Sotheby's to Auction Shirley Temple Blue Diamond

The 9.54 ct. fancy deep blue diamond ring was worn by Temple throughout her life
Jan 19, 2016 | By Shaun Smillie
Sotheby's to Auction Shirley Temple Blue Diamond
Sotheby’s will auction the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond (pictured, right), a 9.54 ct. fancy deep blue diamond ring worn by child star–turned–American diplomat Shirley Temple (pictured, above) throughout her life.

The ring, which is cushion-cut and in its original Art Deco–inspired setting, was owned by Temple until her death in 2014.

Temple’s father purchased the ring in 1940 for $7,210; it is estimated to sell at the Sotheby’s April 19 Magnificent Jewels auction in New York for $25 million–$35 million.

“It’s remarkable to have one stone illustrate the dramatic shift in attitude toward colored diamonds over the course of the last century,” said Gary Schuler, head of the Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York. “The Shirley Temple Blue in particular has a traditional cushion cut that gives it a certain softness, charm, and personality, and its saturated, fancy deep blue color imbues it with a mesmerizing oceanic quality.”

Frank Everett, sales director of the Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, said: “It’s a privileged occasion when we are entrusted with a stone of such exceptional quality and rarity. It’s rarer still that a stone would tell as compelling a story as the Shirley Temple Blue. Shirley Temple helped to lift America’s spirits out of the Great Depression and served her country in many capacities throughout the remainder of her life. Her ring and its original Art Deco setting recall a time when she was nothing short of the biggest movie star in the world.”

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Joburg diamonds tell a story

Jan 19, 2016 | By Shaun Smillie
Joburg diamonds tell a story
Joburg diamonds are rare but, boy, do they have a story to tell.

The story told by three diamonds dug up near Klerksdorp more than 80 years ago is of a time when plate tectonics were first beginning to shift deep inside the earth.

A group of international scientists from South Africa and Canada have used diamonds to take a peek at what was happening on earth 3.5 billion years ago.

The diamonds used in the study came from a collection in Museum Africa in Johannesburg.

"Ancient diamonds are time capsules. They are messengers from way back then," explains lead author Dr Katie Smart of Wits University.

But what makes these diamonds important is that the scientists know their age because they came from the Witwatersrand Supergroup rock formation.

By understanding the origins of plate tectonics, explains Smart, scientists can learn more about the origins of life, oceans and even the formation of planets.

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When White Diamonds Won’t Cut It

Dec 18, 2015 | Chang W. Lee / The New York Times
When White Diamonds Won’t Cut It
IF there is a holiday gift almost guaranteed to make a recipient swoon with joy, it is a diamond. But while such stones remain appealing as jewelry, the value of certain colored diamonds has increased while traditional white diamonds have fallen.

Diamond dealers are talking about pink, blue and red diamonds as investments, citing a recent track record of double-digit returns. This new interest in such rare gemstones can make a holiday gift 10 to 20 times more expensive than a similar, high-quality white diamond. Yet there are others in the trade who question whether these stones will pay the dividends people imagine in the Christmases to come.

“Fancy colored diamonds are the flavor of the year — they’re hot, they’re sexy, they’re great,” said Martin Rapaport, chairman of the Rapaport Group, which is considered a primary source of diamond pricing information.

“If someone said, ‘I want to buy something great for my wife,’ I’d say, great, buy fancy colored diamonds; you’re a billionaire,” he added. “But anyone who wants to invest in the flavor of the month shouldn’t do it.”

Understanding the lust for colored diamonds begins with understanding the broader forces pushing and pulling diamond prices.

The white diamonds that adorn engagement rings and will dangle from ears and wrap around bracelets this holiday season have fallen in value over the last year. Prices for one-carat diamonds have dropped 7.15 percent as of Dec. 1, according to an index Mr. Rapaport developed.

Mr. Rapaport said demand for white diamonds had dropped globally because of a slowing Chinese economy, currency devaluation in Russia and low oil prices in the Middle East. Yet on the supply side, the cost of rough, white diamonds has stayed high, which has hurt the rest of the diamond trade’s ability to make a profit.

