THE PINK LEGACY
Although researchers disagree on what actually causes the color of natural pink diamonds, experts in the gemological field have concluded that there are two types of pink diamonds, each having a slightly different cause of color. One, designated as Type IIa, has a distinct pink colour, even coloration and lack of inclusions. Type IIa diamonds are rare gems of the diamond family, which have no traces of the colorant nitrogen. The absence of this element, seen in 98% of diamonds, gives the stone a purity of color and degree of transparency that is observed only in the finest stones originating from the mines of Golconda, Brazil and South Africa. The other type of pink diamonds is Type Ia, they are smaller in size, highly included and the colour is usually unevenly spread within the stone. These gems typically come from the Australian mines. The Pink Legacy has been determined to be Type IIa.
When defining the color grade for a colored diamond, intensity, purity of color and saturation play a key role. If the intensity of a pink is so saturated that it becomes obvious to the eye, the stone will be given a special color designation. Within the Gemological Institute of America’s classification system, pink diamonds can be categorised as Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy Deep, Fancy, Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid. Additionally, many pink diamonds are modified with other colors such as brown, orange or purple. The Pink Legacy has a pure pink coloration, that is even and consistent, and the highest intensity of color, designating it as a ‘Fancy Vivid Pink’. The 18.96 carat Pink Legacy diamond, VS1 in clarity, with an even color distribution is truly magnificent for both its size and absence of inclusion within its crystal.
All colored diamonds, especially pinks, are very difficult to cut from their rough form. If not calculated correctly, the soft color may be masked or could even disappear completely. The stone must be cut to maximize the color, yield the largest size and retain the stunning brilliance diamonds are famous for. The superb Pink Legacy is the largest cut-cornered rectangular cut vivid pink gem to ever come up for auction.
In the fancy vivid pink range, diamonds of more than five or six carats are rarely encountered, in fact, fewer than 10 percent of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat. In the saleroom, fancy vivid pink diamonds over ten carats are virtually unheard of, in almost 250 years of auction history, only four pure vivid pink diamonds of over ten carats have appeared for sale. An historic level was reached in the international diamond market in November 2017 when Christie’s Hong Kong sold ‘The Pink Promise’, an oval-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond of just under 15 carats for U$2,175,519 per carat, that established and remains the world auction record price per carat for any pink diamond. With this extraordinary cut and large weight of 18.96 carats, the Pink Legacy even exceeds these record-breaking gems.
‘The shape and cutting style of this diamond is a traditional emerald cut. Attaining a Fancy Vivid color grade with pink diamonds in this shape requires the strongest ‘body-color’ in the rough crystal. It is unusual for pink diamonds to occur with a strong depth of color and saturation in any size’
GIA,Gemological Institute of America
PINK RECORDS AT CHRISTIE’S
THE PINK PROMISE
14.93 carats, Fancy Vivid Pink / VVS1
Sold in November 2017 in Hong Kong
Price per carat: US$ 2,175,519
THE VIVID PINK
5.00 carats, Fancy Vivid Pink / VS1 pot
Sold in December 2009 in Hong Kong
Price per carat: US$ 2,155,332
5.18 carats, Fancy Vivid Pink / VS2
Sold in May 2015 in Geneva
Price per carat: US$ 2,067,460
9.14 carats, Fancy Vivid Pink / VS2
Sold in November 2016 in Geneva
Price per carat: US$ 1,988,472
PINK DIAMONDS THROUGH THE AGES
In order to fully understand the rarity and importance of The Pink Legacy, we need to go back in time. The first written reference to diamonds was discovered in an early Sanskrit text, but diamonds were also mentioned in the Book of Exodus and in other ancient documents. The earliest known source for diamonds was India, where rough stones were discovered in alluvial deposits among gravel in the riverbeds. Indian diamonds were mined alluvially in the Panna, Penner and Ganges River and the most famous of these early discoveries is the Golconda mine, which is renowned for its large high quality stones. Diamond trade in the 3rd century was pioneered by merchants from India, who shipped goods through the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf into major Mediterranean ports.
