"At 40.5 million Francs, the world record price for a jewel sold at auction…. Selling it... Sold," cried the auctioneer, to great applause as he brought down the hammer.
And thus, a new world record was set for a Jewel sold at auction, when an exquisite and extremely rare pink diamond was sold at Sotheby’s auction house in Geneva on Tuesday November16th. The 24.78 Carat Fancy Intense Pink, VVS2 clarity, Emerald cut stone sold for a whopping $46.16 million dollars, including buyer’s premium and commission. There were four bidders seeking to purchase this beautiful diamond but in the end there could be only one. The successful bidder was the famed jeweler and diamond connoisseur Lawrence Graff.
Upon winning the bid, Graff named the diamond “The Graff Pink” saying, “It is the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in the history of my career and I’m delighted to have bought it.”
Graff actually broke his own world record, almost doubling the $24.3 million he paid for the blue 35.56 carat Wittelsbach - Graff Diamond back in 2008. At the time, Graff caused a great deal of controversy when he chose to recut the Wittelsbach diamond in order to “enhance the diamond’s clarity and color reducing it to 31.6 carats in the process.
After the stone was recut, Graff renamed the stone, The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, although he was heavily criticized, with numerous claims that recutting a stone with such a substantial pedigree would erase its rich history. Graff stood by his decision.
David Bennett, chairman for Europe and the Middle East at Sotheby’s international jewellery department told journalists that pink diamonds are prized by collectors and the industry since their discovery in India. He then stated, “Laurence Graff is clearly a connoisseur of gemstones. Any connoisseur of gemstone would realize that this is a stone to own. Had I the money, I would have bought it myself”. Perhaps Mr. Bennett should request an increase in his compensation package before next year’s auction.
The “Graff Pink” was last seen on the open market, over sixty years ago, when it was purchased by a private collector from the legendary jeweler, Harry Winston.
The diamond was the centerpiece of this year’s Sotheby’s auction which this year saw a staggering $105 million worth of sales, also a new world record. The second top lot of the sale was a 4.59-carat, pear-shaped fancy intense pink diamond ring, which sold for in excess of $2.8 million, followed by a 20.16-carat diamond ring by Graff, which sold for in excess of $2.7 million. There were also celebrity related pieces on auction including jewellery owned by Cristina Onassis, Cristina Ford, the wife of Henry Ford ll, grandson of the Ford Motor Company and items that once belonged to Abbas, Hilmi, the last Viceroy of Egypt and Sudan under the British Empire.
Bennett proclaimed his satisfaction with the results of the auction saying, “I think this tells you a bit about the health of the market.”
Quite a bit actually!