A pair of fancy coloured earrings, offered as individual lots, will lead Sotheby’s spring sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, May 16 at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva. Together the auction house says they make up the most valuable set of earrings ever sold at auction.
“The Apollo Blue,” a 14.54-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, will be presented with an estimate of A$51 – $68 million and “The Artemis Pink,” a 16-carat fancy intense pink diamond, has an estimate of A$17 – $24 million.
“The Apollo and Artemis diamonds will be the stars of our May sale in Geneva—by far the most important pair of earrings ever offered at auction,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division.
“These exquisite coloured diamonds are enormously rare and each is a wonderful stone in its own right. Together, as a pair of earrings, they are breathtaking.”
They are named after Apollo and Artemis, a twin brother and sister among the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.
THE APOLLO BLUE
Graded Fancy Vivid Blue by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and weighing an impressive 14.54 carats, the ‘Apollo Blue’ is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to be offered at auction. It has been cut and polished into a beautiful unmodified pear-shape which flatters its exquisite and truly outstanding colour. The GIA has also determined that the ‘Apollo Blue’ is a Type IIb diamond – a group which contains less than one half of one per cent of all diamonds. The stone has had an auspicious start to its world tour, having already received many accolades on its exhibition in Hong Kong.
In recent times, the only mine to produce blue diamonds with any regularity is the Cullinan mine in South Africa. When in full production, less than 0.1 per cent of diamonds sourced showed any evidence of blue colour, according to the GIA. An infinitesimally small percentage of those is graded Fancy Vivid Blue.
THE ARTEMIS PINK
The ‘Artemis Pink’ stands as an exquisite and rare treasure in its own right, displaying an elegant and delicate Fancy Intense Pink hue. Weighing 16 carats, the stone has been carefully cut into a captivating pear shape, matching the Apollo Blue, which perfectly showcases the stone’s colour and clarity. The GIA has declared the ‘Artemis Pink’ to be a ‘Type IIa’ diamond, describing this category as ‘the most chemically pure type’ of diamonds, which ‘often have exceptional optical transparency’.
The occurrence of pink diamonds remains exceedingly rare: according to the GIA, of all diamonds submitted to their specialists each year, ‘no more than 3 per cent are classified as coloured diamonds; less than 5 per cent of those coloured diamonds are predominantly pink’. Thus, a Fancy Intense Pink stone of such rich colour and impressive size can only be described as phenomenally rare.
The coloured diamond is today’s ultimate possession; in a climate of intense connoisseurship, the ravishing coloured diamond is appreciated as the rarest of the rare, with a mystical, miraculous beauty that comes from the unique, emotive blend of the diamond’s unrivalled fiery brilliance with an exquisite palette of colours, the most appealing being cherry-blossom pink, and the rarest of all diamond colours, noble, contemplative blue. Apollo and Artemis – the divine diamond twins – are perfectly matched in size, cut and tonality.
Amongst the purest, chemically, of all diamonds, with an alluring limpidity, while the Apollo belongs to the most elite group comprising less than one-half of one percent of all diamonds, pure, with the presence of boron, the element that gives the diamond its blue colour. Diamonds of this quality, with this extraordinary depth and sophistication of colour, and of this size are unfathomably uncommon.
The sheer luck of their very existence, the confluence of cosmic conditions that generated their miraculous formation process, billions of years ago, deep in the earth, is simply wondrous.