18 Apr 2018

3-Carat Fancy Intense Blue Diamond Fetches a record breaking US$5.3 Million

A 3.09-carat rectangular-cut fancy intense blue diamond sold for more than US$5.3 million, setting a world record price per carat for an intense blue diamond. The gem, which was set on a platinum ring flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds, sold for well above its high estimate of US$3 million.

It was the top lot at Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale held Tuesday. The auction of 211 lots achieved more than US$45.6 million, with 88% sold by lot and 96% by value. The sale was highlighted by fancy colored diamonds, colorless diamonds and signed jewels by JAR, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.

The other top lots are as follows:

A ring set with an 8.42-carat cut-corner rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy intense pink diamond, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds, mounted in platinum and rose gold. It sold for just over US$5 million, within estimates.

A crossover ring set with a 2.85-carat pear modified brilliant-cut fancy intense pink diamond, and a 2.42-carat pear brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue diamond, further adorned with baguette-cut diamond shoulders and circular-cut diamond gallery set in platinum. It sold for more than US$4.5 million, within estimates.

A crossover ring set with a 2.10-carat pear brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue diamond, and a 1.98-carat pear brilliant-cut colorless diamond flanked by a tapered baguette-cut diamond and mounted in platinum. It sold for nearly US$3.5 million, within estimates.

A diamond thread ring by JAR set with a 22.76-carat elongated oval brilliant-cut diamond within a diamond-set, two-tiered thread-work gallery and hoop, mounted in platinum. It sold for more than US$2.7 million, within estimates.

A ring set with a 33.46-carat rectangular-cut diamond, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds mounted in platinum. It sold for nearly US$2.3 million, beating its high estimate of US$1.8 million.

A ring set with a 2.81-carat modified square brilliant-cut fancy intense blue diamond with pavé diamond shoulders mounted in platinum. It sold for US$2.1 million, besting its US$1.5 million high estimate.

A large transformable emerald and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels centered with a 24.32-carat detachable oval-cut emerald that can be worn as a brooch, within a two-tier surround of circular and marquise-cut diamonds. The remainder of the necklace is set with a series of seven graduated rectangular-cut emeralds within two-tier circular-cut diamond surrounds, joined by oval or circular-cut emerald, pear and marquise-cut diamond links, mounted in platinum and 18k gold. The necklace can be separated and worn as a bracelet. It sold for US$1.5 million, above its $1.25 million high estimate.

A 12.19-carat round brilliant-cut diamond that sold for US$1.4 million, within estimates.

A sapphire and diamond necklace by Cartier centered with a 58-carat cushion-cut sapphire, suspended beneath a 28.51-carat cushion-cut sapphire joined by 4.13-carat a modified square-cut diamond. A circular, two-row platinum and 18k white gold neckchain is accented by square-cut diamonds.

Source: Forbes

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22 Mar 2018

Historic Blue Diamond with royal pedigree up for auction

This spring, the Farnese Blue, a diamond with an incredible historic pedigree, will be offered by Sotheby’s—marking the first time the gem has ever been brought to auction.

Originally given to Queen of Spain Elisabeth Farnese by the Philippines to celebrate her marriage to King Philip in 1714, the gem was later owned by a descendant of France’s last queen, Marie Antoinette. Over the next 300 years, it was furtively passed down through four European royal families. The 6.16-carat, pear-shaped dark gray-blue diamond was hidden in a casket as it traveled through Spain, France, Italy, and Austria.

“With its incredible pedigree, the Farnese Blue ranks among the most important historic diamonds in the world,” said Dr. Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and managing director of Germany, in a statement from the auction house. “From the first minute I saw the stone, I could not resist its magic, and as such, it is a huge privilege to have been entrusted with this sale.”

Like the Hope Diamond, this gem is thought to have come from India’s Golconda mines. This region was the go-to source for exceptional colored diamonds up until the 1720s, when mining shifted to Brazil.

“It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division and cochair of Sotheby’s Switzerland. “This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history and in color is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope Diamond.”

