The record price for any diamond or jewelry piece to be sold at auction was set recently when a pink diamond known as the “Pink Star” went for $71.2 million at Sotheby’s auction. The Pink Star is stunning coming in at 59.6 carats.
The Pink Star came from the mines of Africa in 1999 by De Beers. The raw uncut gem was 132.5 carats. It took over two years to cut the diamond down.
Its recent sale price crushed the $60 million pre-sale price it was estimated at, set by Sotheby’s before it went on the block for auction. It was just three years ago that the diamond was bought for an even higher price at a different Sotheby’s auction. Not too long after, however, the deal for the Pink Star fell through after the buyer defaulted.
Back in fall of 2013, it was won at auction by a New York diamond cutter named Isaac Wolf for $83 million. Wolf failed to pay for the diamond, however, hence the default. This caused a slight problem for Sotheby’s. They, in turn, had to buy the diamond because it was guaranteed a $60 million sale.
Aside from its record-breaking sale price, the Pink Star has earned itself the reputation of being the most flawless and largest pink diamond to ever be graded by Gemological Institute of America.
Three bidders competed for the pink prize over telephone. The entire thing took only five minutes as a crowd of onlookers watched in anticipation. The whole room erupted in applause when the hammer went down on the final bid of $63 million, which doesn’t include the buyer premium.
The new owner is Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook. Sotheby’s Asia Chairwoman Patti Wong commented to the source on the excitement of the bid. Wong said, “I know there was a lot of talk about the economy in China not being as positive as it was a few years ago,” yet it would seem that these auction results were quite unexpected.
So how do they know this sale will go through and no default like the previous one did? Ms. Wong says that she isn’t worried about that happening at all. The bidders in this auction have a long-term relationship with Sotheby’s. She told CNBC that the company is “very confident that all three bidders had the financial capability, and of course the buyer definitely had the financial capability.”
The Pink Star joins the ranks of record breaking diamonds to sell for big prices at auctions. One of them was the “Oppenheimer Blue” which went for 56.8 million Swiss francs ($57.6 million) at auction only last summer. The Pink Star crushes the record for another pink diamond, “Graff Pink”, which was a 24.78 carat diamond that went for $46.2 million.
David Bennett, who is chairman of auction houses jewelry division said, “The Asian element in the jewelry market is extremely important and from what I’ve been hearing from members of the trade I’ve been talking to, in the last six months they have become more and more important.”