There is a new record-holder of the world’s most expensive diamond ever sold at auction. On April 4, 2017, The Pink Star diamond sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for a whopping $71.2 million to become the world’s most expensive polished diamond ever sold at auction.
The previous record was set barely a year ago by a 14.62-carats blue diamond dubbed “Oppenheimer Blue” which sold at rival Christie’s Auction in Geneva to an anonymous buyer for $58 million.
The 59.60-carat mixed cut Pink star diamond which sold way above its estimated price of $60 million is said to be the largest Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Geological Institute of America (GIA). At that record price, its is also the most expensive item ever sold at auction in the entire Asian continent.
Unlike Oppenheimer blue’s owner, the Pink Star’s choose to reveal his identity. He is the well-known Hong Kong Jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook, the man behind the creation of the $200 million world’s most valuable piece of jewelry dubbed “A Heritage in Bloom” which was cut from his 507.55-carat type IIA rough Cullinan Heritage diamond. A Heritage in Bloom crafted by designer Wallace Chan is an iconic necklace that can be worn in 27 different ways.
Chow Tai Fook who was on the phone to Sotheby’s Asia CEO Kevin Ching won the bidding war against two other opponents after roughly 5 minutes. The bidding started at $56 million before the hammer was brought down at $63 million. The addition of the buyer’s premium drove the entire cost to $71.2 million i.e 553 million Hong Kong dollars. Chow Tai Fook renamed the pink star diamond after his initials to CTF Diamond.
Prior to the auction, the worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division, David Bennett who moderated the auction said: “The extraordinary size of this 59.60-carat diamond, paired with its richness of color, surpasses any known pink diamond record in history.”
After the sale he added;
“I am delighted that this magnificently beautiful diamond has been rightfully crowned the most valuable gemstone ever sold at auction. The price has more than doubled the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond that we set just last year in Geneva.” That fancy vivid pink diamond he refers to was a 15.38-carat pear-shaped Unique Pink diamond, which sold for $31.5 million in Geneva in May 2016.
Sotheby’s President and CEO Tad Smith also had this to say about the record-breaking sale:
“It is fitting that the owner of the most prestigious jeweller in Greater China should today break the record for the most valuable item ever sold in Asia as well as the most valuable diamond ever sold at auction – now appropriately named the CTF Pink. Sotheby’s has been honoured and thrilled to serve this very discerning client for many years.”
The pink star was polished from a 132.5-carat rough diamond mined by De Beers in Africa back in 1999. Sir Phillip Oppenheimer whose family controlled De Beers Mining was the owner of the previous record holder, the Oppenheimer Blue Diamond. He reportedly gifted the rare gem to his beloved wife.
The painstaking process of transforming the 132.5 carats rough diamond into an internally flawless (without internal inclusions) fancy vivid pink oval diamond lasted through 2 years. To further justify the price tag, the Pink Star or the CTF pink is among the 1.8% of the world’s gem diamonds to boast of the Type IIa classification– the purest and thus most valuable forms of diamonds.
At a 2013 Sotheby auction in Geneva the pink star diamond sold for a record $83 million. However, the sale never went through as the buyer, New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf defaulted on his payments causing the auction house to reclaim the gemstone.
While the Pink Star diamond is now the world’s most expensive diamond ever sold at auction, it isn’t the most expensive diamond sold per carat. That title belongs to the 12.03 Blue Moon of Josephine which sold at a 2015 Sotheby’s Geneva for $48.5 million at over $4 million per carat. At its time of sale, it was the world’s most expensive diamond ever sold at auction. The Pink Star diamond, on the other hand, sold at a mere $1.2 million per carat.
Blue Moon of Josephine simply named Blue Moon prior to its sale was snapped by Hong Kong buyer, Joseph Lau who renamed it after his daughter Josephine whom he gifted the precious gem.