The legendary diamond will be offered at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on May 15. Its estimated value is between US$3.7 million and US$5.3 million.

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01 Mar 2018

Rio Tinto Releases 2017 Annual Report, slashes outlook for Argyle Mine

Rio Tinto’s 2017 annual report released today includes significant changes in estimates of Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources at Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond mine in East Kimberley, Western Australia.

Rio Tinto has lowered its estimate of diamonds it can viably extract from the Argyle mine, after experiencing operational difficulties and reducing its price forecast.

The asset’s ore reserves slumped 45% to 16 million tonnes at the end of 2017 versus a year earlier, the company said in a statement. That translates to 38.5 million recoverable carats, at a grade of 2.4 carats per tonne of ore. Reserves are the economically extractable material present in a mine, and are distinct from resources, which refer to all deposits.

The decrease includes almost 5 million tonnes of ore that Rio Tinto depleted during the year at the mine in Australia. It comprises a further 3 million tonnes due to reduced production outlook resulting from operational challenges in 2017, it said.

Rio Tinto also cut its price expectation for the mine for 2020 and 2021, resulting in a higher “economic shut-point” — the minimum volume it must produce per quarter for operations to be worthwhile. This, combined with adjustments to its estimates of future mining grades, shaved just over 5 million tonnes off its reserves.

The available reserves will enable Argyle operations to continue until 2020. The company could increase the estimate and extend the life span beyond that, depending on how the mine performs, it added.

However, the miner said other mineralised deposits at Argyle do not demonstrate economic prospects and are not scheduled for production. As such, Argyle Mineral Resources, exclusive of Ore Reserves, decreased from 15 million tons to zero.

The Argyle diamond mine is expected to produce 3 million carats less of diamonds this year than it did in 2017 – Image copyright 2018 Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is the industry’s third largest producer by volume, yet only has interests in two producing diamond mines, its 100%-owned Argyle mine in Australia and a 60% stake in the Diavik mine in Canada.

By volume, 76% of the company’s net production is estimated to come from Argyle – the largest mine in the world in terms of carat volume produced. The majority of the mine’s production is low quality in terms of size and colour, and the mine’s economics are driven by the occurrence of fancy pink diamonds that fetch a significant premium to white and most other fancy coloured stones. In 2018, Argyle’s production is expected to decrease by 3 million carats year-on-year to 14 million carats.

Argyle production commenced in 1983 and, at one point, produced as much as 40 million carats annually, making it arguably the industry’s most important mine. However, as a result of normal depletion, annual production has dropped to 14-17 million carats in recent years.

In 2016, Rio took a $241 million impairment charge on Argyle after reassessing mine-life expansion economics and has now cut the mine’s recoverable diamond reserve estimate to 39 million carats, thus reducing the remaining mine life to less than three years.

Sources: Rapaport, Rio Tinto, Mining Journal, Paul Ziminsky
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07 Dec 2017

Graff Blue Diamond Ring Fetches $13M

A ring featuring two fancy vivid blue diamonds by Graff Diamonds smashed its pre-sale estimate at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale on Wednesday, as blue diamonds continued to dominate the New York auction scene.

The pear-shaped, modified-brilliant-cut diamonds, weighing 3.36 carats and 2.71 carats with VVS2- and VS1-clarity, respectively, sold for $12.6 million, well above their estimate of $6.5 million to $8.5 million, Christie’s said. Both stones have the potential to be re-cut to be internally flawless, the auctioneer added.

At the same sale, a cut-cornered, square step-cut, 38.91-carat, D-color, VS1-clarity diamond went for $3.6 million, or $93,613 per carat, beating its high estimate of $3.5 million.

A brilliant-cut, 23.26-carat, E-color, VVS2-clarity diamond fetched $2.4 million, translating to $101,139 per carat. It had drawn an estimate of up to $1.5 million.

Total proceeds at the auction came to $62.6 million. The sale followed a Sotheby’s auction in New York on Tuesday, in which the top item, a 5.69-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring, found a buyer at $15.1 million, beating its $15 million upper estimate.