During the same time, colored diamonds have surged in value. Buyers have sought them out for their beauty, extreme rarity and investment potential.

The best-known pink diamonds, for example, are from the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. That mine, which supplies 90 to 95 percent of the world’s pink diamonds, will be exhausted by 2020, and the scarcity has driven up prices.

“Argyle pink diamonds outperform any other,” said Leibish Polnauer, president of Leibish & Company, a colored-diamond dealer. “They’re less and less available and more and more in demand. Fifteen years ago we bought Argyle pink diamonds for $10,000 a carat. Today it’s $150,000, $200,000, $250,000 a carat.”

Dealers say wealthy buyers in volatile economies view rare, colored diamonds as a hedge against economic uncertainty. A diamond can also be a discreet way to put a tremendous amount of money into something smaller than an aspirin tablet.

“You can buy a large house for $1 million, or about one-half of a carat of a red diamond,” said Yaniv Marcus, founder of the Diamond Investment and Intelligence Center. “A one-carat red diamond could be valued at $2.5 million.”

At the highest end, colored diamond prices have reached a level that rivals rare art works like Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couché,” which sold for $170.4 million at the fall auctions.

“It’s all about rarity,” said Frank Everett, vice president and sales director in the jewelry department at Sotheby’s. “The best ones stand out like a great piece of art.”

In the last year, Sotheby’s has sold two well-known blue diamonds for record-setting prices. A 9.75-carat blue diamond that belonged to the socialite Bunny Mellon sold in November 2014 for $32.6 million — or $3.3 million a carat. Last month, the auction house sold the 12-carat Blue Moon for $48.5 million — or just over $4 million a carat.

Those prices far outstrip the 100-carat white diamond Sotheby’s sold in April for $22 million — or $220,000 a carat.

More broadly, a one-carat fancy pink diamond in a cushion cut is 11.50 times as expensive as a one-carat cushion-cut white diamond that has been judged to be internally flawless and carries the highest color rating, said Eden Rachminov, head of the advisory board of the Fancy Color Resource Foundation. A blue diamond is 20.8 times as expensive as a similar white diamond.

But it is not so simple to jump into the trade just based on the soaring prices. Investors also need to understand the very different ways white and colored diamonds are judged.

With white diamonds, it is the widely known measures of color, cut, clarity and carat weight that drive prices. But investing in white diamonds is a lot like picking quality stocks. There are established measures of quality, relatively transparent pricing, knowable transaction costs and liquidity, at least in smaller carat sizes.

Mr. Rapaport views investments in white diamonds as a way to capitalize on the growth of the global middle class who will buy them as gifts and drive prices back up.

In the world of colored diamonds, what determines value is more subjective. The range of prices for any given colored diamond can vary wildly, corresponding not only to the rarity of their colors but also to the vividness of the color itself. (The so-called chocolate diamonds that mall jewelers are advertising are not considered investments; until fairly recently, they were used for industrial purposes because they are so common.)

“It’s the strength of the color,” said Jordan Fine, president of JFine Inc., a dealer that specializes in colored diamonds. “A light yellow could be $3,000 a carat and a vivid yellow could be $15,000 a carat. A one-carat light pink could be $75,000 to $700,000 a carat for a vivid pink.”

He added, “It’s hard to fathom how expensive and rare that little stone is.”

Yet discerning the vividness of a colored diamond can be more art than science. If white diamonds are likened to stocks, colored diamonds are private equity investments, with all the risk and reward such forays entail.

“Colored diamonds don’t have a price list or somebody managing the value,” Mr. Marcus said. “It’s a true supply-and-demand free trade. It’s like real estate. Its value is what someone will pay for it.”

Mr. Rachminov said the prices of yellows have been stable, tending to track the stock market, but the pinks and blues have soared in value, which has made some industry experts like Mr. Rapaport skeptical. (Red diamonds are at the top but they are exceedingly rare.) “There’s more interest from high-net-worth individuals, just like there’s more demand for art and wine and luxury items in general,” Mr. Rachminov said.

