30 Jun 2016

Christie’s & Sotheby’s: Top Dollar for Top Diamonds

Led by exceptional fancy color diamonds, the Geneva spring auctions registered record results of almost $324 million.

It felt during the week that there were more people than we have ever had at the exhibition. We had to extend viewing hours and had people queuing for more than two hours.” – Sotheby’s

“In the lead-up to the sales, the mood in the general jewelry market was not good at all,” observed David Bennett, chairman Switzerland and worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division, at the conclusion of both auctions. “And suddenly it turned out to be a great success.”

An array of important fancy color diamonds and a well-priced selection of quality jewels fresh to the market, once again propelled the Geneva auctions to record sales. Twelve of the combined top 20 lots were colored diamonds, amounting to more than 50 percent of the grand total. Top-quality white diamonds sold at steady prices and six white diamond lots made it into the top lots sold. Two colored gemstone lots rounded out the top 20.


“It is a new world record for any jewelry sale,” David Bennett told the press after Sotheby’s auction, which totaled $175,097,419. “It is exactly a year after we broke the world record last May here in Geneva, which was US $160.9 million.”

The sale was 83.2 percent sold by lot, with 406 of the 488 lots on offer finding a buyer. Officials confirmed they have stopped releasing percent-by-value data. By contrast, Sotheby’s November 2015 sale had realised US $139,085,346.

“The Unique Pink set a new world record for a fancy vivid pink diamond,” continued Bennett, referring to the top lot of the evening, a pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond ring of 15.38 carats, VVS2, type IIa, which sold on the phone to an Asian private for US $31,561,200, or US $2,052,094 per carat.

The second top lot, an internally flawless, pear-shaped, fancy vivid blue 7.32-carat diamond ring sold to an anonymous telephone buyer for $17,112,629, or $2,337,791 per carat.

Sotheby’s also registered a new record for a jewel by Reza, with the sale of an important fancy intense blue diamond brooch for $13,672, 493. Another auction record for a fancy pink diamond was set when an 18.51-carat modified pear brilliant-cut fancy pink diamond, VVS1, type IIa, sold after intense bidding for $9,773,672, or $528,021 per carat.

“It felt during the week that there were more people than we have ever had at the exhibition. We had to extend viewing hours and had people queuing for more than two hours,” concluded Bennett. “The vast majority of the jewels were privately sourced; we tried to get as many fresh goods to the market as possible while keeping prices reasonable. It was a spectrum of jewelry, from a great private collection of period Cartier jewels all the way through colored diamonds, great emeralds and colored stones. Somehow there was something for everyone. Luckily it paid off.”


Christie’s sale following Sotheby’s record auction did not disappoint. Totaling $148,639,176 and registering a very high sold-by-value figure of 93 percent, the sale will inevitably be remembered for the heart-stopping bidding duel for The Oppenheimer Blue — a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue rectangular-cut diamond ring. It set a new world auction record for any jewel, selling to an anonymous private collector for a whopping $57,541,779, or $3,935,826 per carat.

The dazzling 14.62 carat blue diamond etched a record $80 million at auction in Geneva, May 18, 2016.

The dazzling 14.62 carat blue diamond etched a record $80 million at auction in Geneva, May 18, 2016.

“The bidding lasted 25 minutes, but it felt like five minutes! The entire room was holding their breath,” stated Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry, Christie’s. “Bidding on the phone, the final two bidders did not know each other and yet they were playing a game with one another, trying to see how one could psych the other one out: ‘Let’s throw a million now, let’s throw two hundred thousand now, let’s try to unnerve the other bidder.’ At this level of bidding, you are dealing with very, very intelligent people. That in itself was entertaining; it was incredibly exciting. The room wanted the stone to do well and for those 25 minutes, this was everybody’s diamond and that was great. It has been a long time since I saw people clapping every time a bid came in. It was like a tennis match!”

Christie’s offered 285 lots, of which 244 were sold, representing a sold-by-lot value of 86 percent. By comparison, their November 2015 sale totaled $109.5 million and their May 2015 sale garnered $97.5 million.

The top four lots were colored diamond jewels, including The Oriental Sunrise, a stunning pair of 12.20-carat and 11.96-carat fancy vivid orange-yellow oval-cut diamond and diamond earrings, which sold for $11,505,926, or $476,238 per carat.

The Oriental Sunrise

The Oriental Sunrise

In addition, the 5.03-carat “Aurora Green” diamond set two world auction records for a green diamond Tuesday at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale, selling for more than $16.8 million. The rectangular-cut fancy vivid green diamond sold for more than $3.3 million per carat.

Aurora Green Diamond

The Aurora Green

Four white diamond lots also made the top ten list of highest-selling jewels, including The Pohl Diamond, an historic 36.09-carat, rectangular-cut, D, VVS1 diamond ring by Cartier, which sold for $4,362,432, or $120,876 per carat. It came with a working diagram stating that the gem is potentially internally flawless.


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11 Mar 2016

Another Vivid Blue diamond poised to set records in HK

“It’s the rarity and the collectability of these wonderful objects. When they come to the market, they will have strong interest from all over the world…of course people are concerned about the China slowdown, but sales of rare items seem to be largely unaffected by growth numbers.”


