May 18, 2016
The 15.38-carat "Unique Pink," the largest pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction, lived up to its pre-sale fanfare by fetching $31.5 million at Sotheby's Geneva last night. It was the highest price ever paid for a fancy vivid pink diamond.
The much-anticipated final lot of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels sale — Lot #495 — sparked a five-minute bidding war that started with an opening offer of 24 million Swiss francs (about $25.5 million). Six subsequent bids propelled the price up to 27.3 million Swiss francs. With the buyer's commission included, the final price was 30.82 million Swiss francs (or $31.56 million).
Previously, the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond was held by "Sweet Josephine," a 16.08-carat beauty that sold for $28.5 million at Christie's Geneva in November of 2015.
Sotheby's had estimated that the Unique Pink would sell in the range of $27.5 million to $37.3 million.
The Unique Pink, which boasts the highest possible color grading of "fancy vivid," had been characterized as one of the finest pink diamonds of all time. Sotheby's Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, David Bennett, had described the diamond's color as "simply astonishing."
“It is difficult to imagine a diamond that better illustrates the term ‘vivid pink’ than this outstanding stone,” noted Bennett.
The gem also stood apart because of its impressive size and "exceedingly pure" Type IIa clarity rating.
The Unique Pink was so special that it headlined a multi-city promotional tour that included stops in Hong Kong, London and New York City, before returning to Geneva for the auction.
It is believed that pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond’s crystal lattice that influence the way the diamond absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.
Credits: Unique Pink photos courtesy of Sotheby’s. Auction screen capture via Sothebys.com.