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06 Dec 2017

Blue Diamond Sells for $15M at Sotheby’s New York

Sotheby’s sold US$54 million worth of jewellery at its New York auction on Tuesday as several pieces containing rare blue diamonds and gemstones yielded higher-than-expected prices.

An anonymous buyer spent $15.1 million, or $2.7 million per carat, on an emerald-cut, 5.69-carat, fancy vivid blue, VVS1-clarity diamond ring, beating its upper estimate of $15 million, the auctioneer said. Meanwhile, a pear-shaped, 2.05-carat, fancy intense blue, internally flawless diamond ring fetched $2.7 million, or $1.3 million per carat, in a sale to a member of the trade — well above its high estimate of $1.5 million.

Sapphire jewelry also attracted strong prices. A Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet containing 193.73 carats of the blue stones went to a private collector for $3.1 million, having drawn an estimate of up to $1.5 million. A sapphire-and-diamond necklace-bracelet combination by Harry Winston — with seven emerald-cut sapphires weighing a combined 123.13 carats — fetched $1.9 million, beating the expected price of up to $1.5 million.

“The market continues to show its strength in colored stones, with today’s results driven by intense competition for important colored diamonds, sapphires and emeralds in particular,” Sotheby’s jewelry-division chair Gary Schuler said.

A 110.92-carat, L-color, VS1-clarity diamond — the largest round diamond in auction history — appeared on Sotheby’s list of unsold lots. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of New York working hours.

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29 Nov 2017

The Pink Promise, A Rare 14.93ct Pink Diamond Has Sold For over A$42 Million

The November 28th Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Hong Kong auction saw some pretty impressive results for fancy colored diamonds and for rubies, but the real headliner was the hammer price realized for an incredibly rare 14.93-carat Fancy Vivid VVS1 pink diamond. The diamond, described by Christie’s as the “Picasso of the Pink Diamond world,” sold for an incredible $31,861,000 – approximately $2.13 million per carat.

The diamond, referred to as The Pink Promise Diamond is a stunning pink oval stone with mixed cuts. Its Fancy Vivid Pink colour (as opposed to Fancy Intense Pink) is a designation given by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and represents the most prized colour grading in pink diamond history. The oval stone was set in a platinum ring and surrounded by diamonds. It was estimated that the ring would sell for between $28 million and $42 million.

The Fancy Vivid pink diamond was originally purchased by gemologist and jeweller Stephen Silver, who is known for his keen eye for gemstones. When he bought the stone (for an undisclosed sum) in 2013, it was originally a 16.21-carat Fancy Intense pink. However, Silver believed that the stone could achieve a higher colour rating if it were cut differently to allow more light through it. Silver turned to a master gem-cutter and together they spent several years planning how to cut the rare Type IIa pink diamond.

Diamonds are categorised into two main types: I and II, depending on the nitrogen present it the structure. Type II diamonds are divided further into a or b, meaning they contain very little nitrogen, with IIa being the purest.

Cutting the 16.21-carat stone was risky because if they could not achieve a higher colour rating, they were basically tossing away millions of dollars in lost carat weight.


The risk paid off. The stone was re-certified by the GIA after its cutting from 16.21 carats to 14.93 carats. It went from Fancy Intense Pink to the much rarer Fancy Vivid Pink rating. Additionally the Type IIa pink diamond achieved VVS1 clarity – the grade just beneath “flawless.” The higher grades in colour and clarity boosted the value of the diamond exponentially.

According to the GIA, only one in every 1,000 diamonds mined can be classified as Fancy colour diamonds. This stone is Fancy Vivid – the highest possible colour mark, and it is a large size, which is very rare for pink diamonds.

The remarkable remake of the diamond that Stephen Silver promised he could make brighter and more intense, yielded it the name, The Pink Promise. This was one in a string of important coloured diamond journeys for Silver. He has worked with, or re-imagined a host of important diamonds including a Fancy Vivid orange diamond known as “The Million Dollar Pumpkin” and he acquired the Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace in 1992, which he subsequently donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in 2010.

