It’s not every day you hear about something in the news of historical proportions; and it’s far and few between when those historical events involve precious diamonds. But, that’s exactly what happened on October 7, 2013.
A white diamond purportedly said to be the size of a small egg sold to a phone bidder for $30.6 million dollars. The flawless white oval diamond was 118 carats, and it sold in less than six minutes to one of two phone bidders at the infamous Sotheby’s jewelry auction, in Hong Kong.
The bidding would have lasted long except one of the bidder dropped out quickly, leaving the winning bidder to take home the prize. The diamond is from Africa, and was mined two years ago. Sotheby’s set an anticipated price range for the stone at between $28 million and $35 million. The final sale price of $30.6 reflects commission on the sale.
The bi-annual auction is held in Hong Kong, and always draws a wealthy crowd of collectors from the mainland of China and surrounding Asian countries. As such, Hong Kong has become one of the most popular and busiest hubs for this scale jewelry auction.
The oval diamond originally weighed 299 carats when it was mined nearly two years ago. It is reported to be the largest stone of such significance ever graded by the GIA (Gemological Institution of America). Sotheby’s remains mute about the specific southern Africa country the diamond was mined in out of respect for the seller who wishes to remain anonymous.
The previous record for this type of sale was recently set in Geneva at Christie’s when a white diamond sold for $26.7 million. In addition to the flawless oval white diamond, Sotheby’s also offered a magnificent blue diamond that was estimated to be worth $19 million dollars. The blue diamond did not sell.
Sotheby’s still had a grand night selling a total of $95 million dollars in rare jewelry; though they failed to reach their estimated goal of $100 million. Still, the evening was a success by any standards. The other highlight of the bi-annual Hong Kong auction was a flawless round 7.6 carat vivid blue diamond that failed to reach its reserve price.
Deputy chairman, and international diamond expert, of Sotheby’s, Quek Chin Yeow cautions that the auction, and the sale prices of these and other remarkable stones, shouldn’t be misconstrued as an indication that the Asian population isn’t suffering economic struggles, because it is. He pointed out the astronomical prices of the jewelry is only affordable by the top riches people in the world. The super-rich who he states are immune from an economy that continually fluctuates.
The world record for a jewel being sold at auction happened in 2010. London jeweler, Laurence Graff paid a whopping $46 million for a 24.8 carat, fancy intense pink diamond. There is speculation that this record could be broken when Sotheby’s rolls out an astonishing 59.60 carat pink diamond that is thought to be able to fetch no less than $60 million dollars at auction. The auction is to be held in Geneva.