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.
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.