Just as there was no "red wave" on Election Day, high-profile blue and pink diamonds were a washout recently. The Geneva jewellery auctions on Tuesday and Wednesday threw a pall over what had been an unusually excellent year with record- or near-record prices for rare, high-quality fancy-colored diamonds. The Fortune Pink, the biggest pear-shaped Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever exhibited at auction, sold for about $28.5 million on November 8 at Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale. It was at the low range of its prediction of $25 million to $35 million. The buyer's premium, or the charge paid to the auction house, is included in the final price.
It sold for less than its low estimate at the hammer price, or the actual amount paid at auction. While still a substantial sum for the rare 18.18-carat Type IIa diamond with good VVS2 purity, it fell short of lofty expectations in what was shaping up to be a golden year for pink and blue diamonds. The next day, a 5.53-carat cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid blue diamond was the top lot at Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction. It did not sell after bidding at $10.4 million Swiss francs ($10.7 million) stalled. It was estimated to be worth between $11 million and $15 million.
It is the first of eight blue diamonds given by De Beers, which acquired and assembled the raw diamonds, and Diacore, which carved and polished the roughs into completed jewels. The diamonds will be auctioned in Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sales in New York, Geneva, and Hong Kong until the spring of 2023. The initial offering was a 5.53-carat blue diamond. The Geneva auctions came after two sales in August in which a pink and a blue earned record prices.
The Williamson Pink diamond, an 11.15-carat internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, paid a staggering $57.7 million in October at Sotheby's Hong Kong, surpassing its $21 million high estimate and setting a per-carat world record for a Fancy pink diamond. It was the second highest price paid at auction for any jewel or gemstone. The auction lasted 20 minutes (an eternity in the auction world), with numerous bids competing for the stone. This gem was not only large, but it also had exceptional provenance. Nonetheless, the price and number of bidders for such a diamond were surprising. Many people predicted that The Fortune Pink would fare better.
Meanwhile, the De Beers Blue diamond, the biggest vivid blue diamond ever auctioned, got more than $57.4 million and almost $3.8 million per carat, making it one of the highest auction prices ever attained for a diamond. Both prices for the 15.10-carat internally flawless step-cut diamond were barely short of setting new global records for Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds. The total price was significantly higher than the gem's estimated value of more than $48 million.
The De Beers Blue shares many similarities with the 5.53-carat Fancy Vivid Blue, which failed to attract buyers. The 5.53-carat blue diamond's history was similar to that of the De Beers Blue. The roughs for these diamonds were discovered during the previous two years at the Cullinan mine, which is one of the world's few mines known to hold outstanding blue diamonds. While the De Beers Blue had the best clarity of the two, its auction performance surpassed expectations, while the 5.53-carat blue diamond underperformed.
The unprecedented choice by Sotheby's, De Beers, and Diacore to sell the eight stones across numerous auctions over the course of a year raises concerns about how the remaining jewels will do. According to one diamond merchant, it is "uncharted" area. The Golden Canary, a 303.10-carat fancy deep brownish-yellow diamond, comes next. It is one of the world's biggest polished diamonds and the Gemological Institute of America's largest flawless or internally perfect diamond ever rated. On December 7, it will be the top lot in Sotheby's New York Magnificent Jewels sale. It has a $15 million estimate and is being offered without reserve, with bidding starting at $1.
However, one more high-quality fancy-colored diamond is expected to be auctioned before the end of the year.