A rare pink diamond, offered by a collector in Boca Raton, Florida and described as one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, has sold at a record price of $49.9 million (392M Hong Kong dollars) in Hong Kong.
The total cost for the winning bidder will climb to $57.7 million, including the buyer’s premium added on top of the hammer price.
Cut from a rough of 32.32 carats to a polished stone of 11.15 carats, the Williamson Pink Star is exceptionally rare and unique thanks to its internally flawless clarity, vivid hue, and large size. All three elements are very unusual for pink diamonds.
The auction was held by the local branch of Sotheby’s at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and by phone. It lasted approximately twenty minutes, according to Forbes.
It is the second most valuable jewel or gemstone ever sold at auction.
Pink diamonds’ color mystery
Of all the diamonds submitted to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), less than three percent are classified as colored diamonds, and less than five percent of those are considered predominantly pink.
Sotheby’s explains that the exact cause of color in pink diamonds is still not fully understood scientifically since there is no evidence that the coloration is due to a specific trace element as is the case for yellow or blue diamonds, which get their color from nitrogen and boron, respectively.
The best explanation available today is that the color is a result of distress at the atomic level, according to the auction house.
While most pink diamonds fall into the ranges of Faint Pink to Fancy Pink, only a few can be described as Fancy Vivid Pink like the Williamson Pink Star, and those are often small in size. Eighty-three percent in a sample of one thousand pink diamonds were found to weigh less than one carat, according to a 2018 survey by the GIA.
Extremely rare gemstone
With its unusually generous size and vivid hue, which already render it extremely rare, the Williamson Pink Star is also distinguished for its clarity, which falls into the flawless category.
“Attaining a Fancy Vivid color grade with pink diamonds in this size requires a very strong inherent bodycolor in the rough crystal,” GIA states in its letter shared by Sotheby’s. “It is unusual for pink diamonds to occur with a strong depth of color or saturation in any size… In addition to its exceptional color, the clarity is Internally Flawless—a special combination. Examples such as this are some of the rarest gems ever discovered.”
The jewel is, in fact, the second internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond weighing over ten carats to be offered at auction.
The first was the CTF Pink Star also sold by Sotheby’s in 2017. It continues to hold the world auction record for any jewel.
The Williamson mine, which the gemstone is named after, was discovered in 1940 by Canadian geologist Dr. John Williamson and became renowned for its “bubblegum pink” diamonds.
The most famous example from this mine is the Williamson Pink Diamond, which belonged to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.