Colored-diamond dealers talk of the stones as a store of value, and they have shown to be over decades. But they are not the easiest investments to sell.

“The approach should be long term,” Mr. Marcus said. “It’s not a trading commodity first of all because of liquidity. The return is exponential over time.”

He also divides colored diamonds into two categories: jewelry and investments. This is by quality but also by the color itself. He said there are not enough orange, green, violet, and purple diamonds to create the liquidity for an investment market. Therefore, most investors focus on blue, pink and red diamonds.

Yet that line between jewelry and investment can get blurred. Sam, who owns a medical business in New Jersey but asked that his last name be withheld for security concerns, has amassed a collection of dozens of colored diamonds. He bought his first pink diamond in a ring as a gift for his wife in 2005. Then he bought a green diamond and realized that the stones could be used to finance his children’s college education.

“I put some money into that green diamond and that started a collecting bug,” he said. “Then it became trying to find some of the best examples of different colors of vivid colored diamonds.”

Mr. Fine, who sold Sam many of his stones, said some of his pink diamonds had doubled in value in 10 years. But Sam said he also was aware that his timing was right.

In 2007, he bought a half-carat vivid pink diamond in the Argyle tender — an annual private auction of the best pink diamonds from the mine. But this year, he bid four times the price for a smaller pink diamond of lesser quality and lost.

Still, as with any thing of beauty, it can be a lot harder to look rationally at sparkling colored diamonds than a list of company names in a securities portfolio.

Sam said he had amassed a collection valued at $6 million of 41 colored diamonds in almost every different hue but can’t bear to sell them. “Now I keep them securely in a vault and I go down and look at them,” he said. “It’s a lot of concentrated wealth in a thing of great beauty.”

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The Stories Behind the Biggest Jewelry Sales of 2015

Dec 18, 2015 | By James Tarmy
The Blue Moon of Josephine, 13.02 Carats
Now is the time to own (and sell) colored gemstones. Blue sapphires, striking red rubies, and pink diamonds made up 9 of the top 10 jewels sold at auction in 2015. Pink diamonds, in fact, accounted for a solid half of those sales. The only clear diamond to make it on the list? A 100-carat, emerald-cut stone that’s so large it looks unreal, the gemological equivalent of clown shoes. (Very, very expensive clown shoes.)

Of course, it’s one thing to be a massive colored stone; it’s another to have an equally sparkling provenance. Check out the backstories of this year’s top 10 jewelry sales, which combined for a grand total of $214 million, below.

1. The Blue Moon of Josephine,” 13.02 Carats
This headliner sold for $48,468,158 at Sotheby’s, reportedly to Joseph Lau, a Hong Kong billionaire who renamed it after his 7-year-old daughter, Josephine. The price Lau paid set a world record for any diamond of any color, and set another one for price per carat of any gemstone, ever. Now, what will he do for her 8th birthday?

2. Ruby and Diamond Ring by Cartier, 25.59 Carats
Sold for $30,335,698 at Sotheby’s. This massive ruby, set between shield-shaped diamonds weighing 2.47 and 2.70 carats, set a world auction record for ruby sales and was the first “colored stone” to sell for more than $1 million per carat at auction. The seller was listed simply as a lady.

3. The Sweet Josephine, 16.08 Carats
Sold for $28,523,925 at Christie’s. Remember the Hong Kong billionaire from No. 1 on this list? A few days earlier he also bought this ring, also for his 7-year-old daughter, and also named it after her. This girl is going to be the best-dressed kid on the playground, hands down. (Actually, probably best to keep those hands in her pockets.)

4. Emerald-Cut Diamond, 100.20 Carats
Sold for $22,090,000 at Sotheby’s. The next time someone oohs and ahs about your 2- or 3-carat diamond ring, keep things in perspective. Someone out there is carting around a perfect 100-carat ring. Presumably in a wheelbarrow.

5. The Crimson Flame, 15.04 Carats

Sold for $22,090,000 at Sotheby’s. The next time someone oohs and ahs about your 2- or 3-carat diamond ring, keep things in perspective. Someone out there is carting around a perfect 100-carat ring. Presumably in a wheelbarrow.

