Dealer Isaac Wolf Is Buyer of $83 Million Record Diamond
Isaac Wolf, a New York-based diamond cutter, was the buyer of the 59.60-carat pink diamond that sold for $83 million in Geneva last night, a record for any gemstone at auction.
Wolf renamed the oval-cut stone the “Pink Dream,” New York-based Sotheby’s said. He competed against three others for the gem in bidding that lasted about five minutes before the strike of the gavel, followed by cheers and applause.
The diamond led last night’s auction, which Sotheby’s said raised a record $199.5 million, along with the new artist record set by the $105.4 million sale of an Andy Warhol painting in New York last night, are high-profile successes for the auction house, which is facing pressure from investors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded at an intraday record before the sale of the stone, previously called the “Pink Star.”
“It elicits almost a visceral response,” David Bennett, the auctioneer, said of the gem. “This stone checks every single box in terms of rarity, quality, size and everything. The crown jewels of England, which is one of the greatest jewel cases, does not have a diamond this size or this color.”
Steinmetz Diamonds, owned by Israel’s richest man, Beny Steinmetz, cut and polished the stone, which was mined by De Beers in Africa. After two years of preparation, the stone was worn by Danish model Helena Christensen around her neck to exhibit it to the public for the first time in Monaco in 2003.
The stone is fancy vivid pink, the highest grade for the color of diamonds, and the purity of its crystals ranks among the top 2 percent in the world.
Bennett had set the previous record for any stone sold in auction in 2010 with the $45.6 million “Graff Pink” diamond. The “Pink Dream” is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink.”
The sale crowns the Geneva fall auction season by Sotheby’s (BID) and Christie’s, highlights of which include the $36 million sale of the largest orange diamond known to exist, a $2.2 million price tag for a 1957 Patek Philippe watch, and a record for a Rolex Daytona.
Polished diamond prices have climbed 39 percent in the past decade, according to the PolishedPrices Diamond price overall index.
A Francis Bacon triptych became the priciest artwork at auction on Tuesday night in New York when Christie’s sold it for $142.4 million, beating Sotheby’s 2012 sale of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.’
The diamond, originally named ‘‘The Steinmetz Pink,’’ was sold privately in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. The gem has been included in the ‘‘Splendor of Diamonds’’ exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. It was the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.
The sale follows a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in October containing white and blue diamonds valued at more than $28 million and $19 million each.
Investment-grade diamonds attract buyers both as 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.
Pink diamonds have set the highest auction prices for gemstones sold at auction. The 34.65-carat ‘‘Princie” fancy intense pink raised $39.3 million at Christie’s in New York in April.
The desirability of pink as a gem color has increased since rose-hued diamonds were first discovered in India centuries ago.
Famous examples include the Williamson, which was given to Queen Elizabeth at her wedding, and the Darya-i-Nur, the largest pink diamond in the world, which initially belonged to Mogul emperors in India and is now stored at the National Treasury of Iran.
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 “Pink Panther” was a fictitious gemstone that featured in the 1963 movie of that title starring Peter Sellers.