Through the Middle Ages, the healing powers and characteristics of many gemstones were a source of debate, interest and hope. Diamonds were considered extremely powerful, both able to protect and to destroy. Diamonds contained the power to win battles and impart strength, beauty and long life.
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689) kept detailed information regarding his travels back and forth between India and France. Often referred to as the father of the modern diamond trade, his travel diaries contain a wealth of information and descriptions of some of India’s most legendary diamonds. Les Six Voyages de Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, published in Paris in 1676, introduced Europe to his amazing adventures. In addition to recounting his adventures, the book contains many illustrations of gemstones that he obtained, many of which were then sold to Louis XIV the Sun King. Tavernier is perhaps best known for bringing back two extraordinary stones from India: the Koh-i-Noor and the Hope diamond.
Nearly a century after Tavernier’s journey, diamond production in India began to taper off. As Indian prospectors became scarce, a new diamond source in Brazil was uncovered. As legend has it, a Portuguese settler who had once lived in India saw gold prospectors using rough diamonds as betting chips in local card games. Within five years the province of Minas Gerais was a thriving diamond district that the Portuguese controlled. This diamond district called the ‘Serra do Frio’ was in fierce competition with India. As the market became flooded with new diamonds from this brand-new source, prices dropped considerably. Nearly 17 million carats of diamonds were mined from Brazil between 1725 and 1870, making it the foremost producer of diamonds until the South African discovery in the mid-19th century.
Two separate large rough diamonds discovered by local farm boys sparked a dramatic interest, which led to the South African diamond fever. The diamond mines of South Africa, from which the Pink Legacy was mined, would become the most prolific diamond mines in the whole world, and still are today.
Besides diamond discoveries in Russia and Canada, Australia’s Argyle Mine was the most recent development in diamond history. Diamond discoveries in Australia were recorded as early as 1851, but it was not until over a century later when prospectors began to take a major interest in Australian diamonds. In 1985, the unearthing of the Argyle deposit once again shifted the diamond market. Named after a nearby lake, pink diamonds of small sizes were regularly mined for the first time in history. Typical of most diamond deposits, the gems at Argyle are usually quite small in size and the crystals are generally flawed with imperfections. The majority of the mined stones are for industrial use and not gem quality. However, this mine, known for its unusual assortment of pink and purple diamonds, brought public awareness to the unparalleled beauty and rarity of colored diamonds.
23.60 carats, Pink
Discovered in 1947 by Dr Williamson in Tanzania, the rough weighed 54.50 carats. It was gifted to the then Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her wedding. The diamond was cut in London and was presented to the Princess in 1948, weighing 23.60 carats. In 1953, the year of her coronation, the Queen had the diamond set in a flower brooch by Cartier. It remains in the Crown Jewels to this day.
THE GRAND MAZARIN
19.07 carats, Light Pink, VS2, Golconda
Having passed through the hands of 5 kings including Louis XIV the Sun King, 2 emperors including Napoleon, 2 empresses as well as Frédéric Boucheron, this historic pink diamond came up for auction at Christie’s in 2017 and was sold for CHF 14,375,000.
34.65 carats, Fancy Intense Pink, VS2, Golconda
Discovered around 300 years ago, it originally belonged to the Nizams of Hyderabad. It was purchased by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1960 at auction. Sent to Paris, Pierre Arpels named it the ‘Princie’, in honor of the son of Sita Devi, the Maharanee of Baroda. It was sold by Christie’s in 2013 for US$39,323,750.
28.15 carats, Fancy Intense Pink, Golconda
As with most historic gems, the precise history of the Agra is unknown. Starting in India, in the 15th century, the Agra originally belonged to the Raja of Gwalior, it is then reported to have been worn by the Mughal emperors. After being smuggled to England, it was acquired from the Duke of Brunswick by a Parisian gem dealer in the late 19th century. The Agra was then recut and purchased by London jeweller Edwin Streeter. Changing hands many times, it came up most for auction at Christie’s London in 1990, where it was purchased for US$ 6,959,700.