6. The Historic Pink, 8.72 Carats
Sold for $15,903,422 at Sotheby’s, this stone is believed to have been part of the collection of Princess Mathilde de Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece; part of the murky provenance presumably has to do with the fact that it was kept in a bank vault since the 1940s.

7. Purple-Pink Diamond Ring, 8.24 Carats
Sold for $13,866,553 at Sotheby’s. Set between two pear-shaped diamond shoulders, the ring was the second-most expensive lot of Sotheby’s November “Magnificent and Noble Jewels” sale in Geneva.

8. Ruby and Diamond Latticework Necklace, 120.74 Carats
Sold for $13,006,656 at Christie’s. The necklace has 48 rubies for a total of 120.74 carats; each stone was found in the famous ruby mines in Burma (Myanmar). The necklace was made by Etcetera, a Hong Kong-based jeweler founded by Edmond Chin, who ran Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry department for five years.

9. Colored Diamond Ring, 9.07 Carats
Sold for $12,643,776 at Christie’s. Flanked by triangular-shaped diamonds, this “fancy intense pink” diamond was mounted by Harry Winston and is merited a type IIa, the Gemological Institute of America’s designation for the most chemically pure diamonds in the world.

10. Rectangular-Cut Colored Diamond Ring, 5.18 carats
Sold for $10,709,443 at Christie’s. The colored diamond, mounted in gold, is surrounded by oval diamonds that weigh between .59 and .50 carats. They’re each internally flawless; mere mortals would (most likely) be perfectly happy with one on its own.

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Rio Tinto unveils one of largest diamonds ever found in Canada

Dec 2, 2015 | By Cecilia Jamasmie
largest diamond found in canada
Mining giant Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) unveiled Wednesday its 187.7-carat Diavik Foxfire diamond, one of the largest precious stones ever unearthed in Canada, found at the remote at the company’s 60% owned Diavik Mine, in the Northwest Territories.

The two billion-year-old Diavik Foxfire diamond, showcased during an exclusive preview at Kensington Palace in London, has also been bestowed an indigenous name — Noi?eh Kwe — to honour the area of the Caribou crossing, the company said in a statement.

Rough-diamond prices have fallen about 18% this year and are heading for a sixth straight quarterly decline, the longest streak since at least 2004, according to data from U.K.-based WWW International Diamond Consultants.

Cooling demand for diamond jewellery in China, the largest buyer after the U.S., and a credit crunch in the industry has weakened demand for the gems.

The Diavik Foxfire will be showcased in London before returning to Antwerp for careful assessment and planning for the next stage of its journey.

The Diavik mine, located 220km south of the Arctic Circle, is a significant contributor to Canada’s northern economy. Since 2000, Diavik has spent Cdn$4.8 billion with local businesses and Cdn$2.5 billion of this with northern Aboriginal businesses and their joint ventures.

Dominion Diamond Corp owns the remaining stake in Diavik mine.

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The price of integrity

Nov 24, 2015 | By Peter Smith
In visiting some retail stores in recent weeks, I have noticed a disturbing pattern on pricing.

We have seen an uncomfortable number of examples of the retailer marking products up, beyond what one could reasonably consider a credible retail price, for the sole purpose of marking the prices down again in order to convey the illusion of value to their customers.

The premise of marking up to discount has, of course, been around for many years. I was first introduced to it in the early to middle 1980s, when I spent a few years working for the now defunct Whitehall Jewellers (they used the English spelling.)

Having worked in the jewelry business for many years before my Whitehall stint, I was not a novice to discounting per se. However, my previous experience in the old country (Ireland) had always been, well, legitimate. If we offered discounts at McGowan’s Jewellers (Irish spelling) it was for a limited time--post-Christmas sale or on products that we were trying to liquidate. We had never used pricing to convince the customer that they were getting a deal unless they were, quite honestly, getting a deal.

