Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- A 59.60-carat pink diamond is estimated to raise more than $60 million, a record for any gemstone at auction, when it is sold in Switzerland in November.
The oval-cut stone, the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), will be sold by Sotheby’s in Geneva on Nov. 13, the New York-based auction house said today in a statement.
The sale of the ``Pink Star” will follow a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in October containing a white and a blue diamond valued at more than $28 million and $19 million each.
“This is a good time to sell important stones at auction,” the Karlsruhe-based jewelry dealer Otto Jakob said in an interview. “Wealthy people with a lot of cash fear their money is endangered. They’re putting it into goods.”
Investment-grade diamonds attract buyers as both status symbols and hedges against volatility in the financial markets. Colored stones, which account for about 0.01 percent of mined production, are prized for their rarity and command the highest price per carat.
“Over the last five years buyers in Asia have built up stocks of diamonds,” said Jakob, who exhibits at the annual TEFAF fair in the Dutch city of Maastricht. “That’s reduced the number on the market and prices have increased a lot. There’s a lot of demand for the highest quality colored stones.”
Entered by an unidentified seller, the “Pink Star” was mined by De Beers in Africa. It was cut and polished by Steinmetz Diamonds for two years before being exhibited in Monaco in 2003.
That year, it was included in the “Splendor of Diamonds” exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, alongside the De Beers Millennium Star, the Allnatt diamond, and the Moussaieff Red.
The diamond, initially known as “The Steinmetz Pink,” was sold privately in 2007 for an undisclosed amount and subsequently renamed.
The “Pink Star” is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink,” which sold for a record $45.6 million at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2010.
If the Pink Star finds a buyer, pink diamonds will have set all three of the highest auction prices for gemstones sold at auction. The 34.65-carat “Princie” fancy intense pink raised $39.3 million at Christie’s International in New York in April.
Pink diamonds are Type II stones that derive their color from the process known as plastic deformation, whereby pressure changes create structural anomalies during the crystal growth.
The inherent desirability of pink as a color has been enhanced by the publicity surrounding certain specific diamonds.
The “Pink Panther” was a fictitious gemstone that featured in the 1963 movie of that title starring Peter Sellers.
Hollywood actor Ben Affleck presented Jennifer Lopez with a 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring from Harry Winston in 2002.
Muse highlights include Martin Gayford on art and Frederik Balfour on Chinese auctions.
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