The ‘Pink Legacy’ diamond weighing just under 19 carats fetched a record 50.375 million Swiss francs ($50 million) when it was auctioned for the first time ever on Tuesday, Christie’s said.
The ‘virtually unheard of’ jewel was purchased by New York-based luxury jeweler Harry Winston at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva.
The company promptly renamed it ‘The Winston Pink Legacy’ and added it to its collection of rare jewels, the auction house said.
A Christie’s employee displays The Pink Legacy, a 18.96 carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond during a preview at the Christie’s auction house in Geneva, Switzerland. It sold for $50 million yesterday
The rectangular-cut pink stone reached the top end of its value, as it had been estimated to fetch between $30 million and $50 million. It was discovered in a South African mine around a century ago and was probably cut in the 1920s.
The semi-annual Geneva jewellery sale netted $110 million, with 86 per cent of lots finding new owners.
Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie’s luxury group, told reporters that 11 lots brought in more than $1 million.
‘The Pink Legacy brought this extremely high price of $50 million, so $2.6 million per carat which is a world record price for a pink diamond,’ Curiel, who is also a jewel expert, said.
Vivid coloured diamonds are the most strongly saturated gems, displaying the optimum hue of the stone. Most pink diamonds of this colour weigh less than one carat, Christie’s auction house said
‘This stone for me is the Leonardo Da Vinci of diamonds, I don’t think there is anything better.’
There were at least five people bidding by phone for the pink stone, but the winning bidder was a Harry Winston representative sitting in the front row, Curiel said.
Graded ‘vivid’, the highest rating for a pink diamond’s colour, the gem is internally pure with a rectangular cut, and mounted on a platinum ring.
Although it was once owned by the Oppenheimer Family, who built De Beers into the world’s biggest diamond trader, the identity of the seller was not disclosed.
Vivid coloured diamonds are the most strongly saturated gems, displaying the optimum hue of the stone. Most pink diamonds of this colour weigh less than one carat, the auction house said.
Before the auction, an international jewellery specialist at Christie’s, Jean-Marc Lunel, called it ‘probably the most beautiful (specimen) ever presented at public auction.’
Only four vivid pink diamonds over 10 carats have ever been offered for sale at auction.
Only four vivid pink diamonds over 10 carats like the Pink Legacy have ever been offered for sale at auction
Harry Winston is owned by Swatch, whose CEO is Nayla Hayek, daughter of the late Swatch founder Nicolas Hayek.
An important Asian collector was the direct under-bidder, according to Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry at Christie’s.
‘The stone is now going to be known as Pink Legacy Diamond which Mrs Hayek is thrilled to own.
‘In 2013 they made their first important purchase after acquiring Winston, which was the 101 carat ‘D’ flawless diamond, which they named the Winston Legacy. With that stone they started the Legacy collection,’ Kadakia said.
The remarkable stone will not be the most expensive diamond ever sold however.
In 2013 a pink diamond weighing 59.60 carats went under the hammer at Sotheby’s for $83 million.
Meanwhile in November during a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong the nearly 15-carat Pink Promise was sold for $32.5 million.