This diamond sale fell just short of a world record per carat price for pink diamonds. In the December 2009 sale at Christie’s in Hong Kong, a Vivid Pink, a cushion-shaped fancy vivid pink 5-carat diamond sold for $2,155,332 per carat, and set a per-carat record price.

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23 Oct 2017

The Famed Donnersmarck Diamonds Could Fetch $14 Million At Sotheby’s Geneva

The Donnersmarck Diamonds, a pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds with aristocratic provenance is being offered as part of Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels November 15 at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva.

The diamonds, formerly in the collection of the von Donnersmarck family, consist of a 102.54-carat cushion-shaped diamond and an 82.47-carat pear-shaped diamond. They are being offered as a single lot with a pre-sale estimate of $9 – $14 million.

Sotheby’s said these diamonds are attached to one of the great love stories of the 19th Century.

“These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division.


The Donnersmarck Diamonds, a pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds with aristocratic provenance

The Donnersmarck Diamonds were part of the collection of La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819-1884), arguably the most famous of the 19th-century French courtesans, Sotheby’s said.

Born Esther Lachman, the Russian native of modest means arrived in Paris at the age of 18 and was introduced to the city’s cultural and artistic circles. She gained the friendship of many artists, including Richard Wagner, Hans von Bülow, Théophile Gautier and Emile de Girardin.

In the late 1840s, she met the Portuguese Marquis Albino Francisco de Araújo de Païva. They were married in 1851 but the marriage lasted only one day.

Now known as La Païva, It was around this time she met her future husband, German nobleman, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916), one of Europe’s richest men. Their relationship was the talk of Paris high society and in 1871, the two were married.

Among the jewels von Donnersmarck gave to La Païva during the course of their marriage was the two yellow diamonds now known as the Donnersmarck Diamonds.

Following La Païva’s death in 1884, the count, who became prince in 1901, retained ownership of the diamonds. They remained in the Donnersmarck family for more than a century until they appeared at auction at Sotheby’s in 2007 where they sold for approximately $7.9 million. They will appear again in November after having been in a private collection for the past 10 years.

The Donnersmarck Diamonds come to the market at the same time that Sotheby’s is celebrating its 10th anniversary in sales dedicated to “noble jewels,” storied jewels of great provenance.

“Ten years ago, they were the star of the show when we launched our very first sale dedicated to Noble Jewels here in Geneva,” Bennett said. “I am delighted to mark a decade of success by presenting these exceptional diamonds once again. Jewels of royal and aristocratic provenance carry with them a special sense of history and these are no exception.”

In the same sale, Sotheby’s is offering “The Raj Pink,” the world’s largest known fancy intense pink diamond, weighing 37.30 carats with an estimate of $20 – $30 million.

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13 Oct 2017

‘The Raj Pink’ Unveiled in London

LONDON – ‘The Raj Pink’, the world’s largest known Fancy Intense Pink diamond has been unveiled in London today.

The exceptionally rare diamond, which weighs 37.30 carats, will take centre stage in the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on 15 November.

ESTIMATE CHF 19,250,000–29,000,000.

Speaking about the diamond, David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said:  “The discovery of any pink diamond is exceptional, but ‘The Raj Pink’’s remarkable size and intensity of colour places it in the rarefied company of the most important pink diamonds known.”

The rough diamond which yielded ‘The Raj Pink’ was studied for over a year after its discovery in 2015. It was then entrusted to a master cutter, who brought the diamond’s innermost beauty to full display by crafting it into an exceptional cushion-modified brilliant cut.

ESTIMATE CHF 19,250,000–29,000,000.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which certified the diamond, characterized it as an “astonishing stone”, describing its hue as “a very bright and ravishing fancy intense pink colour”. It continued, “For a diamond to display strong, unmodified pink colour like that observed in ‘The Raj Pink’ is rare, particularly at so considerable a weight”.

The discovery of a gem-quality pink diamond of any size is an extremely rare occurrence. Of all diamonds submitted to the GIA each year, less than 0.02% are predominantly pink.

‘The Raj Pink’ will be on view in London from 13–17 October alongside other highlights from the Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels sale.

