The sale set a world auction record as well as a world record price per carat for a green diamond, Christies said.
Aurora Green was one of four lots at the auction that set new world records; others included US$7.2 million (AU$9.9million) for a Kashmir sapphire bracelet, US$11.6 million (AU$16million) for a pair of ruby ear pendants, and US$967,000 (AU$1.3million) for a jadeite pendant necklace.
A total of US$85 million (AU$117 million) was achieved during the week of sales.
A pink diamond that was first cut in the 1920s has reached a world-record sum at auction.
Categorised as fancy vivid pink, the 18.96-carat diamond, named Pink Legacy, reached 50.3 million Swiss francs ($68.8 million) at the Magnificent Jewels auction run by Christie’s in Geneva, Switzerland. This priced the diamond at around $3.6 million per carat.
The Pink Legacy diamond. Image: Christie’s.
This pink diamond had been estimated to sell for between $US30–50m ($41–69 million) at auction.
It was discovered in South Africa and was previously possessed by the former owners of De Beers.
Christie’s has referred to the Pink Legacy as the “largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered” at any of its diamond auctions.
Pink Legacy is a Type IIA diamond, which are chemically very pure with little to no nitrogen content. This category accounts for less than two per cent of all gem diamonds worldwide.
The diamond was purchased by American jewellery company Harry Winston, which has dubbed it the Winston Pink Legacy.
Australia is well-known for the production of pink diamonds at the Rio Tinto-run Argyle mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The company broke records with two diamonds at a tender earlier this week that saw the sale of 63 rare pink, red and violet diamonds from the mine.
For the first time in its 130-year history, De Beers will sell diamond jewelry made in a lab
rather than underground over billions of years.
Anglo American’s De Beers shocked the diamond market on Tuesday by announcing it will start selling jewellery containing man-made stones rather than precious rocks recovered from the ground, for the first time in its 130-year history.
The pivotal swing for the world’s No.1 diamond producer, which vowed never to sell synthetic stones, will begin in the US in September. There, the lab-made gems will be marketed through Lightbox, the company’s new fashion jewellery brand, which will sell them for a fraction of the price of real rocks.
Chief executive Bruce Cleaver explained the reasons for the U-turn by saying it would allow De Beers to offer what consumers have told the company they want, but aren’t getting: “affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever, but is perfect for right now.”
“We see an opportunity that’s been missed,” Cleaver said.
The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds. Currently a 1-carat synthetic sells for roughly $4,000, about half the price of a natural diamond. De Beers new lab gems will sell for around $800 a carat.The strategy will create an even greater price gap between mined and lab diamonds, pressuring rivals that specialize in synthesized stones. A 1-carat man-made diamond sells for roughly $4,000 and a similar natural diamond fetches about $8,000. De Beers new lab diamonds will sell for around $800 a carat.
Diamond Producers Association’s chief executive, Jean-Marc Lieberherr, welcomed the news as it expects it to set a new standard in the disclosure and marketing of synthetic diamonds. “The DPA has always been clear that more fair and transparent practices need to be adopted by synthetic diamond producers,” he told MINING.com in an emailed statement.
Lieberherr added the association was confident that De Beers’ move would benefit consumers and bring much needed clarity to the synthetic diamonds market.
The Anglo American’s unit has stepped up efforts in recent months to lead the industry quest for a way to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence & or terrorism.
A subsidiary of De Beers Group, Lightbox will be the only jewellery brand to source lab-grown diamonds from the company’s Element Six business, a world leader in lab-grown diamond technology for more than 50 years. That unit has been producing synthetic diamonds for drill bits in the oil and gas industry, but this is the first time that De Beers will actually sell them to the end-users.
Any Lightbox lab-grown diamonds of 0.2 carats or above will carry a permanent laser-inscribed Lightbox logo inside the stone. Invisible to the naked eye, but easily identified under magnification, the logo will clearly ID the diamond as lab-grown and also serve as a mark of quality and assurance that it was produced by Element Six.
