World’s Largest Known Vivid Purple-Pink Diamond up for auction

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World’s Largest Known Vivid Purple-Pink Diamond up for auction
World’s Largest Known Vivid Purple-Pink Diamond up for auction

A 14.83-carat fancy vivid purple-pink internally flawless diamond will be the top lot at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction on November 11. It is the largest vivid purple-pink diamond ever offered at auction. Its estimate is $23 – $38 million.

Named the “The Spirit of the Rose,” it also is one of the largest internally flawless fancy vivid purple-pink diamonds ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Not only has it received the highest color and clarity grades, it also is classified as a Type IIa diamond—chemically the purest of all diamond crystals, often with extraordinary optical transparency. Fewer than 2% of all gem-quality diamonds have earned this classification.

The oval-shaped gem was created from a 27.85-carat clear pink rough diamond unearthed three years ago from the Ebelyakh mine in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in northeast Russia, owned by the Russian mining giant, Alrosa. It is the largest pink rough ever mined in Russia. The rough was then cut and polished for a year at the “Diamonds of Alrosa” cutting facility in Moscow. The completed diamond was unveiled in February 2019.

Benoit Repellin, director, specialist and head of Magnificent Jewels sales for Sotheby’s Jewellery Department, said via email that the diamond came directly from Alrosa. “This sale is the result of a long time relationship between Alrosa and Sotheby’s, several months of discussion about this masterpiece and the best way to offer it for sale.”

The diamond was named after the celebrated Russian ballet, Le Spectre de la rose (The Spirit of the Rose), staged by the Ballet Russes company and produced by Sergei Diaghilev. It premiered April 19, 1911, at the Théâtre de Monte-Carlo. The ballet was just 10 minutes long but featured dancers Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky, two of the biggest stars of the Ballet Russes at the time.

Driven by limited supply and rising demand, prices for top-quality large pink diamonds have increased exponentially over the past decade. The appearance of The Spirit of the Rose at auction also coincides with the expected closure of the Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Australia, due to depletion. It currently produces more than 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. Alrosa said previously that it wants to meet this demand for rare fancy colored diamonds. At least two of its projects in Russia are producing colored diamonds, including pinks, and the company says it could potentially satisfy up to 30% of the colored-diamond market.

However, Repellin says that with the closing of the Argyle mine, statement pink diamonds will be increasingly rare.

“In the last 10 years, Alrosa has found only four pink diamonds weighing more than two carats and two stones larger than 20 carats,” he says. “Pink diamonds are so rare that they account for less than 0.001% of Alrosa’s production volume.”

He adds that its purple-pink color, its exceptional clarity and its fancy vivid color all adds to the value of this 14.83-carat gem.

“The color purple-pink is rare and pushes the stone towards the red side of the spectrum for colored diamonds,” he says. “It means the color is 50% pink, 50% purple, according to the Gemological Institute of America. This purple-pink color makes the stone even more special and the estimate of $1.55 million per carat (at the low end) for such a magnificent diamond should attract connoisseurs and collectors.”

Gary Schuler, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division, said in a statement that only one percent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10 carats and only four percent of all pink diamonds are graded as fancy vivid, displaying a rich, vivid color.

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