Ten of the most expensive diamonds sold at auction

Diamonds are forever breaking records. Here are the ones that outshone all those before them after going under the hammer

The Eternal Pink will go on display in Dubai in May, with exact dates yet to be confirmed, as part of a world tour. AP
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A pink diamond said to be among the most valuable to be auctioned will be on show at Sotheby’s Dubai in May.

Dubbed the "Eternal Pink", the 10.57-carat fancy vivid purplish pink diamond will be included in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels lot in New York on June 8, and is expected to achieve in excess of $35 million.

The cushion-cut gemstone is internally flawless and is the most vivid pink diamond to come to market, Sotheby’s said, and it carries the highest price-per-carat estimate placed on any diamond or gemstone, at $3,311,258.

Ahead of its sale, here are the 10 most expensive diamonds to go under the hammer.

10. The Pink Promise, $32.5 million

The Pink Promise. Courtesy Stephen Silver Fine Jewelery

This 14.93-carat fancy vivid pink stone is one of the most unusual pink diamonds to be sold at auction thanks to its unique shape. Known as the “Picasso of the pink diamond world”, it's what's known as a moval — a cross between an oval and a marquise.

Set in a platinum ring surrounded by diamonds, the stone fetched $32.5 million when it was sold at auction by Christie's Hong Kong in 2017.

9. The Zoe Diamond, $32.6 million

The Zoe Diamond was sold by Sotheby's in New York in 2014 for more than double its estimate. Photo: Sotheby's

This 9.75-carat fancy vivid blue diamond was sold by Sotheby's in November 2014 for more than double its high estimate, at the time setting two records in the process — the price paid for a blue diamond at $32.6 million and price-per-carat for any diamond at $3.3 million

The stone was part of a collection owned by Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a former White House gardener and philanthropist who was married to banker Paul Mellon, formerly America's richest man. The sale happened shortly after her death in March 2014, aged 103.

Following the sale, the stone was named the Zoe Diamond.

8. The Orange, $35.5 million

The Orange diamond was sold by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2013 for $35.5 million. Photo: Christie's

Sold by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2013, The Orange is one of the few orange diamonds to be graded as Fancy Vivid by the Gemological Institute of America.

The pear-shaped diamond is the largest of its kind yet discovered, outweighing the nearest contender by 9 carats.

It was bought at auction by an undisclosed bidder for $35.5 million.

7. The Princie Diamond, $39.3 million

The Princie Diamond was sold by Christie's in 2013 for $39.3 million. Photo: Christie's 

Dating back more than three centuries, the Princie Diamond, as it was named by famed jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels, was discovered in India, and was owned by the royal family of Hyderabad.

Rated as fancy intense by the GIA, the cushion-cut pink diamond is the third-largest in the world, weighing 34.65 carats. It first came to auction in 1960, courtesy of Sotheby’s, where it was purchased by Van Cleef for $65,000.

When it came to auction again in 2013, this time sold by Christie’s, it was estimated at $45 million. While it failed to reach that amount, it still sold for an impressive $39.3 million, which at the time made it the most expensive diamond to be sold by the auction house. The diamond is held by the Qatari royal family.

6. The Graff Pink, $46.2 million

The Graff Pink was sold by Sotheby's in 2010 for $46.2 million. Photo: Sotheby's

Described by the chairman of the Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division as “one of the most desirable diamonds I have ever seen”, the 24.78-carat Graff Pink is classified as rare by the GIA.

The emerald-cut jewel, which is mounted on a platinum band and framed by a diamond on each side, got its name after it was sold at auction by Sotheby’s in 2010 to British jeweller Laurence Graff.

The ring was first sold to a private collector by Harry Winston in the 1950s.

5. The Blue Moon Of Josephine, $48.5 million

The Blue Moon Of Josephine was sold by Sotheby's Geneva for $48.5 million in 2015. Photo: Sotheby's

Just a year after the Blue Moon diamond was discovered in South Africa in 2014, it reached the highest price paid for a diamond per carat during a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.

The 12.03-carat, cushion-cut blue diamond, categorised as Fancy Vivid by the GIA, was bought for $48.5 million by Japanese businessman Joseph Lau, who renamed it the Blue Moon of Josephine when he gave it to his young daughter.

During the same auction, he also bought two more gems for his daughter, a 16-carat pink diamond named Sweet Josephine, and another blue diamond called the Star of Josephine.

4. Williamson Pink Star, $49.9 million

The Williamson Pink Star diamond set a record for price-per-carat for any diamond or gemstone. AFP

Before it came up for auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong in October last year, the Williamson Pink Star set a new record for its price-per-carat estimate. Initially, the 11.15-carat fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond carried an estimate of $21 million ($1,883,408 per carat). However, it sold for more than double that, with a hammer price of $49.9 million, setting a new record of $5,178,124 per carat.

The Williamson Pink Star is yielded from a 32-carat rough diamond at the Williamson Diamond Mine in Tanzania.

Only two fancy vivid pink diamonds are known to be larger than this one, and of those only one has appeared at auction.

3. The Pink Legacy, $50 million

The Pink Legacy was sold by Christie's Geneva for $50 million in 2018. Photo: Christie's

With a colour saturation grade seen in only one in a million diamonds, the Pink Legacy naturally attracted a lot of attention when it came up for auction for the first time in 2018, a century after it was first mined in South Africa in 1918.

The 18.96-carat diamond was sold for $50 million by Christie's Geneva to Harry Winston, where chief executive Nayla Hayek renamed the gem the Winston Pink Legacy.

The gem was previously in the possession of the Oppenheimer family, who ran the De Beers diamond mining group.

2. The Oppenheimer Blue, $57.6 million

The Oppenheimer Blue was sold by Christie’s Geneva in 2016 for $57.6 million. Photo: Christie's 

The Blue Moon of Josephine held the record as the most expensive blue diamond sold at auction for 12 months, when the Oppenheimer Blue came up for sale at Christie's Geneva in 2016.

At 14.62 carats, the fancy vivid blue diamond, flanked by two smaller diamonds and set on a platinum band, is the largest of its kind to sell at auction. Its sale resulted in a 25-minute bidding war over the phone, with the hammer finally coming down at $57.6 million.

1. The Pink Star, $71.2 million

The Pink Star sold at auction in Hong Kong for $71.2 million, breaking the record for the most expensive jewel sold at auction. Photo: Sotheby's

Acknowledged as one of the world’s rarest gems, The 59.6-carat Pink Star diamond made history when it was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2017, becoming the most expensive jewel sold at auction.

The pink diamond was cut from a rough stone mined by the De Beers group in 1999, a process that took more than 20 months. In 2003, the diamond went on display in London, before being moved to the Natural History Museum in 2005, where it attracted more than 70,000 visitors a day.

It first came up for auction in 2013, where it was purchased for $83 million by New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf on behalf of a group of investors. However, it was returned to Sotheby’s after Wolf defaulted on the payment.

The jewel came back up for auction in 2017, this time in Hong Kong, where it sold to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises for $71.2 million. It was renamed the CTF Pink Star Diamond, in honour of the company's founder.