This latest laser-etching technology, developed by Oxford University spin-out Opsydia, can make etched marks only one-fiftieth the size of a human hair, the academics involved said in a separate statement.
Synthetic diamonds have the same physical and chemical features as mined stones. They’re made from a carbon seed placed in a microwave chamber and superheated into a glowing plasma ball. The process creates particles that can eventually crystallize into diamonds in only 2.5 months. The technology is so advanced that experts need a machine to distinguish between lab-made diamonds and mined gems.
Each diamond will be laser-inscribed internally with the Lightbox logo to assure shoppers it is part of the official range. The laser-etching technology has been developed by an Oxford University spin-off
In mineralogy, diamond is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are organized in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Ruby is less secure than graphite, yet the conversion rate from ruby to graphite is negligible at typical problems. Diamond is renowned as a material with outstanding physical high qualities, the majority of which stem from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. Specifically, ruby has the highest solidity and thermal conductivity of any type of mass material. Those properties work out the major industrial application of diamond in faceting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond blades and ruby anvil cells. As a result of its exceptionally stiff lattice, it could be diluted by really few kinds of contaminations, such as boron and nitrogen. Percentages of defects or impurities (concerning one per million of lattice atoms) shade ruby blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brownish (lattice problems), environment-friendly (radiation direct exposure), purple, pink, red or orange. The list goes on..Diamonds also have reasonably high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of various colors).
10. The Heart of Eternity ($16 million) The stone that was made into the heart of Eternity Diamond was found at the world’s largest supplier of blue diamonds, the South African Premier Diamond Mine. Blue diamonds are incredibly rare with, on average, only one being found every year, and this one was an amazing find. The rough stone was 777 carats when it was dug up, and the owners waited until they had the perfect design idea before they started cutting it. The result was The Millenium Blue Diamonds- a series of heart, pear drop and oval shaped diamonds of which the Heart Of Eternity is the largest. In recent years it has been on tour at various exhibitions, including at the Millennium exhibition in London in 2000, followed by the Smithsonian museum. It was reportedly bought in 2012 by Floyd Mayweather to give to his fiancée, but no details of the selling price were ever revealed. The $16 million price tag is an estimate based on its size and color, but the finished piece could be worth far more when you consider what a rare piece it is. 9. The Moussaieff Red Diamond ($20 million) Diamonds come in many colors, but red ones are particularly rare. According to the Cape Town Diamond Museum there have only been up to maybe only 30 true red diamonds ever found, with most of them being less than half a carat. A farmer in Brazil found the rough stone that was to become the Moussaieff Red Diamond in the 90’s. At a weight of 13.90 carats it immediately became the center of attention. The William Goldberg Diamond Corporation from New York then purchased it, and decided to facet it into a triangular brilliant cut. This process would mean losing 8.79 carats, but the resulting cranberry colored 5.11 carat gem is simply stunning. It was originally named the Red Shield, but was renamed by the Moussaieff Jewelers when they purchased it for about $8 million at the turn of the century. This diamond has regularly been to exhibitions, being shown alongside other ones in the Smithsonian. Were it to be sold, it would be expected to cost at least $20 million. 8. The Perfect Pink ($23 million) When it sold for $23 million in 2010, the Perfect Pink Diamond was the most expensive jewel that had ever been sold in Asia. It weighs 14.23 carats, is graded as fancy intense pink, and is set in a rose and white gold ring with rectangular shaped diamonds on either side. Pure Pink diamonds of more than 10 carats are very unusual, with only 18 examples having gone to auction in the past 244 years; none of which was classified as intense pink at the time of sale. This makes the Perfect Pink a truly unique piece, and explains why it sold for ten million dollars more than had been expected. 7. The Wittelsbach Diamond ($23.4 million) The first records of the Wittelsbach Diamond come from back in the 17th century when it was sold to Louis XIV of France. It has a rare blue color, and weighs 35.56 carats. The stone has a royal history, having been passed down through families since the 1600’s. It went from France, to Spain, and over to Germany, where it accompanied the German King Louis III to his burial place in 1921. At some point in the 30’s it was sold off to raise money for the German government, and from here things get mysterious. No one seemed to know who had bought it, and it somehow got replaced with a piece of blue glass in the museum. Rumors of the actual diamond changing hands were rife in the following decades, until 1962 when it reappeared at a jewelery store in Belgium. It was sold in 2008 for $23.4 million and, to the dismay of diamond historians, the new owner decided that it should be recut, since it had originally been done in the early 1600’s. The resulting stone, now 21.06 carats, meant that both the color and quality were vastly improved, and the estimated price went through the roof.
