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Monday, November 11, 2013

Big Pink and Orange Diamonds to Lead Geneva Auctions

The 59.6 carat "Pink Star."

If one would compare major jewelry auctions to prizefights (like I’m doing), then the large, statement diamonds would be the heavyweight contenders. The top prizes in the heavyweight division this year are extremely rare fancy colored diamonds that will be put up for auction in Geneva this week by Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Sotheby’s on Wednesday will be offering what it calls “the most valuable diamond ever to come to auction” as part of its Magnificent Jewels sale. The Pink Star is a 59.6 carat internally flawless fancy pink vivid diamond and has a pre-sale estimate in excess of $60 million.

The diamond is graded as Type IIa, which rare for a pink diamond of this size and color. Cut over a period of two years, The Pink Star is more than twice the size of the Graff Pink—a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond that established a world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel at $46.2 million, at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010. The current record price per carat for a fancy vivid pink diamond ($2,155,332) set by a 5-carat diamond, sold in Hong Kong in January 2009.

Cut by Steinmetz Diamonds from a 132.5-carat rough, the diamond was first unveiled to the public in May 2003 as the “Steinmetz Pink.” The stone was first sold privately in 2007 and renamed The Pink Star.

In total, the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale will comprise over 370 lots, including iconic jewels, such as the “Walska Briolette Diamond” brooch with an estimate in excess of $8 million. The total sale has a pre-sale estimate of $123 million to $167 million.

The 14,82 carat "Orange"

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, not to be outdone, Christie’s will sell the largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever to appear at auction at its Magnificent Jewels sale. Weighing approximately 14.82 carats, this diamond, called simply “The Orange,” is expected to fetch between $17 million and $21 million.

Pure orange diamonds are exceptionally rare, the auction house said. It is more common to find orange diamonds with secondary colors. The orange color is the result of the presence of nitrogen during the diamond’s creation. Among the very few fancy vivid orange diamonds that were ever sold at auction, the largest was the “Pumpkin Diamond” 5.54 carats. The Orange is more than double that size. A 4.19 carat fancy vivid orange diamond sold at auction for a record price of $2.95 million in October 2011.

Other items being presented at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction include three jewels from the world famous collection of Bolivian tycoon Simón Itturi Patiño, with the highlight being an emerald and diamond necklace by Cartier, 1937. The ‘Property of Hélène Rochas’ will include 18 lots, with a rare diamond and colored diamond ‘Tiger’ shoulder brooch, by Boivin. The Art Deco period will be represented by HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt emerald drop and diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, 1929, and an “Orientalist” emerald and diamond sautoir by Cartier, 1926.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes Website.

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