In my most recent visit to a retail partner, I discovered that they had marked up products from my company far beyond the recommended retail price points, which provided healthy retail margins as it was. The prices were high enough that any reasonably well-informed customer would likely question the viability of the pricing not just on those items, but across the entire store. In fact, at a recent trunk show, one of our team had personally witnessed three separate examples of customers reacting viscerally, and very negatively, to the grossly inflated pricing that the retailer had put on the products.

Despite his embarrassment, knowing as he did what we had sold the products for and what the recommended retail pricing should have been, there was nothing our guy could do to convince the customer to refrain from completely disengaging while he “checked in with the owner” as to what might be done about the price.

The damage had been done and those customers at that particular trunk show had a very sobering introduction to the notion of pricing integrity. They knew that something didn’t smell right and the retailer’s intent to use the artificially and unreasonably high ticket prices as a base-line for negotiation had backfired spectacularly.

As I mentioned, we also saw other cases of retailers who had previously enjoyed very good sell-through with our product only to have the sales hit a brick wall for “no apparent reason.” In each case, of course, we discovered that they had made the decision to extend the mark-up far beyond what was recommended and what was reasonable. As soon as the conversations were had, and the retail tickets changed to reflect the more appropriate retail pricing, the sell-through recovered and the damage was reversed. Or was it?

One can debate the merits of discounting versus not discounting but there are, of course, no absolute right or absolute wrong answers. Each retailer must embrace openly and honestly the practice that they believe is right for their business. If you believe that discounting is the way to compete, and you can run a healthy business on the margins you make, then who is to say that strategy is wrong? If you choose to price your products appropriately and sell on value, knowing that you won’t win the customer who is hell-bent on getting a “deal,” than you owe no apology to anyone for that strategy.

No matter which of the aforementioned approaches you deem best for you, what is vitally important is that you have integrity of pricing.

The earlier mentioned and now-closed Whitehall Jewellers had a pricing model that was based on illusion. The company was able to effect a sizable expansion by convincing customers that they were getting a great deal. The ubiquitous 50/60/70 percent off (retail) banners hung from the rafters and enough people seemed to buy into the illusion of value for about a decade.

Having spent a few years working behind the counters in different Whitehall stores, my own inclination was that customers didn’t really believe that they were getting 60 percent off the original price at all. They knew that those discounts were a sham, but for some period of time enough of them were still willing to believe that even if the “original price” was bogus, they were still getting a deal. The model, ultimately, failed.

I personally am not a fan of discounting because it presumes one of three things:

1. The customer is getting a real deal, in which case I wonder where the margins will come from to run the business. Good for the consumer, bad for the store.

2. That you can compete long term on a “lowest price” model. There’s generally only one winner in that game.

3. Or, as mentioned, the pricing model is actually misleading and illusionary. There likely would be enough customers who are smart enough to see through that, and ultimately it will reflect very poorly on the store in the short and long term.

Martin Lindstrom, the author of Buy-ology: Truths and Lies About Why We Buy, cites multiple studies about the long-term costs of discounting. Lindstrom writes that the studies show that it takes seven years for a brand to recover its value in the minds of consumers when it has been discounted.

Michael Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed wrote in their book, The Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think, that extensive research shows that companies that devoted their energies and resources to the “non-price value” ultimately ended up far better off than companies that chased a “price” value strategy.

Again, retail stores will choose the best course for them, be it price value or non-price value, but whichever direction one chooses, it ought to have at its core the basic premise of price integrity.

The illusionary approach may appear to be working in the short-term, but it is not a sound strategy for long-term growth or for customer loyalty.

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DPA Hires Creative Agency to Make Diamonds Appeal to Millennials

Nov 22, 2015 | By Rapaport News
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has hired a New York creative agency to work with it on kick-starting the appeal of diamonds to young people.

The DPA, a consortium of miners including ALROSA, De Beers and Rio Tinto, has appointed Mother New York help identify "how the unique promise of diamonds can connect with a new generation," the organization said in a statement November 18.

The move follows DPA’s appointment of Sally Morrison as managing director of marketing in October with responsibility for all of the organization's marketing activities, including the appointment of an agency partner.

