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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Largest Known Orange Diamond May Fetch $20 Million at Auction

The largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever to appear at auction will be the top lot in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale to be held in Geneva on November 12. Weighing approximately 14.82 carats, this diamond, being called “The Orange,” is expected to fetch between $17 million and $20 million.

Pure orange diamonds, also named ‘Fire diamonds’ by gemologist Edwin Streeter in his book The Great Diamonds of the World (1882), are exceptionally rare in nature. 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 less than 6 carats. “The Orange” is more than double that size.

At 5.54 carats, the Pumpkin diamond was largely considered to be the largest known fancy vivid orange diamond. It was purchased by Ronald Winston for $1.3 million and made into a ring by Winston and Phillip Bloch. Best Actress winner Halle Berry wore the ring to the 2002 Academy Awards.

A 4.19 carat fancy vivid orange diamond sold for a record price of $2.95 million in October 2011 at a Sotheby’s auction.

The Gemological Institute of America, which graded the diamond and issued its report, recently said: “Strongly colored diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three or four carats in size when polished. (This diamond) is almost four times larger than that size range. In GIA’s colored diamond grading system, as the color appearance of strongly colored diamonds transitions from orangy yellow to orange the occurrence becomes progressively more rare—that is—the less yellow present the more rarely they occur.”

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