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21 Aug 2017

Aussie Dollar back above 79 cents

 From a May 9th low of just USD $0.7326, the Australian dollar has been on a tear, appreciating by more than 10%, and now trading above USD $0.79, almost its highest level in nearly two years.

To be fair, it’s not just the Australian dollar that has appreciated versus the US Dollar over this time period. Since early May, the US Dollar index (which measures the value of the US dollar versus a basket of currencies), has fallen from 99.65 to 93.48, a decline of just over 6%.

This weakness in the USD has been caused by a number of factors, including the political uncertainty in Washington, an escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and finally, a slowdown in key economic variables. Combined, these factors have many wondering how much higher the Federal Reserve will be able raise interest rates in the coming months.

The RBA has also contributed to the recent strength of the Australian dollar. In the minutes that accompanied their latest board meeting, they discussed the fact that they thought the long-term neutral cash rate in Australia was 3.5%, which is a full 2% higher than the current rate of interest.

This, coupled with a renewed rally in the price of iron ore, which has appreciated by nearly 30% in a matter of months, have been the major drivers of the recent AUD rally.

Going forward, whilst the AUD could go up a little more short-term, it’s still likely to fall in the coming months and years, as the iron-ore rally is likely to prove temporary. More importantly, whilst they’d prefer not too, there is still huge scope for the RBA to actually cut interest rates in the coming months and years, something they’ll be forced to do if inflation and wage pressures remain constrained.

All up, this recent rally in the AUD should be treated as a gift for Australian investors looking to internationalise a part of their portfolio through investments into foreign currency denominated assets like investment diamonds.

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03 Aug 2017

Sotheby’s EST 1744: A Diamond Is Not Forever

A career gemologist, Anna Cisecki has held some of the most precious stones ever unearthed. As Executive Director of Australian Diamond Portfolio, she’s teaching investors to recognise their true value.

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Beautiful, enigmatic and impossibly rare, pink diamonds have become one of the most sought-after and valued assets in the world. And, it’s not by chance that investors seeking to diversify their portfolio are looking at these special little pink gems. Statistics published by the Fancy Colour Research Foundation (FCRF) confirm rare intense and vivid pink diamonds have experienced an incredible average annual growth of more than 14 per cent since 2005, a total price appreciation of more than 485 per cent.

“Pink diamonds have outperformed practically all investment classes as consumers and investors continue to view them as a long-term safe investment option, an effective hedge against inflation and a unique opportunity to create value and gains in a portfolio,” Ms Cisecki said.

“Changes in the world economy are helping to fuel demand for investment diamonds while the supply squeeze is further driving price growth.”

The Rio Tinto-owned Argyle Diamond mine in Western Australia is the only significant source of ultra-rare pink diamonds in the world, producing almost 95 per cent of global supply.

However, in less than five years it will be time to say goodbye to one of Australia’s most famous natural resources. After more than four decades of production, Argyle’s supply of pink diamonds is nearing exhaustion and the mine’s life is drawing to a close in 2021.

But this is news which comes with a silver lining for investors and firms such as Australian Diamond Portfolio with its boutique team of specialised investment diamond advisors.

Ms Cisecki believes much of the reason for Australian Diamond Portfolio’s success has come because of the need for a specialist investment firm to simplify the investment process around pink diamonds.

“Rare pink diamonds are not just the realm of the uber-wealthy; investors of all types and levels of the market are getting involved from small private retail investors and wealth managers to financial advice groups and family offices.

“The fastest growing segment of our client base is SMSF trustees. They come to firms like ours because they value our ability to source the best available stones on the global market. We also provide the full end-to-end solution from sourcing to storage and insurance with our high-security vaulting partners, ongoing valuations and eventual resale. These are important considerations when investing in this highly lucrative space.”

Given the ongoing uncertainty in global financial markets and the demonstrated return potential, pink diamonds are indeed an asset class that every investor should be looking at.

In another decade the pink diamonds from Argyle will emerge as the new Faberge egg – the thing legends are made of.


Source: Sotheby’s EST 1744 Magazine, Page 30 

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