jupiter might be raining diamonds. However, for the biggest diamonds we might have to travel event further. Out of our solar system scientists believe there is a planet whose mass may be as much as 1/3 diamond. Since the planet is so much larger than earth that 1/3 would equal about 2 earth masses!!!
Want even bigger? More recently astronomers have just revealed that there is a dwarf star with the mass of our own sun which might just be one large diamond. The dwarf star has the mass of our own sun but has collapsed in on itself and in the process turned itself into a gem of a star. The weight in carats of diamond is estimated at 10 billion trillion trillion.
Astronomy has always been an interest of ours as have gems. Who knew years ago that the two would converge to give us dreams of treasure beyond all measure?
Just last week it was reported by Petra Diamonds Ltd. that they have found what they’re calling an “exceptional” rough blue diamond whose uncut weight exceeds 122 carats. Wow!
As we reported recently, a cut and polished blue diamond just recently sold for a record sum—it seems that this new stone will break that record.
Even while it is still in rough speculation, it’s likely that the cut stone out of this piece will fetch in the neighborhood of $100,000,000. That’s one hundred million dollars.
Petra has apparently examined the piece and has declared that it is of exceptional clarity. The color is a nice but not as deep a blue as the Hope diamond.
As a gem cutter I have looked at the photos of the rough piece and speculate that it might be cut into a pear shape. It would be nice to hold it in my own hands and look at it from every angle and then guess as to the cut into which it might be fashioned.
We’ll keep abreast of this story and let everybody know the outcome—the cut and the final price.
The Bakerville alluvial diamond deposits in the Lichtenburg Diamond Fields, South Africa (image courtesy of IGE Resources AB)
We will never know which of our ancestors first interacted with diamonds or what they thought of them. However it seems that some of the earliest mining of diamonds occurred as many as 3,000 years ago, where humans began mining in alluvial deposits in Southern India. What’s an alluvial deposit?
With no less than 5 bidders competing for the gem the tense battle lasted no longer than 8 minutes before the gavel sounded. David Bennett, Chairman of the Jewelry Department at Sotheby’s in Europe (who was privileged to handle the sale) said, “ The Beau Sancy is one of the most fascinating and romantic gems ever to appear at auction…”
Often known as the ‘little’ Sancy, the Beau Sancy diamond was the smaller of the two diamonds bearing the name. This smaller version weighs in at a “mere” 34.98 carats. It is a modified pear double rose cut diamond which has been witness to 400 years of European history. It has been passed down to Royal families of England, France, Prussia and the House of Orange. Acquired by Nicolas de Harlai, Lord of Sancy, in the late 1500’s , the Sancy is said to be from the mines of south central India near Golconda. This famous mine has produced the Hope Diamond, the Koh-I-Noor and the Regent.