Christie’s Continues to Unveil Largest Fancy Vivid Color Diamonds at Auction

Following the largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond to ever appear at auction in the upcoming Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction on May 18, the “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond, Christie’s will continue the trend with the world’s largest Fancy Vivid Green diamond to ever appear at auction on May 31 at their Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels event with the “Aurora Green”. Christie’s has experience with offering the largest fancy color diamonds at auctions. Back in 2013, they auctioned the largest ever Fancy Vivid Orange diamond to ever appear at auction, “The Orange”, and broke a few records that night.


the orange

The 14.82 carat Fancy Vivid Orange “The Orange” diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


the aurora green diamond, official image-2

The 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green “The Aurora Green” diamond     Image credit: Christie’s

the oppenheimer blue diamond-2

The 14.62 carat Fancy Vivid Blue “The Oppenheimer Blue” diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


The top lot of the auction has an estimated value that is equal to four times more than the next item. It is the now famous 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green VS2 diamond called the “Aurora Green”. The interesting part about this is that it was graded by the GIA on January 20, 2016, with an extra letter stating this this is the largest Fancy Vivid Green diamond that the GIA has ever certified up to that date. A letter like this is certainly bound to catch the attention of investors and collectors alike. It is valued at approximately between $3 million and $4 million per carat.


the aurora green diamond ring-1

The 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green VS2 “Aurora Green” diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


We have seen many fancy vivid blue and fancy vivid pink diamonds in the last 12 months, and even a handful of them over 10 carats. These include the famous Blue Moon of Josephine, which was described as a special and one of a kind just back in November 2015, and which is now being met with another true one of a kind and much larger Fancy Vivid Blue diamond, – the Oppenheimer Blue. It weighs an incredible 14.62 carats. We have seen The Orange, a 14.82 carat Fancy Vivid Orange diamond break the world record per carat for any diamond when it was sold for $3.3 million per carat in 2014, and the 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Blue Moon’ that subsequently broke the world record per carat and reached just over $4 million per carat.

Now we have a 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green diamond being valued at $3 million to $4 million per carat. Why not $5 million per carat? Especially since it was confirmed to be the largest certified as such by the GIA, why should it not break the current record? And why not by a mile? Does it make financial sense? Maybe not? But who cares when you are a collector of these rare gems and have all the money in the world? We can be certain that the buyer will be a billionaire, and should he or she buy it for $25 million or even more that day, you can rest assured that the money will be back in their bank account faster than a trip around the world. We can talk about this forever, so let’s move on to the next interesting item. (Got a question? Ask away in the comments!)


aurora green diamond ring

The Aurora Green 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green diamond ring     Image credit: Christie’s


The next item by value that piqued my interest is Lot #2069, the 25.58 carat D color Internally Flawless emerald cut diamond stamped with the Harry Winston logo on the ring band. It is valued at $3.2million to $4.1 million, or $125k to $160k per carat. It is not a world record price, but what caught my attention was again the certificate. It is dated January 18, 2016. I assume that latest by April 30th, if not earlier, it was already with Christie’s being readied for the auction. This means that within 3 months, it went back from the GIA certification lab, to the diamond cutter or dealer who had to approach Harry Winston right away and offer it for sale. H.W. had to make a quick decision on it, set it on a ring, stamp Winston on the ring, and are now offering it for sale at the auction. All I have to say is wow!!! Wow at such a powerful tool called branding.


25.58 carat harry winston diamond ring

The 25.58 carat D color Internally Flawless emerald cut diamond Harry Winston ring     Image credit: Christie’s


The next special item is a 2.08 carat Fancy Vivid Bluish Green diamond. It has a rare VS1 clarity (most green diamonds are in the SI and I clarity due to the natural formation of the green color). It is valued between $2 million and $3.2 million, or $961k to $1.54 million per carat. These are some serious numbers again. But, this diamond, too, has a letter from the GIA claiming it is the largest certified diamond of its color as of the date of the certification. When was that you may ask? July 20, 2001, almost 16 years ago. Now why would Christie’s even mention it? In 16 years, is it not possible to have another such color available? And larger? Well, according to our research that spans over 20 years of information from both of the leading auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, it is the first time that such a color appears at auction. If we take into account all Vivid Greens at auction, this would then be the 3rd largest in line, right after the 5.03 carat ‘Aurora Green’ of this auction and the 2.52 Vivid Green from Sotheby’s auction back on November 17, 2009 in Geneva. In my opinion, we can rest assured that the claim from 2001 by the GIA still stands today. The color is so rare, that if any other stone like this in terms of color in a larger size would be certified by the GIA, rest assured that we would have seen it in an auction as its owner would have jumped to monetize it. Seems that this auction is geared towards collectors…What an honor!


