On the third day of Christie’s spring auction week in Hong Kong, the spotlight was on a dazzling array of jewels, among which was the largest purple-pink diamond offered at auction - "The Sakura Diamond," which fetched a record-breaking HK$226.3m (US$29.1m) and is now the auction record for the most valuable diamond of its kind.
The sale also offered a selection of exquisite gemstones and jadeite, which tallied a solid HK$593.4m (US$76.4m).
Lot 2011 | The Sakura Diamond
Colored diamond and diamond ring
Weight: 15.81 carat
Color: Fancy vivid purple-pink
Clarity: Internally flawless
Estimate: HK$195,000,000 - 300,000,000
Hammer price: HK$195,000,000
Price realized: HK$226,275,000
The 15.81-carat pink diamond, with the natural color resembling sakura - or Japanese cherry blossom, is set on a simple platinum ring. There are less than 10% of pink diamonds that weigh more than a fifth of a carat, making the present one - that is almost eight times that size, the largest “fancy vivid purple pink” one to be offered at any auction.
"The Sakura Diamond" realized HK$226.3 (US$29.1m) this evening at Christie's Hong Kong
Given such an exceptional rarity, it should come as no surprise that all eyes were on this stunning gem this evening. As soon as auctioneer Elaine Kwok opened the proceeding at HK$170m, the star lot attracted bidding among two phone bidders, represented respectively by Vicki Sek, (Chairman) and Karen Au Yeung (Senior International Specialist) of Christie’s Asia Jewellery Department. After five bids in HK$5m increments, the premium lot was hammered at HK$195m and sold to Sek’s bidder for HK$226.3m (US$29.1m) after fees.
The present lot eclipsed the previous record held by “The Spirit of the Rose,” which was sold in Geneva last November for CHF 24.4m, or US$26.6m at purchase, and is now the most expensive purple-pink diamond ever sold at auction.
“The Spirit of the Rose | 14.83 ct, sold for CHF 24.4m (US$26.6m), Sotheby's Geneva
"The Sakura Diamond" is graded by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) as the Type IIa category of diamonds, which makes up less than 2% of all gem diamonds. It has also been classified as internally flawless - meaning that there are no visible inclusions and blemishes are only visible under 10x magnification.
GIA also grades colored diamonds in the order of increasing color strength, from faint, very light, light, to fancy intense and fancy vivid - the two classifications that usually command higher prices.
"The Sakura Diamond," is one of the rare 4% pink diamonds that possess a color deep enough as fancy vivid, which further speaks to its remarkable rarity.
The Sakura Diamond" | GIA-graded fancy vivid pink diamond, weighing 15.81 ct
Closer look at the present lot, "The Sakura Diamond"
Another fancy vivid pink diamond that hit the auction block in 2017 was "The Pink Promise," an oval-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond that weighs approximately 14.93 carats. It fetched HK$249.9m (US$32.4m) at a Christie’s Hong Kong sale.
In 2018, "The Pink Legacy," a rectangular-cut fancy vivid pink diamond of 18.96 carats, was sold to Harry Winston for CHF 50.4m (US$50.3m) at a Geneva sale - a new price-per-carat world record for any pink diamond.
"The Pink Legacy" | 18.96 ct, sold for CHF 50.4m (US$50.3m), Christie's Geneva
As for the record for any pink diamond, it was set by "The Pink Star," which weighs 59.6 carats and fetched a staggering HK$553m (US$71m) when it was sold to Hong Kong based jeweller Chow Tai Fook, at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2017. It is also a record for any gemstone at auction.
While pink diamonds have been mined in various countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Tanzania, and Russia, the largest source for them was the Argyle mine located in Western Australia, until it was permanently shut down last November, which explains the soaring prices of these rare gemstones.
Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels
Date: May 23, 2021
Sale total: HK$593,437,500 (US$76,433,249)