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The 102.4-carat D-color flawless oval diamond that sold for $15.6 million by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, now named the Maiko Star. (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)



A private Japanese collector has handed over $15.6 million to purchase a 102.4-carat D-color flawless oval diamond during a hybrid online and live auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.

The auction was remarkable for several reasons. It was the first time that a diamond of more than 100 carats was sold in a single lot, meaning that it was the only item on sale that day. Also, there was no reserve price, meaning that winning bidder could have purchased at whatever was the highest price offered.

Indeed, despite the high price paid, the buyer may have gotten a bargain. The amount paid was considerably below what similar diamonds have sold for at auction. In October 2013, a 118.3-carat D-color, flawless, oval-shaped diamond sold for $30.8 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, an in May 2013, “The Winston Legacy,” a 101.7-carat, D-color, flawlesspear-shaped diamond sold for $26.8 million at Christie’s Geneva.

The largest diamond ever offered at auction was 163.41 carats. It sold in November 2017 at Christie’s in Geneva for more than $33.8 million, setting a global record for non-fancy colored diamonds.


The live sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, which was conducted by by Ian McGinlay, lasted fewer than 10 minutes. By the time it began, online bidding had pushed the price to $10.9 million.

The live sale opened at HK$90 million ($11.5 million), with McGinlay pushing the bidding in increments of HK$100,000 increments until the price reached HK$104 million, or $13.4 million. The final price of $15.6 million included the buyer’s premium and the overhead premium.

The buyer, who requested that he remain anonymous, named stone the “Maiko Star” immediately following the sale, after his second daughter. In April 2019 he had bought an 88.2-carat diamond at Sotheby’s, which he named the “Manami Star” after his eldest daughter.

The 102.4-carat diamond was cut and crafted from a 271-carat rough stone, which was discovered at the Victor Mine in Ontario, Canada, which has since closed down.

The 88.2-carat “Manami Star,” sold at Sotheby’s in April 2018. (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

The 14.83-carat fancy vivid purple-pink internally flawless The Spirit of the Rose, which will be the largest vivid purple-pink diamond ever offered at auction, when it goes on the block at Sotheby’s in Geneva on November 1. (Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)


But, as most auction watchers know, when it comes to record prices, fancy colored stones are in a league by themselves. On November 11, the top lot at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva is a 14.83-carat fancy vivid purple-pink internally flawless diamond. The largest vivid purple-pink diamond ever offered at auction, its pre-sale price estimate is between is $23 million and $38 million.

Called the “The Spirit of the Rose,” the oval-shaped gem was cut from from a 27.85-carat rough diamond discovered at Alrosa’s Ebelyakh mine in Yakutia in 2017. The largest pink rough ever produced Russia, it was cut and polished at the Diamonds of Alrosa factory in Moscow and named for the Russian ballet, Le Spectre de la rose (The Spirit of the Rose).

Pink diamonds account for fewer than than 0.001 percent of Alrosa’s production volume. Over the past the last 10 years, the Russian mining company has uncovered only four pink diamonds weighing more than two carats and two stones larger than 20 carats.

The highest price ever paid for a pink diamond at auction was for $71.2 million. The stone in question was the CTF Pink Star, which was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April 2017, setting a world auction record for any diamond, gemstone or jewel.