5.69-Carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond Fetches $15.1 Million at Sotheby’s New York
A 5.69-carat fancy vivid blue diamond fetched $15.1 million at Sotheby’s New York yesterday, making it the top lot of the day and advancing the narrative that aficionados are eager to pay top dollar for blue diamonds that carry the ultra-rare “fancy vivid” classification.
The hammer price, which is equivalent to $2.66 million per carat, came in slightly above the pre-sale high estimate of $15 million.
The emerald-cut gem, which is set in a platinum ring and flanked by two baguette-shaped diamonds, has a VVS1 clarity grade. The auction house pointed out that the stone — if recut — has the potential to be internally flawless.
“Fancy Vivid” is the ultimate color classification for blue diamonds. Those that display lower levels of color saturation may be rated “Fancy Intense,” “Fancy,” “Fancy Light” or “Light,” according to the Gemological Institute of America. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.
Back in May of this year, the “Oppenheimer Blue” — a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond — fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The Oppenheimer Blue’s per-carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, another magnificent blue diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.
A second highlight of yesterday’s Sotheby’s auction was a sapphire-and-diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. The piece carried a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million, but eventually yielded $3.16 million — more than double the high estimate. Designed circa 1935, the bracelet has five sugarloaf Ceylon cabochon sapphires weighing approximately 193.73 carats.
Among the disappointing lots were two that failed to meet Sotheby’s reserve price and remained unsold. One was a 110.92-carat round diamond, which had been touted as the largest round diamond to be offered at auction. The diamond boasted a VS1 clarity, but an L color (faint brown). Another high-profile, unsold lot was a 5.24-carat, fancy intense orangy-pink diamond that was expected to sell in the range of $1.8 million to $2.2 million.
Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Recutting Pays Off as ‘Pink Promise’ Fetches $31.9MM, Setting Record at Christie’s Hong Kong
Described by its auctioneer as the “Picasso of the pink diamond world,” the 14.93-carat “Pink Promise” set a record yesterday when it fetched $31.9 million at Christie’s Hong Kong. The $2.13 million per-carat selling price was the highest ever paid for a pink diamond larger than 10 carats.
The oval-shaped pink diamond — which had been trimmed down from 16.10 carats to improve its visual intensity and value — boasts the ultra-rare color grade of Fancy Vivid, near-perfect VVS1 clarity and Type IIa purity, the finest of all diamond types.
After an exciting three-minute bidding process, auction watchers learned that The Pink Promise had narrowly missed the world record per-carat price for a pink diamond of any size. In 2009, Christie’s Hong Kong had sold a 5-carat Fancy Vivid pink, cushion-cut diamond for $2.15 million per carat.
The 16.10-carat pink diamond that would become “The Pink Promise” had been graded Fancy Intense pink (a grade lower than Fancy Vivid pink), and was visibly “washed out” in some areas, according to Silicon Valley-based haute jeweler Stephen Silver, who had purchased the stone in 2013.
Working with a master gem cutter for three years, Silver plotted a way to recut the gem to achieve its ultimate color potential. It was a risky move, because millions of dollars in carat weight would be trimmed away and there was no guarantee that the stone would earn a higher color grade.
The gamble paid off as the Gemological Institute of America affirmed that the new, improved Pink Promise would have the highest possible color grade of Fancy Vivid pink — boosting the value of the diamond dramatically.
“The work we did on this particular diamond was the most challenging recut in which I have been involved, due to the technical difficulty and large financial risk,” Silver said. “It is a privilege, however, to work with a world-class team and have my name associated with one of the world’s great gemstones.”
Christie’s had estimated that The Pink Promise, which is set in a platinum ring and surrounded by smaller white diamonds, would sell in the range of $28 million to $42 million.
Credit: Image courtesy of Stephen Silver.