The diamond, considered to be the world’s largest pear-shaped fancy vivid yellow weighing 110.03 carats, was bought by a telephone bidder, who wished to remain anonymous.
“It’s a record for a yellow diamond at auction,” said David Bennett, the head of Sotheby’s jewellery department in Europe and the Middle East.
The stone was found in South Africa a year ago and cut and later polished by New York-based Cora International which put it up for sale, was written in the auction house’s catalogue.
Experts had rated it as fancy vivid yellow — the highest possible color grading. Yellow diamonds are created now by nitrogen impurities and after that they are trapped within carbon molecules and hardening over the course of millions of years.
“There are certain categories of object like rare diamonds that have a supernatural life of their own,” Geoffrey Munn, director of the London jewelers Wartski, said. “These seem to be burning white hot at the moment with so much turmoil in the other markets.”
So, despite the financial situation in the world, diamonds are still required.
“I don’t really see any crisis here at all. We sold nearly every one of the big diamonds within our expectations,” David Bennett.
“It proves the resilience of the diamond market in a time of uncertainty,” he said.
“Prices are still strong especially for diamonds and top-quality coloured stones like rubies, Kashmir sapphires and pearls — they are the winners of the day,” added experts.
The list of other lots at the $70 million sale included a colorless cushion-shaped diamond weighing 38.88 carats sold for 6.34 million Swiss francs or $6.96 million, including the premium paid by the buyer, said Sotheby’s.
Besides, a 12.01-carat emerald sold for $1.4 million, while a blue diamond ring was bought at the price of $4.3 million.
However, several precious jewels, such as a blue diamond ring and a suite of imperial jewels failed to find a buyer. Among the unsold precious stones was also a suite of imperial diamond jewels which dates back to the mid-19th century and which is supposed to be from the jewel box of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great of Russia.
“There are very often casualties in every sale. We got very very close tonight with the imperial suite, it is a totally unique and unprecedented suite of jewels. Unfortunately we didn’t get the extra bid to have it sold,” the Sotheby’s head said.
Actually, the huge yellow diamond attracted one more potential bidder, for whom it is probably an “alternative asset”, Valdieu said.
Yellow diamonds occur in nature more rare and are being sold at higher prices, said Hoda Esphahani, president of South African Diamond Corporation.
SAFDICO is the manufacturing branch of London top jeweler, Graff Diamonds, owned by Laurence Graff, which last week announced it plans to raise about $1 billion in a Hong Kong listing next year. SAFDICO head did not present at the sale, as he is in China at the moment.
“I bought two yellows, one an unmounted cushion-shaped old stone and another a fancy vivid yellow set in a simple ring,” Hoda Esphahani told reporters.
“I think top vivid diamonds are still now underpriced. I think they will go much higher because they are rare,” she said.
Johnny Kneller, the CEO of SAFDICO, added, “The market is very hot. Times elsewhere are very bad, the world economy is very bad. But diamonds and coloured stones are very much in demand and prices are quite high.” [Via Business Week and Money Control]