2.08 carat Fancy Vivid Bluish Green diamond ring

The 2.08 carat Fancy Vivid Bluish Green diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


The next lot up for discussion is the ultimate test of branding’s added value. It is a 21.97 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond with Internally Flawless clarity, signed by no other than the famous House of Graff. The diamond is valued at $84k to $114k per carat. It is obvious that the value will depend on the depth of color which can fall on the scale anywhere from a weak vivid to a strong vivid. Based on the price alone, it seems to me that the depth of color is in the 7-8 range on the 1-10 color strength scale. In a previous auction, we have seen a 10-11 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond by Graff that sold for $113k per carat. Since this one is above 20 carats, it has a superior sense of rarity, so I would expect it to get a fairly high per carat valuation. We shall see what happens in Hong Kong…


21.97 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond by Graff Diamonds

The 21.97 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow IF diamond by the House of Graff     Image credit: Christie’s


In relation to the above mentioned item, the following item is interesting. It is a 10.76 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond but has a VS2 clarity. It is being valued at $1.2 million to $1.9 million total, or $111k to $176k per carat, which is quite a lot of money considering its size, color, and clarity.

Let’s take a pause here and try to understand its valuation. It is not that we have not ever seen these types of numbers for a Vivid Yellow diamond. The world record for a Fancy Vivid Yellow was about $250k per carat, and during the Basel show in 2015 a Vivid Yellow was sold for $180k per carat (for a 5 carat size diamond).

As we know, the most important aspect of a fancy color diamond is color. Not having seen the actual diamond, I could not tell you for certain about the color, but what I can say is that based on this price, the color has to be extremely saturated and deep enough to be a 10 on the scale of 1-10. The clarity here is quite low, and based on the certificate’s information (which one can verify easily on the GIA website), its polish is rated Very Good, and its symmetry is rated Good. Based on all of this, unless the color is unique, if the diamond is sold then it would garner a price on the low end of the valuation. Other than the color, nothing about this diamond justifies such price.


10.76 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring

The 10.76 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS2 diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


The next item that we will review is a 12.89 carat Fancy Brown-Pink diamond with a VS2 clarity. Here we see a perfectly balanced color combination, which is what makes this diamond special for collectors – the color itself. It is a less interesting diamond for investors. The diamond is valued at $1.1 million to $1.5 million or $85k to $116k per carat, a rather steep price. We shall see the outcome, whether it is sold, and to whom.


12.89 carat Fancy Brown-Pink diamond ring

The 12.89 carat Fancy Brown-Pink diamond ring     Image credit: Christie’s


The next item is a beautiful pair of earrings, and what draws our interest here is the ability to find “pairs” of diamonds like this. The fact that these diamonds are a pair is probably the reason that the valuation is higher than it should theoretically be based on the colors alone. All the colors are light in nature, even if they are blue and pink. Their clarities are low ranging from a high of VS1 to a low of I1. The total predicted value is between $700k to $1 million.


light pink diamond and light blue diamond earrings

The light pink diamond and light blue diamond earrings     Image credit: Christie’s


The last item on our list, which is also being the last item of the auction that is valued in the range of $1 million is another pair of earrings. Both diamonds are Fancy Yellow, and they each weigh 15.10 carats and 14.86 carats respectively. Both are Internally Flawless and have vs2 clarities.  This pair is valued at $700k to $1 million.


yellow diamond pear shaped drop earrings

15.10 carat and 14.86 carat Fancy Yellow IF VS2 diamond earrings     Image credit: Christie’s


This auction will conclude a very exciting month for diamond auctions. Between the auctions in Geneva and this one in Hong Kong, hundreds of millions of dollars will be exchanging hands, and handsome commissions will result for both auction houses.

At the end of the day, after reviewing the 3 auctions, I am somewhat concerned!

I am concerned because there are many items that are worth their valuation, some will garner more than the evaluations, and others will break records.

So why am I concerned? Because I don’t think there are enough buyers out there for so many goods in such a short period of time. Unless the auction houses will allow buyers to pay over an extended time frame, even billionaires don’t carry so much money in liquid form. They prefer their money to do work for them, and having liquid cash at these levels would frankly be irresponsible of investors.

As such, when items don’t sell, it sets a negative tone, not only for the market but also on the industry. Acting on emotions is the last thing needed for this industry, or any other industry for that matter. I really hope that the majority of the May auction house diamonds sell within the true value of each item, and that every important diamond finds its true new owner, so that the industry and the market can continue to move forward. Otherwise, we may see a standstill for fancy color diamonds. If we do see a standstill in auction results, rest assured that the full value chain will feel it 3-6 months down the road, and so the diamond recession will continue well into 2017. This would probably result in an acceleration of the industry’s consolidation. It may be seen as a catastrophe in the short term, but over the long term this is exactly what this industry needs.

I hope that this last important auction of the first half of the year will only bring positive news and outcomes for all. The industry will take a break from auctions and even trading during the summer season. I believe that the first indications of the auctions results will be felt at the Hong Kong jewelry show on June 23-26.

Feel free to comment or share your opinion below! I would love to hear what you think about the potential effects that the influx of pink and blue diamonds at May auctions will have on the diamond industry.

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