Pink Diamond Sizzles at Sale

Pink. It’s on everyone’s lips this month. And we’re not talking lipstick color. It’s the buzz surrounding a fabulous pink diamond that blew away all expectations at auction recently.

Touted as a rare ‘vivid pink’ nearly flawless 5 carat cushion cut diamond, Christie’s Hong Kong put it to sale on December 1, 2009. The pre-auction attention stirred imaginations worldwide.

Still no one could have predicted the outcome. Especially in this wobbly economy. Ok, some fifteen years ago, a 19 plus carat pinkie brought $7.4 million in Geneva. That was then, this is now. When the gavel came down on the final “are we all done, then?” the blushing beauty earned $2.2 million dollars per carat, shattering all previous records. At $10.8 million dollars for the rare stone, it could be years before another pink diamond trumps this sensational sale.

“No stone has ever been sold for $2 million a carat, we were used to … a million dollars a carat for colored diamonds but never 2 million,” said Francois Curiel, Christie’s Europe chairman. “This is an absolute record that is not going to be broken for a while I believe.”
When spectacular diamonds do come on the market, they are often sent to Asia for auction. Asia’s sophisticated collectors understand colored diamonds and phenomenal gemstones, and bid assertively on them.

But are pink diamonds all that rare, and what makes them so? Fancy colored pink diamonds come in a wide array of hues. They may have a slightly orange or brown, yellow or red back color. Even rarer would be a pink with a slightly purplish secondary hue. Pink diamonds are usually found in very small crystals. Considering that 60% or more of a stone may be cut away in the polishing process, any pink diamond of ‘size’ is a marvel. The pinks in particular usually have abundant inclusions, and those inclusions tend to be dark.

No wonder there was such an uproar surrounding this particular stone. The pink diamond is not quite flawless. GIA Laboratory graded it VS1 (Very Slightly Included). Still the stone’s “vivid pink” is considered near perfect, known as ‘straight pink’ to dealers. Curiel described it as a “fabulous pink diamond, probably one of the rarest stones I’ve ever seen.”

The first pink diamond discoveries were doubtless from Golconda India, the site of the world’s earliest diamond mines. In later times, Brazil and African deposits produced some as well. The most celebrated source of modern pink and red diamonds are the Argyle mines of Western Australia. The Christie’s 5 carat pinkie came from South Africa.

Is it the largest one ever discovered? Nope. The famed Empress Rose diamond weighs a robust 70.39 carats and the ancient Agra pink diamond tips the scale at 28.15 carats. Just thought you’d like to know.

Diana Jarrett
Graduate Gemologist – Registered Master Valuer
Member National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
Precious Friend and Collaborator of Fay Cullen Inc.

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