x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Spare $60m? The Pink Star diamond goes up for auction in Geneva

A 59.60-carat pink diamond is estimated to raise more than US$60 million, a record for any gemstone at auction, when it is sold in Switzerland in November.

A Sotheby's employee shows The Pink Star diamond weighing 59.6 carat. The Pink Star, one of the world's natural treasures, is the most valuable diamond ever to be offered at auction. AP Photo / Keystone, Martial Trezzini
A Sotheby's employee shows The Pink Star diamond weighing 59.6 carat. The Pink Star, one of the world's natural treasures, is the most valuable diamond ever to be offered at auction. AP Photo / Keystone, Martial Trezzini

A 59.60-carat pink diamond is estimated to raise more than US$60 million, a record for any gemstone at auction, when it is sold in Switzerland in November.

The oval-cut stone, The Pink Star, is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), will be sold by Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 13, the New York-based auction house said in a statement.

The sale of The Pink Star will follow a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in October containing a white and a blue diamond valued at more than $28m and $19m each.

“This is a good time to sell important stones at auction,” the Karlsruhe-based jewellery dealer Otto Jakob said. “Wealthy people with a lot of cash fear their money is endangered. They’re putting it into goods.”

Investment-grade diamonds attract buyers as both status symbols and hedges against volatility in the financial markets. Coloured stones, which account for about 0.01 per cent of mined production, are prized for their rarity and command the highest price per carat.

“Over the last five years buyers in Asia have built up stocks of diamonds,” said Mr Jakob, who exhibits at the annual TEFAF fair in the Dutch city of Maastricht. “That’s reduced the number on the market and prices have increased a lot. There’s a lot of demand for the highest quality coloured stones.”

Entered by an unidentified seller, The Pink Star was mined by De Beers in Africa. It was cut and polished by Steinmetz Diamonds for two years before being exhibited in Monaco in 2003.

That year, it was included in the Splendor of Diamonds exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, alongside the De Beers Millennium Star, the Allnatt diamond, and the Moussaieff Red.

The diamond, initially known as The Steinmetz Pink was sold privately in 2007 for an undisclosed amount and subsequently renamed.

The Pink Star is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink”, which sold for a record $45.6m at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2010.

If The Pink Star finds a buyer, pink diamonds will have set all three of the highest auction prices for gemstones sold at auction. The 34.65-carat Princie fancy intense pink raised $39.3m at Christie’s International in New York in April.

Pink diamonds are Type II stones that derive their colour from the process known as plastic deformation, whereby pressure changes create structural anomalies during the crystal growth.