This spring, Sotheby’s presents the ultimate in coloured diamonds: Apollo and Artemis comprised of a blue diamond weighing 14.54 carats, internally flawless, type IIb, and a pink diamond weighing 16.00 carats, VVS2 clarity, type IIa. The stones are currently mounted as a spectacular pair of earrings, but are being offered separately, on account of their extreme rarity, power and presence. They are, says David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, “by far the most important pair of earrings ever offered at auction.”
On 4 April 2017 in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s set a new auction record for any diamond or jewel when The Pink Star, a 59.60-carat oval fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond – the largest Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that the GIA has ever graded – sold to renowned jeweller Chow Tai Fook, who has renamed the stone the CTF Pink Star. Not only was the price more than double the previous record for a fancy vivid pink diamond, but it was also a new record for any work ever sold at auction in Asia.
In the elite world of fancy coloured diamonds, green and red are by far the rarest body colours. The appearance of green in a diamond is caused by millions of years of exposure to a source of natural irradiation in the earth, either among uranium compounds or percolating groundwater, which changes its specific absorption of light. Our upcoming New York sale presents a cut-cornered square mixed-cut Fancy Vivid Green diamond weighing 1.64 carats, flanked by two cut-cornered triangle-shaped diamonds weighing approximately .65 carats.
Another exceptional colourful diamond on offer this spring in Geneva, this ring is set with a modified rectangular brilliant-cut fancy intense purplish pink diamond, weighing 7.04 carats, VS1 Clarity, type IIa, between triangular diamond shoulders.
These earrings feature two square emerald-cut diamonds, weighing 20.29 and 20.02 carats, topped by two smaller square emerald-cut diamonds weighing 1.01 carats each.
Weighing 15.38 carats, the “Unique Pink” is a Type IIa brilliant cut diamond with unparallelled saturation. Until this April, when Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold the CTF Pink Star, the largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction for a record-setting price, the Unique Pink held the world auction record for any fancy vivid pink diamond. It also contributed to the May 2016 Geneva sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale becoming the new world record for any jewellery auction.
To celebrate the Millennium in 2000, De Beers, together with The Steinmetz Group, showcased an exceptional collection of eleven important blue diamonds, the De Beers Millennium Jewels, in a specially designed exhibit at London’s Millennium Dome. Offered for sale from an Asian private collection, this rare and internally flawless 10.10-carat blue diamond is the largest oval-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction and was the most expensive diamond ever sold in Hong Kong before the CTF Pink Star in April 2017.
Type IIa pink diamonds are very rare in nature, but this fancy intense pink round-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond weighing 24.78 carats, set between shield-shaped diamond shoulders, is a perfect, pure pink colour, which has been graded “fancy intense pink” by the GIA with no secondary colour modifier. Adding to this diamond’s exquisite nature is its classic emerald cut – a style most associated with white diamonds – that is immensely sought-after in rare colours. According to the consignor, the stone had not appeared on the open market since it was first purchased some 65 years ago from Harry Winston himself. In 2010, Laurence Graff bought the diamond and renamed it The Graff Pink.
Unearthed in 2011 from the deep mines in Southern Africa, the 299-carat rough of this oval diamond is one of the largest and most beautiful diamond roughs found in recent years. Carefully and meticulously worked over months, the unrefined stone was transformed into a mesmerising 118.28-carat unmounted, brilliant-cut diamond. When sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013, it became the world record for any white diamond at auction, as well as the biggest diamond ever sold at auction.
Polished diamonds over 100 carats of any colour, weak or strong, are rare, which makes this 110.03-carat yellow diamond all the more impressive. The Sun-Drop, the largest known fancy vivid yellow pear-shaped diamond, was unveiled to the world at London’s Natural History Museum where it was exhibited in the famous Vault Gallery in 2011. After being sold at Sotheby’s Geneva the same year, it was renamed The Lady Dalal.
Smashing all records, the Blue Moon Diamond, renamed The Blue Moon of Josephine, sold in November 2015 at Sotheby’s Geneva for over $4 million per carat – the world auction price-per-carat record for a diamond or gemstone. “After seeing the stone’s colour and understanding its significance, it was fitting to name it the Blue Moon Diamond,” noted Suzette Gomes, CEO of Cora International. “Not only its shape is reminiscent of a full moon,” she said of the cushion-shaped fancy vivid blue 12.03-carat diamond, “but the metaphor for the expression is exactly what one could say about the occurrence and existence of such a gemstone.”
Only six perfect diamonds weighing over 100 carats have sold at auction in the last 25 years. Sotheby’s sold five of those spectacular stones at sales in Geneva, Hong Kong, and New York, where in April 2015, this jaw-dropping 100.20-carat, type IIa diamond was offered. The classic, emerald-cut diamond’s D colour and internally flawless clarity are exceptionally rare at this scale.
This ring centres an 8.41-carat, pear-shaped, type IIa pink diamond, shown here, which is prized not only for its sweet, intensely saturated hue, but also for its internally flawless clarity. With a stylised mount pavé-set throughout with circular-cut diamonds, this jewel sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2014.
Before this 34.98-carat modified pear double rose-cut diamond sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2012, its first royal owner was Marie de Medici, the wealthiest heiress in Europe, who in 1600 married Henri IV, considered the greatest king ever to rule France. Descending from the Medici through her father, Francesco, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who gave her this gem, she was not only rich but very grand. Cut and polished towards the end of the 16th century, the Beau Sancy also exhibits the first attempts to liberate the “fire” inherent in the stone – a property of diamond so admired today
In the November 2014 sale of the Collection of Mrs Paul Mellon, collectors eagerly vied for jewellery and objects of vertu that evoked her celebrated style. After 20 minutes of competitive bidding, Mrs Mellon’s magnificent and rare 9.75-carat fancy vivid blue diamond pendant sold for more than double its high estimate, driving the 98%-sold auction total to $218 million. It was renamed The Zoe Diamond.
Introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, the modern cushion-cut derives from ancient cushion-cut diamonds, sometimes referred to as “old mine” cuts. This magnificent 70.33-carat cushion brilliant diamond has not only received the highest colour and clarity grade from the GIA for white diamonds – D colour and flawless clarity – but it also is a type IIa diamond.
Of exceptional beauty and extraordinary fire, this brilliant gem is one of the largest fancy vivid yellow diamonds in the world. It is listed in Ian Balfour’s book Famous Diamonds as one of the few rare yellow diamonds greater than 100 carats. The 100.09-carat brilliant fancy vivid yellow diamond, which can also be detached and worn as a pendant, was sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2014.
This exceptional vivid pink Type IIa diamond, formerly in the collection of American heiress Huguette Clark, was mounted as a ring by Dreicer. Set with a cushion brilliant-cut fancy vivid pink diamond weighing 8.72 carats, this ring sold most recently in 2014 at Sotheby’s Geneva.