Year after year, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s seek to present the world’s top jewels at their Magnificent Jewels Auctions in Geneva. The reputation of these auctions is so steadfast that buyers have come to expect that these auctions will present only goods of this level, and they come ready to pay the corresponding prices. Every year, we think that the catalogs cannot get any better or any more luxurious, and we are still being surprised. However, it is only getting more challenging to meet and exceed the world’s expectations. Sotheby’s has chosen to meet the challenge, first with the resale of “The Pink Star”. The now infamous 59.60 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond sold to the Chow Tai Fook group, the largest jewelry chain in the world. Now, they are selling most magnificent pair of fancy color diamonds ever offered at auction this coming month in Geneva. Will new records be broken? What about Christie’s? Sotheby’s has publicized their high-level goods, but can Christie’s catch up?
Sotheby’s 5 Shining Stars on Tuesday Night
On May 16th, Sotheby’s will be offering five of the most exquisite fancy color diamonds on the market, each with unique color, characteristics, and appeal. Some have already been seen previously at a Sotheby’s auction, and some, like the Apollo and Artemis Diamonds, have not seen the day of light for over 20 years.
The first item of discussion is a 3.32 carat Fancy Vivid Blue step cut diamond with a rare and unique Internally Flawless clarity. This beautiful diamond was auctioned at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction back on October 7, 2014. Back then, it was evaluated at $3.35 million to $4.38 million, or $1 million to $1.32 million per carat, but ended up selling for $5,358,746 or $1.614 million per carat. It is now back onto the auction block, and the valuation is between $6 million and $8 million, or $1.8 million to $2.41 million per carat. On an evaluation basis, it is up 79% to 82% from its last offering. I feel this diamond will absolutely sell for above $2 million per carat. One strong indication that this is so is that rare diamonds such as this one are so rare that the only ones that exist are those that have been seen in the market. No new diamonds with such characteristics are coming out of the ground.
3.32 carat Fancy Vivid Blue IF step cut diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
The majority of diamonds of this caliber offered at auctions are “old” diamonds, meaning that they have been “in existence” for quite some time. The last time that a blue rough diamond of significant value came out of the ground was the rough diamonds that were polished into the 12.03 carat “Blue Moon of Josephine”, as well as the one that became the 24.18 carat “Cullinan Dream” diamond (Fancy Intense Blue). The updated certificate of the 3.32 carat Fancy Vivid Blue, which is visible on Sotheby’s website, is dated April 18, 2017.
The 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue “Blue Moon of Josephine” diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
24.18 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS2 “Cullinan Dream” diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The second important item being offered by Sotheby’s that is of significant value is the 21.11 carat Fancy Pink diamond with a VVS2 clarity and cut into the shape of a long cushion. It is specifically stated that the clarity can be improved upon, being that it can be re-polished and with some weight removal, it can receive a higher clarity grade. This diamond was offered at the Sotheby’s May 2016 Geneva auction, merely a year ago. It was valued at $5 million to $9 million, but the highest bid was $4.4 million so it went unsold. It is now available again with a valuation ranging between $3 million to $5 million. The certificate is dated November 2006. Since over 10 years have passed, the buyer should be careful and have the diamond reviewed by a specialist to ensure it is still in the same condition.
21.11 carat Fancy Pink VVS2 diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
The next item to be reviewed is a 7.04 carat Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Type IIa diamond with a VS1 clarity. It is valued at $8 million to $12 million, or $1.136 million to $1.7 million per carat. It is possible this diamond will break several records. We shall see at the auction.
7.04 Fancy Intense Purplish Pink VS1 diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
The Apollo and Artemis Diamonds
This pair of fancy color diamonds has not seen the light of day for the last 20 years or so, being that they were hidden away somewhere in Europe. (The lady owner prefers keeping it confidential where exactly they were hidden away, but it is not surprising the pair were there…) The largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond in size to ever be offered at auction is the 14.62 carat “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond, but it had a VVS2 clarity. The largest pear shaped diamond was the 14.22 carat “Winston Blue” diamond. Both the Oppenheimer and the Winston Blue diamond broke their own respective world records at the time of their listing.
