The allure of Colored diamonds for collectors
Colored diamonds have always been diamonds in the rough. Neglected for centuries, these spectacular pieces of gem are now seeing a skyrocketing demand amongst collectors who have chosen to invest in natural colored diamonds. To help you understand better, we bring to you some of the most expensive colored diamonds which have fetched huge prices at auctions to provide the investors with a reliable store of value. The stunning colored diamonds auction includes, a colored diamond that was sold at a Sotheby’s auction to Laurence Graff for a record breaking $46.1 million – a price which goes down in the pages of history as the highest paid for any jewel or gem, ever. However, this wasn’t a one-off auction where colored diamonds set records. In 2009, a 5 carat pink sold for $10.8 million at Christie’s, creating a world record price per carat. If we take a closer look, the market for colored diamonds is strewn with several such examples. 2010 was declared by Christie’s as the year of colored diamonds.
That colored diamonds are here to stay became evident with the number of auctions where the auction houses are bringing forth rare and some of the finest colored diamonds to lure the collectors. Of the millions and millions of diamonds mined every year, only one in every ten thousand is estimated by the gem industry to possess color. And, very few of those actually manage to retain the hues and color. An even tiny percentage is found surpassing one carat. So, you see nature isn’t generous with colored diamonds. Their current market demand, though, is a different story altogether.
Now that you know the statistics, let us go back to discussing the emergence of the colored diamond. Sotheby’s sources claim that colored diamonds have appreciated at around ten to fifteen percent every year since the 1970s. The appreciation, especially for the blues, greens and reds have quadrupled over the past few years.
The growing affluence in certain emerging markets like China, South America, India and Russia is said to be the major reason behind the new found popularity of colored diamonds. There is a new clan of buyers for such diamonds. Asia is one continent that seems to have fallen in love with them. Asia’s rich and famous would rather prefer investing in a colored diamond than spend their money buying even a twenty carat white diamond, says Sotheby’s Asia’s head of jewelry Chin Yeow Quek.
Strangely though, the spectacular pieces garnered little interest even till a few years back. White diamonds ruled the roost while their colored counterparts struggled for a market existence. The vice president of sales at Van Cleef and Arpels had an interesting story to share. A client from mid west once brought in what his family thought was a negligible peridot ring from their mother’s estate. None of the family members took much interest in the jewel. The same neglected piece sold for a record price at an auction a few years later.
So, when and how exactly did the colored pieces leave the world bedazzled? According to experts, the watershed moment occurred in the eighties when a .95 carat diamond sold for $880,000 at Christie’s New York, making headlines instantly. Colored diamonds, it is said, have played a major role in the history of famous jewelry houses across the globe. Keeping such considerations in mind, let us now take a look at the eight most desirable colored diamonds ever.
1. Moussaieff Red Diamond
Discovered two decades ago in Brazil, the Moussaieff is said to be the world’s largest fancy red diamond. The gem, blessed with a magnificent cut, was put on display at the Smithsonian’s Splendor of Diamonds exhibit. Currently owned by the Moussaief Jewelers, William Goldberg Diamond Corp. were the first people to buy and then cut the gem to perfection.
2. Hope Diamond
The hope’s is a story that pans several centuries and can be traced back to India of the royals. Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French traveler was first to have spotted the diamond in the seventeenth century. From the east, the magnificent jewel traveled across the oceans to the west. The deep blue diamond is notorious for being, what many people consider to be, cursed. Dubbed the most famous diamond in the world, the hope is also the second most visited piece of artwork after Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
3. The de Grisogono Green Diamond
When it comes to size, few diamonds can beat the Spirit of De Grisogno in enormity and vastness. The Grisogno, which is believed to have originated in the Central African Republic, was the world’s largest diamond before being cut. Weighing at 312.24 carats, the grand diamond’s value is yet to be known.
4. Heart of Eternity
The blue diamond was cut by the Steinmetz group before being sold to the De Beers group. Discovered in South Africa, the Heart belongs to a class of rare diamonds. It was first unveiled by De Beers at the company’s Millennium jewels collection. During the diamond’s Smithsonian exhibition, it was announced that the heart had been loaned from a private collector.
5. Pumpkin Diamond
Shaped like a cushion, the orange diamond came to the fore in 2002 when cameras captured the spectacular gem gleaming on Hally Berry’s fingers as she received the academy awards. The orange diamond was bought by Ronald Winston on 30th October, 2007 for $1.3 million at the Sotheby’s auction. The pumpkin is, however, rumored to have been sold to an undisclosed buyer in 2005 for $ 3 million.
6. Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
At Christie’s in Central London, the Wittelsbach diamond became the most expensive stone or piece of jewelry ever sold at an auction. Back in 1664, this sky-blue gem was given as the wedding dowry of a Spanish princess “Infanta Magarita Teresa” painted by Velazquez. This jewel is originally from India and hasn’t been on the market for 80 years. London Bond Street-based jeweler Laurence Graff paid a whopping £16.4 million (US $24.47 million) for the extraordinary Wittelsbach diamond. Mr. Graff said that diamond might have sold for £50 million if there had been no credit crunch. Graff says that he will reshape the 35.56 carat gem before selling it. Earlier, the diamond was expected to sell for £9 million, but the auction ended after recording the title for world’s most expensive diamond.
7. Graff Pink Diamond
Sotheby’s set a world auction record for selling the rare and truly magnificent Fancy Intense Pink diamond of the purest, vibrant hue, weighing 24.78 carats for CHF 45,442,500 (US $46,158,674). After fierce bidding, the diamond was bought by Patti Wong, Sotheby’s Chairman in Asia, bidding on behalf of Laurence Graff. Laurence Graff has now named the diamond “The Graff Pink” and said…It is the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in the history of my career and I’m delighted to have bought it.David Bennett, Chairman, Europe and the Middle East, Sotheby’s International Jewellery Department, said…Tonight’s spectacular result demonstrates that truly extraordinary objects will bring truly extraordinary prices. This outstanding pink diamond combined exceptional colour and purity with a classic emerald-cut and fully deserves the exceptional price of CHF45,442,500 /US$46,158,674. It was simply one of the most desirable diamonds I have seen during my 35-year-career at Sotheby’s. The sale of Magnificent Jewels fetched US $105,051,728 in total. The previous record was held by a gray-blue Wittelsbach Diamond that went for $24.3 million at Christie’s in 2008.
8. Rare blue diamond
A rare and flawless cushion-shaped blue diamond that was expected to sell for somewhere between $5.8 million and $8.5 million (£4.1m to £5.9m) fetched $5.7 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on May 12. The buyer was also entitled to choose a name for the diamond. The 7.03ct diamond was discovered at Petra Diamonds’ Cullinan diamond mine in South Africa and it was cut from a 26.58ct rough stone. The magnificent gem will first be exhibited in Hong Kong, Paris, New York and London. Petra Diamonds mentioned that this flawless gem is among the most important blue diamonds ever to be offered at Sotheby’s. Petra Diamonds chief executive John Dippenaar cited that its quality is enhanced by its Cullinan origins, a mine that has produced some of the world’s most famous diamonds. Sotheby’s has earlier sold a flawless blue diamond for £4 million at an auction in Hong Kong in 2007, while the world’s most expensive blue diamond is the Blue Wittelsbach Diamond, which fetched £16.4 million at Christie’s in December 2008.