The diamond acted as a carrier, keeping a piece of calcium silicate perovskite stable as it moved towards the Earth’s surface.
Calcium silicate perovskite (CaSiO3) is thought to be the fourth most abundant mineral on the planet, but until recently, it had never been observed in nature. Above about 400 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, this elusive mineral becomes unstable. But as Michelle Starr of Science Alert reports, researchers have found a piece of CaSiO3 that managed to make it close to the surface of the Earth, encased in a very small diamond.
The diamond sliver was discovered at South Africa’s Cullinan diamond mine, which is best known for yielding two of the largest diamonds in the British Crown Jewels. According to Brandon Specktor of Live Science, the piece of CaSiO3 was visible to the naked eye once the diamond was polished, but an international team of researchers collaborated on analyzing the precious stone with X-ray and spectroscopy tests. They published the results of this analysis in the journal Nature.
The diamond was discovered less than 0.6 miles below the Earth’s surface, but the researchers note in the study that it was in fact a “super-deep” diamond. Most of these sparkly stones originate between 93 and 124 miles below the Earth’s surface. The one containing the CaSiO3 likely formed at a depth of around 435 miles, where the pressure is approximately 240,000 times greater than the atmospheric pressure at sea level. When this extreme force formed the diamond, the CaSiO3 was trapped inside.
The mineral did not deform as the diamond moved towards the Earth’s surface because the diamond acted as “an unyielding container,” Graham Pearson, a mantle geochemist at the University of Alberta and a co-author of the study, explains in a statement.
Pearson also says that the findings of the new analysis suggest there may be “as much as zetta tonnes of this perovskite in deep Earth.” (Zetta is a unit prefix equal to a factor of 1021, or a one followed by 21 zeros.) Scientists have long known that CaSiO3 was plentiful, particularly in “slabs of oceanic crust that have plunged into the planet’s mantle at tectonic boundaries,” Specktor of Live Science writes. But since nobody has been able to keep the mineral stable at accessible depths, it has proven very difficult to study.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia are now working to learn more about the mineral’s age and origin. The recent find also yielded interesting information about the processes that shape Earth, offering strong evidence of a very deep “recycling” of oceanic crusts, as the authors of the study put it.
“The specific composition of the perovskite inclusion in this particular diamond very clearly indicates the recycling of oceanic crust into Earth’s lower mantle,” Pearson said in the statement. “It provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth.”
A RARE FIND OF A 910 CARAT ROUGH DIAMOND IN AFRICAN DIAMOND MINE
This 910-carat diamond is one of the biggest rough diamonds ever found. (Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.)
Shares in Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) skyrocketed Monday morning after the miner announced the recovery of what it qualified as the fifth biggest gem-quality diamond ever found.
The 910-carat, D colour, Type IIa rough diamond was unearthed at the firm’s flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho. According to analysts at Liberum, it may fetch as much as $40 million, based on previous sales of large quality stones.
The company’s stock leaped more than 17% on the news by midday Monday, the biggest intraday gain since 2010, trading at 93 pence.