Auction house Sotheby’s today announced that another Vivid Blue diamond of 10.10 carats is expected to set a new records for the most expensive gem ever sold at an auction in Asia, despite an ongoing growth slowdown in China’s economy.

The internally-flawless ‘De Beers Millennium Jewel 4′ is expected to fetch between US$30 million (AU$40 million) and US$35 million (AU$46 million) at the April 5 sale in Hong Kong, and is the largest oval-shaped blue diamond to appear at auction.

The diamond, which is slightly larger than an almond in size, came from South Africa’s Cullinan Mine and was one of 12 displayed at London’s Millennium Dome to mark the year 2000.

“There are no more than a dozen or so blue diamonds of fancy vivid colour and over 10 carats in the world, so they are very, very rare,” said Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman for Asia, Quek Chin Yeow.

The sale will come five months after the 12.03-carat ‘Blue Moon of Josephine was bought for a record US$48 million (AU$64 million) in Geneva by an Asian property tycoon — a further sign the diamond auction market remains strong despite slowing Chinese growth.

The world’s second-largest economy expanded 6.9 per cent in 2015, the worst performance in a quarter of a century and a far cry from years of double-digit increases.

“Of course people are concerned about the China slowdown” Mr Quek said, but added that sales of rare items seem to be largely unaffected by growth numbers.

“It’s the rarity and the collectability of these wonderful objects. When they come to the market, they will have strong interest from all over the world,” Mr Quek said, adding that the location of the upcoming sale was a sign of confidence in the Asian market.

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11 Nov 2015

WORLD RECORD: Blue Moon diamond sells for US$4 million per carat

The Blue Moon diamond has become the first stone in history to fetch over US$4 million per carat – a new world record for price per carat for a blue diamond and in fact  price per carat for any diamond ever mined.

The Blue Moon diamond has become the first stone in history to fetch over US$4 million per carat – a new world record for price per carat for a blue diamond and in fact  price per carat for any diamond ever mined.

Today at Sotheby’s Geneva, this investor’s dream sold for a total US$48.26 million (AU$68.3 million). Diamond specialists Cora International bought the rough, uncut Blue Moon last year for a reported US$26 million. 

Sotheby’s set the previous record for highest price for a blue diamond at auction when it sold the 9.75-carat Zoe Diamond for US$32.6 million in New York last year in November.

According to Sotheby’s, the diamond was bought by a private Hong Kong-based investor, property tycoon Joseph Lau, and has been renamed the Blue Moon of Josephine after his 7-year old daughter.

The sale comes the day after he spent $US28.5 million at rival auction house Christie’s to buy a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond — the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer — which he renamed Sweet Josephine.

The magnificent 12.03-carat Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid Blue diamond has gained a great deal of attention since its discovery at the Cullinan mine in South Africa in January last year. The cushion brilliant-cut diamond is an amazing, intense blue colour with no hint of grey which is normally the case with blue diamonds. In its rough, uncut form it was a 29.62-carat wonder, which took 5 months to analyse with 30 different models created, before beginning the painstaking 3 month process of cutting the gem to reveal the incredible Vivid Blue colour we see today. 

In terms of rarity, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has only ever graded 400 blue diamonds with a fraction of those obtaining the coveted  (fancy) ‘Vivid’ blue classification.


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11 Nov 2015

WORLD RECORD: Fancy Vivid Pink diamond realises US$28.55 million

An exceptionally large pink diamond weighing 16.08 carats has sold for more than US$28.5 million (AU$40.4 million) at auction, setting a new world record as the most expensive vivid pink to diamond to be sold at auction.

The cushion-shaped stone, part of Christie’s Geneva sale of Magnificent Jewels, was purchased by an Asian private buyer who named it “Sweet Josephine.” The origin of the stone was not disclosed.

Set in a platinum and gold ring surrounded by a double row of pave-set white diamonds, its pre-sale estimate was US$23 – US$£28 million (AU$33 – AU$40 million).


The diamond is exceedingly rare because it it shows absolutely no trace of a secondary color, Christie’s said, and its Type IIa classification means there is little to no nitrogen in the diamond.

Also notable is the size of the stone. The auction house said with diamonds in the fancy vivid pink range, stones of five or six carats are “rarely encountered” in the sale room and those weighing more than 10 carats are “virtually unheard of,” making a pink diamond as large as 16.08 carats increasingly hard to locate.

In total, the Nov. 10 auction fetched $109.5 million, selling 80 percent by lot and 86 percent by value.

The sale saw strong results for colored gemstones and natural pearls, with a fancy vivid yellow diamond, a bluish-gray diamond, a Burma sapphire and two pearl necklaces all making it into the auction’s top 10 lots.

Coming in as the second-highest lot after Sweet Josephine was a 50.48-carat pear-shaped, brilliant-cut internally flawless diamond of D color. It sold for $7.8 million, or $155,264 per carat.

A 91.81-carat cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond of VS2 clarity garnered $4.3 million, followed by a 118.88-carat cushion-shaped Burma sapphire, which brought in $4.2 million. Both stones were purchased by the Middle Eastern trade, according to Christie’s.

