National Jeweler Network

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25-carat pink diamond sets new auction record

2010-11-17

Geneva—Laurence Graff again raised the auction stakes for natural color diamonds on Tuesday evening when he paid a world record price of $46.16 million for a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond at Sotheby's.

The legendary diamantaire, who immediately dubbed the diamond "The Graff Pink," called the emerald-cut stunner the "most fabulous" diamond he has seen in the history of his career.

"I'm delighted to have bought it," Graff said.

The diamond's $40-million-plus price sets a new world record for any jewel sold at auction, shattering the previous record of $24.3 million held by Graff's 2008 purchase of the blue Wittelsbach diamond at Christie's.

Four bidders competed for the stone Tuesday at Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels" sale in Geneva. Sotheby's Chairman in Asia Patti Wong, bidding on behalf of Graff, finally emerged as the winning bidder.

David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's International Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East, echoed Graff's sentiments about the stone.

"Tonight's spectacular result demonstrates that truly extraordinary objects will bring truly extraordinary prices," he said. "This outstanding pink diamond combined exceptional color and purity with classic emerald cut and fully deserves the exceptional price [it attained]. It was simply one of the most desirable diamonds I have seen during my 35-year career at Sotheby's."

The diamond, mounted as a ring, is classified as a Type IIa diamond, diamonds that comprise less than 2 percent of all the world's gem diamonds. It came to the market from a private collection and had not been seen on the open market since being purchased from Harry Winston some 60 years ago. The pre-sale estimate on the stone was $27 million to $38 million.

In total, the Magnificent Jewels sale garnered $105 million with a sell-through rate of 82 percent by lot and 94 percent by value.

Other lots sold included a fancy intense pink diamond ring purchased by an anonymous buyer for $2.81 million and a 20.16-carat diamond ring from Graff, which a member of the international trade snatched up for $2.76 million.