To date, Gem Diamonds has recovered ten 100-carat-plus stones from its Letšeng mining
operation inLesotho, and five of the 20 largest white gem-quality rough diamonds ever
Since acquiring Letšeng in 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 dollar per carat kimberlite diamond undertaking.
“This eawesome top quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letšeng mine,” em Diamonds’ chief executive officer, Clifford Elphick, said in the statement.
Previous to today’s announcement, the biggest diamond dug at that mine was the 603-carat called Lesotho Promise, found in 2006.
At an average mountainous elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.
The biggest diamond ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in 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 second-biggest in record, while the 995-carat Excelsior and 969-carat Star of Sierra Leone were the third- and fourth-biggest.
Scientists created cubic zirconia replicas of the historic gem’s previous forms—the original brought from India and the famous “French Blue”
The Hope Diamond that famously resides at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has long been known for its inimitable color—a deep, steely blue, shifting ever-so-slightly in the light. It’s a hue that replica makers have tried and failed to copy; curator Jeffrey Post says the color attempt is always “garishly awful,” an aquamarine blue or a sickly “Windex blue.”
The true color is a trick of the light, thanks in part to the gemstone’s unique blue color and cut. It hasn’t always looked this way, either. When Jean Baptiste Tavernier first sold the original 112-carat diamond from India to King Louis XIV in 1668, it was crudely cut and a lighter color. Tavernier called it “un beau violet” (a beautiful violet). It would become bluer and darker as the gem passed through different hands, both French and American, and was recut twice more.
For the first time, scientists have created near-perfect cubic zirconia replicas of the diamond in its previous forms: the original brought from India, King Louis XIV’s “French Blue” and the current version encased in a Cartier pendant. It’s a project that’s taken a decade to perfect, involving cross-Atlantic collaborations between the Smithsonian, the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and the gem-cutter John Hatleberg.
“We’ve been able to use a modern technology to bring back from history a diamond that no one has seen since 1792,” said Post at an October press conference. “We are actually putting ourselves back in the eyes of King Louis XIV and seeing what he saw.”
When the famous blue diamond first joined Louis XIV’s crown jewels in 1668, it was a lot bigger and flatter than it was today. It was cut in the Mughal style, with a large, flat base and top to match. Because there weren’t as many facets—the small flat faces on a crystal surface—to reflect light internally, it was a much lighter blue. “It’s like looking through a window,” Post said, holding the replica up to a lamp.
The gem became much darker and smaller once the court jeweler got his hands on it. It was cut with more facits and shrunk to 69 carats. It was then that it became known as the “French Blue,” said François Farges of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and it perfectly matched Louis XIV’s sensibility.
“Think of the garden at the Castle of Versailles with the straight lines, perfectly well-arranged symmetry, good angles,” Farges said. “It is the same inspiration you have in the French Blue.”
It was cut precisely but unusually, with a small eye in the middle that let light pass clear through. This was done intentionally, as Farges and Post proposed in a 2014 paper. According to the crown jewels inventory, the diamond was set into gold and mounted on a stick. Farges found that, when placed in a gold setting via a computer model, the center of the diamond would look like a golden sun—the symbol of Louis XIV, “the sun king.” It’s even more impressive, Farges said, if you consider that the blue of the diamond and the gold of the sun represented the French monarchy.
Now, Post could hold up a replica of the French Blue placed in a facsimile of its gold setting and show the faint golden sun-like shape in the middle. Farges said that historical records suggest Louis XIV would have pulled the jewel from a gold chest and proudly displayed the stick for important visitors; it was meant to be observed, not worn.
“The big message was that France was so rich that they could use all those diamonds at any time to build a huge army in case the country would be invaded,” Farges said. “It was really a political instrument just to serve the glory of the king against the foreign kingdoms.”