“Selling the largest vivid pink cushion-shaped diamond … for a new world auction record price is a strong indication that there is still demand from clients from that end of the market for these truly precious stones,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s jewellery department. “This is also true for pieces of historic or royal provenance, which similarly attracted a lot of interest during the viewing and sold above estimate.”

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22 Oct 2015

75-Carat Yellow Diamond fetches AU$5.1 million

Christie’s held its Important Jewels sale in New York on October 20th, churning revenues worth almost AU$28 million. Online bidding was much evident and active in the sale, with clients participating from locations including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Monaco, the United Kingdom, and all over the United States according to Christie’s.

The top lot of the event was a 75.56 carat Fancy Vivid yellow cushion cut diamond ring which sold for AU$5.1 million, within its estimate of  AU$4.2 – AU$5.6 million. Additional top prices were achieved for a marquise-cut D color diamond of 18.8 carats (AU$2.03 million), a heart-shaped D color diamond of 12.75 carats (AU$13.52 million), and a cushion-cut fancy yellow diamond of 34.12 carats (AU$1.01 million).

The entire auction offered important diamonds, fine colored gemstones, enduring designs of Donald Claflin, Jean Schlumberger and David Webb.



75.56-carat cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid yellow diamond


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25 Sep 2015

Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond Could Fetch $28 Million


In almost 250 years of auction history, only three pure vivid pink diamonds of over ten carats have appeared for sale.

The world’s largest cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond to be offered at auction will be featured as part of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale on November 10 in Geneva. Its estimate is US$23 – $28 million (AU$33 – $40 million).

The diamond is set as a ring, with a double row of pavé-set white diamonds that surround the main stone, and a third row of small pink diamonds underneath. The band is comprised of small circular-cut white diamonds set in platinum.

The diamond will tour Christie’s locations around the world, starting with Hong Kong, and continuing to New York and London prior to the exhibition and sale in Geneva.

In the realm of natural colored diamonds, those of a distinct pink hue are among the most sought-after among gem connoisseurs. While most pink diamonds exhibit a color modifier like purple, orange, brown or grey, this 16.08 carat gem shows no trace of a secondary color, Christie’s said. In addition, it’s classified as a Type IIa diamond, which means it contains little if any nitrogen and accounts for fewer than 2 percent of all diamonds.


Source: Christies Images Ltd 2015

In almost 250 years of auction history, only three pure vivid pink diamonds of over ten carats have appeared for sale, the auction house said.

“As large and rare colored diamonds of this caliber become increasingly hard to locate, this 16.08 carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond comes to market at a time when great gems are mirroring prices achieved for masterpieces in the world of fine art,” said Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewellery.


forbesSource: Forbes Life


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17 Sep 2015

Blue Diamond could fetch record US$55 Million at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s plans to auction a blue diamond that it estimates is currently worth 35 million US dollars francs (AU$48.8 million), which would break the record for a stone of that hue.

Weighing 12.03 carats, the blue diamond termed internally flawless by the GIA with the highest possible colour grade of fancy vivid blue could sell for a record US$55 million when put on the block at a Nov. 11 jewelry auction in Geneva, Sotheby’s said in a statement Thursday.

The gem, called the “Blue Moon,” was polished out of a 29.62-carat rough diamond found by Petra Diamonds Ltd. last year at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. Cora International, a New York-based gemcutter, purchased the diamond and took more than six months to prepare the stone.


The Blue Moon Diamond, Source: Sotheby’s

Blue diamonds are formed when boron mixes with carbon when the gem is formed. Sotheby’s set the record for highest price for a blue diamond in auction when it sold the 9.75-carat “Zoe Diamond” for US$32.6 million in New York in November 2014.

Dubbed the Blue Moon diamond, the buzzworthy stone will tour Hong Kong, London and New York before hitting the auction block in Geneva on November 11.

“The Blue Moon diamond is a simply sensational stone of perfect colour and purity,” David Bennett, head of Sotheby’s international jewellery division, said in a statement

Blue Moon is the largest cushion-shaped stone graded  as a fancy vivid blue diamond to ever appear at auction. The GIA Monograph notes the singularity of the gem’s spectacular blue, which “could be indescribable to even the most experienced diamantaire or colour theorist; some, however, liken it to the ocean”.

If the higher end of the US$35-$55 million estimate is achieved, the Blue Moon would be a diamond record-setter. But it would need to outperform the Graff Pink sold in November 2010. That 24.78 carats pink diamond brought just over US$46 million.

In November 2014, a 9.75 carat blue diamond fetched US$32.6 million at auction, setting the current record for the category.

Diamond specialists Cora International bought the uncut Blue Moon last year for a reported US$26 million. “The fact that you could buy it rough, plan it and cut it is special,” said Suzette Gomes, CEO of Cora International to Forbes. “This is a billion years old and it’s going to be here long after we’re gone. That’s the beauty of diamonds.”

The estimate for the Blue Moon is subject to change depending on exchange rates, Sotheby’s said.

bloombergSource: Bloomberg
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