"The appointment of Mother New York is the next step in building world-class marketing capabilities to support the DPA’s mission of growing long-term demand for diamonds," DPA chairman Jean-Marc Lieberherr said. "Over the next few months, the DPA will work closely with Mother New York to develop a powerful marketing strategy."

ALROSA vice president Andrey Polyakov, a member of the DPA's board, said the group was impressed by the "innovative and impactful work [Mother New York has] produced for important lifestyle brands that matter to millennials."

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Lucara Finds Second-Largest Diamond in History

Nov 19, 2015 | By Rapaport News
Lucara Finds Second-Largest Diamond in History
Lucara Diamond Corp. has recovered three exceptional diamonds including a 1,111-carat stone from its Karowe mine in Botswana. The diamond is the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered and the largest to be retrieved through a modern processing facility, the miner said.

The type-II stone, measuring 65mm x 56mm x 40mm, is also the largest diamond ever recovered in Botswana and was revealed by recently installed ‘Large Diamond Recovery’ X-ray technology (XRT) machines, the Canadian company said in a statement November 18.

The diamond is the largest discovered since the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond was taken from the Cullinan mine in South Africa in 1905.

“The significance of the recovery of a gem-quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century, cannot be overstated,” Lucara president and chief executive officer William Lamb said in the statement.

“Our focus on mining the south lobe [of the Karowe mine], which is delivering value beyond expectation, has been perfectly timed with the commissioning of our recent plant modifications, enabling the recovery of these large, high-quality, exceptional diamonds."

Lucara also recovered two white diamonds weighing 813 and 374 carats from Karowe using the XRT technology, it added in a separate statement November 19. The weights of the stones are subject to change as they have not yet been cleaned, Lucara added.

“This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second largest and also the sixth-largest gem-quality diamonds ever mined,” Lamb said.

Blue diamonds are formed when boron is mixed with carbon when the gem is created.

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Hong Kong tycoon buys 7-year-old daughter $77M in diamonds

Nov 12 2015 | By Kelvin Chan and Jamey Keaten | AP
Hong Kong tycoon buys 7-year-old daughter $77M in diamonds
HONG KONG — A Hong Kong billionaire tycoon paid a total of $77 million at auctions in Geneva for two large and rare colored diamonds for his 7-year-old daughter Josephine — and renamed them after her, his office said Thursday.

Joseph Lau was the top bidder for the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon” diamond that sold Wednesday night for a record-setting 48.6 million Swiss francs ($48.5 million), said a spokeswoman for Lau, who declined to give her name. Sotheby’s said the buyer promptly renamed the pricier gem “The Blue Moon of Josephine,”

Lau was also the buyer of a 16.08-carat vivid pink diamond that sold for 28.7 million Swiss francs ($28.5 million) auctioned by Christie’s the night before, she said. The buyer renamed that diamond “Sweet Josephine,” Christie’s said.

“Yes, the two diamonds are bought by Joseph Lau,” said the spokeswoman, who added that they were named after Lau’s daughter.

The blue diamond, set in a ring, was said to be among the largest known fancy vivid blue diamonds and was the showpiece gem at the Sotheby’s jewelry auction.

The Blue Moon — named in reference to its rarity, playing off the expression “once in a blue moon” — topped the previous record of $46.2 million set five years ago by the Graff Pink, Sotheby’s said. The diamond also set a new record of more than $4 million per carat, capping the daylong high-end jewelry sale that reaped roughly $140 million.

Lau, a property developer with a fortune estimated by Forbes at $9.9 billion, has a habit of snapping up expensive gems for his children.

At a Sotheby’s Geneva auction in 2009, he bought another blue diamond, paying a then-record $9.5 million for the 7.03-carat “Star of Josephine.”

Last November, he also bought two gems for another daughter, 13-year-old Zoe, his spokeswoman said. One was a 9.75-carat blue diamond that he named “Zoe Diamond” after buying it for about $33 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. He also spent 65 million Hong Kong dollars ($8.4 million) for a 10.1-carat ruby and diamond brooch at a Christie’s Hong Kong auction. He named that one “Zoe Red.”

