Sunday 18 March 2018

Auction to sparkle with record $28m diamond sale

Scott Reyburn

A 118.28-CARAT white diamond is estimated to sell for more than $28m (€21m) at auction in Hong Kong next month. The price, if achieved, would be a record for any colourless gem at a public sale.

The oval, D-colour, flawless, Type IIa stone, the largest of its type to appear at auction, will be sold by Sotheby's on October 7 as part of its 40th-anniversary events in Asia. Only four other white diamonds of this quality weighing more than 100 carats have appeared at public sales, the New York-based company said.

The world's biggest round "fancy vivid" blue diamond, called "The Premier Blue" and weighing 7.59 carats, carries a minimum valuation of $19m at the same Hong Kong auction.

Rare gemstones are both status symbols and hedges against volatility in the financial markets, and their prices are rising. Coloured stones, which account for about 0.01pc of mined diamonds, command the highest price per carat.

Here is a list of the world's five most expensive diamonds sold at auction. All prices include auction-house fees.

Sale price: $45.6m, 45.4m Swiss francs.

Description: A 24.78-carat, round-cornered, rectangular, step-cut, Fancy Intense, pink diamond.

Auction house: Sotheby's, Geneva, November 15, 2010.

Notes: Bought and named by the London-based jeweller Laurence Graff. "It is the most fabulous diamond I've seen in my career," Mr Graff said after the sale.

2. The "Princie" Diamond

Sale price: $39.3m.

Description: A 34.65-carat, Fancy Intense, pink, cushion-shaped diamond.

Auction house: Christie's International, New York, April 16, 2013.

Notes: The gem was first recorded in the holdings of the Nizam, or monarch, of Hyderabad, India, according to Christie's.

3. The "Winston Legacy"

Sale price: $26.7m, 25.9m Swiss francs.

Description: An unmounted, 101.73-carat, pear-shaped, D-colour, flawless, Type IIA, white diamond.

Auction house: Christie's Geneva, May 15, 2013.

Notes: Record auction price for a single colourless diamond, bought by Harry Winston, the watch and jewellery brand.

4. The "Wittelsbach" Diamond

Sale price: $24.3m, £16.4m.

Description: Historic, 17th-Century, Fancy Deep, grayish-blue, cushion-shaped diamond, weighing 35.56 carats.

Auction house: Christie's, London, December 10, 2008.

Notes: Bought by Graff. The stone was recut by Graff in December 2009 and is now 31.06 carats and renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff.

5. The "Perfect Pink"

Sale price: $23.2m, HK$179.9m.

Description: 14.23-carat, Fancy Intense, pink, rectangular-cut diamond ring.

Auction house: Christie's Hong Kong, November 29, 2010.

Notes: In 244 years of auctions, only 18 pink diamonds of more than 10 carats (2gs) have come up for sale, Christie's said at the time. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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