Focus on

fancy color diamonds

The 15.81 carat vivid purple-pink, internally flawless Sakura Diamond, to be auctioned at Christie’s on May 23, with a pre-sale estimated value of $25 million to $38 million. (Photo courtesy of Christie’s)


Spring in Japan brings with it the cherry blossom season, which moves from south to north across the island nation over a period of weeks, enveloping it in a sea of pink of various shades. With its flower petals known as “Sakura,” it has been celebrated worldwide and possibly is the most iconic symbol of the country and its culture.

On May 23, 2021, as the end of the Japanese cherry blossom season draws close, the Sakura Diamond will go on the block at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong. Weighing 15.81 carats, it is billed as the largest vivid purple pink, internally flawless diamond to ever made available at a public sale, more than one carat more than the previous record holder. It comes with a staggering pre-sale value of $25 million to $38 million.

According to Christie’s hype, the Sakura Diamond, which is set in a ring, is a “perfect display of strong saturation and remarkable pink hue with a secondary colour of purple, [resembling] the fascinating colour of cherry blossoms – appropriately coinciding with spring.”

“This exceptionally rare and magnificent wonder of nature represents a unique expression of identity and mesmerizing beauty, through its enthralling purple-pink hue, that will undoubtedly capture the hearts of discerning connoisseurs and collectors worldwide,” stated Vickie Sek, Chairman, Department of Jewelry at Christie’s Asia Pacific.


What sets this stone apart, according to Christie’s, is not only its size, but also its quality. Indeed, a jewelry analyst writing the auction house’s website, goes as far to rank it as the best of the 10 top pink diamond rings ever offered at one its sales in recent times.

The size of the Sakura Diamond is significant because, in the already very excusive market of pink diamonds, large rough stones are extremely rare find and very difficult to cut.

The clarity grades of most of pink diamonds are low, generally in the area of SI, or Slightly Included, meaning that they tend to appear hazy. But the Sakura Diamond has been graded as Internally Flawless.

Also, according to Christie’s, it pink-purple color hue is well-balanced and strongly saturated, with an exceptionally sweet hue that matches the color of cherry blossom.

“In other words, it’s not only a large and striking diamond, but an auspicious one, too,” the auction house states on its website.

The 14.93-carat fancy VVS1 Pink Promise, auctioned at Christie’s in 207 for $31.86 million. (Photo courtesy of Christie’s)

The Grand Mazarin, a 19.07-carat light pink square-shaped diamond that sold at Christie’s for $14.46 million in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Christie’s)


The second diamond on Christie’s top 10 pink diamond rings list, devised by jewelry specialist Marie-Cécile Cisamolo, is the Vivid Pink, a 5-carat fancy vivid pink diamond, which sold for $10.78 million in 2009. Flanked on either side by shield-shaped diamonds, the stone is set in a platinum and 18K rose-gold ring by the British jeweller Graff.

The Vivid Pink sold for more than double its low estimate, achieving the highest price per carat ever paid for a pink diamond at the time, which remained unbroken until the sale of the Pink Promise in 2017. That stone was a 14.93-carat fancy vivid VVS1 pink diamond, which was auctioned for an incredible $31.86 million, or approximately $2.13 million per carat.

The Pink Promise’s record was broken one year later with the sale, again at Christie’s, but this time in Geneva, of the Winston Pink Legacy. It went for $50.66 million, or $2.64 million per carat. 

The third diamond on Marie-Cécile Cisamolo’s top 10 list is not even vivid pink, but it comes with a unique historical pedigree. Known as the Grand Mazarin, it is a 19.07-carat light pink square-shaped diamond that sold for $14.46 million in 2017. Gifted by Cardinal Mazarin to King Louis XIV of France in 1661, the Grand Mazarin spent 225 years as part of the French crown jewels, belonging at different times four kings, four queens, two emperors and two empresses, before it seemed to disappear.

But then, in 2017, the Grand Mazarin was shown lying inside an old parcel paper to Christie’s jewelry specialist Jean-Marc Lunel. “Holding such an important piece of French royal history in my hands was unbelievable,” he would later recall.