‘Rare gems of this calibre show up maybe once every 50 to 100 years at auction, and stones at this level are almost priceless,’ explains Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewellery at Christie’s, of the astonishing Pink Legacy diamond. As it turned out, the stone was sold on 13 November 2018 in Geneva for CHF50,375,000 — equivalent to around $50.66 million.
What makes this such a wondrous gem? Its hue was awarded the grade ‘Fancy Vivid’ by the Gemological Institute of America, meaning that it has the most intense and saturated colour possible — something that can be said of only 0.001 per cent of diamonds.
It is also enormous. In 250 years of auction history, only four Fancy Vivid pink diamonds of more than 10 carats had ever appeared in the saleroom. The Pink Legacy weighed in at a phenomenal 18.96 carats.
The Pink Legacy was discovered in South Africa, and was originally owned by the Oppenheimer family, the power behind De Beers. The diamond drew an intense five minutes of bidding before it was hammered down to another titan of the industry.
‘It was announced to the public straight after the sale that it had been bought by the American jewellers Harry Winston, which promptly renamed the stone the Winston Pink Legacy,’ says Kadakia. ‘This is not the kind of gem you part ways with in a rush, and I suspect that for the foreseeable future Harry Winston won’t sell it.’
Last year Christie’s sold The Pink Promise — an oval-shaped Fancy Vivid pink diamond weighing just under 15 carats — for $32,480,500, or $2.17 million per carat. The Winston Pink Legacy surpassed that mark, achieving a record-breaking price of $2.64 million per carat for a pink diamond. ‘It seems the market is still on the rise,’ says Kadakia.
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This boom might reflect the imminent closure of Australia’s Argyle mine, which currently produces 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds.
‘The Winston Pink Legacy is the perfect combination of provenance, impressive size and spectacular colour, and had never appeared on the open market before,’ says Kadakia. ‘All of which explains why we had six keen bidders each battling to win on that evening in Switzerland.’