‘As good as it gets’ — The Pink Legacy diamond

Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewellery at Christie’s, explains why this spectacular 18.96-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond sold for CHF50,375,000 in Geneva

‘The saturation, the intensity of this stone is as good as it gets in a coloured diamond,’ states Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewellery, of the Pink Legacy, an extraordinary 18.96-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond that sold for CHF50,375,000 in the Magnificent Jewels  auction on 13 November at Christie’s in Geneva, and was promptly renamed The Winston Pink Legacy by its new owners, Harry Winston.

‘To find a diamond of this size with this colour is pretty much unreal,’ he continues. ‘You may see this colour 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.’

Scientists classify diamonds into two main ‘types’ — Type I and Type II. In the latter, the diamond has a particularly rare, almost homogenous colour. ‘Pink diamonds fall under the rare Type IIa category of diamonds,’ explains the specialist. ‘These are stones that have little if any trace of nitrogen, and make up less than two per cent of all gem diamonds. Type IIa stones are some of the most chemically pure diamonds often with exceptional transparency and brilliance.’ 

While most pink diamonds exhibit a colour modifier like purple, orange, brown or grey, the Pink Legacy shows no trace of a secondary colour. Its even colour distribution, combined with a balanced saturation, tone and straight pink hue, qualify the 18.96 carat diamond for the coveted ‘Fancy Vivid’ colour grading from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Only one in 100,000 diamonds possess a colour deep enough to qualify as ‘Fancy Vivid’, and the Winston Legacy set a new record price per carat for a pink diamond.

‘Pink diamonds of any size and depth of colour have always had a special allure. This 18.96 carat emerald cut pink diamond is amongst the rarest of all gemstones’ — Tom Moses, Executive Vice President GIA

In the Fancy Vivid Pink range, diamonds of more than five or six carats are rarely encountered. In fact, fewer than 10 per cent of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat. In the saleroom, Fancy Vivid Pink diamonds over 10 carats are virtually unheard of — in over 250 years of auction history at Christie’s, only four such stones have ever appeared for sale.

The Pink Legacy diamond in a ring

The Pink Legacy diamond in a ring

Driven by collector demand and an increasingly limited supply, prices for top-quality large pink diamonds has increased exponentially over the years. This booming market reached an historic level in Hong Kong in November 2017 when Christie’s sold ‘The Pink Promise’, an oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond of just under 15 carats, for $32,480,500 — a whopping $2,175,519 per carat. The figure remains the world auction record price per carat for any pink diamond.

This incomparable pink diamond has descended from the Oppenheimer Family and its sale was a major moment in auction history.

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