7 of the most expensive diamonds sold at auction

As a rare rare purple-pink diamond sells for a record $29.1 million, we take a look at some of the world's most expensive jewels

A rare purple-pink diamond, the largest yet to come to auction, has sold for a $29.1 million, setting a record as the most valuable diamond of its kind.

The sale was part of Christie’s spring auction week in Hong Kong, which featured a number of precious gemstones and jadeite.

Weighing 15.81 carats, the internally flawless Sakura diamond – named after the Japanese cherry blossom – is classified as a type IIa category diamond, which makes up less than 2 per cent of all gem diamonds.

It attracted the attention of two phone bidders, whose battle resulted in a final hammer price of $25.1 million, which after fees came out at $29.1 million.

The sale surpasses the previous record set by The Spirit of the Rose diamond, sold in Geneva in November, which fetched a final hammer price of $26.6 million.

While those sales are not to be sniffed at, they are far from the most expensive diamonds to be sold at auction. Here are some of the world’s most expensive gemstones …

7. The Orange, $35.5 million

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.

6. The Princie Diamond, $39.3 million

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.

5. The Graff Pink, $46.2 million

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 namer 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.

4. The Blue Moon Of Josephine, $48.5 million

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.

3. The Pink Legacy, $50 million

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 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

Acknowledged as one of the world’s rarest gems, The 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.