Rare, pink and ex­pen­sive

Christie’s to auc­tion vividly coloured gem that may rake in US$50mil

The Star Malaysia - - World -

Geneva: The Pink Legacy, an ex­cep­tion­ally large pink di­a­mond, is set to go un­der the ham­mer at Christie’s in Geneva next week, when it is ex­pected to bring in up to US$50mil (RM210mil).

At nearly 19 carats, the vividly coloured gem is ex­tra­or­di­nary, said Jean-Marc Lunel, an in­ter­na­tional jew­ellery spe­cial­ist at Christie’s.

“If you con­sider that most pink di­a­monds weigh less than a carat, it is re­ally some­thing,” he said.

The gem, which on Nov 13 will be of­fered at auc­tion for the first time, has been es­ti­mated at be­tween US$ 30mil ( RM126mil) and US$50mil, and Lunel sug­gested it could hit the high end of that range.

“It is prob­a­bly the most beau­ti­ful (spec­i­men) ever pre­sented at pub­lic auc­tion,” he said, in­sist­ing there was good rea­son to ex­pect the rock to snatch an ex­tra­or­di­nary price.

The rec­tan­gu­lar-cut di­a­mond has been graded “fancy vivid” – the high­est pos­si­ble grade of colour in­ten­sity.

Christie’s pointed out that in the salesroom, fancy vivid pink di­a­monds over 10 carats are “vir­tu­ally un­heard of” and that only four vivid pink di­a­monds or over 10 carats have ever been of­fered for sale at auc­tion. One of them, the nearly 15-carat Pink Prom­ise, was sold last November at a Christie’s auc­tion in Hong Kong for US$ 32.5mil (RM136.5mil).

That amounts to US$2.176mil (RM9mil) per carat, which re­mains the world auc­tion record price per carat for any pink di­a­mond.

And in 2013, a huge pink di­a­mond weigh­ing 59.60 carats mean­while went un­der the ham­mer at Sotheby’s for US$83mil (RM348mil), or US$1.39mil (RM5.8mil) per carat.

The Pink Legacy, set to head­line Christie’s an­nual Mag­nif­i­cent Jew­els auc­tion on Tues­day, used to be­long to the Op­pen­heimer fam­ily, which for decades ran the De Beers di­a­mond min­ing com­pany, but Christie’s re­fused to say who the cur­rent owner was.

It was dis­cov­ered in a South African mine around a cen­tury ago, Lunel said.

“It was prob­a­bly cut in the 1920s,” he said, adding that it had not been al­tered since.

The clas­sic rec­tan­gu­lar cut is tra­di­tion­ally used for white stones, but is rare for pink di­a­monds.

“Imag­ine a domino that you have cut the cor­ners off of,” Lunel said, point­ing out that the cut is a “clas­si­cal so-called emer­ald cut”, which stands out from the typ­i­cal, more rounded, mul­ti­fac­eted cuts used to­day.

Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s in­ter­na­tional head of jew­ellery, mean­while said in a state­ment in Septem­ber that he ex­pected The Pink Legacy to “cause im­mense ex­cite­ment with col­lec­tors and con­nois­seurs of di­a­monds around the world”.

“Its ex­cep­tional prove­nance will no doubt pro­pel it into a class of its own as one of the world’s great­est di­a­monds.”

— Reuters

Big and beau­ti­ful: A Christie’s staff hold­ing the ‘fancy vivid’ pink di­a­mond dur­ing a pre­view in Geneva.

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