Jewel of the day: The Pink Star Diamond
Pink diamonds have always been a rarity (as are other naturally coloured diamonds) but they really became lodged in the public’s imagination when Jennifer Lopez received a pink diamond engagement ring from Ben Affleck. That didn’t go anywhere and in fact, the initial sale of this diamond a few years ago also fizzled when the buyer couldn’t come up with the nearly $88 million asking price. The seller left happy, as Sotheby’s had guaranteed a $60 million hammer price, which was paid out regardless of the incomplete sale.
This stone is back on the block (somewhat like JLo herself) and will once again go under the Sotheby’s hammer, this time on April 4 in Hong Kong. Sotheby’s explains, ”
Meticulously cut by Steinmetz Diamonds over a period of nearly two years – a process in which the 132.50 carat rough was cast in epoxy more than 50 times in order to create models upon which the design team could experiment with different cuts -it was transformed into this spectacular 59.60 carat, fancy vivid pink, internally flawless oval cut gem – the largest internally flawless or flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded.
The diamond was first unveiled to the public in May 2003 as the ‘Steinmetz Pink’, and was modelled by Helena Christensen at a dedicated event thrown to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix. Writing in the Financial Times on the 31 May 2003, Mike Duff described the diamond as “the rarest, finest, most precious stone the world has ever seen”. The stone was first sold in 2007 and was subsequently renamed “The Pink Star”. In the same article, Tom Moses, Executive Vice President and Chief Laboratory and Research Officer of the GIA, is quoted as saying: “it’s our experience that large polished pink diamonds – over ten carats – very rarely occur with an intense colour… The GIA Laboratory has been issuing grading reports for 50 years and this is the largest pink diamond with this depth of colour [vivid pink] that we have ever characterised”.
Of all fancy coloured pink diamonds, those graded ‘Fancy Vivid’ are the most precious and desirable. The current world auction record for a pink diamond is the Graff Pink, a superb 24.78 carat diamond which sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2010 for US$46.16 million. Weighing in at 59.60 carats and graded as Fancy Vivid, the Pink Star is twice the size.
In the summer of 2003, this amazing gem was exhibited at ‘The Splendor of Diamonds’ exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Displayed in the Winston Gallery alongside the 45.52 carat blue Hope Diamond, the exhibition featured seven of the world’s rarest and most extraordinary diamonds. Also on view for the first time in the United States was the 203.04 carat De Beers Millennium Star, one of the largest diamonds in the world; the Heart of Eternity blue diamond; the Moussaieff Red, the largest known red diamond in the world; the Harry Winston Pumpkin Diamond; the Allnatt, one of the world’s largest yellow diamonds at 101.29 carats; and the Ocean Dream, the world’s largest naturally occurring blue-green diamond.
Commenting at the opening of the exhibition, Dr. Jeffrey Post, curator of the Gems and Minerals Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History said, “Each of the diamonds is the finest of its kind and together with the museum’s gem collection makes for an exhibit of truly historic proportions”. In the three months the exhibition ran, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History attracted more than 1.6 million visitors.
From July through November 2005, The Pink Star again took centre stage, this time at the ‘Diamonds’ exhibition held at the Natural History Museum, in London. “This exhibition will bring together many of the most impressive single stones in the world, fascinating science, and insights into the diamond industry to tell the story of diamonds from deep in the Earth to the red carpet,” said Michael Dixon, director of the Natural History Museum. For five months, the dazzling exhibition attracted approximately 70,000 visitors a day.”
The estimate is available upon request.