Auction aficionados were keeping a close eye on the sales room at Christie’s in Geneva on November 13, as an 18.96-carat vivid pink diamond, fittingly called the Pink Legacy, was scheduled to go on the block. Speculation was high that the price paid for the stone would meet its high estimate of $50 million, with the low estimate being $30 million. They were not disappointed.
In a dramatic sale, the Pink Legacy was purchased by U.S.-based luxury jeweler Harry Winston, which today is owned by the Swiss watch company Swatch. It was immediately renamed “The Winston Pink Legacy,” and is being added to the company’s collection of rare jewels.
The Winston Pink Legacy made up a major part of the Geneva sale, which netted $110 million. 1o other items of jewelry also sold for more than $1 million.
By achieving its high price estimate, the Winston Pink Legacy sold for a staggering $2,637,131 million per carat. That significantly beat the price of the earlier record holder, “The Pink Promise,” an oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond of just under 15 carats, which sold in 2017 for $32,480,500 or $2,175,519 per carat.
But it was not the largest pink diamond ever sold. That title is held by a 59.6-carat “Pink Star” that sold in 2013 at Sotheby’s in Geneva for $83 million, or $1.39 million per carat.
EXTREMELY RARE, INTENSE PINK HUE
The Winston Pink Legacy has an unusually distinct color. While most pink diamonds stones include a color modifier like purple, orange, brown or grey, this one has no secondary hue. Its color distribution is evenly balanced, in contrast to many other fancy color stones, where color is concentrated in different zones.
“The saturation, the intensity of this stone is as good as it gets in a colored diamond,” said Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewellery at Christie’s. “To find a diamond of this size with this color is pretty much unreal. You may see this color in a pink diamond of less than one carat. But this is almost 19 carats and it’s as pink as can be. It’s unbelievable.”
The 18.96-carat Pink Legacy, the vivid pink diamond that sold for $50 million at Christie’s in Geneva on November 13. (Photo courtesy of Christie’s)
The salesroom at Christie’s in Geneva, site of the sale of the Winston Pink Legacy diamond.
Jean-Marc Lunel, an international jewelry specialist at Christie’s, was even more effusive. “It is probably the most beautiful [diamond] ever presented at public auction,” he told AFP.
ONE OF FOUR 10+ CARAT INTENSE PINKS EVER AUCTIONED
In the fancy vivid pink range, diamonds exceeding 5 or 6 carats are exceedingly rare, fancy vivid pink diamonds over 10 carats are virtually unheard of. In more than 250 years of auction history at Christie’s, only four stones in the category have ever appeared in a sale.
The history of the Pink Legacy is only partly known. It is believed to have been discovered in a South African mine about 100 years, and was reportedly cut some time in the 1920s.
Originally owned by the Oppenheimer family, once owners of the De Beers Group, the name owner selling the diamond to Harry Winston was not released by Christie’s.