Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 October 2020

Spirit of the Rose: World’s largest vivid purple-pink diamond up for auction

The 14.83-carat stone ticks the fancy, vivid and flawless boxes

The Spirit of the Rose purple-pink diamond will be up for auction on November 11, and is estimated to sell for between $23 million and $38m. Courtesy Sotheby's
The Spirit of the Rose purple-pink diamond will be up for auction on November 11, and is estimated to sell for between $23 million and $38m. Courtesy Sotheby's

At 14.83 carats, the world’s largest vivid purple-pink diamond to ever appear at auction will be available to bid upon in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva on November 11.

In keeping with the tradition to assign romantic names to rock-sized diamonds – think the Blue Moon of Josephine and the Kohinoor (Mountain of Light) – the internally flawless pink diamond goes by the moniker The Spirit of the Rose, named after a popular Russian ballet, Le Spectre de la Rose.

The stone was cut from the largest pink crystal ever mined in Russia. The 27.85-carat clear pink rough diamond was called Nijinsky, a nod to the Kiev-born Polish ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky.

The oval-cut shape of the diamond bestows it with numerous facets, all the better to show off its rose-petal hue. It took master cutters from diamond exploration company Alrosa a whole year to transform The Spirit of Rose into its final polished form.

The Spirit of the Rose Photo: Sotheby's
The oval-cut diamond ranks high on the colour and clarity scale. Courtesy Sotheby's

Demand for pink diamonds

The diamond was originally meant to come to market in November 2019. This year, Sotheby’s has timed the sale to coincide with the closure of the Argyle mine in Australia, which has been the only consistent source of rare pink diamonds since the 1980s, but faced rapid depletion in recent years. Given the limited supply of large pink diamonds, the demand for such stones has risen in the past decade.

“Only one per cent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10 carats and only four per cent of all pink diamonds are graded Fancy Vivid [for] their rich colour,” says Gary Schuler, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division. “Pink diamonds make up five out of the 10 most valuable diamonds ever sold at auction,” adds Benoit Repellin, head of Sotheby’s Geneva’s Magnificent Jewels auction. “With the supply of these beautiful stones becoming ever more limited, they are likely to continue to become even more prized.”

Investing in pink diamonds

Estimated to command more than 10 times the price of their colourless counterparts owing to scarcity, pink diamonds are a worthy investment for jewellery connoisseurs and serious collectors alike. As with all diamonds, colour, cut, clarity and number of carats greatly influence rate and resale value. Of these four factors, colour takes top honours when it comes to a pink stone. In fact, hue is so crucial in this niche market that it’s even recommended that collectors sacrifice size for a better colour quality.

At just over 14 carats, the Spirit of Rose is by no means the biggest pink diamond around. Yet it has received the highest colour and clarity grades from the Gemological Institute of America. It is also part of the rare subgroup known as Type IIA. These comprise less than 2 per cent of all gem diamonds, and indicate a stone that is chemically the purest of all diamond crystals. Accordingly, the Sotheby’s acquisition is estimated to sell for between $23 million and $38m at the November auction.

Famous pink diamonds

The Pink Star holds the record for a gem ever sold at auction. In 2017, the 59.6-carat diamond fetched $71m. Courtesy of Sotheby's
The Pink Star fetched $71 million in 2017. Courtesy Sotheby's

Provence is another aspect to look out for when it comes to investing in diamonds. Historically famous stones include the Agra, a 32-carat stone with links to Mughal ruler Babur; the Hortensia, a 20.53-carat rectangular-shaped diamond that was part of the Crown Jewels of France before entering the collection of the Louvre in Paris; and the Williamson, a 23.60-carat rock given as a wedding present to Queen Elizabeth II.

Some other famous pink diamonds that have come to auction in recent years include the 19.07-carat Le Grand Mazarin, which comes from India’s famed Golconda mine, and sold for a little over $14m. The 24.78-carat Graff Pink was described by jeweller Laurence Graff as the most fabulous diamond he has seen in his career and sold for $46.2m. The 59.60-carat Pink Star, meanwhile, became the most expensive diamond to ever sell at auction in April last year, going for a staggering $71m.

Updated: October 12, 2020 03:37 PM

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