The 14.54 carat Fancy Vivid Blue “Apollo Blue” diamond and the 16.00 carat Fancy Intense Pink “Artemis Pink” diamond
Image credit: Sotheby’s
The Apollo Blue Diamond
The Apollo Blue diamond is the largest of its kind to be offered at auction. It is a 14.54 carat Fancy Vivid Blue pear shaped diamond with an Internally Flawless. It has an estimated value of $38 million to $50 million, or $2.613 million to $3.439 million per carat. Our research tells us that this diamond is one of the top 5 Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds to ever be certified by the GIA. We are certain that it will sell well above $3 million per carat. I have spoken to another colleague who has inspected both the Oppenheimer and the Apollo, and in his opinion, the Apollo has a stronger color. The Apollo has a strong chance of breaking several world records that night.
The 14.54 carat Fancy Vivid Blue “Apollo Blue” diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
The Artemis Pink Diamond
The Artemis Pink diamond is the largest of its kind ever to be offered at auction. It is a 16.00 carat Fancy Intense Pink pear shaped diamond with a VVS2 clarity. The largest Fancy Intense Pink diamond in terms of size ever to be offered at auction is the Princie Diamond, a 34.65 carat diamond. The previous largest pear shape of this color to be offered was the recent 13.20 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond that Laurence Graff acquired at the last Geneva auction back in November 2016.
The 34.65 Fancy Intense Pink “Princie Pink” diamond Image credit: Christie’s
13.20 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
The Artemis Pink diamond is valued at $12.5 million to $18 million, or $781k to $1.125 million per carat. I have a very strong feeling this one will be very interesting to watch. Many things will unfold after this sale.
The 16.00 carat Fancy Intense Pink “Artemis Pink” diamond Image credit: Sotheby’s
Christie’s May Magnificent Jewels Auction in Geneva
Christie’s will be offering a large selection of beautiful items the following day, at its usual place of auction, the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Only 2 items were of interest for us.
The first item of interest is a 7.97 carat Fancy Intense Blue cushion shaped diamond with a VS1 clarity. The valuation for this diamond is $2.5 million to $3 million, or $314k to $376k per carat. Our first reaction is that it was valued this way either because the stone is of weak color, and it should have been certified Fancy Blue (but even then the price is quite low, even if the clarity is a VS1). The other possibility is that Christie’s made a mistake and undervalued the diamond. We shall see that night how the market reacts.
7.97 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS1 cushion shaped diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The second item at Christie’s to be discussed is a 4.05 carat Fancy Deep Blue VS1 cut cornered square modified cut diamond. It is valued by the auction house at $4.2 million to $5.2 million, or $1.037 million per carat to $1.284 million per carat. Here too, we might end up having a surprise, and we shall see that evening.
4.05 carat Fancy Deep Blue VS1 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The last item from Christie’s to be reviewed is a 6.07 carat, Fancy Purple Pink, with an SI1 clarity, by David Morris. It is currently valued at between $800k to $1.2 million, or $132k to $198k per carat.
6.07 carat Fancy Purple Pink SI1 diamond ring Image credit: Christie’s
Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s work very hard to offer unique items, with private individuals, global dealers and manufacturers behind the scenes. When the decision is made by the owners that it is time to see a return on their diamonds, diamonds that have either never been seen by the market or have been dormant for decades make their way to the public eye for their sales. The decision to choose to sell by auction house is a very individual one but it can be very lucrative, especially for the highest profile diamonds. However, as you can see even from the lineup listed above, occasionally a diamond does not sell at auction because the attendees decided not to meet the reserve price. We will have 2 quite exciting nights next month in Geneva, and we look forward to reporting live from location. Got any questions? Ask in the comments!
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