© Written by Rachael Taylor for 71%
The last time The Historic Pink Diamond was allowed to sparkle freely in the natural light of day, the Second World War was in full swing. It was the 1940s and certainly not the climate in which to be trading an 8.72ct rock believed to have been owned by Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I.
2015, however, is the perfect time. And as such the classically cushion-cut gem was liberated from the bank vault it had been stored in since the war for just long enough to dazzle a room full of bidders at Sotheby’s Geneva in May and achieve a final hammer price of CHF14.81 million.
The success of the Historic Pink Diamond is no fluke of clever long-term investment. Its strong sale comes off the back of a buoyant few years for coloured diamonds auctions, fuelled by jewellery buyers’ rediscovery of the rainbow of alternatives to the traditional achromatic sparklers. “Coloured diamonds have always been sought after, but in the past five to 10 years that growth has accelerated as more people have become aware of their extreme rarity and appreciative of their unique beauty,” explains Graff Diamonds chief executive Francois Graff.
One of the rarest colours is blue, and in November a 9.75ct pear-shaped blue diamond, now known as the Zoe Diamond, sold at Sotheby’s New York for US$32.6 million to a Hong Kong collector. This final bid not only made it the priciest blue diamond ever sold at auction, but also set a new record for the highest price per carat achieved for any gemstone ever cast under the gavel.
“The last blue diamond was created by mother nature over 1 billion years ago,” says De Beers Institute of Diamonds president Andrew Coxon, when asked what makes this gem so alluring. “The rate of discovery has slowed down to a trickle and once you have purchased one you will never want to be parted from it – a feeling of power and glory soon overwhelms the wearer, often so strongly that the blue diamond remains on the hand and is never removed.”
Incredibly rare and intoxicatingly beautiful, it is no wonder coloured diamonds are causing such a stir.
This article was originally published in issue #3 of 71%, a new lifestyle magazine for superyacht owners.