Rare Pink Star Diamond Fetches Record Amount at Auction
A huge flawless pink diamond known as the “Pink Star” has sold for a record price at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction: an astonishing 76.3 million Swiss francs, £52 million.
Mounted on a ring, the oval-shaped diamond measures 1.06 inches by 0.81 inches (2.69cm by 2.06cm). The rough diamond was originally mined by De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company, in 1999, somewhere in Africa, but no one knows the precise location.
After two years of cutting and polishing by Steinmetz Diamonds, the previously 132.5 carat stone still is a hefty 59.60 carat, and the biggest diamond in its class. First unveiled to the press in Monaco, in 2003, as the “Steinmetz Pink”, the Pink Star was then privately sold in 2007, when it was given its stellar name.
The second biggest stone and previous record holder is the 24.78 carat “Graff Pink”, which sold for 45.44 million Swiss francs (£30.8 million) in 2010. London-based jeweller Laurence Graff, also known as “The King of Diamonds”, is the proud owner of the Graff Pink, but that diamond is less than half the size of the Pink Star.
Sotheby’s semi-annual jewellery sale was the Pink Star’s debut at an auction and took place in a heavily guarded hotel showroom. Four potential buyers whipped up a five minute bidding storm, but the winning bid was made by a gentleman acting on behalf of Isaac Wolf, a well known diamond cutter from New York. Mr Wolf has renamed the diamond “Pink Dream”.
David Bennett was the auctioneer overseeing the sale of the Pink Star. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he called as he brought down his gavel, “68 million [Swiss francs] is the world record bid for a diamond ever bid, and it’s right here.” At this point, the salesroom erupted in applause, and the Pink Panther theme tune began to play.
Mr Bennett was also the auctioneer when the Graff Pink was sold, and he thought it would hold the record for the most expensive diamond to be sold at auction for a very long time, when just three years later the record is broken again. He explained that the three most expensive stones have all been pink diamonds, though he thinks the Pink Star is a “true masterpiece of nature” and is actually priceless. “It’s really extraordinarily rare,” he said. “Very, very few of these stones have ever appeared at auction.”
At the same auction, jewels from French Countess Odile de la Rochefoucauld’s collection were also auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity. A sautoir, made up of 630 pearls, was amongst these goodies. Mr Bennett joked that the 3.5-foot long necklace could be used as a skipping rope, but after the winning bid of 180,000 Swiss francs (£122,000), it is unlikely that that is what the treasure will be used for.
Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale managed to sell almost £125 million worth of jewellery in the auction, which is the most ever made for a single jewellery auction, so the Pink Star wasn’t the only record breaker that day.