By Lenore Fedow
Sotheby’s sold this 14.83-carat fancy vivid purple-pink diamond for $26.6 million at its recent Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva.
Geneva—“The Spirit of the Rose,” a nearly 15-carat fancy vivid purple-pink diamond sold for 24.4 million Swiss francs, or $26.6 million, at a Sotheby’s jewelry auction Wednesday.

The stone sold at the low end of its pre-sale estimated range of $23 million to $38 million, but still set a new world auction record for a purple-pink diamond.

Mined, cut and put up for sale by Alrosa and graded by the Gemological Institute of America, the 14.83-carat stone is an oval modified brilliant-cut diamond that is internally flawless.

Benoit Repellin, head of the Magnificent Jewels auction at Sotheby’s Geneva, described the stone as “a wonder of nature, steeped in Russia’s century-long diamond tradition and cultural heritage.”

“It fully deserves the price achieved tonight, which is also testament to the growing appreciation, and awareness of the great scarcity of pink diamonds around the world,” he said in a press release.

Repellin noted that as the stones become more limited, the pieces will only grow more prized.

The Argyle Mine in Australia, famous for its red, pink and purple diamonds, closed earlier this month.

Alrosa cut the diamond from the largest chunk of pink rough ever mined in Russia, a 27.85-carat diamond unearthed in July 2017 at the Ebelyakh deposit in northeastern Russia.

The rough was named “The Nijinsky” after legendary ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky.

“The Spirit of the Rose” is another nod to the ballet world, named after “La Spectre de la Rose,” a ballet performed by the Ballets Russes company in Monaco in 1911.

Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, put her own spin on “La Spectre de la Rose,” crafting a contemporary performance of the dance as part of a virtual event held by Sotheby’s ahead of the sale.

20201112 Sothebys BenoitAuctioneer Benoit Repellin led the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction Wednesday. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
The Spirit of the Rose was the star of Sotheby’s jewelry auction, but other lots garnered significant attention as well, delaying the diamond’s debut by about an hour.

All 11 white diamonds for sale found buyers, garnering a combined total of 8.1 million Swiss Francs, or $8.9 million, surpassing the high-end estimate of 6.6 million Swiss Francs, or $7.2 million.

Ten out of 11 of the diamond lots sold above their pre-sale estimates.

20201112 Sothebys DiamondThis 18.03-carat D flawless cushion-shaped diamond was the top lot by dollar amount. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
The auction’s top lot by dollar amount was an 18.03-carat D flawless cushion-shaped diamond that sold for 1.8 million Swiss francs, or $1.9 million, above the high-end estimate of 1.4 million Swiss francs, or $1.5 million.

Other notable sales include a ruby and diamond necklace dating to about 1880. The garland-design necklace features circular-cut, cushion- and pear-shaped rubies and diamonds.

20201112 Sothebys RubyThis ruby and diamond necklace circa 1880 sold for $760,815. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Featuring mostly Burmese rubies, it sold for 697,600 Swiss Francs, or $760,815, well above its highest estimate of $306,318.

A sapphire and diamond ring from the late 19th century (pictured below) nearly tripled its highest pre-sale estimate.

20201112 Sothebys Sapphire(Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
Featuring a 9.08-carat cabochon Kashmir sapphire and single-cut diamonds, the ring sold for 151,200 Swiss Francs, or $164,901.

A diamond and emerald parure from around 1770 was another standout, garnering 988,000 Swiss Francs, or $1.1 million.

20201112 Sothebys EmeraldThis emerald and diamond parure, dating to 1770, belonged to Manuel de Guirior y Portal, the Viceroy of New Granada and, later, Peru. (Image courtesy of Sotheby’s)
The pieces are from the collection of Manuel de Guirior y Portal, the viceroy of New Granada and, later, Peru. He sourced the emeralds from Colombia as a gift to his wife, Dona Maria Ventura de Guirior y Otazu.

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