All of these details about the diamond’s journey, color, faceting and use wouldn’t have been discovered without historical records like Tavierner’s drawings in his journal and those Farges has studied at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
Farges said he stumbled upon one of the most important records about the diamond by accident. He was looking through the drawers of diamonds in the national gem collection and found a lead cast. He was puzzled by its shape, which didn’t resemble any type of diamond he had seen before, so he spent the night doing research. To his surprise, he found that it was the lead cast for the French Blue.
“I came to the conclusion that it was the only replica, the only historical replica known to date of a French blue diamond, that we thought was completely lost. It’s not totally lost,” Farges said. “For the first time, we had the model in 3D that was perfectly accurate, with all of the facetings.”
Before creating the older versions of the diamond, Hatleberg set out to make a replica of the current version of the Hope. Almost 30 years ago, Post took the Hope out of its pendant setting and gave it to Hatleberg so he could make a silicone mold and then a resin epoxy cast. From there, he cut cubic zirconia to match the cast, and then brought several of the copies to a company in Minnesota to add the coloring.
To replicate the color, the company used a method called precious metal nanodot vapor deposition. They take a colorless stone and thinly coat it with metal atoms, making tiny adjustments to ever-so-slightly tweak the color. This technology wasn’t available even five years ago, Hatleberg said.
Hatleberg would then come to Post and Farges with copies coated with different colors. “We’d go, ‘A little too dark, too light, too green, too blue, too purple,’” Post said. “And after literally years of doing that, dozens of trips back and forth, we finally ended up with a stone that all of us here, all of us who know the Hope Diamond, looked at and said, ‘We can’t tell the difference.’”
The replica might look exactly the same as the original Hope Diamond, but aspiring jewel thieves or counterfeiters, beware; there’s no way that you could slip a fake past an expert. Under an ultraviolet light in a dark room, the Hope Diamond phosphoresces, Post says, glowing orange for about a minute or so. He can use a spectrometer to measure the light spectrum, which differs from diamond to diamond like a fingerprint, he says.
It’s unclear when visitors will be able to look at the replicas in real life, but Post says he hopes the stones will be on display at the Natural History Museum within the next year or two. There will also be a set of replicas that travel around the country out on loan, and a set for the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
In the meantime, Post said, he hopes to study the Hope’s history even further with Hatleberg and Farges. “It’s such an interesting diamond, both scientifically and historically,” Post said. “We know we’re going to keep learning from it. We’ve only begun to learn all of its secrets.”
The egg-sized, 709-carat rough “Peace Diamond” is one of the largest ever discovered in the West African country and one of the world’s 20 biggest rough precious rocks ever found.
The egg-sized diamond was found in March in the country’s eastern Kono region by a Christian pastor who gave it to the government.The yellowish diamond is also one of the largest found in recent years at mines in southern Africa, closely behind Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) 1,111-carat rock discovered in Botswana in 2015.
It was sold to luxury jeweller Laurence Graff, chairman of Graff Diamonds, a British multinational jeweller based in London, said international diamond trading network Rapaport Group, which marketed and auctioned the stone for free.
As promised by the pastor who found the diamond and later donated it to Sierra Leone’s government, half of the proceeds from the auction will be used to fund infrastructure projects to benefit the community of the small village where it was discovered.
The country’s government will receive about $3.9 million of the final selling price as taxes, Rapaport said. Another $980,454 will enter a community development fund, while about $1 million will go to local diggers in the West African nation’s Kono district.
This is not the first “Peace Diamond” is put up for sale. A $7.8 million bid was turned down by the government of Sierra Leone in May. Two months later, authorities announced they would try selling it again.
Between 1991 and 2002, the Kono district — where the Peace Diamond was found — was at the centre of the “blood diamond” trade that funded the country’s brutal civil war as rebel groups exchanged gems for weapons.
Emmanuel Momoh, a 39-year-old pastor who is also one of hundreds of so-called artisanal miners in Kono, Sierra Leone’s key mining district, found this diamond — the second-largest ever found in the West African nation. (Image courtesy of National Minerals Agency of Sierra Leone.)