Lau was convicted last year by a Macau court of bribery and money laundering and sentenced to more than five years in prison. But Lau, who didn’t attend the trial, has remained free by avoiding travel to the former Portuguese colony, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with nearby Hong Kong. Both cities are specially administered Chinese regions.

“Tonight we set a new world record, a new auction record for any diamond, any jewel, any gemstone, with the sale of the Blue Moon diamond,” said auctioneer David Bennett in Geneva. He specified the price as $48,468,158. “I have never seen a more beautiful stone. The shape, the color, the purity — it’s a magical stone.”

The polished blue gem was cut from a 29.6-carat diamond discovered last year in South Africa’s Cullinan mine, which also yielded the 530-carat Star of Africa blue diamond that is part of the British crown jewels, and the Smithsonian Institution’s “Blue Heart” discovered in 1908.

Sotheby’s says experts took five months for an “intense study” of the original Blue Moon diamond, and a master cutter took another three months to craft, cut and polish the stone. The auction house said in a video that the Cullinan mine was the “only reliable source in the world for blue diamonds,” and only a tiny percentage of those found in it contain even a trace of blue.

Blue diamonds are formed when boron is mixed with carbon when the gem is created.

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The world's most expensive diamonds have all been sold

Nov 10 2015, 1:29 PM | By Chris Pash
Fancy Red diamond collection from the Argyle Pink Diamonds 2015 Tender. Supplied.
A collection of 65 rare pink and red diamonds from the Argyle mine in the North West of Australia has been sold in a global tender.

The Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, known as the Connoisseurs Collection weighing a total of 44.14 carats and including four what are known as fancy red diamonds, went to bidders from 11 countries.

Rio Tinto, the owner of Argyle, doesn’t reveal what the tender winners paid for their diamonds.

However, pink diamonds can fetch 50 times more than the more common white diamonds. They often get $1 million a carat.

Based on that the 2015 Argyle collection would have brought in more than $40 million. The most expensive pink diamond sold was the Graff Pink, a 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond, sold at Sotheby’s in 2010 for $US46 million.

Josephine Johnson, the Argyle Pink Diamonds manager, says she’s delighted with this year’s results.

She says the 2015 Argyle pink diamonds achieved the highest average price per carat since the tender began in 1984.

The five heroes of the collection were sold to notable investors, collectors and retailers based in Europe, US, China and the Middle East.

The most valuable diamond was Lot Number 1, called Argyle Prima, a 1.20 carat fancy red pear-shaped diamond which went to Sciens Diamond Management.

Almost the entire world supply of rare pink and red diamonds comes from Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia.

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Kennady’s Kelvin Valuation Compares With World’s Highest-Margin Diamonds

Oct 20, 2015 4:06 AM | By Rapaport News
World's highest-margin diamonds
A Kennady Diamonds Inc. mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories is said to have diamonds valued at $123 per carat on average, which compares with the world’s highest-margin, new-diamond repository.

The price assessment -- done by WWW International Diamond Consultants in Antwerp -- was based on gems weighing 989 carats and recovered from a bulk sampling of the Kelvin kimberlite, Kennady said in a statement October 19.

While only 88 diamonds weighed more than 0.66 carats per stone in the parcel, “it is encouraging to see so many good color white gem stones, especially in the C sample, with five of the eight stones being good color and gem quality,” the statement said.

“Kelvin diamond prices are comparable to those from the neighboring Gahcho Kué mine when the rough diamond price index was at a comparable level,” Patrick Evans, president and chief executive officer of Kennady Diamonds, said. “This is very encouraging, particularly as Gahcho Kué is widely recognized as the world’s highest-margin, new-diamond mine.” Three highest-value diamonds in the sample included a 4.22 carat stone from Zone B with a value of $1,603 per carat; 2.58 carat gem from Zone C worth $1,366 per carat and 2.38 carat from Zone C whose price was assessed at $1,196 per carat. The results confirm “Kelvin hosts a population of high-value, gem-quality white diamonds,” Evans said. “These good results were achieved despite the valuation being done at a challenging time with the rough diamond price index at multi-year lows.”