Exquisite diamonds are fetching record prices at auctions

14.62 carats Fancy Vivid Blue 'Oppenheimer Blue' diamond selling for a record USD 57.5 million, a 15.38 carat pear shaped 'Unique Pink' diamond going for USD 31.6 million and Lucara selling a 813 carat rough for USD 63.1 million only indicates that its raining record prices for exquisite diamonds at auctions

'Oppenheimer Blue' diamond [Image Courtesy: CNBC]

While the general diamond prices may still be unstable at the moment, exquisite diamonds are fetching record prices at auctions. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in the fancy colored diamonds market.

‘Oppenheimer Blue’ diamond sold for USD 57.5 million

‘Oppenheimer Blue’ Diamond [Image Courtesy: Timeby.date]
The largest vivid blue diamond to go under a hammer ever, a 14.62 carats rectangular cut stone was recently sold at a Christie’s auction for a record 56.8 million Swiss Francs (USD 57.5 – 58.2 million) to an undisclosed buyer. The diamond previously belonged to Sir Philip Oppenheimer, who was the head of De BeersCentral Selling Organization (CSO) for 45 years and also served as the Chairman for Diamond Trading Company (DTC), controlling the diamond syndicate in London. ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ was valued by Christie’s between USD 38 and 45 million but a USD 57.5 million price tag broke all records for a Fancy Vivid Blue diamond sale, surpassing the previous record of USD 48.5 million for 12.03 carat ‘Blue Moon’ diamond.


‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ [Image Courtesy: Sotheby’s, Spy Media]
‘Blue Moon’ diamond was acquired by Hong Kong based real estate investor and billionaire Joseph Lau at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva last year and rechristened the diamond to ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’, after her daughter Josephine. Just a day ago before buying ‘Blue Moon’ diamond last November, Joseph had also bought 16.08 carat pink diamond for USD 28.5 million and renamed it to ‘The Sweet Josephine’. In 2009, Joseph had bought another blue diamond – 7.03 carat for the then-record price of GBP 13 million and had named it ‘Star of Josephine’.


Shirley Temple Blue Diamond [Image Courtesy: CNBC]
‘Oppenheimer Blue’ diamond sale has however created history, by selling for a per-carat price of USD 3.5 million excluding the fees and buyer’s premium. Blue diamonds market is certainly booming. Sotheby’s New York had created an auction record by selling blue color Zoe Diamond for USD 32.6 million in November 2014. In April 2016, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold a 10.10 carat De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 for USD 31.8 million. The unsold 9.54 carat Shirley Temple Blue Diamond (owned by child star Shirley Temple) is valued between USD 25 to 35 million. Record shattering at each auction is only testament to the fact that market for blue diamonds and their prices are only heading north.


‘Unique Pink’ diamond auctions for USD 31.6 million

‘Unique Pink’ diamond [Image Courtesy: Sotheby’s, Architectural Digest]
A 15.38 carat pear shaped ‘Unique Pink’ diamond was sold at a Sotheby’s auction recently for USD 31.6 million, though it was estimated to be worth USD 38 million. Nevertheless, the transaction is the most expensive for a Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ever to be sold at an auction. The most expensive pink diamond ever to be sold however remains the 24.78 carat Graff Pink, which was sold for USD 46.2 million in 2010 at Sotheby’s auction again.


The ‘Unique Pink’ was sold by its previous owner Ehud Laniado, who was also the former owner of ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’. Buyer of ‘Unique Pink’ is an anonymous phone bidder from Asia. In this year’s auction, Sotheby’s has beaten its own record of last year’s USD 161 million jewelry sales, by garnering USD 175 million in this year’s auction.


Lucara sells 813 carat rough for a record USD 63.1 million

‘The Constellation’ [Image Courtesy: Lucara, Crossroadstoday]
Canadian diamond miner Lucara Diamond Corporation recently sold a 812.77 carat rough ‘The Constellation’ for USD 63.1 million breaking all records for a rough diamond ever sold. The diamond was unearthed at the company’s Karowe mine in Botswana last November and was sold to Dubai-based Nemesis International. Lucara has however retained a 10% stake in ‘The Constellation’ ensuring that it continues to profit when the rough is later cut, polished and resold.


‘Lesedi La Rona’ [Image Courtesy: Lucara, BIV]
Though the amount may sound astronomical, Lucara has found an even larger diamond – a 1,109 carat stone called ‘Lesedi La Rona’ that is expected to go under the hammer on June 29 at Sotheby’s London. ‘Lesedi La Rona’ is estimated to realize around USD 70 million but going by The Constellation’s per-carat price of USD 77,649, it may fetch much higher value. Lucara has also extracted a 374 carat rough from its Karowe mine. Though these diamonds may not be as legendary as the 3,106.75 carat Cullinan diamond that was later cut into over 100 smaller stones including a 530.2 carat Great Star of Africa that forms part of London’s Crown Jewels, Lucara’s record found and sales indicates that the company is up for a lottery.


Apart from these exquisite diamonds, colored diamonds generally a making a mark. What used to be a USD 1 million per carat tag has been replaced today at USD 4 million per carat for colored diamonds, as the new normal, according to Christie’s International Head of Jewelry Rahul Kadakia. According to Rahul, Christie’s has witnessed even diamonds selling for over USD 250,000 per carat, around 5 times higher than what used to be 10 – 15 years ago.

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